04 Dec 2021

feedWordPress Planet

WPTavern: FSE Outreach Round #11: Going on a Site Editing Safari

Anne McCarthy announced Round #11 of the FSE Outreach Program on November 11. The latest test, dubbed Site Editing Safari, calls on volunteers to run through a step-by-step list to find strengths and weaknesses around the upcoming WordPress 5.9 site editor. Volunteers are still welcome to provide feedback until Tuesday, December 7.

This is actually my second attempt at Round #11. The first was right when the testing began nearly a month ago. As always, I was excited to jump in and contribute in some small way to the project. So, I made sure I updated everything and loaded up my test environment. Then, the entire experience rocketed downhill.

I became frustrated after the template navigation was removed from the site editor. So, I simply threw in the towel. The one feature I had been waiting on for months felt useless. I pointed out these frustrations in my review of Gutenberg 11.9 - let's just say there were a few drafts of that post that were far less kind.

Shortly after, template navigation was re-added to Gutenberg and should land in WordPress 5.9.

Calls for using the TT1 Blocks theme are also demotivating. I have become burned out testing it and hope to never see it again. On the other hand, Twenty Twenty-Two is far more exciting. Plus, it will be the theme that showcases what FSE can do. So, I installed it instead. Yes, I began breaking the rules before I even hopped over to the first step of testing.

The following is a screenshot of the final homepage customization after running through the tests:

Custom homepage design with Twenty Twenty-Two theme.

I jumped ahead and started from the header-editing section at the end of the test. The header area is the first thing you see in the editor, so it felt natural to begin there.

I started by removing the Page List block from the Navigation menu in the header. I have 90+ pages on my install, and it is always irritating when themes list them all by default. There also does not seem to be a way to limit that to top-level pages or a max number. I opted for a few custom links instead.

Then, I added a Search block, but its options were far too limiting to fit it into the design. There was no way to edit the colors or typography of the input field. It would also be nice to have a search text input that expanded or popped up when clicking the search icon.

Trying to customize the Search block.

Eventually, I just dropped it all and added a Social Icons block. They were a bit less boring than run-of-the-mill links.

The biggest issue I hit was with the Group block. By default, the Twenty Twenty-Two theme adds an 8rem (that's pretty big) bottom margin to one of the Groups within the header area. That pushes everything on the page after it down. The trouble is that there is no way to customize that space because the block still does not support margins.

I ended up adding an intro section to balance out all of the whitespace between the header and content areas:

Intro section between header and content.

Based on the current direction of an open ticket, Group margin support is unlikely to land in WordPress 5.9. The suggestion is to rely on the Spacer block to do the work.

When I jumped back to the first section of the testing steps, I wanted to put the Post Featured Image block through its paces. It has improved, but it is still missing the vital Image Size option, which would allow users to select a theme-registered size.

I also wanted to add a border, but the option does not exist for the block. Instead, I had to wrap it in a Group block to create the effect. I took it a step further by adding padding and background color, essentially creating a two-color border.

Grouping the Post Featured Image block for borders.

The purist in me cringes at wrapping an image in a <div> element just to add a border. Users should be able to add it directly to the Image block.

This very much feels like where the state of the block and site editing is overall. Many pieces are exceptional, but after digging beneath the surface, you find that you need workarounds for some essential design needs.

During testing, I ran into a few features I would like to have, such as a word-count limit for the Post Excerpt block and a button-style design for the "more link." I am sure there are already tickets to address these, so I did not dwell on them.

The biggest, ahem, hiccup that I ran into wiped all of my progress when editing my header. I tried to transform one of the outer Group blocks into a Cover to give it a background. It wiped everything in the header area clean, and the "undo" button did not seem to work. I just started over.

I ran through all of the tests without any other issues. The site editor and global styles interfaces feel close to ready for their version 1.0 release in WordPress. The system works well enough for those willing to accept some frustration to play around with a suite of new toys.

04 Dec 2021 2:53am GMT

Gutenberg Times: All Things Block Themes -Weekend Edition 195


For many of us it's Christmastime, a time for family, friends, and love, anticipating the holidays and the New Year. As the German poet Erick Kästner wrote: "Will it better? Will it be worse?, one asks every year. But let's be honest: life is always life-threatening." 1 Happy 2nd Advent!

Yours, 💕

1 "Wird's besser? Wird's schlimmer?, fragt man alljährlich. Aber seien wir ehrlich, Leben ist immer lebensgefährlich." - Erich Kästner

Table of Contents

WordPress 5.9

The release squad shipped WordPress 5.9 Beta 1 Tuesday night.

The test team published instructions on how you can test this release and help ensure it's the best version that can be shipped in January. Help test WordPress 5.9 Features. The post covers the best test environment for all skill levels, and some tips for testing. For each feature, you can read a brief description with the suggested testing focus. As many features were built for users to build sites without touching code, the emphasis is on workflow and ease-of-use for WordPress users. Any feedback from this test will be welcome as it could improve the final version considerably.

Need a plugin .zip from Gutenberg's main (trunk) branch?
Gutenberg Times provides daily build for testing and review.
Have you been using it? Hit reply and let me know.

GitHub all releases

Nathan Wrigley hosted Marcus Kazmierczak, Zack Krida and yours truly for the episode #10 - What's in WordPress 5.9, and What Is Openverse?

Gutenberg 12.0.1

From last week, Gutenberg 12.0 the release notes are now available on the Make Blog: What's new in Gutenberg 12.0.0 ( 24 November) by Ryan Welcher.

Ryan Welcher was also our special guest for the Gutenberg Changelog episode 56 when Grzegorz Ziolkowski and I discussed the Gutenberg release

If you are not a podcast listener, Justin Tadlock at WPTavern has the skinny for you. Gutenberg 12.0 Focuses on Cleanup and Minor Enhancements

📢 New Episode #56 is now available! 🎙️
Birgit Pauli-Haack and Grzegorz Ziolkowski discuss Gutenberg plugin release 12.0 with their special guest Ryan Welcher, developer advocate at Automattic.

Subscribe to the Gutenberg Changelog podcast
🎙️ Spotify | Google | iTunes | PocketCasts | Stitcher |
🎙️ Pod Bean | CastBox | Podchaser | RSS Feed

All things Block Themes

For the Episode 21 of the WP Briefing podcast, executive director of the WordPress open-source project, Josepha Haden Chomphosy invited Jeff Ong and Maggie Cabrera from the Theme team. They discussed the future of theme building and the upcoming WordPress default theme Twenty-Twenty-Two. They also clarify additional terms around themes.

Ben Dwyer of the WordPress Themes team compiled this week's Digest: Gutenberg + Themes: Week of November 29th, 2021 - the 74th weekly round-up of important theme topics, issues, and PRs that could use community input and review. Dwyer changed the format a bit. Instead, a list of PRs and Issue titles and numbers, he provides a summary of the various topics, this is certainly helpful for theme developer keeping in touch with Gutenberg.

Alex Lende published more details on how VS Code works with Theme JSON Schema for Code Validation, Tool Tips with hints, and Auto-Complete. The demo GIFs also show the short-keys to use to make it all work. Very nifty!

Michael Burridge informs developers via the WordPress Make Blog that "the directory names in block-based (FSE) themes are changing. The name for the directory containing template files will be templates, and the name for the directory containing template part files will be parts." You can read more details in his article: New directory names for block-based (FSE) themes

Courtney Robertson posted a tutorial on Customizing images with WordPress duotone filters. Learn how to configure duotone settings for your client sites, to make images really shine.

Fränk Klein shared what he learned building a Hybrid Theme. After some definition of the terms, Hybrid theme, Universal theme and block theme, Klein takes you along his journey to explore how theme.json and PHP can mix. How can WordPress 5.8 features help refactor existing themes and bring them more inline with the block editor? Even if they don't fully embrace full-site editing, there are ways to make classic themes work better. It's also not without challenges. Klein has some insight here, too.

David McCan wrote in his article Full Site Editing and Custom Post Types: What You Need To Know about what tools you need to create the single and archive templates for Custom Post Types. McCan concluded: "The big deal with Full Site Editing is that the ability to create templates for Custom Post Types is being built into WordPress core." You will still need third-party blocks that support custom fields, thought. McCan has tested a few shared what he learned.

"Keeping up with Gutenberg - Index 2021"
A chronological list of the WordPress Make Blog posts from various teams involved in Gutenberg development: Design, Theme Review Team, Core Editor, Core JS, Core CSS, Test and Meta team from Jan. 2021 on. Updated by yours truly. The index 2020 is here

Full-Site Editing

Anne McCarthy published a walk-through the new, powerful Navigation Block site builders will soon us with full-site editing experience: Exploring the Navigation Block for WordPress 5.9. McCarthy wrote: "The Navigation Block is an advanced new block that enables you to edit your site's navigation menu, both in terms of structure and design. This video seeks to give an initial look at this new block, provide a demo to help you explore it on your own, answer some top questions, and share some context around what's to come next."

FSE Program Testing Call #11 until Dec 7

You only have a few days left to participate in the separate FSE Program Testing Call #11: Site Editing Safari. Its deadline is December 7th, 2021.

If you prefer an Italian version of the call for testing, Piermario Orecchioni published the translation: ESF Program Test Call # 11: A Site Editing Safari.

Akira Tashibana posted the Japanese version of the FSE Call for testing #11 FSE プログラムのテスト募集 #11: サイト編集の探索

Carrie Dils prepared a one file import for LocalWP to have an easy way to set up a test environment for the FSE Call for Testing.

Building Blocks and developing for Gutenberg

The fantastic co-hosts of the WomaninWP Podcast, Tracy Apps and Angela Bowman had an honest conversation about Gutenberg with Tara King, director of Developer Relations at Automattic.

This year's array of year-end post starts with Brian Francoeur's post WordPress: Where It's Headed in 2022 He wrote: "WordPress is fighting back with genuine innovation, evolving the WordPress core and ecosystem to meet the needs of its users" and he doesn't mean just the block editor. He gave us a view on all things that are happening in the space, including performance team, and decoupled WordPress (others call it headless).

DJ Billings wrote about an exciting new use case for Gutenberg: Newsletters. She wrote "Newsletters are back, and they're on the rise" and identified Gutenberg as "a powerful email builder". You might have guessed it, Billings then turns fast to Newsletter Glue as a Gutenberg-first tool to use WordPress to also composed emails. Full disclosure: For the last twelve months, we have been assembling the weekend edition also with Newsletter Glue.

WordPress Social Learning events

December 14, 2021 - 3 to 4 pm ET / 20:00 UTC
Create a simple block from existing blocks
Host: Wes Theron
Speaker: Alex Standiford

The WordPress Learn team will schedule more Social Learning events on its Meetup.com space

On the Calendar for WordPress Online Events site, you can browse a list of the upcoming WordPress Events, around the world, including WordCamps, WooCommerce, Elementor, Divi Builder and Beaver Builder meetups.

Don't want to miss the next Weekend Edition?

We hate spam, too and won't give your email address to anyone except Mailchimp to send out our Weekend Edition

Thanks for subscribing.

04 Dec 2021 1:10am GMT

03 Dec 2021

feedWordPress Planet

WPTavern: Open Source Initiative Launches New Free Membership Level, Opens 2022 OSS Usage Survey

Open Source Initiative, the organization that stewards the Open Source Definition, has launched a new survey on the usage of open source, in collaboration with OpenLogic by Perforce. The survey takes a broad look at the trends and challenges organizations and users experience when adopting open source software today.

"In the 2022 State of Open Source Survey, OpenLogic and OSI will gather information about the use of open source software, the level of open source maturity and strategy within organizations, and the larger trends shaping the open source ecosystem," OpenLogic OSS Evangelist Javier Perez said.

The survey takes approximately 7-10 minutes and is applicable to users at every level. A few of the questions are aimed at gauging participants' reservations about using open source software, which should yield some interesting results. It also asks about support challenges and reasons for adopting specific open source technologies.

As a small incentive, participants can enter an email address at the end for a chance to win a $200 Amazon gift card. The survey will close January 7, 2022, and the results will be published in the 2022 State of Open Source report at the end of January. This information will help OSI continue to be an advocate for a healthy open source ecosystem.

The organization has also recently launched a new, free membership level with limited capabilities.

"Not everyone can provide financial support, but we want your participation, too!" OSI's newly appointed Executive Director Stefano Maffulli said at launch. "Voting privileges are not included at this level, but you do receive the cool digital member badge to show your support of OSI."

New signups will receive an email with discounts on open source technology courses and open source hardware manufacturers, and a link to a membership page with a script that generates a unique digital badge.

Full membership costs $40 per year and includes voting rights to influence OSI's programs. Launching a free membership level on top of this is a strategic move for the Open Source Initiative that allows the organization to solidify its supporters and periodically appeal for financial support across a wider base.

03 Dec 2021 11:04pm GMT

WPTavern: PHP Foundation Gains Momentum with $280K Estimated Annual Budget on Open Collective

At the end of November, prominent members of the PHP community formed a new PHP Foundation as a non-profit organization, "to ensure the long life and prosperity of the PHP language." The founding members include Automattic, Laravel, Acquia, Zend, Craft CMS, Private Packagist, Tideways, PrestaShop, Symfony, and JetBrains-a group of companies with products that rely heavily on PHP.

In just 11 days, the Foundation has has secured an estimated annual budget of more than $280,000 through donations and monthly commitments using Open Collective's transparent funding platform.

JetBrains, leading the charge with a promise to contribute $100,000 annually, announced the formation of the foundation. It stated that the organization will not seek to influence PHP language decisions but will leave those to the PHP Internals community. The donations will be used to fund developers to work on PHP:

Our initial scope of operations is narrow so as to maximize the chances of successfully addressing our immediate concern - that there are not enough core developers working on PHP.
In our first year or two, our only priority will be the hiring of core developers. Eventually, after our immediate concern has been resolved, the Foundation will be prepared to expand the scope of operations to include the hiring of developers dedicated to non-core projects. Beyond that, we may expand our focus to include community-oriented projects.

The New Life of PHP - The PHP Foundation

The loss of a longtime prolific contributor Nikita Popov, who is moving on to work on LLVM with significantly less time on PHP, was one of the major contributing factors for the formation of the foundation.

"Losing one of the main contributors to PHP is a blow to the community, because he is the bearer of a lot of knowledge and expertise," PhpStorm marketing manager Roman Pronskiy said. "It puts the language that powers 78% of the Web in a fragile position. Not to mention an overwhelming burden on the maintainer, which unfortunately in the world of OSS often leads to people burning out."

Despite enormous contributions from Zend by Perforce on various initiatives for nearly two decades, along with other corporations invested in the future of the language, PHP is too important to the web to risk going without vital support for its maintainers.

"By continuing to fund full-time and part-time developers on the PHP project, Zend has helped ensure the ongoing prosperity and modernization of the PHP language, and its continued use for mission-critical application development," Pronskiy said.

"We were proceeding rather leisurely, thinking that the problem was not critical. However, Nikita's decision forced us to intensify our work on the foundation."

The 26-year old programming language continues to be immensely popular today, thanks to its easy learning curve and the relative ease of finding hosting for PHP-based sites. It powers 36% of the top million websites and 49% of the top 10K according to BuiltWith. With such a massive footprint, formalizing support for the future of the PHP project is long overdue.

"PHP quickly became my choice of language, and while some folks mock it for not being a 'real' language - whatever that means - it can be strongly typed and structured if you choose - but more importantly, PHP has enabled the innovation and explosion of the web, largely through projects like WordPress, CakePHP, CodeIgniter, and Laravel," Automattic engineer Jeffrey Pearce wrote in a recent essay about how he found PHP. "These projects all had a low barrier to entry and made writing software accessible to the masses.

"Hacking away through a PHP file, mixing classes and inline code, functional and object orientation, and discovering the joys of MVC frameworks - you could really move fast and break things."

At WordCamp Europe in 2019, when Matt Mullenweg was asked how he plans to balance chasing the new and shiny with all of WordPress' existing legacy APIs, he said, "PHP is going to be crucial to us for many years to come." WordPress owes a great deal to PHP, which keeps getting faster and better with each release. Behind these releases is a community of people who need reliable support.

Any contributor can apply to the Foundation for funding part-time or full-time work. Positions are not permanent and can be canceled at any time. Applications are still open for the next two weeks and the Foundation's administration will use its expertise to decide which contributors will receive funding.

03 Dec 2021 6:25am GMT

Post Status: How Was Business This Month?

🙏 Please take the current survey for November.

August 2021 📆 Up 📈 Down 📉 Average 😐
All responses 4 3 3

We floated this survey quietly in August with a single, simple question.

September 2021 📆 Up 📈 Down 📉 Average 😐
Company 🏢 4 1 6
Agency 🧑‍💼 11 3 5
Individual 👩‍💻 7 5 6
Totals: 22 9 17

48 people responded in September. 🙏

October 2021 📆 Up 📈 Down 📉 Average 😐
Company 🏢 0 2 3
Agency 🧑‍💼 2 0 3
Individual 👩‍💻 1 2 2
Totals: 3 4 8

The most common challenge mentioned this month was hiring - finding good talent.

03 Dec 2021 4:36am GMT

Post Status: Post Status Excerpt (No. 35) — Challenges and Wins for WordCamp Taiwan

"We are trying to bring our community to the world." -Eric Chuang

In this episode of Post Status Excerpt, David chats with two organizers from the upcoming WordCamp Taiwan 2021 - Eric Chuang 莊桓亦 and Hend Chen 陳瀚宇. Learn what the WordPress community is like in Taiwan, and how they've dealt with restrictions on in-person events. Eric and Hend crafted a "hybrid" approach to their WordCamp and hope having English sessions will bring more talent and influence to Taiwan's WordPress community.

Every week Post Status Excerpt will brief you on important WordPress news - in about 15 minutes or less! Learn what's new in WordPress in a flash. ⚡

You can listen to past episodes of The Excerpt, browse all our podcasts, and don't forget to subscribe on Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, iTunes, Castro, YouTube, Stitcher, Player.fm, Pocket Casts, Simplecast, or by RSS. 🎧

🔗 Mentioned in the show:

🙏 Sponsor: iThemes

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Eric Chuang: [00:00:00] Yes, I'm sorry. I accidentally click leave the meeting.

David Bisset: No, it's okay. Some people get a look at me and then hear my voice and then they instantly dropped the meeting. It's fine. I'm not trying not to take it personally. Just think about how my wife feels. She can't do that. She lives with me. So it's been a while.

When's the last time that I've seen you at the virtual meetup.

Eric Chuang: About almost a year, I would say maybe, or maybe, oh yeah. Last year in November.

David Bisset: Yeah. how did I get involved in that. Did you invite me? You must have, because I really don't like sticking my nose in other people's business.

Eric Chuang: First I joined the mega meetup and yes, I thought it was brilliant.

So I just emailed you with, without any, without. Any notification, I guess I just emailed

David Bisset: you.

Yeah. Just like how my kids asked me for money. It comes out of the [00:01:00] blue and say, Hey, hi, I need some of, I need some of this blank. Yeah. The mega meetup was actually pretty. It was pretty good. We're still doing it off and on here and there.

What are, and I remember now you inviting me in, was a nice, great meetup that we had. I've been there. I think it was twice or three times over the. What are your local meetups like right now? Are you able, are you able to meet in person over there now? Or how what's the situation over there?

Eric Chuang: So this year in Taiwan, we actually had raised our alerts from we have the level one to actually, we went to level three and oh, in person gathering. Abandoned. We're yeah. We're post. So we were not allowed to hand hold any in-person meetup, but things have been better now.

And now we have [00:02:00] restarted our Tahlia and meet up again. And we started, we restarted from last month. Yes. So now we can still. Present.

David Bisset: Oh, that's fantastic. And about how many people sh so you've had one since then one meetup or how many?

Eric Chuang: Currently in Taiwan we have one in-person meeting, but we have to, we actually have two this month.

So one in our place and the other is in the middle Taiwan.

David Bisset: And did you have meetups consistently through the pandemic? How is the strength of your local WordPress community?

Eric Chuang: Oh actually we try to make it virtual as well. We, yeah, we it was that time that I started to I started to I started to connect people virtually.

We used we used [00:03:00] virtual value, gathered how to make people participate and we can check. By groups. Yeah.

David Bisset: So what's your background? I'm sorry, go ahead. No. I'm interested a little bit about you. And I don't I don't know how many people know about you and hint. Hint is also on the call.

He's just very quiet. Care to just tell us a little bit about yourselves before we go into.

Hend Chen: About local meetup.

David Bisset: How did you, how long have you been in

Hend Chen: WordPress? I enjoy WordPress two years ago and I seen WordPress we're friends, like big family because we can help each other in emit app and social media.

Do you find it?

David Bisset: Do you find it's easy to find people, other people who know WordPress in your area?

Hend Chen: Baby, because we know each other big we joined meet app and know each other use pressed. [00:04:00]

David Bisset: Yeah. You say it's like a big family. You must not know my family. We constantly fight actually.

It's beginning to, yeah. It's beginning to get my, like my family in that a little bit. Eric, how long have you been in WordPress again?

Eric Chuang: I would say maybe four years. Four years since I was, yeah, since I first joined a WordPress meetup in Taipei and yeah.

David Bisset: Oh, so did you start the meetup or do you in the one you're in

Eric Chuang: as, for, as for organizing meetups it has been three years, so I joined the WordPress community in 2017 and in 2018 we have, we had our first work camp in Taiwan.

And then after that we started our logo meetups.

David Bisset: Yeah. So what's the what's the word press community in the community that associates with you folks in [00:05:00] Taiwan? Is it like a lot of developers, a lot of WordPress, beginners or users? Are they people trying to build websites or just what's the mix like?

Eric Chuang: I think. Most people or maybe hand can answer these questions.

Hend Chen: I think there are different job in our bid up that developer designer we, we Clare to different job join us. So in our bid, Oh one they are, they have different jobs. One is CIF and one is no year

David Bisset: oh, wow.

Hend Chen: So it's not the only

Eric Chuang: developer

David Bisset: you got your food and your legal needs taken care of right.

In your own meetup. So these people are from different backgrounds, not necessarily developers they're business owners. It sounds or they're working for themselves.

Eric Chuang: Indeed. Indeed. We have [00:06:00] various people here in Taiwan.

David Bisset: So what subjects do you usually talk about at your meetups?

Is it more beginner stuff or is it Gutenberg or is it plugins or what's the usual, what's the typical?

Eric Chuang: It actually depends on which meetups in our local meetup where in Korean. And usually we have some. Beginners oriented topics, like how to troubleshooting your website, how to install plugins or how to start with block editors, that kind of stuff.

But the Dean Taipei which is another meetup and Taiwan there are more like SEL managers or developers or. Plugin sharing.

David Bisset: Yeah. I'm really trying to interrogate you, you to please forgive me. [00:07:00] What we talk a lot about in the recent, the WordPress community has talked a lot about like young people in the next generation to continue to like WordPress getting bigger and growing.

Do you see a lot of young people in your communities and the last couple of years, or is it mostly old folks?

Eric Chuang: By definition, I think David, you are, you're young people, correct answer,

David Bisset: but then now that you read the card I gave you correctly do you see like school, age, teenagers, college people.

Do you see any of that coming through or do you tend to. Do you see it? Do you see any trends in far as the age and the kind of people that come in, do you think its like a younger fresher crowd or do you think it's like an older, more mature? Oh

Eric Chuang: actually I recently I found there are couple of couple of younger generations join us.

For example, we have. We actually have a member, a young, enthusiastic who is in his third year of high [00:08:00] school. And he tried to, we actually have him to. Co-organized our local meetups. Wow.

David Bisset: Yeah. That's great. Young

Eric Chuang: blood. Yeah. So he, current he's currently helping us with the meetup venue.


David Bisset: Oh, wow. And hand, how old are you? Cause you looked so good.

Hend Chen: No, I'm older than Eric. I ordered it.

David Bisset: Whatever skin moisturizer you're using keep going, because wow. I think my kids are, my kids look older than you. Of course, maybe this, maybe it's the stress of being my, me being their father.

Let's talk about work camp Taiwan now. How many is how many work camp Taiwan's have there been? Is this the second? Did I remember that?

Eric Chuang: With this third word camp or in Taiwan, but if the [00:09:00] first word camp Taiwan, we had two war camps type. Hey, before.

David Bisset: Ah, yes. So this means like this mean that covers the entire country.

Which implies that how did this get started? Especially with the COVID stuff coming through. When did you decide, or when was there a decision made that an in-person meetup was possible that it could happen and who was involved in that?

Eric Chuang: Actually I was inspired by a deputy work press community, deputy code Harry.

I'm not sure if

David Bisset: his name is.

Eric Chuang: Hairy. Yes. H a R I Harry. Oh,

David Bisset: okay. Sorry. I was thinking Harry and the Hendersons for a second that this didn't take well. Okay. You were inspired by a deputy. And what did that deputy do that inspired you?

Eric Chuang: He was asking whether Taiwan is doing, do you have a hybrid word camp?

Because in Taiwan our authority allows us to have [00:10:00] in-person gathering. Within 50 people and 50

David Bisset: people and under

Eric Chuang: 50 people in honor. So that means we can legally hold our in-person meetups while we make those meals. Watch show of a watch party of WordCamp fishing. So he was asking whether we can try this kind of hybrid format of four camp.

And I was, I w I was like, oh, that sounds interesting. So we started it.

David Bisset: Wow. So first before we go any further, what's the date of the word campus?

Eric Chuang: It's December 11th and 20 and 12th, December 11th and 12th.

David Bisset: So I don't have a calendar in front of me. Is that a Saturday or a Sunday or is it a Friday or is

Eric Chuang: it yes it's a Saturday and Sunday.

David Bisset: Okay. Yeah. You still have Saturdays and Sundays over there, just like we do. Yes. Thank you. Thank [00:11:00] you, Mr. Lee. Thank you, Mr. Brain. So you mentioned before, I was about to ask you what the challenges for organizing and running events like this are not just because of COVID in health, but because of there are, I was, I'm glad you brought it up.

Cause I didn't know a way to bring up government the government. Every government's got something, no matter where you live, but I know yours was particularly picky in particular, and I'm guessing the number of physical people meeting together is one of those things. One of those challenges how are you going to do that with this work camp?

Are you going to have, who's going to show up physically and who's not, or how does that work?

Eric Chuang: Actually in our idea of hybrid war camp the men session will be online. It will be a virtual word camp as usual. It's still a virtual workload camp. So every everyone in the world can do.

Watch the word came online while [00:12:00] we use we asked some meetup organizers to organize their meetups. So there will be five meetups during the event and all meetups will be a watch party of our work camp session. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. In that case we can still have some offline interactions and while we make while we make sure that we fit the work camp sideline, because yeah, because it wasn't allowed before.

In prison, war camps were not allowed before.

David Bisset: Yeah. So it's kinda there's a hub of. Of a group of people that are meeting in person that are that's like a, that's like a work camp, but all the watch parties or the meetup groups are interacting with that. And that collectively altogether is where is the work camp?

Taiwan. It sounds like to me. [00:13:00] So the, you have these people, not only from around the country, but all the way around the world, whoever wants to join in yes. How many people from the meetups together about is that. 50 or a hundred or

Eric Chuang: it still depends on the location. Like the meetup type hate.

They estimate that there will be 20 or 30 people and we estimate how many hands you journey. Try

Hend Chen: and keep around 20 people.

David Bisset: A it's a nice, good social sizes, right? Yeah. So what are you planning on? Spoil us a little bit. What are you planning? What's your speaker lineup look like? Or what's your look like so far?

What you've got going on, what you have planned

Eric Chuang: work camp Taiwan is going to [00:14:00] be a few days after the release of word, press 5.9. We

David Bisset: actually, can we check the calendar on that? Cause that date's been shifting at the time of just, you may want to look at I'm not sure I'm a little foggy right now, but 5.9 has been shifted around a little bit but anyway, let's just assume, let's just assume so far.


Eric Chuang: And so we actually invite a member from core team too, to demonstrate what 5.9 is going to be. And it will be our keynote.

David Bisset: Oh, wow. You're not going to tell me a name. Aren't you. You're going to keep it a secret. Aren't you who that is? That's okay. I'm used to people keeping secrets from me.

Are you, is how many is it? Is it. It's two days. So is attracts both days. Is there are anything dealing with contributors or what's the schedule like?

Eric Chuang: [00:15:00] We're going to have two tracks. One is the regular session track and the Ardagh is a workshop. So actually we have three workshops. So far, yeah, we have three, three workshops.

One is about localization. One is about security and cure two or four focusing on security. Yeah.

David Bisset: And then you're going to have like normal speakers, non workshop speakers, giving their presentations. Yeah. So on both days, Oh, so is it going to be how much of it is going to be in English and how much of it is your Nate is the native language.

Eric Chuang: So there will be four English speakers and one English workshop and the rest. They are Excuse [00:16:00] me that we calculate. So there are two Mandarin workshops and

David Bisset: excuse me. Oh, it's okay. I've run out of fingers to count on my own. I'm trying

Eric Chuang: to I'm bad. I'm bad at math. Okay. So we have 10 mandarins. We have 10 mentoring sessions and to two workshops.

David Bisset: Yeah. So you met her? No, go ahead. Go ahead. No, go ahead. No. So it's Mandarin and English.

Eric Chuang: Mandarin.

David Bisset: Did I say Mandarin? I don't know. There's a show here called the Mandalorian. I'm just impressed. I didn't say Mandalorian. Why do you have English involved in your conference? Is there enough people apart of your groups that speak it or you, or are you doing it for the sake of the outside world?

Eric Chuang: We're at [00:17:00] FC have, we're actually getting more. Foreign speakers involved because we try to get the Taiwan, WordPress community. We're trying to bring our community to the world. So yeah, one of, one of the purposes is to have other like foreign attendees to join our work camp.

David Bisset: And why do you, why is that so important?

I may know the answer, but I want to hear it from you.

Eric Chuang: You mean why bringing

David Bisset: Taiwan to no. Why bringing the speakers to Taiwan? Why is that important for you?

Eric Chuang: Because how do I elaborate lists? I think the main reason is just

Hend Chen: It,

Eric Chuang: English is still the most understandable language out around the world and having English speakers can [00:18:00] make can make this work camp more inclusive to people.

Speaking any kind of

David Bisset: language. Do you also think that it brings some knowledge. Bye. I can only speak from experience. I run board camp, Miami. It's an America, it's, the English is the only language, unless there's a little bit of Spanish in there, but one of the reasons why I like to bring people to work camps locally from out of town is because our local community doesn't have someone who knows about this subject.

Or this subject, we're a big, we're a bigger community, but that doesn't mean we know everything. And, there are people that are community that want to hear about developer topics, certain developer topics, or certain marketing topics. And they just don't get that from the local people in the area, because a lot of our people have been new their beginners or their users or their chefs or their lawyers.

They don't have. Yeah. They want some, they want to talk to [00:19:00] someone or see someone face to face who has this knowledge. So if we can't find it locally, we ship it in. We get people to speak. And a lot of those people are well-known in the WordPress community. We don't just grab people cause they're big names and put them on our stage.

We, just to make ourselves look good. Oh, look at who we have on stage. It's because our local community, we want our local community to have this, these talks and this information and it's online, but also it's better. It's also just as good as to have it inside the work camp in person, in front of everyone, in an audience.

Do you feel that, do you feel that way sometimes with your community? Like you like to bring in people because you want to expose the community to these ideas and these thoughts from these people?

Eric Chuang: Yeah.

David Bisset: You're a man of few words. I like highlight you. You agree completely. But no, from one word camp organizer to another, I think that's, if you're thinking about the good overall of your local committee, [00:20:00] Then, word camps are supposed to be highly local, but if you're stuck, not stuck, stuck as the wrong word, but if you're in a place geographically or language wise there's a little bit of a barrier, whether it's physical or language or something else, then how do you get your WordPress community to grow or in knowledge and in.

And I think you have one of, I think one of your ideas, pretty good. One, get someone from core to do the keynote, explain about WordPress, get people, making, by making some of it English at all. It's easier to allow certain speakers to be able to give talks at your event. I'm just glad that many people can understand and or translate that.

I listened to talk sometimes from speakers and my English. And so I'm, I almost need a translation and it's still English. So speaking of the global community what do you feel, how do you feel Taiwan has been [00:21:00] considered by the global WordPress community? Do you feel like it's been okay.

Or do you feel like there, there should be more attention to your general area of the globe? Do you feel like that there's, there's too much, there's not enough attention being put in your, in, in that area. I was talking with Mary from word camp network camp, Mary Jo from Africa last week.

And we had the same conversation, the same question about, do you do you feel like I'm a little underrepresented in the WordPress community globally? Are you, or are you happy or what do you wish. The WordPress community can do to shine a better spotlight on your area because there's some great talent everywhere, including your area.

Do you feel a little awkward or do you feel like you're not missing anything in Taiwan from the WordPress community standpoint?

Eric Chuang: I think due to some. Language barrier. I think [00:22:00] Taiwanese people are nuts. Taking part into taking part in the global WordPress community proactively.

And meanwhile I think the world has a. Thing how the potential, what the potential of Taiwan community can bring. And that's the reason why we're, we are actually trying to bridge the global WordPress community and the local, the Taiwan, local WordPress community. Yeah. And But actually Taiwan is a tiny island.

And we're not a very big market here. I think we're a part of the Southeast Asia and I think, that's how did I say. I think that's also a chance for us to work with this [00:23:00] region.

David Bisset: Yeah. Yeah. There's, I've never been in that part of the world. I always wanted to though there's always some beautiful places in Taiwan and Japan and all those islands in that area, then there is what can, the people in the WordPress community do to help.

Eric Chuang: I think I think what you what people can outside can do is to. To join, to respond our invitations. If we try to reach, if we try to reach this like speakers and but actually I think the men problems is still inside. As I mentioned, we haven't been proactively participating in the.

So I wouldn't say, I think the [00:24:00] resource from the global community is currently I think it's enough because whatever I want to look for, I want to look for, I can get the answers. Yeah. So I think the support from outside is enough and. That's that brings to another point of mine.

I think what our local community country can do is to do more localizations, to to encourage people to encourage people to. Join to follow the guideline, to know what WordPress community really is and so on.

David Bisset: And if we, if anybody in the WordPress community can help to make that better and easier for you, that would be a good thing.

And I'm sure some of the speakers would like some of the speakers could Lost my train of thought, this will be edited out, but [00:25:00] some of the, some of those people that need to be able to hear your invitations to, to come that word can be spread. And there is a lot of whether you're a small island or your, a big continent, I think like Africa or Asia, I think there's enough diversity in thinking.

That we're missing so much potential in the WordPress community as a whole, and it can make us stronger if we listen to those voices and participate in those communities. That's, and that's why we did those mega meetups very early on because a lot of the meetup organizers with dealing with the first year of COVID, a lot of people had a lot of famous.

Things they needed to take care of, mental stress issues. So we thought, why don't we just get one virtual meetup together? And then once we figured out these people were coming from all these different countries like yourself, then you know it's a global community, but it's, it really puts the global and the [00:26:00] global community.

Because like before, before COVID we always could communicate with people outside of our local areas or our country. But some people now depended on it now in the last year or two, to be able to meet new people or explore or get new ideas. And I'm very happy to hear though that the WordPress information that you're able to find is available to you.

Not everybody has. That privilege, if I'm assuming that you mean you, is there, if somebody doesn't speak English and it's Mandarin, is there enough Mandarin information in WordPress for most people?

Eric Chuang: Not yet. And that's what we are

David Bisset: working on. That's the translation. Are you part of the translation team or work with them?

Eric Chuang: Yes. I'm yeah,

David Bisset: that's okay. I haven't had my coffee either. What time is it or.

Eric Chuang: You mean now it's 10 half 10.

David Bisset: Oh, wow. [00:27:00] See, that's past my bedtime. Yeah. How, if people wanted to sign up for work camp Taiwan, what's the best way to do it? Actually

Eric Chuang: we have our tweet account and people can also find us on the word.

I think people can find us on the WordPress dashboard because we're now on the dashboard. And if anyone wants to find us on the Twitter, Yeah, our account is word camp Taiwan. Straight-forward

David Bisset: oh, good. You didn't try any fancy, a naming convention. Sarah, you almost fit it perfectly.

We're going to drop a link for the Twitter account and the website into the show notes as well. So whenever people read the podcast, there'll be able to click on all of this. If you have personal accounts to both of you, please share them with me and I'll put them in. And the show notes as well.

[00:28:00] Is there anything else that you would like to share with the WordPress community?

Eric Chuang: Oh I want to make some, make a correction. I hate to do but I have to do yeah, we're actually working teed up. Yeah. It's the, ah, making the Taiwan. Yeah. Okay. MTW yeah, TW

David Bisset: it wasn't that long couldn't fit those characters in there after all.

Okay. That's fine. I'm sure people will figure it out. It's been a pleasure and an honor, and it's good to see your face. It's good

Eric Chuang: to see you and yes. And we are very, it's our honor to, to be on your podcast.

David Bisset: First of all, it's not my podcast. And second of all, I don't know what you call a definition of honor, but I'll let that stay.

I look forward to the time where we can see each other in person safely, whether that's at a work camp outs, in the west, or, there's some day, I truly believe. Not to say that you would go to Asia because I'm not, it's closer to you than it is to me. That's the reason why I bring it up.

[00:29:00] Working up Asia may be a reality someday. Again, they were close, they were closed before. But yes, I would love to be able to see you, both of you in person and be able to meet you and greet you and so forth.

03 Dec 2021 2:45am GMT

WPTavern: Hello Charts Launches a Native Chart-Building Experience for the Block Editor

Luke Carbis and Rob Stinson, two of the three-person Block Lab team that WP Engine picked up in 2020, are back together on a new project. This time, they are joined by Byron Keet. The trio is taking on the WordPress charts space via a suite of blocks named Hello Charts.

"Some folks launch deals on Black Friday," wrote the team last week in only its second tweet since July. "We're launching an entire product!"

Carbis pointed out that the team strived to create a block-editor native plugin. There are no admin screens or settings pages, and the user just works from the editor.

The marketing material on the website homepage claims that Hello Charts is "the first charts plugin built block editor first." However, SB Charts has been around for nearly a year, and Chart Block landed in the WordPress plugin directory several weeks ago. Charts Blocks for Gutenberg, which supports CSV imports, got its initial release half a year ago but has not been updated since.

The claim of being first is, perhaps, a slipup in marketing. The only reason I spotted it immediately is that I have been keeping a close eye on similar plugins for a while, hoping to find a decent charts solution for the block editor. While Hello Charts may not technically be the first to land, it offers the best user experience yet.

For most cases, I rely on bar and line charts. However, the plugin offers five block types in total:

Each works almost the same when entering data and customizing the output. There are a few options and controls that are specific to each type. Plus, users can transform from one chart block to another and back again at the click of a button without losing data.

After familiarizing myself with the options, I built a three-year product sales data chart by month. I started with the Bar Chart Block, which made the most sense. Each of the blocks has an "Edit Chart Data" button. Clicking it opens an overlay on the screen that works like a typical spreadsheet program.

Chart data overlay.

Users can tab through each cell, adding data and creating new datasets or rows. There are options for duplicating datasets or adding new ones before/after by clicking the ellipsis button. It all felt straightforward for someone who has not spent a lot of time working with spreadsheet software since high school computer class.

After a couple of minutes, I had a bar chart. All I needed to do was adjust it to use my theme colors.

Bar Chart block.

The plugin's customization options were plentiful but balanced enough to not become overbearing. I just wanted it to match my theme's design without a lot of fuss, and it did not take long to make that happen.

I added a Line Chart block to the editor using my existing data. The only adjustment I needed to make was the "Curve" option. I wanted my lines to look straight instead of flowing in waves. I was already wondering if the team had thought of everything before I knew I even needed it at that point.

Line Chart block.

For good measure, I tested out the Pie Chart block. It is a chart type that I may get the occasional use out of. Overall, it performed as well as the others.

The feature I missed was printing the data for each of the pie segments on the screen. The data is available via a popup on hover or focus, but visitors cannot see all of the segment data at once.

Pie Chart block.

Admittedly, I did not spend much time with the Polar Area Chart and Radar Chart blocks. My experience with them is non-existent in real-world scenarios, so I do not have a solid grasp on whether there are features that others might want. I simply tested them to make sure they worked. Like the other blocks in the set, I hit no issues.

I would like to see a title or caption option integrated into the plugin's blocks. However, both are easily added with a Heading or Paragraph block. To match the background, wrapping in a Group block helps, as shown in the following screenshot:

Grouping a chart to add a title.

A couple of other welcome features would be color options for the X and Y-axis lines and the data text along with block-gap or margin support. The legend spacing left a little to be desired, often butting up too close to the chart output. It has several positioning options, but it needs some extra whitespace, especially when it sits at the top or bottom.

Overall, I could not find much to complain about. Hello Charts is a plugin I would recommend to anyone who needs a chart solution that works like it was built for the WordPress block system.

Purchasing Flow and Setting Up

You can get a bit of mileage out of the current free block plugins, but Hello Charts is well worth the price upgrade. It may even be underpriced for the value. If the team builds in CSV imports, it would be an outright steal.

Users can buy the five individual block types for $4 individually or upgrade to get them all for $16. These offer lifetime updates for a single site with no support. There is a heftier $199 tier for unlimited sites and a year of support.

There is only a single plugin that users must install. Each of the block types is bundled in the plugin. Users are technically buying a license key to activate each one.

Carbis offered me discount codes to test how this purchasing flow worked and provide feedback. The team wanted to take a different route with purchasing blocks. Instead of creating an all-or-nothing deal for users, they could just purchase what they actually need. "So if you need a bar chart, just buy a bar chart block," said Carbis. "Or you can get all the chart types as a set."

I had no problems going through the purchasing flow. I began with the Bar Chart, a block that I would need more often than the others. Then, I upgraded to the entire set.

The only hiccup I had at first was figuring out how to activate the licenses since the plugin did not have a settings page. The license field is actually on the Plugins admin screen.

License key field on Plugins screen.

The downside to having separate licenses for each block type is that users must enter the key for one, submit it, wait for the page to reload, scroll down to the plugin, and start all over again with another license. The process was so painful that I wanted to forego testing the chart types I had no interest in. However, I pressed forward, entering license key after license key.

Yes, I am exaggerating a tiny bit, but it would be far easier to enter multiple license keys at once or not wait for the page load. This just happened to be one part of the experience that did not live up to the standard set by the rest of the plugin.

03 Dec 2021 1:03am GMT

02 Dec 2021

feedWordPress Planet

WPTavern: #10 – What’s in WordPress 5.9, and What Is Openverse?

About this episode.

On the podcast today we have something new. Until now I've interviewed one person at a time, but today there's three people on the call, Birgit Pauli-Haack, Marcus Kazmierczak and Zack Krida.

Birgit is a Developer Advocate for WordPress and is an ardent supporter of the Gutenberg project. She publishes the Gutenberg Times and co-hosts the Gutenberg Changelog podcast.

Marcus is a team leader at Automattic. His team is involved in Gutenberg, and has been working on it from the start. Marcus is also the documentation lead for the 5.9 release of WordPress.

Zack is the team lead of the Openverse project, which will be the focus of the later part of the podcast.

So WordPress 5.9 is just around the corner. Initially scheduled for release in December 2021, it has now been pushed back until January 2022.

It's an important release for a multitude of reasons, but perhaps the headline item is Full Site Editing. Full Site Editing, or FSE, will change the way that WordPress websites are built. Areas which were once the domain of template files and of developers will now be editable from inside the Block Editor.

The intention is to make everything much easier to work with, but it's a big departure from how things have been done until now.

We're moving into an era of Block Themes, Template Parts, Theme.json files and much more. But what does all this mean? Well, Birgit and Marcus are here to explain what's coming in WordPress 5.9, why the changes have been made, and how you can make use of them.

Later in the podcast we pivot and have a discussion with Zack about Openverse. If you've not heard of Openverse, it is a search engine for openly-licensed media. It makes it possible to find media from a growing catalogue of freely contributed assets.

The project has been going for a while (it was previously called CC Search), but was recently brought under the stewardship of the WordPress Project. We talk about how you can make use of Openverse and what kind of media is available there. We get into how media is licensed and why this project is a good fit for WordPress, and we round off with some thoughts on how it will integrate with the Block Editor in the future.


Nathan Wrigley [00:00:00]

Welcome to the 10th edition of the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley. Jukebox is a podcast which is dedicated to all things WordPress, the people, the events, the plugins, the themes, the blocks. And in this case, the next release of WordPress and the Openverse project. Each month, we bring you people from that community and discuss a topic of current interest.

If you like the podcast, please share it with your friends, and you might also like to think about subscribing so that you can get all of the episodes in your podcast player Automattically, and you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice, or by going to WP Tavern dot com forward slash feed forward slash podcast.

You can also play the podcast episodes directly on the WP Tavern website, if you prefer that. If you have any thoughts about the podcast, perhaps a suggestion of a guest or an interesting subject, then head over to WP Tavern dot com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox and use the contact form there. And we would certainly welcome your input.

Okay, so today on the podcast, we have something new until now I've interviewed one person at a time, but today there's three of us on the call Birgit Pauli-Haack, Marcus Kazmierczak and Zack Krida. Birgit is a developer advocate for WordPress and is an ardent supporter of the Gutenberg project. She publishes the Gutenberg Times and cohosts the Gutenberg Changelog podcast.

Marcus is a team leader at Automattic. His team is involved in Gutenberg and has been working on it from the start. Marcus is also the documentation lead for the 5.9 release of WordPress.

Zack is the team lead of the Openverse project, which will be the focus of the latter part of the podcast.

So WordPress 5.9 is just around the corner. Initially scheduled for release in December 2021, it has now been pushed back until January 2022. It's an important release for a multitude of reasons, but perhaps the headline item is Full Site Editing. Full Site Editing or F S E will change the way that WordPress websites are built. Areas which will once the domain of template files and of developers will now be editable from inside the Block Editor.

The intention is to make everything much easier to work with, but it's a big departure from how things have been done until now. We're moving into an era of block themes, template parts, theme dot json files, and much more. But what does this all mean? Well, Birgit and Marcus are here to explain what's coming in WordPress 5.9, why the changes have been made and how you can make use of them.

Later in the podcast, we pivot to have a discussion with Zack about Openverse.

If you've not heard of Openverse, it's a search engine for openly licensed media. It makes it possible to find media from a growing catalog of freely contributed assets. The project has been going for quite awhile. It was previously called CC Search, but it was recently brought under the stewardship of the WordPress project.

We talk about how you can make use of Openverse and what kind of media is available there. We get into how media is licensed and why this project is a good fit for WordPress. And we round off with some thoughts on how it will integrate with the Block Editor in the future. It's a deep and broad discussion. And if any of the points raised in this podcast, resonate with you, be sure to head over and find the posts that WP Tavern dot com forward slash podcast, and leave us a comment there. And so without further delay, I bring you Birgit Pauli-Haack, Marcus Kazmierczak and Zack Krida.

I am joined on the podcast today by three guests. This is the first time we've had a panel discussion on the WP Tavern Jukebox podcast. So it should be something a little bit different. Firstly, I'm joined by Birgit Pauli-Haack. Hello Birgit.

Birgit Pauli-Haack [00:05:02]

Nathan, thanks for having us.

Nathan Wrigley [00:05:04]

You are very welcome and I am also joined by Marcus Kazmierczak.

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:05:09]

Hello. Glad to be here.

Nathan Wrigley [00:05:10]

Thank you also for joining us. And finally I am joined by Zack Krida.

Zack Krida [00:05:15]

Hey Nathan. Thanks for having me.

Nathan Wrigley [00:05:16]

You're very welcome. Now, in order to give some context to this conversation it's probably a good idea to go through the panelists. I'm going to ask because of time constraints that we just keep it fairly brief, but a little bit of a background as to what your position is at the moment regarding WordPress. I should also say that this podcast is going to be focusing on the upcoming release of WordPress 5.9. And that will probably represent roughly half of the content, maybe a little bit more than that, but we're also going to stray into something totally different, which is called Openverse. So that being said, maybe if we go to Birgit first, could you just tell us what your position is in the WordPress community, your employed status, and so on?

Birgit Pauli-Haack [00:06:00]

Yes. So I'm a developer advocate sponsored for WordPress, sponsored by Automattic. And I publish the Gutenberg Times. Co-host the Gutenberg Changelog podcast and run a YouTube channel for the Gutenberg Times.

Nathan Wrigley [00:06:14]

Thank you very much, indeed. Okay. Moving right along to Marcus.

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:06:18]

Hello, I'm a team lead at Automattic. I've been at Automattic for nine years. I've been working on Gutenberg now for three or four years. My team has been there since the start we've been greatly involved and this is my first lead role on a release. I'm the documentation lead for WordPress 5.9.

Nathan Wrigley [00:06:36]

Thank you so much. And finally, Zack.

Zack Krida [00:06:39]

I am the team lead on the Openverse project. We're a group of developers sponsored by Automattic to build Openverse. Which I'll give you a lot more information on shortly.

Nathan Wrigley [00:06:48]

Yeah. Okay. It's a really going to be a really fascinating project, an awful lot to go through. I wonder if we'll pack in all of the things that we hope to pack in, but we'll give it a go. So we were on the cusp of having 5.9, WordPress 5.9 in our hands. This was due to happen well, sooner than it's in fact going to happen. I don't know which of you want to field this question. Anybody following WordPress will know that there has been a delay in the advent of 5.9, as much as six weeks is what I'm hearing at the moment. And I'm wondering if it might be possible to explain why this has happened. People may be thinking well, if something's clearly gone wrong. But there's probably a logical explanation for it, I'm sure.

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:07:32]

Yes. I can start the answer and Birgit can add in any color if he likes the new schedule was just released yesterday. So if you look at Make Core site it has a full schedule. We're looking at the beta was moved out two weeks and then the final then there's going to be a set of beta releases and release candidates, with that final release scheduled for January 25th.

The reason it was scheduled so far out because it beta was only delayed two weeks, but the overall release is probably what was it? Mid December previously. So now maybe six weeks out. And that's mostly due to holidays, the Thanksgiving holiday in America this week. And then there's the slew of December holidays and New Year's. So each of those kind of ended up bumping it extra weeks. It's not, we needed six more weeks of development. It was, we needed one or two more weeks to get things all straightened up and cleaned up, so we had an excellent experience. And we wanted to make sure that it was fine, but with the holidays, it ended up moving out further.

The reasoning for the delays, more or less, it just wasn't quite as ready. There's a lot of late changes. The Full Site Editing, which we'll get into is a huge set of features and a lot of them are interrelated and we really want it to be a great experience when we launch. And there's a lot of late changes that just needed to be worked through a couple of times and get the flows really clean and nice. And we weren't comfortable with that initial beta. So we wanted to move it back a couple of weeks and get all those others issues ironed out and straightened out.

Nathan Wrigley [00:09:01]

Birgit, anything to add to that?

Birgit Pauli-Haack [00:09:03]

Yeah, sometimes when you have something like that, most of the time WordPress actually decides to take out the features that are not finished and then released without the feature and kind of put the features in the next time. But it was so intertwined that it was jeopardizing a lot more than just that one particular feature or module. Because it would have affected the whole Full Site Editing experience. There were design refinements, there were workflow issues, browsing issues, or block theme considerations. If you move one of that thing, that module, then you wouldn't have a, it would delay also the default theme.

Everybody is waiting for a good, the community's waiting for Full Site Editing that was promised for 5.9. And overall, I think it's the best decision, that outcome from the release team to say, okay let's just move the first beta two weeks. Even if it delays the whole release for five weeks instead of two weeks, but it's a better experience that comes out of it and everything else falls into place.

And it would have, if I'm, what I'm reading also was that it would have been a similar, hard to pull out the features then to fix them. Yeah. So I think there was also a consideration there.

Nathan Wrigley [00:10:24]

Now there are some big releases of WordPress. When we do point releases, there are some that are certainly bigger than others, and the anticipation builds up. New features, think back to 5.0, which was a fairly sizeable release and, it was widely anticipated, and so on. This one seems to be on that level. It's bringing new features and new capabilities to WordPress, which really are going to dramatically change the scope of what's possible. And whilst we haven't got time to cover every single feature, I'm just wondering if it's possible between the three of you, if we can hoover up and mention the things that well, it may be that the criteria there is that the things that you're most excited about, or it may be that you're not personally excited about it, but you realize that for the project as a whole, it's going to be a great addition.

So in no particular order, I wonder if you could mention some of the highlight items, the things that you believe are going to make 5.9 a released to remember.

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:11:19]

I can start. The 5.0 release introduced the block editor and introduced blocks, but it was maintained just around pages and posts. And what 5.9 is looking at doing is bringing all of that to the rest of WordPress.

At least from a theming standpoint. So from the page layout to page designs. And so the block theme is probably what I'm most excited about, but it's not just the theme, but it's bringing all the capabilities of blocks and the concepts of blocks to the rest of WordPress. And it all stems from a single block to expand out, and then you get into patterns which are sets of blocks. You get into a block theme, which is truly just a collection of patterns to a certain degree. You have like template parts, which is a collection of blocks and you can end up building on all these resources and building richer and richer interfaces all based upon just a single block.

And so it's really exciting to see all of it somewhat coming together in 5.9. And the great thing about it is WordPress is still WordPress. You don't have to use a block theme, you'll still be able to use normal themes. There's not going to be anything breaking in there. That's going to be a big change. If you opt out of, if you use a existing theme or you're not using a block theme, it will still be the great WordPress that you know. So again it's a kind of an iterative approach of bringing it on, but once you start using block themes, it really does open up to a lot more use in a lot more capabilities, which is, I think it's going to be really exciting.

Nathan Wrigley [00:12:51]

Great. So you covered a lot of ground there, Marcus. That's fabulous. Thank you.

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:12:55]

I've got more to cover.

Nathan Wrigley [00:12:56]

I'll tell you what let's keep that in mind. We'll circle back. Let's go through everybody at least one pass and then perhaps a second pass as well. That sounds good. So maybe I could go to Zack next.

Zack Krida [00:13:07]

Sure and again, I feel like this is something that Marcus can always speak to an even greater detail than I can, but I'm really excited about improvements made to the navigation block and there's been a really tremendous amount of work done there, just streamlining those flows for users. And I think it's a pretty core part of five nine.

Nathan Wrigley [00:13:27]

Thank you very much and Birgit.

Birgit Pauli-Haack [00:13:29]

Yeah, I'm totally excited about it because as Marcus said, the block comes to every piece of WordPress now. So all the mysteries that user had to learn about like the shortcodes and the widgets and the menu items and the templates and theme, and then you switch a theme and your site is different and loses some content and all that.

That is going away, if you let it. Just to reiterate, unless you use a block theme that's specifically built for Full Site Editing, nothing's going to change with 5.9 for you. So there is not a whole, with 5.0, we actually had that the Block Editor took over the editing screen. This is not happening in with Full Site Editing or block themes.

But if you have it, once you get your feet wet, you like that you can change the header of your theme, that you can change how the post list, yeah, that's on your front page or that's on your news site, the information that's there, everything that you can edit there, usually would require another plugin or another developer to go in there and help you to make that small change, like changing the format of the date or adding the avatar for the author or something like that.

You can do this all through the interface. And then you have the whole set of design tools that come with what was labeled earlier, global styles, that is in the, in 5.8, WordPress introduced the theme json file, which is our centralized configuration and settlings file for theme editors or theme developers, and now you also, 5.9 brings the interface, so that any user can use and change those settings. Be it the background, be it how each block looks in typography, color and layout as well.

So I'm really excited about that part, that there's a lot of controls that come back to a user. And I know what designers are gonna say, oh I don't want them to change things. Yeah, users normally don't have a good feel for design, and that's mostly true. But it also, there are now really good controls in there that a theme developer can apply to help a user with the choices of background colors, being a color palette, even switch out between color palettes. So that is certainly something that will come in 6.0, but we see the proof of concept already.

Yeah, so that is really exciting to me and the, what comes with it or the pattern enhancements, the block patterns, which are sections, as Marcus said, a collection of blocks that are specifically designed for a purpose, be it a header pattern, be it a gallery pattern, or just a call to action, like a pricing column pattern. Those on now prominently displayed in a better browsing experience.

So I really liked that. So the choices on pulling a page together you can now do in a few minutes instead of spending hours on it through template editing.

Nathan Wrigley [00:16:50]

Thank you. I'm going to swing around one more time, just in case Marcus or Zack or Birgit feels like missed anything or there's something that we just left lying on the ground there. So we'll take one more pass. Marcus, anything that you feel we didn't mention so far?

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:17:05]

A couple of things, just a couple of clarifications for the navigation block. If you're not familiar, that is the menus block. So it's a little more than just a menu. We renamed it to navigation because it's a little bit clearer for say restaurant sites where you might have a menu category and it gets very confusing.

So navigation is a little bit clearer on the usage of navigation block is it's. One of the really cool features for that is the ability to instantly create a responsive menus. So on mobile, you can have navigation automatically hide, and this just comes built into WordPress now in WordPress 5.9. So make it much, much easier. So like one of the biggest things talking about the theme developers, is navigation tends to be one of the biggest areas for development and like getting responsive writing, getting a lot of these features right, is difficult and time consuming and now becomes bundled in with 5.9. So there's a greater ability to focus on actual design versus trying to get the CSS right for different break points and things like that. So that makes it much, much easier. Theme json's so awesome. Like it's going to be it's really cool. I'm really looking forward. One of the designers Channing Ritter, had an example of switching out, testing out how switching out theme json's will allow you to create multiple, like versions of a site very easily.

And it's almost the, I think I Justin, might've had a comment about, it's almost like the CSS Zen Garden ability for WordPress. I think there was an article on the Tavern about that too. It's really powerful. And having that ability to switch it out in different themes, it's really going to be a game changer of sorts. So that's another piece.

Zack Krida [00:18:39]

Yeah. That functionality in particular really reminds me of, much earlier days in my career where I was building WordPress themes for agencies and that ability to, as a theme developer, write one theme and then really make some dramatic changes just with configurating some color values or different styles is pretty cool.

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:18:58]

Yeah. I think that's going to be for theme shops and things like that. I think that'll be a powerful tool. And it might, a lot of this stuff too, we'll take some time as it gets in the hands of people and we find it. It's software, so it's never quite complete. So there will probably will be things you want to do. Oh, I used to do this in a normal theme, and I can't do it in a block theme. And those are opportunities to like, okay, file an issue in the Gutenberg, and we can, you can try and address it and try and get all those cases addressed. So we know it won't be perfect, but it's gonna be… cause it's definitely changing the way themes and WordPress, the way you defined the theme is now going to be in HTML and blocks and not PHP.

So you lose a little bit of power that you might have in writing PHP functions or conditionals and things like that. And so we'll have to… what you gain in visual design, you might lose in other areas. So as we work and edit and refine it, it'll get better and better.

Nathan Wrigley [00:19:49]

Okay. Thank you for that. Zack, you've obviously had a little bit of a go there, but I don't know if you wanted to add something new or if not, I'll move on to Birgit

Zack Krida [00:19:56]

We could move on. So go for it Birgit.

Birgit Pauli-Haack [00:19:59]

Yeah. So there was this time in WordPress where themes would do so much more than just theming or skinning a website and this brings, WordPress actually back to the beginning where. The theme would just the look and feel, and now you have some more control over it, but then the functionality that is added is now going back to the domain of a plugin. And when you switch themes, you are not losing that functionality that was built in into the theme before. So I think it's Tammy Lister who was a, or is a core contributor and was the design lead for a while on Gutenberg. She really said it right with "let themes be themes again". So I really liked that. I also wanted to mention that with the 5.9, all the features that came with the Gutenberg plugin, already released in the Gutenberg plugin between versions 10.8 and 11.9 will also come to the WordPress core. One of the features is the duotone feature, which was a little bit in 5.8, but now got a, quite a new iteration, and now you can do duotone on the backend or a background color on a background image on a foreground image. So you can do quite a few designs with that with a duotone as well as with gradients. So I'm a fan with gradients, but there are other features that I right now can't name specifically, but it all comes together with that release.

And the other release item is the new gallery block. And there has been quite a few changes there. The biggest change is that the gallery block is now comprised of a single image blocks. Which brings all the image features or the image editing features the style changes and to the gallery block as well. So if you know how to do an image block or how to configure an image block, you can also do this and a gallery block.

And one feature, a lot of people had asked WordPress for many years, is that in a gallery block, you can add individual links to each different image has different links. So that is now possible. And if that's only one thing that you take from 5.9, this is it.

Nathan Wrigley [00:22:32]

I was standing in a room the other day full of people who are not WordPressers. This room was filled with people who are very much into their own career. It has nothing to do with technology. And I stood in this room and I was confounded by the terminology that was floating about. And it just occurs to me that we've been throwing around a fair degree of technical jargon. And it may be one of the great things about WP Tavern's audience is that there are some people who are just straying into WordPress for the first time.

So although you guys really know what it is that you mean by all of these things, I wonder if we might be able to go back and have a quick take on what some of these things are and how they might be useful to you in the near future. So I've written down more or less everything that we were speaking about over the last 10 minutes and very quickly. What are global styles? What's the purpose of that?

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:23:21]

So the global styles is for, I believe we're just going to be calling it styles in 5.9. It is the overall, to a certain degree, just it's the CSS. It's a way of specifying the colors, typography, spacing, other items and properties that you would normally define in CSS and define it through the editor.

And then there's a, there'll be a new sidebar on the right. I believe it's like an, a, like a double a icon. When you click that, you'll see the different settings that you can have there, and that will, it ends up generating the CSS for both the front end view of the site, but also for the editor view.

And so it also gives a nice way to make sure that the two are consistent. So when you're in the editor, it looks much more similar to the front end and it saves a ton of work for theme developers on creating you know, not having to duplicate a style sheet and a style editor sheet for the editor too. So it makes it much, much more consistent.

Nathan Wrigley [00:24:24]

And that ties in nicely with this theme dot json file, which is probably the most difficult one for people to parse, if they've no understanding of what that is, again, same question. What is it? What does it do?

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:24:35]

Yeah, json just, it's a JavaScript format. So the theme json is defining the styles and settings in a file format. It's a text file format is, I don't know, like a bunch of curly braces and strings. And then it's not a thing to describe.

Birgit Pauli-Haack [00:24:53]

It's actually one of the more human readable code files in a theme and it has instant effect. If you want to change the color palette or two or three colors, just a tiny bit, you can do this in the theme json file, on that particular section. So it's all kind of colors for backgrounds, colors, for texts, colors for them. If you want to change that one thing, you would get instant gratification because when you reload the page or the site it's already changed. So it's different from the other big elephant in the room, the build process on Gutenberg and block developing kind of things. So this goes more to the tinkerers amongst us who just want to change one little thing and they can do this in their theme json file without having to really know much about it.

Nathan Wrigley [00:25:47]

Theme dot json seems to be one of the things which just doesn't seem to cause any controversy. I've yet to hear anybody thinking, no, this is not where we want to be. It just seems like such a sublimely good idea to be able to set something in that very simplistic, easy to read format, save it, and it's just done, everywhere, once, and you can just take it and repeat it somewhere else, it's brilliant.

Okay. So anybody using WordPress up until now will have been very familiar with the appearance and then menu section. And now we've got the option to, as Zack was mentioning, the navigation block. We'll all understand the purpose of that, but is there any, is there going to be any difference in how it looks compared to what we've been using so far, is the interface dramatically different? Do you think people are going to stumble as they see, oh, this is not familiar, this is not what I'm used to.

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:26:34]

There's two pieces to it. There is a navigation editor in that feature, I think we, it will not be making it to 5.9.

Nathan Wrigley [00:26:41]


Marcus Kazmierczak [00:26:42]

And that was replacing the familiar menu screen with a block-based menu. There's a lot of complexities. So the navigation, so that's one piece is the editor and that's the familiar menu screen, which builds a list of links, basically. And then the navigation block, which you'll use in the block themes. And you can place inside of say a header or footer or any place within your block theme is a dramatically different, it's a visual tool to create menus. But it's not just a list of links. You can also have search boxes or site icons or page lists.

You get a lot more with navigation block, and that's where the, it became very difficult to marry the old menus with the new navigation block, because the new block has so many richer set of features. It's hard to figure out how to map the data and be able to switch. So as Birgit was saying, one of the great things about theming is you want to be able to switch themes and be able to keep as much as possible when you switch your theme.

And so that's become of the challenges around navigation is trying to get the… how the data's stored in a portable manner that it can go from, oh, we're going from a block theme now back to a classic theme. What do we do with these search boxes inside icons that were in the navigation block and things along those lines.

And it just needed a little more testing, a little more refining to get that, those interactions. So that's where the editor got removed, and now the interface will just be within the block theme itself. Did that does that answer? Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley [00:28:18]

Yeah, that was perfect. I want to come back to the patterns in a minute. That was one thing that got heavily mentioned. But before that, there may be some people who are wondering why there's this new class of theme, we've been talking for the last 20 minutes or so about blocks and how blocks are the new paradigm for anything, possibly. But what is the difference at heart between a new block theme and the old traditional themes and Birgit was very careful at the beginning to point out that one is not being thrown out. The baby is not going with the bath water. If you're happy with the current status, you can just carry on as normal and disregard block themes and all of this stuff that we're talking about today, in fact, but what are the major benefits? How will you interact differently between a theme and a block theme? And how would you even know that you've got a block theme as opposed to a normal theme?

Birgit Pauli-Haack [00:29:10]

It's a very good question. So all of a sudden with a two, with the additional features coming with the theme json, there's also a way to have the benefits of the theme json file with controlling the block editor for post and pages, also can be used in a classic theme. That's I think the wording that is now a classic theme versus a block theme, and then there are two variations in between to confuse the whole thing is, so the hybrid theme is using theme json, but everything else is done in the theme. So you won't be able to change the templates through an interface like the site editor.

You will still have the customizer where the theme developer provides you with specific ways to change some of the theme options, but you will not be able to override the theme developers choices through an interface and in your control. So that's one big difference. Another difference is that you will see that the appearance menu will change when you have a block theme, because then the editor that allows you to edit templates and template parts actually becomes available to you.

And then when you click on it, you see all the other good features that come with it. And there's also a additional admin bar there that gives you access to the templates and template parts, which are stored also in the database. From the front end view, you probably won't be able to tell, is that a block theme or is it not? Unless you go into code and look at the HTML that is on the server.

Nathan Wrigley [00:30:52]

Essentially, there'll be a moment in time where additional functionality in the future will be available to you. If you go with the block theme and there'll be certain ways that path will not be available to you if you stick with the traditional theme, it's not to say that everything that you've grown to use will suddenly stop because it won't. It's just that some of these new, newer technologies and newer ideas will not be readily accessible. Maybe that's my way of taking that.

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:31:19]

A great thing too is the, and I don't think we mentioned it by name the 2022 default theme is going to be a block theme. So it will ship, 5.9 we'll ship with a new default theme. That default theme will be a block theme, so everyone will have the opportunity if they want to try that theme out, it is beautiful and they can use the new tools and play with it and see what it's like. The main difference is, visual editing. So editing the headers, the footers, the layouts within the site editor, which in the site editor looks very similar to the post editor, as in you're just manipulating blocks.

Whereas a classic theme required modifying and editing PHP files required knowing what functions to call and what variables to put in. And it works really well for people who understand PHP, but it's not a, it requires someone to know that language and that knowledge versus the new tool, the new block themes allows anyone to modify a header and add pieces in and using the same tools you would for creating a post.

Nathan Wrigley [00:32:21]

Yeah. Thanks for mentioning that it was on my list, but probably wasn't featuring the prominence that it has the new 2022 theme. It's a beautiful piece of work. Isn't it? I really liked the way it looks. If I'm allowed to chip into this conversation. I think my favorite bit is block patterns. I'm all about the page. That seems to be where I dwell. And I just love the ability to file away a design or a piece, a part of a page, a row, if you like that I've fiddled with, and I enjoy and I've created it. And the idea that I can then just bring that out at a moments notice with the click of a single button and, there it is on my page. And if I wish I can make it go higher or lower or change things at that point, and it brings to mind the features that you would have in proprietary page builders, the ability to have saved rows and so on. And that just speeds things up greatly for me, you settle on a design and a theme and a color palette, the things that you enjoy, save away, half a dozen things, which, you're going to use all over the site and then you can just deploy them. You're about to create a new page. And whereas before it would take a great deal of work now, available for all inside of the default vanilla version of WordPress, you've got the ability to just drag these things in and really massively reduce the amount of time it takes. So that's my favorite bit.

Birgit Pauli-Haack [00:33:37]

And to drive it a little further. So theme developers now are more inclined to give you a design system. Rather than just a theme and then you have to get with other plugins to get additional features in there. So you would have variations of headers that are available through the theme. Most block themes that I've seen in the repository, and right now there are 28 in there and the time yeah, that's end of November, and all of them have additional dozens of block patterns in there for multiple scenarios what you could use. You have a menu for a restaurant. There are three or four different variations in how it can be designed and can look on your page or a footer or a a call to action.

Yeah. And before you, you would have maybe a plugin that would give you calls to action, which is a group block with background and then a headline, a text and a button, and you would still have to assemble that. But now the theme developer or yourself, you can create those patterns and then reuse it over and over again but have different variations of that available right now.

Nathan Wrigley [00:34:51]

Yeah. And we've seen a new marketplace open up for people developing these patterns. They've got expertise in this area, they can make things look significantly better than I can, and they can put together some templated things with holding images and so on. And I've seen two or three of these come onto the market. And by all accounts be very successful, a completely new ecosystem of selling patterns to the market, just to speed things up. It's fabulous.

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:35:19]

Yeah. I think that's a, it's such a great addition and it allows like I'm a developer and my design sense may not be as great. And I can just grab patterns either from the pattern directory or one of these other marketplaces and be able to enter that into my page. And this is where also this ties together into the theme json and other pieces of the system, is, I want to use maybe your pattern in my site, but I want it to apply my style to it.

And so that's where a lot of these pieces are all interconnecting okay, there are just blocks and we are just applying these different styles in settings. So you do want this cohesive ability to tie these things together. And I think that's like the future looks really bright on being able to switch things. I want to be able to like, grab these pieces from other spots and be able to build a site using all these tools. It's just going to be, it's going to be great.

Nathan Wrigley [00:36:06]

Okay. So the annoying, difficult question is going to be, is there anything about this release that you don't like that could simply be a sort of feature that got left? That's probably the, the answer that's going to get you in the least amount of trouble, but it may be that you, there's something that you just wish had been done in a slightly different way. I don't wish anybody to put themselves into a situation where they don't wish to comment, but if you don't wish to comment, that's totally fine.

We'll go to Marcus.

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:36:34]

Yeah, I don't, it's hard, it's software, right? It's the first version of Full Site Editing. Finally being released. Everyone is working really hard and trying to get it to a point that it's going to be usable and functional. Is this something that if you're running a huge site, you should immediately convert everything over? Probably not. There's going to be issues. There's going to be things I don't have anything specific. Navigation editor was a big piece that we do want to get in. There's others, there's lots of small things and there's going to be things that we don't know that people want to do that we just don't know, and it's not going to be possible, but that's, that's part of the software. That's probably been part of WordPress ever since, the very first release, you want to be able to do all these different things. And there's a lot of people working hard to make it easy and quite usable. The nice thing is it's still just HTML and CSS that you're shoving out to sites and web browsers.

So if there's something you can do in a theme setting, you can still write a, some CSS in a style sheet and do it how you want. You can still modify things. So it's not completely limiting, but the power that's going to bring is going to make it a lot easier for non-developers. The patterns is a great example. You can be a designer, you can design, you might have really good color sense, or really good layout sense or whatever it might be. You can build these patterns inside the editor, inside WordPress editor and create a pattern without writing any code at all. You don't have to know this secret code behind PHP and what functions to call and all that stuff.

So to me, those benefits will outweigh the bumps as we go and grow. So I'm excited for it all.

Nathan Wrigley [00:38:10]

That's interesting though, you're exercising a note of caution. If there's something terribly complicated and complex, maybe it's a good idea to tread lightly around the first few weeks and see where everything lands.

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:38:21]

From what I've seen in using it for awhile now in the FSE, nothing is really broken. There's not oh my God, this is just going to work one day and not work another day, or like it's just unstable and broken. There's going to be things like, oh, on this page. I want to do this type of thing, which I could do using PHP and pulling in whatever custom post type or something like there's, people have built up a knowledge on how to do things in WordPress that may just have to get changed. Or maybe we haven't built that part into FSE and it'll need to be added. I don't see it as being unstable or breakable, so it's not like a, oh, we can't use it this week and then, after the first point release, it'll all be better. I think it will be, we can do a lot of stuff in 5.9 and we'll be able to do even more stuff in six zero and even six one's going to be amazing, it's just going to be growing on itself. So it's also like at what point can it do everything that you want? Does that make sense?

Nathan Wrigley [00:39:13]

Yeah, that's great. Thank you, Birgit. I don't know if you want to answer that question or no.

Birgit Pauli-Haack [00:39:18]

What I'm missing. There is feature plugin to add web fonts to WordPress core. And that was slated for 5.9 early, early on, but then it was decided it probably needs a little bit more refinement and usage in a Gutenberg block first or not Gutenberg block, but in the Gutenberg plugin exposed to a few more users to figure out before it goes into a WordPress core. And it was a little sad to see that is not going to come, but it will be in the future.

And those of listeners who use the Gutenberg plugin will certainly see an earlier version of that, relatively soon I would think. Yeah, that's pretty much it. And the navigation screen definitely would need some more thinking. There has been thinking for two years now, and it's really hard because it's such a prominent feature. Many plug-in and extenders and theme developers have added their own little PHP code to it, and it's very hard to grab all those use cases now with a new thing, with the new screen, and then also the thinking, do we really want that? Or it that like something like technical debt that we are introducing. So that's the thinking behind that and it's not yet fully fleshed out. So yeah, that was the problem there.

Nathan Wrigley [00:40:43]

WordPress 5.9 coming about fairly soon to the internet near you. You'll be able to download it and make use of it. And obviously the intention throughout the whole project is to make the whole thing as easy as possible to use.

Is it perfect? Probably not. Is it the better than it was last time? Yes. And stay the course and have a play with it and report back to these guys about what you think about it and helping push the project forward and so no doubt at the end, we'll manage to find some Twitter handles and email addresses and that kind of thing, but we're going to change the direction of the podcast to something which I confess is really new to me.

And this is Zack's chance to shine. Sorry, Zack, it's almost like you've been locked in a closet for the last 40 minutes or so, but the closet is now firmly open, and you're onto your area of expertise. So Openverse, I am fairly certain that a large proportion of the listenership of this podcast will not even know what Openverse is. So perhaps that's the best he likes to begin.

Zack Krida [00:41:44]

Oh I definitely think that's the best place to start and that would agree. And yeah there's a lot of history here, so I can try to step back without stepping too far back. So yeah, a good place to start is probably with our name change, the project was previously known as CC Search and was created by Creative Commons, which for anyone unfamiliar Creative Commons, you can find it Creative Commons.org.

They create open content licenses which you may have seen if you've, for example, uploaded photos to Flickr. There used lots and lots of places, but these are essentially licenses where the users of these licenses are giving up some level of copyright of their work to make those works easy for folks to use, reuse, share, remix is a popular term we'll use and love to see happen, not just with audio. But yeah very similar to open software licenses, which folks in the WordPress ecosystem might be familiar with. But yeah you know, roughly, gosh, five years ago now, Creative Commons sat down and wanted to create a search engine to find and identify all of the Creative Commons licensed works on the web. Which is currently estimated to be nearly 2 billion works and a massive portion of that is images, which is one of, if not, perhaps the most common use of the licenses, but yeah, in any case, they began undertaking this massive journey of identifying and consolidating all of the metadata of all of these different works on the internet and making that accessible through a single search engine.

Fast forward to the end of last year, Creative Commons was having some issues as far as sustaining the project and started looking for a new home for the project. So I was part of those conversations and the, at the end of 2020, got to keep my timeline in order, but yeah for a number of reasons, we found WordPress and it was a very appropriate home, essentially the work of CC Search, and now Openverse is, to take a model, very similar to that of WordPress and apply it to, not just websites and publishing, but individual pieces of media, pieces of content. Just making it very easy for folks to make their works available to others.

So yeah, in that light, we really have two major audiences. We have the creators of openly licensed works and then the folks who want to use and find those works and the project serves both of those audiences. Yeah, we had… I think it was in April of this year that Matt announced that CC Search was joining the WordPress project on his personal blog, with the goal of creating a service to compete with some of these more restrictive photo directories and things like Unsplash obviously come to mind as places where you can find some really beautiful, really high quality stock photography, but where many folks don't find their custom license, which is the Unsplash license, they don't find that to be compatible with the GPL, which is the source software license that the WordPress code base is licensed under.

And therefore a lot of people are unwilling to use Unsplash images in their WordPress themes, patterns, blocks. Yeah, we're, we're really hoping that, one of the more common use cases of Openverse will be to provide creators of WordPress sites with these openly licensed photos.

Nathan Wrigley [00:45:21]

Yeah, we talk a lot about photos, but the project itself, it spans more than that doesn't it? There's obviously support for images of more or less every kind I would imagine. And also audio, video comes along as well. Is it just those three? They're the ones which come into my mind, but there's probably some quirky content that I can't someone up at the moment.

Zack Krida [00:45:42]

Yeah, no, there's there's a lot of things we're really excited about. So right now the only thing live wordpress dot org forward slash Openverse, is images, but team has been actively working on audio for the past several months. Essentially we're bringing in multiple sources of really high quality, openly licensed audio files. And that includes everything from field recordings of someone might go out and do a field and record crickets that they hear at night, music, podcasts, samples and sound effects, which are really wonderful for anyone producing music. So that's the first non image media source we will be adding. Yeah. And then beyond there, the possibilities are pretty endless. There's a lot we're excited about, but yeah, naturally that includes video 3d models are of increasing interest to us.

We're going to have some limited support for 3d models. They appear as images in the search results, but then when you arrive on an individual result, we show the 3d preview where you can actually click through and interact with the model. Most of those are hosted on Sketchfab, which is a really lovely source of 3d models. Yeah, there's also just, several other media types that we'd ultimately like to include, which is, could be anything from fonts and educational materials, just things as simple as PDFs or text files. Yeah, really endless. And with that comes the possibility of exploring support for other licenses outside of the Creative Commons licenses, because there are a few domains where the Creative Commons licenses aren't commonly used. Fonts, font faces, and typography comes to mind is as a good example, where there's some custom licenses specific to fonts.

Nathan Wrigley [00:47:29]

You mentioned at the start that the Creative Commons Search wanted to be on a more stable footing. And presumably that's where we now are. Could you explain if not the financial model that you've got at the moment, what is the bedrock upon which this is built? How is a service like this able to carry on without receiving payment for each image? Shall we say?

Zack Krida [00:47:52]

Yeah, that's a really interesting question because there's a couple angles to it. We have an interest in exploring ways of paying the creators of individual works in Openverse. That's a ways away, but that's something we're really excited about. But yeah, as far as the actual funding and support of the project right now that falls under Automattic's five for the future initiative, since Openverse is part of the WordPress open source project, the development, and, fundamentally the hosting of the search engine right now, falls under that.

So it's really, and you can almost consider it a gift or a sponsored piece of web infrastructure for the WordPress community to use and have access to all these images and other content.

Nathan Wrigley [00:48:40]

So a philanthropic idea, isn't it? People take their photographs and decide that they would like that to be available to all people go to your website, and you mentioned that there's the creators on the one side and what I'm going to call users. The people like me who may wish to put those images onto my website, the process of uploading, I guess is fairy obvious.

Zack Krida [00:49:01]

No, actually we currently don't have a standalone upload mechanism to get works into Openverse. We're collecting works from other platforms. Hypothetically, if you were to upload a photo to a Flickr in a matter of weeks, it would appear within Openverse. But yeah, we're still a bit of a ways out from actually accepting our own content. That's largely because there's a whole host of issues with accepting user uploads around, obviously things like content moderation and verification of these works that they're the actual creator. So yeah we're a bit ways out from actually having our own upload mechanism.

Nathan Wrigley [00:49:40]

From my point of view though, I would be looking at these images. I'm wondering if we've talked about the different sort of licensing models and the fact that maybe this came about, because there was, suspicion is the wrong word, but there was something not quite right about the licensing that you might find elsewhere and something that you believe to be truly available for you may have been available to you at one point and then fast forward a few years, perhaps it's no longer available to you. And how would you even know that it was no longer available to you? So, is the promise of this, that something that you find on Openverse, yours to do with, as you like with no constraints?

In other words, if I wish to use that for the next a hundred years, that's fine. If I wish to modify it, that's fine. If I wish to take it and send it to my friends, that's all fine. Are there any boundaries with the licensing that we need to be mindful of or is it literally free as in totally free?

Zack Krida [00:50:36]

Yeah, that's a great question. And I think fundamentally with a platform like this, it needs to be clear to the users that there's a level of trust. For example, things like relicensing are extremely rare and actually aren't allowed with the Creative Commons licenses. Although there've been some historical cases where that has happened, that are a bit contentious and unresolved.

Yeah. At the heart of something like this, we really believe that, users need to know how a piece of media or content can be used and know that is true forever. And to the point of possible restrictions of various pieces of media, we support every Creative Commons license. There's several, and they vary in their constraints and restrictions on how they're used CC0 is, it's not actually a license. It's a, what's called designation. It expresses the intent of the creator of the work to make that work available to people with no restrictions and Openverse allows for . Very easy filtering of the images by any particular license. If someone was looking for a work that they can always use commercially, that they can always use, that they can modify, I would recommend using the CC0 license or the public domain mark, but something that we also make very easy in Openverse is actually, one click copy and pasting of image attributions.

So that licenses like CC BY which is a very common license that lets you do absolutely anything with an image, but you need to credit the creator for their work. So we have a tool within Openverse to make it very easy to copy and paste that attribution for use directly in an image block on your WordPress site or elsewhere.

Nathan Wrigley [00:52:22]

This is where the two conversations coalesce beautifully in a way, isn't it. The idea of the image block with the Openverse search, just bolted onto it. And you've got that desperate urge to put a cat on your website and previously you have to go elsewhere and search through a myriad assortment of cats.

Whereas now, all of that cat-ness, for want of a better word is available inside the block editor. And the same obviously would be true for, in the future things like all the support for audio and the support for videos, maybe as a background to something, all of this will be rolled in and available inside the interface, instead of having to go somewhere, find it, download it, upload it to the media library, and then you're off to the races. It's going to be a much more seamless process.

Zack Krida [00:53:11]

Yeah. That is perhaps our primary goal for early next year is actually building out our core integration in whatever form it finally takes. But yeah your fundamental vision of the flow definitely aligns with mine. Just making it super easy to search for that media and attribute it as easily as possible.

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:53:29]

If I could chime in, I'm also pretty excited for two way layer. So you can imagine that you have you're, maybe a photographer, you want to upload your photos to your WordPress site, but also when you upload it, you check a box and say, yes, make this available to to other users of WordPress. And you can contribute directly from WordPress to Openverse would be a pretty exciting, I know, years off, maybe not years, but a ways off. But that'd be a pretty cool feature to grow the overall collection of openly sourced media. That'd be, I'm excited for it all.

Nathan Wrigley [00:54:01]

Zack, is something like that on the roadmap, because yeah, Marcus, that's a stroke of genius if it's not.

Zack Krida [00:54:06]

Yeah, no, that's perhaps what I'm where my personal interest lies the most and where I really think being part of the WordPress project enables so much potential.

Yeah. Fundamentally that model of allowing users to share media in the backend of their WordPress site with Openverse, really at the heart of that is turning every WordPress user into a WordPress contributor. It might not be through code, which is the standard thought of how to contribute to WordPress.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention translation as well as a really powerful way to contribute if you're not contributing translations yet, please do and now, you with other directories, like the pattern directory, there's more ways than ever to contribute to WordPress, even if you're not a particularly technical individual or don't work with code directly.

So yeah, it's a very large technical undertaking and not without its challenges, but we are extremely excited by the idea of fundamentally making it easier for users to license their own works in their media libraries, give those the proper licensed attributions directly in WordPress. And then again, share those with the world through this directory.

Nathan Wrigley [00:55:17]

Absolutely fascinating. The idea of using this with patterns again, another master stroke, what a great idea. You can imagine just by ticking a box, the impediment to making things available. And I think that's probably the problem, isn't it? The impediment is that you've got to wrap it all up, parcel it up and then go and upload it to some sort of third party service.

If that third party service, if you like Openverse, is already baked into the thing that you're already using, and it's the only impediment is the ticking of a box. And obviously reading through probably some terms and conditions and making sure that you understand them. That has the capacity to spread virally almost and make the project much more useful.

But when you get into the, obviously images and video, that's of great interest to a larger number of people. Where probably we're all at, the WordPress side of things, the ability to upload block patterns and who knows, the theme json files that we were talking about a moment ago and your design assets and that lovely font that you created, that's absolutely enormously powerful, and I confess I hadn't twigged quite how powerful it was until just that moment. That's really astonishing.

Marcus Kazmierczak [00:56:30]

Yeah. It's amazing. How much of it all ties together? It's a difficult challenge ahead of us too, because how do you get a font that's openly sourced on Openverse to the theme json, right. There's a lot of technical hurdles. So this isn't, it's not something that's income in the next release or two releases or three, but it's like something you can see, like looking out, you can see oh, I can see, like you have these open source fonts and you can apply it to your theme json directly. Or you can pull it into different patterns or create a set of patterns just around, say cats, but then go, I'm running a dog blog, and I want to see dogs and all these patterns, not cats, you switch, you can switch them out just with the switch of a search term or something like that.

It's really, it's really powerful. It's exciting to see you know.

Nathan Wrigley [00:57:13]

Amazing. Okay. A couple of thorny questions, which I probably should throw in. Let's say for example, that I've taken a photograph and I got it somehow into Openverse. Have you spent any time thinking about the option to roll that back?

And if that image turns out to be something that I decided, you know what I'd rather that was private once more. And I was the person who had custodianship of that. Is that going to be possible? Is there a way to flip the license at a moment or are you signing in effect something imperpetuity when you give it to Openverse?

Zack Krida [00:57:47]

Yeah. So what first comes to mind there is that by default, if you are the creator of a work and you don't say assign a Creative Commons license to it, at least in the United States, you are already implicitly buying into the copyright system and that work already has these protections applied to it that you haven't necessarily consented to.

So interestingly, that's fundamentally true of anytime you create anything, you're joining this whole large world of copyright that you might not be interested in. Outside of actual creators who might want to, relicense a work, we have already multiple reporting mechanisms built in, for example, for images that might not actually be under a Creative Commons license, but have been improperly labeled and uploaded to one of our sources. Flickr would be the most likely place something like that could happen or Wikipedia Commons comes to mind. Those are our two largest sources that are really, almost social networks. There's a user uploading component there. A lot of our other sources are what we collectively refer to as GLAM institutions, which is galleries, libraries, archives, and museums that have decided to take their entire collection, and, essentially open-source that collection and make photographs of all the works openly, licensed and available to folks.

But yeah. If you went to Openverse and you saw a picture of your cat that you took, that you had never licensed under Creative Commons license, you just had it on your personal blog somewhere, and someone else had taken that and uploaded it. We have a very simple mechanism to report that. It's immediately flagged in the system and taken down until it's properly reviewed.

Nathan Wrigley [00:59:27]

My final question, I think is about the future, the longevity of the project. Obviously it ran into issues which as of now are being fixed by the purse strings, probably for want of a better word of Automattic. Are you confident? Do you have any guidance that this is something that the organization Automattic will be funding into the future?

Have they made any commitments around there? Because obviously, as this project grows and becomes bigger and is harder to police, the amount of effort and time and boots on the ground is only going to increase as well. And wonder if there's any talks been had about the longevity of it so that we can all be satisfied, that the things that we take out from Openverse, we can keep taking out into the future.

Zack Krida [01:00:15]

Yeah. I appreciate your frankness and asking that question. It's a really important one to us. The folks on the team right now. There's a few layers to that as well. One is that there's a lot of redundancy already built into Openverse. We don't actually host the works on Openverse. We only collect metadata about these works, so they all exist on other platforms that have their own mechanisms of backups and redundancy.

So there's no opportunity to hypothetically put a work in Openverse and then have us lose it. We simply can't do that from a technological standpoint. But beyond that, the entire project is open source, much like WordPress itself. So in the event of any kind of problems or downtime or anything like that, it's actually quite feasible for other folks to migrate and host the project themselves.

A great example of this is that we did this upon joining the WordPress project was move it from one set of infrastructure to another, which, I'll be the first admit was no easy feat, but is you know, something that we actively and consciously try to make easier over time for folks. Yeah and then beyond that, I just think Automattic has a really great track record of supporting and maintaining projects, obviously financially, but also just like maintaining the spirit of a project. We were very nervous leaving Creative Commons, which is a nonprofit and finding a new home for the projects that had more resources would be ideal. But again, also just the reach of WordPress as a piece of software was really exciting to us and some of the power and capabilities that, that unlocks

Nathan Wrigley [01:01:50]

Well, I'm more or less certain that many people listening to this will be really excited about something that's just come across their doorstep for the first time, best place to probably search for that would be wordpress dot org forward slash Openverse. Did I get that right?

Zack Krida [01:02:04]

Yeah, that's right. And then, anyone who is more development minded or looking to contribute, we are a community project. So we have our own make site on the make network of blogs. So you can go to make dot wordpress dot org forward slash Openverse and join up with our community of developers.

And like I said, translation contributors, and a whole host of other folks designers. Yeah. One thing that we are really proud of is our volunteer community. We had a lot of folks over at Creative Commons working on CC Search and now Openverse. The project has really bridged those two communities and an interesting way. Yeah. We kind of straddle two worlds right now of WordPress and the massive world of copyright and licenses.

Nathan Wrigley [01:02:51]

I'm going to have to draw this to a close. I'll just start with you Zack. If anybody was curious to get in touch with you individually, if there's any place, contact form, Twitter handle, whatever that you're happy to share now would be the time to do that.

Zack Krida [01:03:06]

Great. Yeah, I'd say the best place to find me would be in the making WordPress Slack actually, I'm not on any social media right now. So we have an Openverse channel there. You can also shoot an email to Openverse at wordpress dot org and myself or another member of the team will be happy to get in touch with you.

Nathan Wrigley [01:03:23]

Thank you. And the same questions go to Birgit first, if that's all right.

Birgit Pauli-Haack [01:03:29]

I'm really fascinated by all the museums that have, if you click on the Openverse, WordPress dot org Openverse sources. Yeah, at this moment, the Smithsonian has all their pictures in there and as well as the Reich's Museum in the Netherlands, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art program museum. It's really fascinating what you can all find. The spirit of open web, but also have the creators be in charge of their own creations, but have this big search capabilities, is so early nineties, but it really keeps the web open. So that's just a little comment on that. I'm so happy that it's in there.

If you want to get in contact with me also WordPress Slack definitely at BPH is my handle there. That's also the handle on Twitter @ BPH and my direct messages are open if you don't want to do it publicly. Yeah. You can always catch me on a private chat on the Slack or on Twitter, if that is easier for you.

Nathan Wrigley [01:04:32]

Thank you so much Birgit, and finally, Marcus.

Marcus Kazmierczak [01:04:36]

Yeah. You can find me at mkaz, M K A Z on make Slack also mkaz dot blog. I write a lot about WordPress and tips and tech things there. You can also find me on Twitter, I'm not that great on Twitter, so make Slack is probably the best if you want to reach out to me directly, feel free to ping me there.

Nathan Wrigley [01:04:55]

Thank you very much. What a broad ranging conversation that we've had today. Thank you very much for joining us Birgit, Marcus and Zack, really appreciate it. What an interesting episode this has been.

02 Dec 2021 2:50pm GMT

WordPress.org blog: The Month in WordPress – November 2021

Despite the holiday season being around the corner, the WordPress project didn't slow down. In a recent episode of WP Briefing, Executive Director Josepha Haden shares the first thing she wants people to notice about WordPress, which is also the heart of this open source project:

"Now, the first thing I want people to see on that site is that WordPress has not only 18 years of learned knowledge that every single new user benefits from, but that it also has thousands of really smart people making sure it works and gets better every day."

As always, contributors across various teams are working hard to ensure the upcoming release of WordPress 5.9 doesn't disappoint. With State of the Word 2021 coming up soon, there are many exciting things in the works. Read the November 2021 edition of the Month in WordPress to learn more about what's happening.

WordPress 5.9: Expected to release on January 25, 2022

Are you interested in contributing to WordPress core? Join the #core channel, follow the Core Team blog, and check out the team handbook. Also, don't miss the Core Team's weekly developer chat on Wednesdays at 8 PM UTC.

Gutenberg releases: 11.9 and 12.0 are out

Two new Gutenberg versions have been released!

Want to get involved in developing Gutenberg? Follow the Core Team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Make WordPress Slack. Follow #gutenberg-new for details on the latest updates.

State of the Word 2021: Join a watch party in your local community

State of the Word 2021 Announcement, which will take place on December 14 between 5 pm and 7 pm ET (22 - 00 UTC).

Add the event to your calendar so you don't miss State of the Word 2021! Want to ask Matt a question during State of the Word? Please send your questions ahead of time to ask-matt@wordcamp.org or ask them live during the event via YouTube chat.

Team updates: Nominations for some team representatives are still underway

We want to hear from you! Suggest your 2022 goals for the Global Community Team by December 6, 2021.

Feedback/Testing requests: Test WordPress 5.9 Beta 1; Take the 2021 Annual WordPress Survey to share your experience

The 2021 WordPress Annual Survey is out! Please respond to the survey, so your WordPress experience is reflected in the results.

Keep an eye out for WordCamp Taiwan and Sevilla, along with several WordPress workshops in December 2021

Give back to open source. Please donate to the WordPress Foundation's mission this holiday season.

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

The following folks contributed to October 2021's Month in WordPress: @anjanavasan, @harishanker, @rmartinezduque, @callye, @jrf, @webcommsat, and @nalininonstopnewsuk

02 Dec 2021 11:30am GMT

Post Status: Post Status Comments (No. 3) — The State of the WordPress News

WordPress journalists and news commentators on the nature of their work, their views on the community, and the future of the project.

In this episode of Post Status Comments, David and Dan host a conversation with several members of the WordPress news community: Matt Medeiros (Matt Report Media), Joe Howard (WPMRR), Birgit Pauli-Haack (Gutenberg Times), and Sarah Gooding (WP Tavern). Find out how these WordPress journalists and news commentators understand their roles, how they view the WordPress community, and what they see for the future of the project.

Among the questions asked: What challenges exist for those of us who are following and reporting WordPress news? How can the WordPress project and and WordPress companies help improve communication? Where do we see WordPress heading - the software and it's community - in the short and long term? What are the biggest and most impactful stories of 2021, so far? What are the most significant but less noticed stories?

This engaging conversation was almost 90 minutes long! So we split it up into two audio parts.

Here's the first part:

Here's the second part:

Post Status Comments 💬 is a stage for WordPress professionals to exchange ideas and talk about recent topics and trends.

Browse past episodes and subscribe to our podcasts on Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, iTunes, Castro, YouTube, Stitcher, Player.fm, Pocket Casts, Simplecast, or get them by RSS. 🎙

🔗 Mentioned in the show:

🙏 Sponsor: WP Lookout

WP LOOKOUT tracks the plugins and themes you depend on. Get timely info on new WordPress plugin and theme versions, security updates, author changes, mentions in the news and more. Set customizable notifications by email, Slack, webhook and RSS.

Transcript (Part 1)

David Bisset: [00:00:00] So I want to set some ground rules, uh, before we officially get started. So first of all, everyone participating here, um, first of all, welcome by the way, I should say that first, everyone participating here, let's just pretend we're at a work camp. So we're bound by a standard work camp code of conduct.

That includes speakers participants, and me, your host, uh, will, won't be able to get to everybody's question on every topic that we're bringing up today. So I'll be. Going with the flow and also probably rotating some questions, a little bit to various speakers and speakers with your responses. Just be mindful of the time.

And if there's any in, we don't get to everybody's response and I'll mute that slack in a second. Apparently if we don't get to everybody's response, um, we can do a post follow up after the event. Our topic today is WordPress, the WordPress news space. So not, not specific pieces of WordPress news, it's the state of WordPress news, the people that [00:01:00] report the news, the news economy, and the thoughts along those lines.

And we appreciate questions that we'll try to stick to that scope. And if there's any good questions that fall out of that scope, we'll save it for another discussion. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns after this feel free to direct them to me. I am on post-data slack and also you can DM me on Twitter at dimension media.

And just to make this a completely transparent, this, this event, this audio is open, it's being recorded and will be shared, um, with the public, but also with our speakers as well for their own use. So can you go ahead and introduce yourself? And then Matt, can you go after her? And we'll just keep going in order here.

I'll just call you out. So go ahead, Sarah, introduce yourself briefly. If anybody doesn't know you already, but shame on them. If they don't.

Sarah Gooding: Hi, I'm Sarah Gooding. I write for WP Tavern. I've been writing there for about eight years. I think I'm just [00:02:00] writing about WordPress news.

David Bisset: And Matt, who are you?

Matt Medeiros: Uh, who am I?

It's a great question. So I'm director of podcast or success at a company called cast is my day job. And my side gig is something called Matt report media, which covers Matt report.com and the WP minute.com.

David Bisset: Okay, let's see who else we got here. I'm trying to look for, and Dan, if you see any whales in here, let me know.

Forget why don't you introduce yourself?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, hello everybody. Well, thanks David. For inviting me. I. Curate on the Goodluck times for the last four years was a side gig. Now it's also my day job, which I really love. Um, I'm also a developer advocate for WordPress at automatic. Um, automatic sponsors that contribution and I also am a co-host on the good milk change law [00:03:00] podcast was uh

Um, and yeah, that's.

David Bisset: Oh, good. Well, great. Well now, well, while we wait for the others to come in, I wanted to get started with our first question. Um, again, this is about the WordPress space here for news. So Sarah, we'll start with you. The challenges of following and reporting WordPress news. What challenges do you face or you think the industry faces and.

And maybe including there, maybe how you might be able to see that improve or change?

Sarah Gooding: Well, I think there are a lot of sources to follow and everyone has their own favorite way to, to get news. Um, I ended up spending a lot of time on social media, unfortunately, too. And it's, you know, I'm constantly going through tweets and [00:04:00] digging deeper into.

But, um, I would love it if there was a, a way to get your news in a more aggregated form. And I know there are some sites out there that do that, but you know, sometimes they come and go or they don't have like the latest news. Um, so was kind of a challenge, but overall, I don't feel. As challenging as I did, maybe, you know, eight years ago when it seemed like there wasn't always enough news to write about.

Sometimes it was like, there were a lot of slow weeks there and now it's just, this is hopping every day.

David Bisset: How do you stay informed? Did you, so is it beyond social media?

Yeah, I, I mean, I read change logs. I, I follow a bunch of people on Twitter. Um, Reddit, Facebook groups. I attend slack meetings. I dig through, um, I dig through old slack meetings that I couldn't attend.

I get almost all the newsletters. I read almost everything. Everybody else writes though. That's, that's how I [00:05:00] stay on top of it.

And Matt, same question to you. Um, what are your sources? How do you gather the news and what D what challenges do you.

Matt Medeiros: So like Sarah, it's obviously a lot of social media. It's looking at that from a 50,000 foot view and paying attention to.

You know, the most impactful, uh, headlines and Newsmakers that are out there. Uh, I take a slightly different tack with the WP minute as the community at the WP minute does contribute the news items, uh, that gets surfaced up. And we use that as, um, part of the foundation to the weekly newsletter and podcast.

So that's a little bit of an advantage, uh, for us and how we do that. And. Uh, sort of side stepping the hands are a little bit, what I would like to see is more, uh, uh, WordPress companies, organizations, service agencies really reach out to us [00:06:00] and let us know about things that they think are going to be newsworthy or really impactful.

Um, that would be a ginormous help instead of just having the Twitter stream, uh, and a few DMS here. Really having something like that in place and sort of letting them know that, look, you can level up your game a little bit, reach out to us, let us know if you have something that's. Um, my God, if you ever spent time in traditional businesses that do PR new, uh, PR uh, pieces, literally every single day for a single feature they've released, I'm not looking for, you know, stuff like that, but some level of surfacing that information up to us, uh, to us on the panel and others would be a tremendous help, but, uh, yeah, social media and a small community that I've gathered around the news on my side, uh,

David Bisset: Okay.

Get, I think, you know, already know I'm going to ask you, so where do you get your news from and what challenges do you face? [00:07:00]

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Um, yeah, social media is a lot of, um, part of it, but I also use a tool that's called brain 24 4, and it's, um, More a way of listening tool and that surface does some keywords and it needs to be curated a bit, but it helps me quite a bit to also look at the corners where social media doesn't go because the authors are not that much on social media.

So I surface a few of those articles tutorials about the block editor and they go to McCombs is not so much about the news. It's more about. Um, w what's the latest feature in the Gutenberg or how can other people use it better developers, content, creators. Um, and there's a lot of, um, knowledge in the community already that is, um, sharing.

I crossed a few blogs. Um, I see Courtney here. She does a wonderful job. Um, and I see, um, others, [00:08:00] um, that, um, post quite a bit about it. The challenge that I see, especially with the full site editing coming out is that there is a group of users that has not had, um, a lot of coverage. Through any of those news items or news shows apart from high level?

Um, maybe, um, a little bit by Justin headlock from the Tavern was, uh, um, surfacing also some of the gluten, uh, Burke, um, features, but the group that I'm thinking about or what I'm kind of thinking about right now is. Um, site builders that don't use code to build other people's sites. Um, if they wanted to now co uh, they have been catered to by the, um, by elemental, by, uh, beaver builder by the Devi community.

And there are all these third party page [00:09:00] fillers had all their separate communities that has not. Um, come over to the open source part of it. And I think there will be some cultural. Um, shock or most because the concept of open source is not there when, um, third-party page builders, they are corporate they'll, um, to have, uh, a product oriented.

Um, a community they have as helping support and new features and also creating tools. Um, but that does not translate well into the open source community of WordPress core. So I'm kind of thinking about quite a bit about how to help them. And I'm glad that. Uh, leadership in retrospect, or also thought about it.

Um, so that all of a few teams that are, uh, will help with that one is the learn team. And the other one is to, [00:10:00] um, sponsor team members on the WordPress marketing team that will hopefully be stepping into that void a bit.

David Bisset: Oh, cool. Wow. That was a mouthful. You certainly am alive. That's great. You certainly have a lot of challenges though.

So, um, yeah, Lee, um, Matt, this question is for you. What do you define as a, um, now that we're, we're talking about the state of the WordPress news reporting in the past year, what has there been any, is there been any redefinitions of what WordPress news is? Um, how do you decide. If something is relevant to the space or not, or what you focus your attention on?

Matt Medeiros: Uh, from my particular angle for years, I've been covering just like business entrepreneurship stuff. Um, that's been the angle I've, I've sort of worked with for a long time. Now recently with the WP minute, really more opening that up to community-based stuff. Um, You know, like the rest [00:11:00] there's while we feel like there's a ton of news.

There's also not a ton of news at the same time.

David Bisset: Let's assume acquisitions didn't exist. What else is left?,

Matt Medeiros: yeah, you could have a whole podcast on that this year. Um, you know, for me, I look at it and my editor looks at it from the things that we think are going to make. Hey, the biggest impact on business or be the biggest impact on the community, or maybe there's a see also on the software.

So we look at it from those three angles first, um, long, unless it's a slow Newsweek, then we'll cover something that we might deem innovative, which falls into cool new feature, uh, which is still a challenge. Right. Um, You know, that's the lens that we look at, that we look at it through. Uh, and you know, there's, there's only so much stuff coming out of the fire hose that we can, that we can capture.

Um, but hopefully we're capturing the stuff that we deem [00:12:00] either the most impactful on business, on a business community or the software.

David Bisset: And Sarah, when it comes to the Tavern, what, are there any specific things that you look for for your audience? Um, I, I think probably out of everybody here, the Tavern might have a larger, or at least a wider scope.

Maybe I know there's Gutenberg though. I know Matt does an excellent, um, business-related and startup related items. Um, where do you draw your lines for the.

Sarah Gooding: Um, our, yeah, we're pretty wide open. We try to cover, um, WordPress core news business news, um, struggles that users are having, but we also reach a little bit outside and like GPL legal conflicts, I think are interesting and may impact the WordPress community.

Um, we. You know, what, what other companies are doing or how like social media companies are impacting workers because everything kind of ties together. These days away, people share their, they publish [00:13:00] their posts to social media, or they, you know, they should be publishing from their own website cause social media.

But you know, a lot of people, their businesses are built on social media and WordPress is just a smaller part of that. So there is, we just have such a large diverse audience that we try to hit everything, um, that we feel like is new.

David Bisset: And special, special guest Joe Howard has joined us. Um, let's say, Joe, take yourself off of mute and say.

Yeah, that's okay. I'm sorry. Uh, we, uh, he got lost on the way over here was very big, heavy traffic and you need

Joe Howard: the mobile app and not the desktop app. So really, I just don't know how to use Twitter spaces.

David Bisset: Oh no, let's let's blame Twitter because that's the platform we're currently recording on, uh, briefly introduce yourself and let us know how you decide your, what, what corner of the WordPress space?

Uh, your news, my primarily focuses.

Joe Howard: Sure. Uh, I am [00:14:00] the former CEO of WPP buffs, uh, currently work over, uh, do some stuff over at WP MRR, uh, community podcast, uh, uh, all that sorts of stuff. Um, how do I find my news online? Uh, a lot of the times. Yeah on Twitter, but I feel like a lot of it's, uh, uh, people are usually talking about the topics of the day.

Um, aside from that, I used to get more from email. I used to subscribe to like every single, um, inbox or every single email newsletter. But these days, um, I don't, I'm not very good at checking email these days, but I also just, uh, I'm trying to be more minimalist about my, my inbox as a lot of people are these days delete selecting most and delete.

There's still a few that I'm, uh, that I, uh, pay more attention to and then I'll read through. Um, but for the most part, uh, um, um, I'm [00:15:00] unsubscribed via when it comes to email. So, yeah. Keep it simple. Those are the big ways.

How long have you been doing your newsletters, army or new, or your podcast too as well?

Everything your whole, your whole deal. Yeah.

PA podcast is the longest running thing over at WP MRR. That's been two and a half years, two years, something like that. 150 ish episode once a week. So, uh,

David Bisset: Okay. No, that's okay. We'll do a state of the podcast stuff after this. That's why we have other people that we were going to be inviting to that.

Um, but I don't want to forget, in fact, I don't, because of, I forget this person that he's of shoot me, um, Dan from post statuses here. So, um, Dan, um, you're from post status, I guess we have established that, um, a little bit, a brief mention about yourself and where post status gets this news. [00:16:00] Just don't say me, you know?

Dan Knauss: Right. Well, that's, that's fairly accurate. I've been working with David as editor at post status for quite a while and, and that

David Bisset: conventionally grown up being paid either to say this, but go ahead. Yeah.

Dan Knauss: Uh, yeah. Do we have a little bit of a different arrangement maybe than, than others?

David is kind of in a curatorial role. We do a lot of covered, a lot of different bases, but I'm going from essentially copyediting years ago to doing a much more of a kind of comprehensive general editorial role. So I do get, I do rely on David to kind of filter, be the filter and bring in a lot of stuff.

And we have a lot going to

David Bisset: get emails now.

Dan Knauss: Yeah. Well, you're, you're kind of the gatekeeper in a lot of ways, but we have a lot of other people to kind of throw in once in a while. We are [00:17:00] working with Bob Dunn now. And others out there. The more minds we kind of have filtering news and ideas together, the more it helps me.

Then I can kind of spend my time on higher level stuff and maybe get out of the echo chamber a little bit and think more broadly. But, um, yeah, I'm kind of operating in a different editorial role. I used to, I used to contribute more, um, original writing and interviews, but now we're often pushing that to, um, to those view, who do, like David and Corey, others working on a podcast and another recorded material.

So yeah, I guess if I was going to say, I follow pretty much the same, the same things as everyone else, I do try to read outside. Uh, general stuff and David will push me back, you know

David Bisset: I'm less relevant look, Minecraft can apply to WordPress tune in next week.

Dan Knauss: Yeah. [00:18:00] So yeah, that would be my answer there.

David Bisset: Okay. Well, great. Great. You can, uh, privately text me on the mistakes I'm making right now. In fact, you're doing, doing a pretty good job of it. So there's two areas in WordPress news that I thought we would love to tackle as a group here. Um, what we do, how it affects. Um, other communities or the parts within the WordPress community, the first one, um, is the new people into WordPress.

Is there been any, um, what are your thoughts on WordPress news and what it can do or what it has done already to create entry points for the new people that are, that are coming into coming into WordPress or supporting the. Uh, people that already have a career in WordPress, um, uh, forget we'll S um, start with you.

I think yours is more Gutenberg related, so maybe we'll focus on that. Um, entry points for new [00:19:00] people, maybe being, trying to lose Lauren Gutenberg or people who have that in their career. What are your thoughts on how we're doing in that?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That's a very interesting question. Um, and I've found that the new pupils come into Gutenberg or editor using the block editor in, in a few waves.

So there was a, uh, 2018, uh, wave. There was a 2019 rave, 20, and now was a full-sized editing coming. To WordPress. It definitely brings in another wave of new users to the space. So there is a, um, big push and, um, quite a few agencies, as well as, um, hosting companies do a, uh, a phenomenal job. Um, Picking up those topics, like how do I, um, get a content created?

How do I, um, um, yeah, uh, youth image blog, and all of [00:20:00] the, um, how tos of that, there is a user documentation on the web press.org. Um, and, uh, they have caught up probably, uh, to 5.7. Um, And the newest one is always a little bit like in behind, but I, uh, the hosting company. Yeah. If you follow Kim stir, if you follow, um, um, it escapes me now, but there were, uh, or WP beginner.

Um, I think there is a very good. Search searching those articles and publishing up in the thing, but it's not about the news media, then I have not found that that is really something, um, That is picked up by any of the, um, any of us. Um, I soon pick it up just for that particular idea that if agencies read the Gutenberg times and they get questions from their [00:21:00] content creators and their, uh, users that I have a.

A list of beginner tutorials, uh, where people can go or send their customers to. So they can kind of offset that customer support, um, a little bit to a material that's already out there. I wish we had a better, um, end user documentation on represent org

David Bisset: documentations and other things.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I, I stopped.

Total different topic, but that's kind of, um, so, um, yeah, I think there is a new wave of, uh, new users coming in every eight to nine months. Um, kind of picking up on the, the buzz of new features in WordPress.

David Bisset: Do you think, do you think the news, do you think, all right now the state of the WordPress, um, the state of the WordPress news reporting is doing a good enough job.

Yes or no, regarding new Gutenberg stuff. Do you think there's. Is there a great [00:22:00] gap or yes or no on that one?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, absolutely. Yes. On the new Gutenberg stuff, not on the new users, but the new Gutenberg stuff. That's definitely, um, um, uh, coming around on, on, uh, especially the top of your Tavern, um, of course, and, um,

David Bisset: speak of the Tavern.

I'm sorry. Speak of the Tavern. I do want to make sure we get everybody's comment on this, Sarah, what is your take on it?

Sarah Gooding: I think it really depends on what publication you're running. I think with like something like the Gutenberg times, it's really important to, to get everybody along and, um, to, to get people on the same page and help people learn and move forward with, with convert.

But if you're just like a straight up news publication, then, um, I don't think it should be the goal of WordPress news to help new users necessarily. It's certainly a positive by-product, but the news should just serve the public interest and report on anything that's [00:23:00] newsworthy. So even if it doesn't on its face, seem like as a positive slant for new users or contributors or even WordPress itself.

Um, I think that if you're writing, you know, just WordPress news and you really need to stay. To, um, to just telling the truth. And sometimes that's going to be really exciting and positive and there's going to be big leaps for, for Gutenberg. And sometimes there are going to be major frustrations, but I think that that friction there, um, helps the project and refined it.

And the more we can have these kinds of discussions in a, in a transparent and honest way, um, including all, all people's voices. I know that there are contributors who put like hours and hours in. And so sometimes there's. It seems more valuable, but there are users who have spent five minutes on it and failed, and their input is valuable too.

So I think if we can be, you know, grab those diverse voices and put it together to form a narrative that helps people, then, then I think that. [00:24:00]

David Bisset: Matt, you you're going to say something

Matt Medeiros: I wasn't until Sarah just said it way better than I could have.

David Bisset: Great. Well, I know what order to put you in next time,

Matt Medeiros: but like real quick on the, yeah, it totally depends on the publication.

It depends on the, the format as well. And this has been really interesting. Uh, because for years I run a podcast about business entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, and I would, uh, you know, in a, in a, in an effort not to get just like the same voices or just somebody who wants to appear on the podcast to promote their new plugin or theme, I do a lot of outreach into, into folks that I would, I deem interesting to not only me, but what would be interesting to my audience.

And the point that I'm getting at is, is not everyone wants. Quite literally talk to me and use their voice to get their message out. They, in other words, they don't want to be on a podcast. And one of the interesting things that I've found with the WP minute is now I do text [00:25:00] and audio. And while that sounds like, you know, kind of silly or kind of throw away on the surface, I have found people who are much more willing to do a written interview or to express themselves, uh, through text.

So that's. Uh, touching on just format of the news. Um, but what I've been doing a lot more with the WP minute is giving voices quite literally reaching out to people and saying, Hey, I think you've got a great story to tell. Do you have the confidence? Do you want to share this story? And I think to go back to the new people in the WordPress space, You know, leveling up your game a little bit, having some confidence to hop on a podcast or do an inter interview is something that you should do to get your message out.

If you want to. I have approached countless people who just say no. Um, they, they just don't want to have their voice heard, whether that's a confidence thing or confidentiality thing or [00:26:00] something like that,

David Bisset: maybe the wrong time

Matt Medeiros: or maybe wrong time. Right. Uh, but I do see. You know, and poor folks who, who want to get a message out to, you know, to, to level up that side of their game, if, if they'd like to,

David Bisset: well, I, uh, we actually.

That's actually very good because you know, there's been a lot of discussion about how we get new contributors into the WordPress space, but not everybody's a contributor, they're a business owner, so it's, they rely if they come from the outside. So sometimes they have to figure out where their new sources are coming from, from inside the WordPress space.

So that's a pretty important demographic for, I think, for all of us now, speaking of. Well, I don't really have a good segue for this. So I'll just skip that attempt. Um, if I'm pronouncing her name correctly, Dan, correct me if I'm wrong. But Ray Mori from the repository newsletter, uh, was not able to make it here today.

Um, she did leave a video. I'll share with the link. I'll share the zip and message link in the show notes from this [00:27:00] episode. Live, um, all of you have, have had had opportunity to look at the page as well. So this won't be too much of a surprise, but I thought she had an interesting response into what improvements can be made into how news is reported.

And I thought, and hopefully you can hear this audio. I think we did the sound check and work. So after listening to what I would love to. One or two of your guest's feedback here. Um, let's see if I can play this it's what improvements can be made and how news is rewarded system.

Matt Medeiros: Can you,

David Bisset: can we hear that?

Can somebody say. Yes,

Rae Morey: reporting more independent reporting, even more journalists working at WP Tavern chalet. Matt could put up some more cash for a couple more riders, because there were a lot of stories going on reported for instance, this week, elemental who for transparency is one of my, uh, sponsors at their poetry.

Um, they launched a big budget marketing [00:28:00] campaign that I personally think is anything. This is better than anything that weeks or Squarespaces is doing. And it doesn't even mention WordPress is elemental trying to distance itself from WordPress. Maybe Sarah or Justin are already working on that story. I think it's a pretty big deal, but no, one's really talking about it yet anyway.

So I'll be looking out for that story in the next week. And as more and more people who speak English as a second language or not at all, here's where press it's becoming increasingly important that we engage with those communities and acknowledge their contribution contributions to the WordPress project, as well as the success of businesses and individuals who are using the platform.

Overall, I'd love to see more of a diversity of voices in the WordPress media.

David Bisset: Hopefully Sarah, didn't put you too much on this spot. On that. I kind of forgot. She, she mentioned the Tavern a little bit. Um, but there are, there are stories that. That some feel are or going, uh, [00:29:00] unreported, which is we can't cover everything. But, um, and she mentioned also something about language as well.

So, um, if anybody wants to comment on what improvements can be made into how you think general news is recorded, um, maybe what we can hit in terms of, I don't know, uh, we hit on it a little bit. Um, but it, does anybody have a specific frame on that? Or am I going to put somebody on the spot? I think I'm going to put somebody on that.

I tell you why proposed status. I can speak for post status on this a little bit. Um, improvements on how the news is report. Um, for, for post status is actually post status is not really much of a new sources, more of a Anil, uh, analysis type of that's what we that's, what post status does primarily. So the cha so the ways we can, at least personally, for me, we used can be improved in how news is reported, because while we give analysis, we also share news as well [00:30:00] is not to jump the gun too quickly for us.

Stories can be braking. And also there's a lot of emotion coming with some stories, whether it's an acquisition, whether individual expresses a certain opinion about a topic, Twitter gets hot, real fast, and sometimes I have to watch my reacts. Sometimes I don't want to give a reaction to something going on on Twitter because I think that's, that kind of starts to paint me into a corner a little bit and turns my, when we get to the post status, part of it in the analysis part of it.

So. For me personally, an improvement would be sometimes I shouldn't give a hot take and let other people converse and then kind of take a step back. Um, Matt, what are your thoughts? Well,

Matt Medeiros: just to, first of all, she asked some amazing questions in that, uh, in that zip message that you have recorded, um, some fantastic stuff.

The, uh, and without trying to sound like a broken, broken record, but, uh, I'm not [00:31:00] worried. An element or story getting missed or not covered because it's elementary and they have a fantastic marketing team. And if they want to get heard, uh, they have certainly come across my radar and I'm sure they've gone across everyone.

Else's radar. That's on this panel today. Uh, and they have the resources. It's the small fry, uh, or the smaller solo blue collar digital worker. That doesn't have that chance or it doesn't have those resources and we can't catch everything. Um, I certainly can't because this is just a side gig for me. Uh,

David Bisset: it's not easy to get to that in a second. That's our next topic.

Matt Medeiros: It's not a full-time job. So I know one of my. Tons and I'm sure Joe and beer get, get this all the time. Hey, I want to be on the podcast. We've got this thing. We want to pitch a very shallow, very just self-serving and those, I get a ton of those and it's just, I don't even respond.

But if you come to me with a great story to be heard, absolutely a hundred percent, [00:32:00] let's at least have the conversation, um, to get you to get you some airtime and we can't catch everything. Um, Sarah's one person. A small team and same with me. Uh, and it's, it's just so hard. So if you want to reach out and get that story heard again, broken record moment, reach out and let us know.

Okay. Yeah. I guess it is hard for the smaller fry so to speak. Um, and we kind of have to be open and receptive to that. That it's, that's a good point. So let's talk. Um, unless anyone else has something to share real quick, let's talk monetization. Let's talk about. Uh, Matt said this is a site gig. Um, um, I, Sarah, I believe correct me if I'm wrong, but I, our Eric, is it a, is it a site?

Is it a part-time full-time side gig? What, where do you fall on that? Because I'm about to push her out of the way

Sarah Gooding: it's full-time.

Okay. So, um, and your employer, just to remind [00:33:00] everyone here is. Okay, so you have a full-time position. So this question may not, I'm not sure feel free to jump in, but I'm going to focus.

Um, Joe is, is your, do you consider what you do a side gig as well?

Joe Howard: Uh, that's a really good question. I don't even know if I

David Bisset: have it. Yeah, because it's so melded together with WP and Mount with your business or your podcasts.

Joe Howard: I'm trying to remember the name of the movie spotlight. Uh, there's a scene where Marty Baron is the editor in chief of the newspaper. He was talking to, um, someone in the church and the essence. He says, you know, we, we have to be a part in order to be our, you know, the best news organization we can, we can't be affiliated with anything.

So I think. To me, it's like speaks to [00:34:00] what Matt was talking about in terms of, uh, it's kind of like a side gig. And I guess for me, I'd say, yeah, it's like, you know, maybe it's part of WP buffs. Maybe it's not, who are we sponsored by? Do we have affiliate links pointing to different places? That's a big challenge in the WordPress news space.

I think, you know, how many of the people who are doing WordPress news who are really creating or news specific to the WordPress space or. Would consider themselves. Journalists would consider themselves full time employees or team members of a team where a hundred percent of their time and energy is put towards being a journalist.

You know? Uh, I think that's probably for most of us, that's probably, that's not the case.

David Bisset: Do you think that, do you think that's a big hindrance? The fact that we don't have more full-time people focused on news and WordPress or similar spaces. I know. In the recording mentioned that, um, you know, the, the [00:35:00] ability, you know, the existence of maybe a couple of more full-time writers, do you think that's a, that's a big hindrance right now?

Or do you think with the most people doing this on the side gig, that is sufficient? Um, what are your thoughts on that?

Joe Howard: I think it's a hindrance. I think Ray is right. I think, I think about the monetization of. Tavern where it not, uh, owned and operated and funded by Audrey capital, would it have enough views? Would it have enough? Like how would it monetize itself where it not monetize that way? And I think that the answer would pro I don't want to speak without having any real knowledge of it, but I would say probably the viewership would not be enough to like fully fund the full-time team members.

They are just based on like a Google ad. You know, versus like, based on how many page views that Tavern gets. So I think that the, [00:36:00] yeah, in short, I think, yeah, we need more people who are doing full time journalists work, because I think that in my opinion, To do news on the side or news as kind of like part of something else.

There's always going to be a, well, how are they, how are you funding this? You know, like post status does it with like a membership, you know, I think that's a really cool way to like fund news, but, um, you know, if I'm writing like an article for WP bus and it's a news article and it's like the best website management company is like, well, if I have WP boss, the number one company, like.

Really news. Like, I don't think so. I think it goes back to what Sarah says sad about, you know, you had to put out the best stories that are the most important for people. Um, and I think traditionally news is really been about, you know, keeping [00:37:00] the it's about democracy. It's about keeping the, uh, keep giving us a educated.

That's really the that's why we, we have journalism. I think so. Um, yeah, sorry. A little bit of tension, but there some thoughts,

David Bisset: that's fine. I, I, you know what, um, there are times in wish, you know, some people, you know, we'd have a side gig and we say, wow, Could be paid to do this full-time and then there's I think sometimes I'm like, I rather, I'm very thankful this is a side gig.

Um, because I don't think

Joe Howard: I could do I'm sorry, I just want one quick thing. If any other thing, anybody else here, any other speakers like to think differently? Like I'm super open to having conversation about this. Um, and I think the there's, there's always pros and there's always cons to whatever monetization you're doing or however you.

Go about reporting news, for instance, like, you know, however you set yourself up as a business or as an entity or as like how you're reporting the news. They're always going to be pros. There's always going to be [00:38:00] cons. But I think that I, I think that we, the, the, as WordPress gets more, as more money comes into the WordPress community and open source community, like we need more full time.

People who are dedicated to, uh, you know, democracy dies in darkness. Like we have to make sure we're keeping up with, uh, keeping shining light on every aspect of the WordPress community.

David Bisset: So when it comes to, so when it comes to news, is that something we would treat as kind of like a contribution or contributors?

Is it, would it be possible for, you know, how the people, companies sponsor word sponsor contributors? Full-time. Would there be, let's pretend that a position exists for someone to be able to sponsor someone full-time to do the news or create content. Would that be a help or would that just be seen [00:39:00] as a, um, biased type of thing?

Joe Howard: I th I think this is a key question and I see Matt with his hand up and I I'd be really interested to hear what Madison's. Yeah.

David Bisset: Yes. Unfortunately, he's, it's more than one finger this time. So let me, let me ask Matt here.

Matt Medeiros: Uh, so let me just restate that question. So the question is, if people are creating news, do you count that as a contribution to WordPress?

David Bisset: Yeah. Plus, or more, more in the bigger question would be if we need more full-time efforts into WordPress or full-time people or full-time positions or whatever, or more smaller time positions, is that something that accompany could sponsor just like someone can sponsor a full-time.

Matt Medeiros: Yeah. Uh, I'm biased because I feel like 10 years of creating WordPress content is a healthy dose of contribution and from my point of view, um, so I think, yes, if you, if, if a company, a small company, a medium company, big company wants to sponsor somebody to do that, certainly.[00:40:00]

Absolutely. And I would count it as a contribution to the greater, um, ecosystem of, of WordPress. And I think folks who follow me know that the more we are rallying around WordPress, the more adoption WordPress gets and support, et cetera, et cetera. So, yes, I, I look at that as a contribution just to like put it in and I'll wrap this answer up super quick.

Cause Sarah has her hand up, um, you know, as. We are like the 1% of the 1%, the people who actually care about the inside baseball, the news of WordPress, the Watchers,

like I'm open to be challenged on that, but you know, I think more people care about the 50 new landscaping themes for 20, 22 than they care about some, you know, uh, analysis.

On automatic or whatever the space is, as big as we make, we feel like it is it's really, really small. And in order for it to be properly funded, yes. You're always going to, [00:41:00] you're going to have to have some large institution or some company that does sponsor it. It will always be this question of, are you going to be biased?

Uh, but you know, it's, it's totally. It's the trust that the journalist instills. And I think Sarah does a fantastic job with that. Uh, when look, my numbers are pretty public and I do talk about, I do talk about it in blog posts quite often, all you like. I sell my sponsorship through hu commerce store, and I have a membership that you can look at, buy me a coffee and see how many members I have the annual run rate for my sponsors.

It's about $40,000 a year is what I make off of that. And then I just plow that back into, um, reinvesting into the company. And this is from a part-time thing. If people can. You know, live on that as a full time, then certainly these things are doable. Um, I think [00:42:00] there are companies that will support, you know, for more money, uh, and give somebody a healthy, uh, career out of it.

And I think it's just up to the. The journalist or the blogger or the podcast, or who wants to step up and try to go and get that money and then have companies in the WordPress space that look at quality content, quality, journalism, and reporting, and want to support.

Transcript (Part 2)

Episode 3 - Part Two

[00:00:00] David Bisset: Hello, welcome to post status comments, where we had our third episode state of WordPress news on Twitter spaces on November 19th, 2021. We had some great guests, including Matt from Matt report media, Joe Howard, from doughy P M R R. Forget from Gutenberg times, Sarah, from WP Tavern and Dan from post status.

In fact, we had such an engaging conversation, including comments from the audience and pre recordings that it went about 90 minutes long. So we split it up into two equal audio parts. Before we go into this part. Now I want to thank a really great sponsor who really stepped it up and provided sponsorship for this entire episode.

And that's WP. Now WP lookout, what that does is attracts plug-ins and the themes that your WordPress site uses and probably depends on it's especially useful for getting timely info on the plugins and theme versions, security updates, author changes. Mentions in the news and more, there's probably not a good way for you to keep track of all of that yourself.

So WP lookout is an excellent tool, especially for important client sites that helps stay help you stay on top of things, especially for security updates. Plus it has great features, great customization. So you can be notified by email, slack, web hook, and RSS. So really great service. Chris is an awesome guy.

Go check them out at post EDIS docs. Slash WP lookout. And here's our episode well said, uh, Sarah what's, what's your take and then we'll move on to the next, uh, question.

[00:01:39] Sarah Gooding: Yeah, I think I just want to tag onto what, um, Matt was saying. It's really hard to do this without a contract, a conflict of. And I think I've seen, you know, hosting companies try to do it where they'll have people writing like a, what they'll call a news magazine and they'll, they'll post, you know, tons of, of news and really good articles actually, um, that investigate different things.

But then they're mixed in with like product updates or, you know, we're coming out with this new thing. And so it's, it's mixed. And you know, you, as the reader have to decide like how much of this is. Um, what I can trust and how much is this company trying to sell me something? So it's, it's really hard for a company like a hosting hosting companies have a ton of money.

So it's, you know, it's tough to be able to have them be completely independent, where they are allowed to just go write whatever they want. You know, there would have to be some, we'd have to have some kind of new, new way to do this. And it would be really interesting to see if something like that kind of.

Um, because we do need more diverse voices. We need a lot, we need voices coming from different publications. And, um, I mean, I remember back in the day when post status, he used to write more news and there were times when I was like, why isn't, why isn't posting. Mentioning like what this company is doing.

They're defrauding customers, or, you know, things like that. And I, and you realize that there are a lot of business relationships behind all of this. And at the same time, like some of these smaller publications, they're going to compromise their ability to stay afloat. If they, if they write news against, um, some of these people who are their partners are the people who, who fund what they're doing.

Did they have a chance to keep making a positive impact long-term or are they going to burn, you know, 50% of their sponsors by publishing a story about, you know, corporate wrongdoing. So it's, it's really, it's a tough balance, you know, so you can have independent publications that are sponsored, but they, they have a tough road to walk.

And then even with the Tavern, you know, we're constantly asked about the conflict of interest, uh, you know, being funded by Audrey capital. So. Um, yeah, everybody has a tough time and funding news as a, as an ancient problem. But I think, you know, maybe in the WordPress community, we could find some innovative way to tackle this where when you could get those independent people, those people who, I mean, it has to be people who love WordPress and who will write the truth and who, um, you know, at their core are wanting WordPress to succeed, but are able to discern what is this news or not.

And, you know, finding those people and people who actually want write. Every single day. It's tough. You know, I've had to look for them before, like when we got Justin, you know, this is a guy who can't be bought to say, you know, something positive or negative about anything that…

[00:04:26] David Bisset: …isn't true. I tried at a WordCamp and wouldn't tell me good things about myself. I gave him money.

[00:04:30] Sarah Gooding: So, you know, everyone, everyone who's doing it. They have a tough job.

[00:04:36] David Bisset: Here's Ray here with her comment on that from, from the zip message. And then I'm going to move on to another question here.

[00:04:44] Rae Morey: I love this question because it's an easy one for me to answer no matter who sponsors the repository, I'm going to write about them.

Whether their activities are good or bad, um, Elementor as I've just mentioned, they one of my sponsors and they're going to be in the next upcoming issue of the repository. Um, one of our current sponsors he's good at he pro I've written about GoDaddy in the past when there was negative news story that didn't stop in sponsoring their pository.

I think it's crucial that we hold companies to account for their actions, particularly large companies that are sponsoring newsletters. We need sponsorship to keep the lights running, but we need to be able to ride. Um, you know, write independently of our sponsors, views and opinions. And if we're going to produce meaningful news content, we shouldn't be afraid of, of losing sponsorship.

Um, and that's something I make very clear to sponsors from the outset when they choose to sponsor the repository.

I thought that was a pretty good comment. If it more or less what we were talking about. So here's a question and feel free to raise your hand, um, panel here for this, but I'm going to start with Dan because I can put him on the spot.

We want to know. From the news world, the people that report the news. And we asked you this before, um, to give you, give you time to think about it. What was the single biggest news story? So far of the year 2021 in WordPress. Um, and already we already went through what defines biggest influential, whatever, how you for you to find it.

And, uh, and the, the game rule here is it needs to be a specific story and it can't be just. Acquisitions. So, um, Dan, if you're ready, I'd love to hear, um, give it, tell us briefly what you think the, um, in your opinion, the biggest news story. Sure.

[00:06:32] Dan Knauss: Um, yeah, we've tossed this one around a bit. Um, I'm going to kind of bend that question a little bit.

I, I make a pretty hard distinction between news journalism. And then what we would say is analysis or trying to set a conversation is more of what we try to do at post status. So I, I, I kind of, uh, agree with some other things Rae said in what she contributed, that there's a lot, that's not being written.

And probably the biggest story is as a, not just a news piece, but a story that gives some, some deeper analysis is, you know, maybe the big, uh, big picture on, on acquisitions, multiple acquisitions, what it means for a specific industry or. The community as a whole, um, that hasn't really been done. Um, I think Sarah's amp piece is probably probably the biggest, the significant piece of journalism, um, to come along.

And that that's something that has a lot of implications and in, um, what we want to do with things like that is have, have a rich news and journalism ecosystem that's out there that. You know, David and I, and others that post status and things to chew on and, um, create the discussions that matter a little bit more reflective and slow.

Um, as we've posted status has really become more of a trade association at its heart, a membership community. Um, and I think people see. Think back to some old older days when, when there was, there was a bit of a journalistic quality to it. That's really rare for us to do at this point. So. Part think tank part, part association, um, with as many entry points now, as we can get to people who are at all different phases of their potential careers.

So, uh, communal. Within the community, I guess

[00:08:40] David Bisset: it was Matt. Oh, I'm sorry. Were you done Dan? I'm sorry. I'm juggling three different stages. Was there a single news story that you thought was likely could be a contender for the biggest, um, WordPress story related story of 2021 so far?

[00:08:54] Matt Medeiros: Uh, I'm going to give you an interesting answer. But before I do, while I have an audience, I have to say that there's, I have a massive amount of imposter syndrome sitting alongside of Sarah. When you talk to journalists and quality of content and things like the amp story. I mean, people who are in the audience listening to this, you should just give her a round of applause with the emoji, uh, emoji icon thing in the

[00:09:19] David Bisset: Twitter space .It might be hard to do the UI on this thing is nuts. But go ahead. Yeah.

[00:09:25] Matt Medeiros: Um, so anyway, You know, I'm old enough to remember when Andrew Neeson was the biggest WordPress celebrity in the space and what I've witnessed over the last decade or so, or more at this point is that, um, a lot of celebrities that come and go and I think.

With all of the acquisitions, the results of all of the acquisitions. I think the biggest story that's actually being written right now are all of, and I don't want to use the word celebrities, but all of the next round of leaders in this space, uh, whether or not they're writing code, writing a blog post, doing a podcast, uh, training people contributing, uh, volunteering at word camps when they come back.

I think we're going to see a whole new wave of awesome WordPress leadership, um, coming out of all of the. You know, 20, 20, 20, 21, uh, acquisitions and just people, you know, bobbing and weaving out of the space for one reason or the other. So for me, it's the unwritten story. If I can cheat and use that really everybody's doing that.

I can't get a straight answer out of anybody, but that's fine. That's, that's how these things go. And, you know, we submitted my resignation later. Um, we're good. What's let's see if we can. Third. Time's the charm. What's, what's the biggest, but oh, by the way, this is all legit, by the way. And I'd rather have this than.

And pulling a URL out of, of some Mondays I'm rear end here, but I forget what is the single biggest news story? I'll ask you the same question of 2021.

[00:11:01] Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, I have two stories. I'm sorry,

[00:11:07] David Bisset: real quick. Now, if you've got two you've got to give them out real quick. Go ahead.

[00:11:12] Birgit Pauli-Haack: So, um, WP engine did a study on the economic impact of her press and it's 509 5. 196 or something billion dollars. That is really big. Um, what I was missing on that story was how much of that money goes to hosting companies.

Um, but that's just a side effect of that. It's a really big, um, economic issue. And the second story, I think, um, it's, it's just totally self-serving, but I think having developer advocates for the WordPress open source project, going out in the community and helping developers and seeing developers and agency developers to, um, to get to wrap their head around Gutenberg, JavaScript.

Step over them, the hurdle to, I hate JavaScript too. Maybe I can work with it. Um, is, um, certainly for the impact that it will have on, um, the, uh, WordPress contributors might be, um, a good story too.

Okay. It was that both of them or is that one? Because my counting abilities ain't so good. These days. I was too.

Just making sure. No that's boom, boom, bang, bang, bang. All right. So listen, um, what I want to do now is I'm going to take a real quick pause here. And we were talking about sponsors a minute ago and just so happens. We have one for this podcast, and then I'm going to, I'm going to share that with you, but speakers and audience too.

Um, I would like to take the last part of this conversation into, I think, what is, uh, Could be an elephant in the room. That's kinda broken out a little bit. Um, the topic of acquisitions. Um, we have a question from one of our audience member or one of our zip message members, and we want to get everybody's take on the acquisition space that seems to have consumed most of the, a lot of oxygen in the news space.

Uh, this year. Um, first of all, though, I do want to thank though, um, WP lookout. Um, it's got a nice little tower as a logo. It's pretty, it's pretty nice. It actually tracks plugins and themes. So if you, uh, it'll actually was launched in August, 2020. Okay. It was providing a goal. It still is. It still is. It's present tense.

It's providing WordPress users with a better way to stay informed about what's happening with their WordPress sites. So if you need plugins or if you need notification sent to you by email slack, RSS, a carrier pigeon could be something on here. I'm very certain that if you want to know about security updates and everything happened to your website, check them out at WP lookout.

I'd actually like the tower to creme reminds me of, um, the forest lookout towers, which is probably what it's supposed to be. But anyway, let's talk last, last chapter here. Let's talk about acquisitions and Kim Coleman actually sent this real quick question in, and I want those who have a take, uh, feel free to share it here.

[00:14:13] Kim Coleman: Hey everyone. I'm Kim Coleman from paid memberships pro I just wanted to get everyone's perspective on what the benefits and downsides the users of our WordPress plugins will experience with all the acquisitions we're seeing in this space. Thanks so much.

[00:14:27] David Bisset: That is the most loaded question. I think I've ever put into a part, so we could go, this could be its own pockets in of itself.

So let's just focus from a news from a news. Perspective someone who reports on the news and seeds, it sees, uh, uh, various size of landscape. What are your thoughts on how the WordPress acquisitions may be affecting? I think she said users of plugins or developers of plugins. I can play this again if we need to.

It's only 15 seconds. Um, in fact, maybe you want me to re repeat the question? Let's repeat it one more time. Actually, I'm getting, uh, somebody didn't hear it. Hold on one sec. Just do it one more time. Hey everyone. I'm Kim Coleman from paid memberships pro I just wanted to get everyone's perspective on what the benefits and downsides the users of our WordPress plugins will experience with all the acquisitions we're seeing in this space.

So users and developers. So I, you know, me personally, um, short term for a lot of these acquisitions, it seems like nothing much is changing, but maybe. Maybe that's just me or I'm not looking far ahead enough, Matt, what are you? What's your take on that? Well,

[00:15:40] Matt Medeiros: I'll take the easy answer before anybody else snags it for me.

[00:15:43] David Bisset: This is how you play monopoly. But

[00:15:45] Matt Medeiros: the, uh, you know, I think look at the end of the day, that means that the users are going to get hopefully stronger, better, uh, options and less of them hold that thought they don't have to hold it. Yeah, they don't have to decide between a dozen forms or a dozen SEO plugins.

And they can just see some from brands that they like, they can get an all-inclusive turn-key solution and there, they don't have to search around anymore. They've got it. They figured it out. They got one easy tool to use, uh, flips. They have less choices and that's the beauty, or has been the beauty of WordPress is that so many of us have been able to make a, go at earning an income and creating products and serving a set of customers for so many years.

And, uh, it's been quite fun, but now we'll see that it's going to be a lot more challenging to stand out. And then as soon as you start to stand up, Uh, liquid web might knock on your door and ask about you, but, you know, it's,

[00:16:52] David Bisset: it's, she tutored two men to, to credit of that act. I've heard you on Twitter, say many times I'm looking to be acquired and I'm assuming it means your business and not your personal self, but I'm taking it to that mean that way I actually want to touch on the less choice thing, maybe in a second of anyone else as a comment on that, rainbow has a final comment here on this subject as well.

And I wanted to sneak this in before I got any more feedback. Um, let's see. oh, wait a minute. I think. Well, yes.

[00:17:24] Rae Morey: I tend to think there's not one standout story. So much as one standout theme when it comes to influential news story of the year and that's gotta be acquisitions. It seems there's an acquisition acquisition every week. Um, as big as companies like Yoast and Paisley that have been around since the early days of being acquired, both of which were.

Incredibly surprising you stories this year. Certainly changing the way we think about WordPress because it's no longer simply play open source project run by community of individuals and small businesses. So much as a it's project supported now by corporate interests.

That is an interesting take.

And Joe, you put up a hundred up there. Did you have.

[00:18:10] Joe Howard: I think Ray and I share, uh, some opinions on this. Um,

[00:18:16] David Bisset: oh, it's okay. You don't shine for another podcast, but yeah, it's, I've generally speaking from a, from a news reporter standpoint. Do you, um, how much of that do you gel with? And gel is a technical.

[00:18:29] Joe Howard: Ah, well, I don't really even consider myself a news person, someone who produces news more based, but I would agree with Ray.

Um, I think the shift is happening from being a true open source, um, community environment that we have to, I mean, if you look at the acquisition space, the people making acquisitions, you know, What three or four main organizations that are, that are making most of these acquisitions, um, and full transparency.

WP boss has an acquisition arm as well as discount myself from this. Yeah. Hey, there you go. Transparency. But, uh, but I believe. And Matt, what Matt was saying was really important because that choice of that people have is slowly going away because these corporations are saying, oh, don't go out and look for the plugins you want, like, just use ours.

And I think like today that doesn't have as big of an effect because the open source economy is still strong, but over time, you know, if we're not careful, You know, every, you know, everybody's going to be owned by five companies, you know? And then what choice do you really have? You know, who's really happy with like, you know, Comcast, you know, TV deal.

That's totally, they're paying way too much for, or, you know, the, these huge companies that, you know, you have to buy from them because they have monopolies over things. I mean, this is how it starts. Uh, so I think longterm, this is, uh, what we have to, what is open source? What is it really going to be in 10 years?

Is it going to be the same as it was 10 years? Um, I don't think so. And I think for, in some cases there'll be some improvements, you know, but I think in some cases, how

[00:20:33] David Bisset: do you, how do you think that fits into the people that we have here speaking today about their, their, their dedication to reporting news in terms of, if it is going to be, if there is a consolidation, does that put more importance on trying to find the independent developer or plugin and.

Or do you think that the pressure is on to kind of go with the flow in terms of, um, reporting from the bigger companies? I mean, where do you, where do you rank the efforts in terms of, do you, do you go, do you kind of fight against the grain that's taking what you said into account, or how do you go about finding independent people of that is what you see the future to be.

That is for you. If you want to answer it otherwise I can just dump it on myself.

[00:21:28] Joe Howard: Well, I'll just make a quick answer, cause I don't want to monopolize time too much, but the. I think we need more hard hitting news pieces, uh, in general. And that's not to say that I don't feel like the panel here does an excellent job, but a lot of that, I think we get a lot of good stories, but like I said before, like I would love if Tavern had like 10 people, you know, and I would love if they were, you know, I want more.

Of the hard hitting stories. Like I haven't heard a story about, you know, there's like an acquire out there. That's like own, like they've acquired a bunch of plugins and they are owned by, uh, a big, big investment firm and the what drives them at the end of the day, in my opinion, I would say is, is profits.

And that's. But I haven't seen that story written out there. So I'm not going to specifically name names there, but I, but I think there's room for a lot more storytelling in the WordPress community, both what you said, uh, about bringing smaller shocks to light, bringing smaller companies to light. Uh, but also, um, we need to be.

We need to be hard on these big, big entities. You know, a lot of whom are sponsoring events. And again, I, I'm not discounting myself in this either. You know, we had the WMR summit, we had sponsorship by some big companies as well. Um, and I've thought a lot about that. And I really questioning whether I want to even accept sponsorships again next year, because part of me, I just, it doesn't feel like the right way.

Separate yourself from these big entities taking their money. It's, it's a, it's a hard conversation. I'm not saying I'm right in that.

[00:23:14] David Bisset: I'm just saying you're describing is awkward. Not this, not your current conversation is awkward. I mean, the subject is awkward. Um, I, I,

[00:23:21] Joe Howard: but that's exactly why we need journalists in more journalists to help out, to have more of these awkward conversations because the awkward conversations and the hard conversations and the challenging conversations are always.

The ones you have to have, you must have in order to move conversations forward. And in order to, to, to shed light where it needs to be shed in order to, you know, make the WordPress community what we want to be, or else it'll turn into what prophet wants it to be. I don't think anybody wants that.

[00:23:53] David Bisset: I can tell you from a personal experiences, not as much as a, a news person, but as a WordCamp organizers sometimes. Um, and as somebody who blogs and tweets about stuff, And this is small time. This is small potatoes, right? But you have a sponsor. We actually had this happen one time. Somebody has a sponsor. They're big time sponsor. You're thanking them. And even though they're going through the foundation a little bit, um, some sponsors obviously are making a choice in many situations to sponsor your event.

You're very happy you get money, but then their company. Does something I don't know, awkward, or it was a blunder or something. And like right before the work camp, it gets out in the news. And as somebody who likes to tweet a lot or someone who likes to like keep people informed, sometimes I give pause in terms of, am I going to have to somehow subconsciously make an apology to the, somebody at the work camp?

Cause I'm, cause I'm a member of the community here, but I'm also a work camp organizer here and. It's like, I like, that's why I've picked the word awkward. Um, cause it kind of is, and I'm not sure if that's something that I would like to feel all the time. I'm not sure if that's something I can, I can get over.

Um, Dan, what is your feeling as we wrap up, wrap up this discussion here, what is your, um, feelings on the impact of acquisitions on the news space?

[00:25:15] Dan Knauss: Well, yes, I've been thinking a lot about that as we kind of digest, you know, what the - what are the big questions we should be asking? In the wake of big M and A stories. We do need people doing the journalism and news reporting side to give us the stuff that David curates and work through editorially and have discussions, bring on guests and talk about the issues of the day.

Post Status traditionally has been very developer oriented. I'm glad we've really broadened and grown to cover really pretty much every aspect of every career and field in the WordPress space. But as Pippin Williamson told [Post Status Publisher] Corey [Miller] on his exit and referred to another conversation, I think it was Kinsta's podcast with Austin Ginter, that we should be concerned about big consolidation under hosting companies that are going to build their own beautifully smooth platforms for storefronts, for LMS, for vanilla WordPress. You know, making things work in a way that's very hard to do if you're integrating a lot of different plugins together, say an LMS or a membership site or something like that.

If you have some of the big players really offer an outstanding WordPress experience, but it's branded (with their brand) and unique, is that really WordPress anymore? What are the implications for confusion there and I'm interested in, how does that look when you have a corporate interest and competition? How well do you play with developers from the other team?

You know, which APIs get documented well, and you know, how much sharing and cooperation then really happens between these potentially more sectioned off parts of what is supposed to be a single ecosystem. So that untold story is one that, I think is a series of questions and conversations we all need to look at.

[00:27:25] David Bisset: Okay.

[00:27:26] Dan Knauss: I think Sarah has, has a, a comment here too, and oh yeah. Don't forget. Daniel Schutzsmith in there too. How can, how can a, the community support all the many different things we do?

[00:27:39] David Bisset: Yeah. There's we could go on for, for a very long time here. We're technically, we're a little bit over. What I want to do is I want to, um, Travis has requested, uh, from the audience has I'm Travis.

I'm really hoping it's brief not to put you on the spot, buddy, but I'm running already running over. And my wife's wondering why I'm not picking up the kids from school. Um, so, um, I'll let Travis on, in a second and then we're going to do a round room. A little bit, um, or at least, uh, everybody here has one minute to, um, summarize anything they would like to discuss.

Whether it's like, where do you see WordPress in the short term or longterm or how people can help the media community? Um, something like that, but whoops. Oh Travis, where'd you go? Oh, I guess maybe he was I'm S I feel bad now. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. Maybe he'll maybe was it? Oh, Oh, God, the rollercoaster here is killing me.

I'm sorry. Hey, I'm here. I appreciate you. No problem. I'm sorry to say, to make a brief, but I don't have much of a choice. My kids are going to wonder why I'm not picking them up. Okay, go ahead buddy. Go ahead.

[00:28:45] Travis King: It was a quick comment to what Joe was speaking on about the corporations that are trying to figure out how are we, you know, do we feel okay taking, you know, the, the, the investments and doing sponsorships and just one thought on that idea was just rethink sponsor.

Because I'm someone that's in the community. I run media platforms, I host multiple podcasts. And the biggest thing that individual hosts and community builders struggle with is finding a thousand dollars to run an event. And corporations are putting 50,000 and for one sponsorship, we put their logo on the front to blast everything. What have you broke that up into 50 small micro things and distributed to solo preneurs.

[00:29:30] David Bisset: No. Okay. Could you do me a favor? I'm going to take that. And I'm going to, I'm going to follow up with you on that on Twitter or post-test or wherever it is you live, because I would love to have another discussion about sponsorships in general.

Um, but yeah, that's a very good, it's a really good point. And I think Joe and Sarah and all the little emojis are lighting up after that. So really appreciate your comment on that, Travis. Very much. And I'm not just saying that because I'm wondering where my kids wondering where. Um, but yes, we'll also, we'll also include your Twitter handle and the post status notes.

If you don't mind, that would be great. Okay. So let's go around the, uh, so-called virtual table here. One last time. Um, you got a minute or two on whatever it is you want to comment on. Um, we're good. Let's start with you. Am I, are you good to go?

[00:30:18] Birgit Pauli-Haack: I'm good to go. Sure. Um, I see a short term, um, hard time in veterans because of the transition, um, between the classic and the Gutenberg.

And that's going to be for another two or three years, um, until everything is kind of settled. And, um, the new things is actually on par with. The other thing, but I also see in longterm that they will, uh, so much more creativity come into the space because the scenes, um, is now, uh, for designers, let things be themes and make it beautiful, make them, uh, right.

Um, in the short term, it, we need to really alleviate all the pain that comes with change. And as it comes with learning new things, and that's the hardest thing you can do in a space like this.

[00:31:09] David Bisset: Put that on a stone tablet hanging up on my wall. Cause I think that was for very well put, um, Joe, you want to bounce back to you? Um, you said, um, what you, you had a broad, you, we covered a few different things here, but in your particular space that you cover, what do you see the short term in terms of, um, businesses and then.

You know, Sass or whatever it is you want to talk about in that space for like what, the stuff that you usually cover on podcasts. If somebody asks you, what do you see the shorter longterm of WordPress in your space?

[00:31:45] Joe Howard: I think that the. Focus on running a good and competent business is never something that will get old, uh, or never something that will go out of style. Um, you know, focusing on building a good product, uh, focusing on subscription revenue, focus on, uh, getting feedback from users, making users happy and building something that users are actually.

Actively willing to pay for, you know, all these basic things. I think the, I think at the end of the day, you know, we could talk a lot about the future of the WordPress system and WordPress economy, but, um, uh, in terms of the, uh, uh, short term, uh, for folks doing that, uh, I think just keep doing good work.

Uh, and in terms of the, uh, folks doing news out there, People have already, you know, folks have already commended the folks on this panel for doing news, but I would like to commend them again for all the great news that they do. Uh, and I think that we should continue to find ways to get them more support, more resources.

Uh, you know, we have five for the future. Uh, why don't we have five for. The news. It's not a very good catch line go. So there's definitely some, I think there are ways we can do more crowdsourcing or, you know, have everybody keep be providing the folks who are already doing good work to do more good work and to support other folks who want to. Do we want full-time journalists doing this? Uh, like, you know, I want Matt to be able to go full-time on mat report.

If he, or, you know, uh, 15 his show, if he were to choose to want to do that. Um, Post status folks. I don't know if everybody at post-test is full-time, everybody should be able to go full time. Like, what do we need to do to get there that, uh, I see some, some, a hundred emojis coming up, so hopefully that people, but that should be the direction I think we should.

[00:33:42] David Bisset: Yes. Well, yeah, that's fantastic. And just to be clear, I just want to make sure this was put on the record too. Um, Ray was, was kind enough to send a video. Uh, there were probably a couple of things that she said I wasn't able to work into here, but there are so many. Other people in the WordPress news space, outside of the people in this.

And it was just it. And especially on, in other time zones, they couldn't, they couldn't make it for logistics reasons or we were, we could only invite so many people into this conversation and maybe we'll have another conversation in the future for those maybe who specialize in podcasting and newsletters, that sort of thing for similar topics because you know, general news and then there's newsletters.

And then there's podcasting. There could be different ways to explore that, but I wanted, I wanted to make sure to thank everyone who covers WordPress news out there. Not just the people in this room, um, who are mostly also podcasters as well. So some of these people have great voices that I, that I know of anyway, but I would love to hear more voices, Dan, real quick here.

What is your, um, last take?

[00:34:45] Dan Knauss: Um, I would say in, uh, you know, looking where do I, where do I see WordPress, in the big picture, short and long term, it's obviously we're, you know, something Brian Krogsgard predicted a while back, you know, period of intense consolidation and growth, but it's a big question of growth for whom and who, you know, how that pie gets gets cut up.

So there's a lot of anxiety about fragmentation - those left behind after the big fish scoop up a lot of established brands - and, and as you know, small even mid-sized and I would consider fairly large operations. They're wondering how do you, how do you compete? Is this the still the WordPress ecosystem we knew? Well no, it's always changing. So, as people exit, um, you know, that's been a question, a lot: opportunities and threats. I think those are the kind of questions that need to be asked on the business reporting side, and we need, we do need this kind of rich journalistic and news market and the ability to have these kinds of conversations and let the community feel that they have, they have some say in things. That's not exactly a prediction about the future for WordPress - it's where we are and what's needed now, to move forward. I will predict there's going to be a lot of further professionalization and WordPress companies needing to help create the kind of hires they need.

Um, you know, we've been trying to support that with our Get Hired project. How do you create a pipeline to employers and how does the community change and, and still feel like it's it's itself. Um, I guess I have more, uh, more questions really then I would, I would make predictions. I think you get a lot of both. In the e-commerce space, it's an easy prediction that big platforms, that hosting platforms will take an ever larger role.

But then you get these little startups, you know, or old timers like with Lemon Squeezy coming, coming out. I'm very interested in that. A little, disruptive, nimble play that can still possibly run circles around big established players, beating them on performance issues, by providing an alternative to platforms that you're locked into and make digital downloads really easy perhaps. Easier than ever. Um, that's, that's really an interesting play there. So I think there's always risks and opportunities. And we just need to keep, keep talking about it - as a space where anyone can get in and do great things.

[00:36:59] David Bisset: Um, as things change, um, Matt, you, did you want to respond to Daniel's question in your wrap-up or was it, or did you want it.

[00:37:07] Matt Medeiros: Yeah, no, just two super quick things to wrap up.

Um, I just want to respond to Travis who popped on super quick. He has a fantastic idea of, uh, the industry supporting what I'll call micro creators or smaller creators. Maybe people who don't have a complete platform yet. Um, I am. To be able to sell my sponsorship spots pretty quickly and fairly painlessly.

And I've done something called a content bounty at the WP minute where I've run two successful campaigns so far taking that same exact model that Travis is looking to do. Whereas if somebody wants to create a piece of content and get paid for it, I go out and grab a sponsor. For the last two, which was Paul Lacey and Michelle for chef have both earned $200 each to write their blog post.

And I'm happy to have that conversation for anyone, with anyone who wants to start, uh, as a small creator and get paid, uh, because I have the contacts and I know that we can get a smaller creators paint, uh, in this space. And

[00:38:07] David Bisset: Daniel's question real quick. And then you can give you a quick answer. Cause he's the only one that hasn't gotten the audio.

[00:38:12] Daniel Schutzsmith: Covering the news, uh, can be a thankless job. I think, uh, in a industry like ours, that's a niche. It might be even more stressful sometimes. Uh, so I wonder, you know, how can the community help you, uh, be successful? What can we do to lift you up or to help you get to the next level of where you want to take your publications?

[00:38:33] David Bisset: Okay, Matt, what's your response?

[00:38:35] Matt Medeiros: I hit the retweet button, smash the like button, subscribe to the channel. That's how the support, uh, to the content creators, give them, you know, real, uh, effective feedback, share their content, support, the voices that, uh, that you admire in the WordPress space are the ones that should be heard for sure.

Um, reach out if you're a company, a freelancer building something awesome. Reach out with a good solid pitch. Let us know why we should cover your. And, uh, be more communicative, more communicative on that side and just support us by sharing the news.

Oh, okay. Sarah, let's end with you on, on, on your one or two minute.

Take on anything you want to bring up.

[00:39:17] Sarah Gooding: I think I'll answer the question. Where do you see work rests in the short and the long-term workers is going through a transitional time right now with full site editing. There's so many moving parts. Um, that have to be brought together all at the same time, sometimes with deadlines.

Um, I think the experience of full site editing is going to be a little bit rough at first and people making WordPress. Like themes and plugins are gonna need to stay really connected to what's happening with the project because it's changing so fast and all the time, um, they might need to be ready to ride the rapids for the short term.

Um, speaking from the heart though, I think we need to really be there for each other and help each other succeed during this transitional time. But, um, as far as core development goes, WordPress, executive director, Josepha, Haden, she has her own podcast. Um, so he gives me a lot of hope for WordPress future because she.

Gracefully handling challenges and improving communication significantly across the board for the open source project, with a positive resilient kind of vibe that just tasks kids down to everybody under her leadership. So I think that even though we're going to have a lot of community challenges coming up with transitioning into full site editing, I think we have some good leadership that is going to provide transparent communication, which, um, is going to be a huge improvement for.

From previous years where I think a lot of us felt like we might've been in the dark or not sure what kinds of things are going to be happening next. Um, I think we're in a good space right now.

[00:40:51] David Bisset: Oh, actually we're in Twitter spaces, but yeah, I get your point. Okay. Well think, well that, and, and on that note, I, let me, excuse me, I'm going to punch slack in a second.

Okay. There we go. And on that. Uh, thank you very much for, um, coming today. I think this was a good, um, I learned a little bit more about how you all kind of view the WordPress news space a bit and what the challenges are and what would be helpful for everybody. So I'm looking forward to the feedback that we're going to get on this, and maybe we'll talk again.

Maybe we'll talk again on this same subject, maybe in a year with different people, um, different things to talk about. Um, maybe I'll be acquired and won't be able to talk about that, but who knows? I want to thank everybody here. I want to thank Dan. I want to think. Forget Sarah, Matt, and Joe, for, for being good sports and donating this large amount of their time.

Um, to have this discussion. I want to thank everybody here as well. Like I said, this is going to be, um, swimming, the recordings when success. Thumbs up there. Um, this will be available, um, on post dennis.com and also we are giving a copy or not giving. I mean, everyone will be able to share this throughout their news platforms because that kind of makes sense.

Um, thank you very much. And we'll look forward to, um, talking with you all again, have a good one.

02 Dec 2021 6:31am GMT

WPTavern: WordPress 5.9 Beta 1 Released with Detailed Testing Guide

WordPress 5.9 beta 1 is now available for testing. With just eight weeks remaining until the official release lands, the team is focusing on testing, an important part of the development process that will keep 5.9 on track.

Due to the great many interconnected parts of full-site editing (FSE) that will make their debut in 5.9, contributors are organizing a more coordinated testing effort and have prepared a detailed guide. It includes testing instructions for all the major features in the next release, including the template editor workflow, new theme blocks (focusing on the new Navigation Block), list view, expanded block design tools, the Gallery block refactor, Block Pattern explorer, and more general core updates.

If this is the first time you're dipping your toes in the the new FSE features, you may be wondering what it's supposed to look like. Anne McCarthy, who is co-leading testing for the release, has published several videos demonstrating the new features over the past few months. The video below is all about the new Navigation Block and another recent one explores block theme flows, styling, the patterns explorer, and more. Sometimes it's easier to get started testing if you see it working in a video first.

Version 5.9 will also introduce WordPress' first block-based default theme, Twenty Twenty-Two. Testing the theme is as easy as activating it from the Themes screen after installing 5.9 beta 1, as outlined in the testing guide:

You can test the theme by installing the Beta and activating Twenty Twenty-Two from Appearance > Themes. To report issues with the theme, you can do so here.

Just a handful of pending issues and blockers remain for 5.9, but the release already contains 580 enhancements and nearly 450 bug fixes. More beta releases are planned for December, followed by RC 1 on January 4, 2022. WordPress 5.9 is still on track to be released on January 25.

02 Dec 2021 4:00am GMT

WPTavern: One Month Left To Take the 2021 WordPress Annual Survey

Last month, Josepha Haden Chomphosy announced the annual WordPress survey. If you have not gotten around to participating, it is still open for the rest of 2021, leaving everyone another 30 days to answer.

The survey is relatively short. I finished it in 16 minutes, but I also took screenshots in case I needed to loop back to anything. There is also an optional WordPress contributors survey at the end, which took another 10 minutes to complete. However, it has more open-ended questions and could take much longer to complete for those with a lot of feedback.

The annual survey is available in the following six languages, but more may be considered for 2022:

In the announcement, Haden Chomphosy stressed the importance of participating for WordPress users and professionals:

Key takeaways and trends that emerge from this survey often find their way into the annual State of the Word address, are shared in the public project blogs, and can influence the direction and strategy for the WordPress Project.

Simply put: this survey helps those who build WordPress understand more about how the software is used, and by whom. The survey also helps leaders in the WordPress open source project learn more about our contributors' experiences."

Haden Chomphosy also announced that next year's survey would take on a new format. She did not reveal any information outside of saying the included segments and questions would be included in that format change. That is still a year out, so we will have to wait and see what it looks like.

I would welcome some changes for what feels like the same-old-same-old survey that I have responded to in much the same way. My professional usage of WordPress has changed in the last two years, so I can now answer some questions from a different perspective. But, part of me feels like I am not adding as much value as newer voices.

One of the changes I would like to see is a separation of the annual and contributor surveys. By the time I finished the first, I had mostly lost interest in the second. It would be easier to come back to the contributor survey with a fresh mind at a different time.

Haden Chomphosy also linked to a 164-page PDF of the 2020 survey results. It includes breakdowns and insights into the data.

After a poor showing for the 2019 survey results, 2020 had nearly triple the respondents and was the highest since 2015. Here is a look at the last six years, excluding 2018, of completed surveys:

Open-Ended Questions

My favorite questions from the survey are those that are open-ended. These allow people to provide unique or more nuanced answers in comparison to checkboxes and radio inputs. Of course, it can be a mess to wade through the results when you have 1,000s of replies. I tried to keep these short in the survey. However, wanted to expand a bit on some of them below.

What's the best thing about WordPress?

The community is always what is best about WordPress. You do not need to be a lead developer or a well-known business owner to make waves in the project. There are ways of contributing, making a living, or having an impact through dozens of avenues.

I started out blogging about things I learned in my development pursuits and building free plugins/themes. I never thought about whether I was making any sort of real change for the overall project. I just found a home with people who liked what I was doing. As I think back upon my early years, the WordPress community has always been welcoming.

Everyone has their own onramps into the WordPress ecosystem, and the more pathways we can carve out for other people, the better.

Select three essential plugins from the 20 most popular.

I almost feel like I am missing out. I have rarely used any plugin from the most popular list on sites I have worked on in the last few years.

Akismet is almost a given. WP Tavern uses Jetpack as an essential tool, and I have deployed it for various reasons with some builds. But, I am a bit of an outlier. I typically use stock WordPress with custom plugins. There are not many that I consider essential.

In the survey, the list was made up of September 2019's top 20 most popular plugins. I reached out to Haden Chomphosy to verify if that was the correct date. She confirmed it was and said that the list has not changed substantially since then.

For your next website project, which platform would you choose?

The available answers to this question, such as Squarespace, Medium, and Wix, seemed geared more toward end-users than professionals or developers. While they represent popular alternatives, I would also like to see how the data might look if we overhaul this question in future surveys.

What happens if we split this question between users and developers? For example, are devs also building projects on top of Laravel, Symfony, and other frameworks or technologies outside of WordPress?

02 Dec 2021 2:13am GMT

01 Dec 2021

feedWordPress Planet

HeroPress: How I Became a WordPress Evangelist in About Two Weeks

Pull Quote: I imagine I'll always come back to WordPress.

How It Started

When I first discovered WordPress, I wasn't looking to start a web design business, or build websites for other people at all. That happened many years later. I came into the WordPress-i-verse simply because I needed to build a website for myself.

Back in 2009, I was a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. I was looking for a way to develop a website to showcase my work. In the past I had always created my sites from scratch, using basic HTML and CSS. This time I needed to get a site up and running in just a week or two. I also needed it to look professional and I didn't want to learn an entirely new language. I wanted to stay as far away from back-end stuff as possible, so I could focus on the front-end design. I also wanted something low-cost and easy to maintain over time.

I know, right? Why didn't I also ask for a flying car and a Star Trek food generator while I was at it? I knew it was a tall order, but I started hunting the internet anyway.

First, I tried out a couple of different CMS tools like Joomla and Drupal, but I found them too complex for what I needed at that moment. Then, going completely in the other direction, I messed around with uber easy builder platforms like Wix and Weebly. It was fun to design and build on those platforms, but I didn't like the branded options. I couldn't be sure that even if I did pay for the non-branded option, the platforms would still be around in the years to come (Spoiler alert: they are. Oh well).

Then, I stumbled upon WordPress.

At first, I thought WordPress would be similar to Drupal so I didn't get my hopes up. I was completely prepared to keep looking under internet rocks to find a better solution. But like the intrepid little tech monster I am, I went ahead and installed it on my domain. The first thing I noticed was that the dashboard was well-organized and super intuitive. I could quickly get into settings and configure things as I needed. It was also easy to figure out what Themes and Plugins were without expending too much brainpower, which is always very precious in my head.

Because my site was brand new and unknown beyond my home office, I had the luxury of building things and tearing them down again without fear of visitors getting confused (what visitors?). I experimented with different plugins and explored several ways of setting up a gallery of my work. I felt a little like a mad scientist. Rather than wireframe a site and build with a solid plan, I allowed myself to create willy-nilly. I think that's ultimately what got me hooked on WordPress. I didn't sit down with a step-by-step manual, I sort of dove in and geeked out on messing things up and failing often.

I had nothing to lose, which sometimes is the best way to explore a new system.

Eventually, I did buckle down and create a more solid layout plan. I also did get into the back-end more than I intended, and it turns out I enjoyed that quite a bit. After a couple of weeks, my site was "ready for prime time" and I started sending out the link to art directors. Periodically - and somewhat randomly - I tweaked things according to what I thought wasn't working for the visitors I wanted and what might work better.

After that first site, I slowly built more WordPress sites for myself, my family, and my friends. Every time I learned something new and every time I solidified my love for WordPress.

After 12 years using WordPress I've gone back to developing a solid plan before creating a new site. Even though I don't use traditional wireframing for WordPress sites, I still draw up little layout sketches so at least I know where I'm headed. WordPress is so familiar to me now that I no longer spend time experimenting with basic stuff. However, I still enjoy breaking things now and then just to keep my skills sharp.

What I Love About WordPress

It's hard to choose just one reason that I still love building sites in WordPress. From the intuitive dashboard menu to the thousands of plugins that help me (almost infinitely) expand what I can do with my site, there's just so much to keep me in the ecosystem.

There's the global WordPress community that has taught me - and saved me many times - throughout the years. I can't count how many posts I've combed through in the wordpress.org support forums, looking for that one little nugget of information that would fix something I completely borked on the first try. Now that I know more about what I'm doing, I've been able to pay it forward by helping others to do the same. There's also the vast community of WordPress users on Twitter, many with whom I've developed solid friendships over the years.

However, if I were tied to a chair and threatened to be devoured by wolverines unless I gave just one answer, it would be that I own my content.

Open-source is fascinating to me. Community-developed tech is always my first choice when it comes to software and hardware. It's not always a practical choice, because I do have to work with other humans around the globe. So my primary working laptop is a Mac. But using and supporting platforms like WordPress is incredibly important to me because I believe the more we do that the more we retain the ability to own what we create.

There are always the people who will say, "WordPress is dead." They were saying it in 2009, yet here we still are. I don't believe WordPress is dying anytime soon, mostly because of the open-source, community-driven nature of the platform.

Is it for everyone? No. There are people I encounter today who I'll steer towards SquareSpace or Wix. Usually, those are the ones who I get a sense just need things to work without trying very hard and need the kind of tech support you get from a mega-company like Apple or Microsoft. To them, WordPress was probably dead on arrival, but I don't worry about that. The kind of people who get into using WordPress are the scrappier, "I'm-going-to-figure-this-out-if-it-kills-me" types.

Count me in that category.

How I Use WordPress Now

Over the last couple of years, I've expanded my knowledge of PHP, MySQL, and CSS to the point where I can make a WordPress site do pretty much anything I want. I've set up WooCommerce stores, photo galleries, membership sites, news feed sites, and business directories. I've learned to customize pages using CSS, bending layouts to my will and whimsy.

WordPress, like most software, is always evolving. Some people hate those evolutions, others merely tolerate it, but I love it. I admit that I'm not always thrilled with each change as they're launched - in fact, sometimes I'm downright dumbfounded - but as a whole I feel that change is good.

For example, when Gutenberg blocks were introduced, I did everything I could, as long as I could, to keep designing and posting using the classic editor. After taking a break developing websites for a few years, I came back to Gutenberg. This time, I chained myself to my desk and forced myself to learn it completely, instead of skimming around the edges. Now I can't imagine designing without Gutenberg.

I also very recently discovered WP CLI. I'm a bash geek from way back, so when I learned that I could use CLI commands to update my WordPress sites over ssh, I squealed like an 11-year old. I'm currently managing about 20 different sites on one of my host's servers. I can easily log in remotely using my terminal and update plugins, themes and the core. I've found that it's much faster than clicking around the dashboard and it satisfies some of my command line urges.

It's only been in the last few years that I've started running a business centered around WordPress. I started taking on clients slowly, mostly managing the backend and host issues, as well as updating plugins and themes. I find that I do much less actual design and development than I do consulting and playing Tech Support. I've also found a niche in writing about WordPress for media outlets and other developers, which is very satisfying to both my brain and ego - as well as my bank balance.

I've spent a lot of time here gushing about WordPress. I do love it, but I also see the flaws and have an extensive list of I wish they would… in my mental notebook. I even - gasp - develop sites without WordPress, even blogs. And though I stray from time to time, I imagine I'll always come back to WordPress.

01 Dec 2021 4:00pm GMT

WPTavern: Ask the Bartender: Should I Use a Page Builder or Wait for Block Themes?

As a non-developer, I honestly don't know what direction to take my WordPress site anymore.

I used to rely on themes and even bought some premium ones, but over time, I'd outgrow them. As an artist myself, I prefer having control over every aspect of my website, from its layout, colors, to its fonts. Thus, I turned to page builders.

I tried Elementor Pro, but it was frustrating how it was so difficult to create more advanced layouts without exponentially increasing the DOM size of the page. I had to install several Elementor plugins just to get the job done, but then it also made the site slower. Elementor would also often conflict with Gutenberg block styles since I used the block editor for writing posts.

There's Oxygen, which I've heard great reviews of, but its learning curve is too much for me. I also couldn't get used to themes being completely disabled, as I relied heavily on child themes, knowing a bit of CSS.

Now, there's this whole Gutenberg uprising. FSE is the future, but I cannot adapt at all. Not to mention that there aren't that many FSE themes out there yet.

I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I don't know if I should take the theme route, the page builder route, or the Gutenberg route. If I take either of the first two, I fear they may become obsolete or incompatible in future versions of WordPress as Gutenberg is further developed. And if I take the Gutenberg route right now, I don't really have much options yet. As it is, Gutenberg doesn't seem to have any built-in ways of displaying custom meta fields like those from ACF. I don't want to turn to another premium plugin for it, either.

How much longer is Gutenberg's development going to take before ordinary but semi-advanced users like me can actually make use of it? What's actually the best route to take in WordPress right now, a time when a lot of groundbreaking changes are constantly being rolled out?


Before diving too deep into this, I want to clarify some terminology for readers. Some of the above uses of "Gutenberg" refer to site editing, a feature landing in the January release of WordPress 5.9. However, to use the site editor, users will need to activate a block theme. Currently, there are not many to choose from simply because this technology is under development.

You are not alone in wondering when we will move beyond what is a seemingly never-ending transitional phase. We are only now getting to some of the features touted three or four years ago when I was a full-time theme author. I am neck-deep in the development side of all this daily, so I can only imagine what it is like for non-developers.

The question is tough to answer without a hyper-specific use case. And, the right solution for one person will not always be ideal for another. There are questions of time, resources, budget, etc.

I only like the page-builder route if you are crunched for time and have a business riding on this. In the short term, Elementor and others make a lot of sense for getting something up and running fast while also giving you design freedom, assuming you have gotten past the learning curve. If this is the case, there is nothing wrong with going in this direction. I do not see builders disappearing anytime soon.

Finding an ideal theme can take a lot of searching. Typically, I recommend end-users look for a design that matches at least the overall layout that they want. Colors, fonts, and other stylistic pieces of it are generally easy to change. The average theme nowadays has options for essentially "skinning" the website.

The second part of this is whether you only want control over the global design or if you want to customize the layout for the inner pages of the site too. For the latter, you need something that supports the current WordPress features.

If you are looking for something sooner rather than later, I would go with a theme that supports block editor styles, bundles several custom patterns, and includes a "blank canvas" template for building landing pages. This route gives you something that is forward-looking but does not rely on third-party builders. Many of these theme authors are already preparing for or building block themes for WordPress 5.9 and beyond.

I am partial to the Eksell theme by Anders Norén. He also has a block theme named Tove that is more flexible.

Eksell theme homepage.

Be skeptical of themes that only have block editor styles. I have seen enough that only add some custom CSS for a few blocks and call it a day. It is nothing more than another bullet point for their marketing material.

If you can afford to wait a couple of months, you should keep an eye on the upcoming Twenty Twenty-Two theme. It is one of the most beautifully-designed default themes I have seen, but it also has a ton of room for customization. Currently, it has over 60 custom patterns, so that gives you a lot of layout options. I expect this block theme to set the bar that all others must rise to.

Twenty Twenty-Two color and font variations.

There is one area where page builders excel in comparison to WordPress at the moment. And that is with horizontal layouts. When creating flexible columns or grids for all screen sizes, the block editor falls short. While the block system's tools have improved, this gap will not close for a while.

I mentioned patterns being one of the primary components more than once. If a theme offers a solid set of block patterns that focus on layout variations, piecing together a site can sometimes be as easy as pointing and clicking the mouse.

If you need to do some heavy work with layout, there are several block-based grid plugins. When I have needed such a tool, I have almost exclusively relied on the Layout Grid Block by Automattic. It performs this one job and does it well. The plugin bridges the gap between page builders and the block editor when coupled with a well-designed theme.

Everything comes down to timing. You don't want to build your site on top of one system only to recreate the entire thing from scratch six months from now. For that reason alone, I would forego page builders altogether, except where time is limited. Give block themes like the upcoming Twenty Twenty-Two some time to come into their own.

01 Dec 2021 12:12am GMT

30 Nov 2021

feedWordPress Planet

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.9 Beta 1

WordPress 5.9 Beta 1 is now available for testing!

This version of the WordPress software is under development. You don't want to run this version on a production site. Instead, it is recommended that you run this on a test site. This will allow you to test out the new version.

You can test the WordPress 5.9 Beta 1 in three ways:

The current target for the final release is January 25, 2022, which is just eight weeks away. Your help testing this version is vital to make sure the release is as good as it can be.

Check the Make WordPress Core blog for 5.9-related developer notes in the coming weeks which will break down all upcoming changes in greater detail.

How You Can Help - Testing!

Testing for bugs is a critical part of polishing the release in the beta stage. It is also a great way to contribute. If you've never tested a beta release before, this detailed guide will help walk you through what and how to test.

If you think you've found a bug, please report it to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. If you're comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac. That's also where you can find a list of known bugs.

To see every feature in the Gutenberg releases since WordPress 5.8, check out the What's New In Gutenberg posts for 10.8, 10.9, 11.0, 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, 11.4, 11.5, 11.6, 11.7, 11.8, and 11.9.

Beyond the noted changes, which include 580 enhancements and nearly 450 bug fixes, contributors have fixed 297 tickets for WordPress 5.9, including 110 new features and enhancements. More fixes are on the way.

Happy testing!

Want to know what's new in version 5.9? Read on for some highlights.

Full Site Editing

The Styles Interface

Combine all the features that went live in 5.8 with those making their entrance in 5.9, and you get Full Site Editing.

Formerly known as Global Styles, the Styles Interface lets you interact directly with your blocks and elements right in the WordPress Admin. From typography to color palettes, this cohesive design interface means a design change-even a dramatic one-can happen without a theme switch. No code needed.


Introduced in WordPress 5.8, theme.json has been improved to enable features and default styles for your site and its blocks. With 5.9, theme.json can support child themes and the duotone treatment. Coordinate layers of style with theme.json, taking the weight off of your theme's required CSS.

Other features supported by theme.json include:

A New Navigation Block

Welcome to the most intuitive way to build navigation: the Navigation Block.

Here are the features that need testing the most:

A Better Gallery Block

What if you could treat single images in your Gallery Block the same way you treat the Image Block? Now you can.

Make every image in your gallery different from the next, with inline cropping or a duotone and change layouts with the ease of drag and drop. With the improved gallery block, every image is its own Image block.

One thing to note: Have you built a plugin or theme on the Gallery Block functionality? Be sure to review this Dev Note, which details what you need to do for compatibility.

Focused Template Part Mode

Building template parts can take a level of focus all its own because you're making decisions for the entire site. So WordPress 5.9 adds a focus mode that shows you only the part you're working on right now (and you can get back to the regular view with a keystroke).

Block Pattern Directory

The Pattern Directory offers a range of prebuilt block patterns, from a couple of blocks that show an image and text, to an entire page layout with columns and sections. Since the 5.8 release, the directory has become a hub for exploratory UI and patterns, taking submissions and offering them to the community. So now, your creation can help other people build out their perfect site.

Twenty Twenty-Two Default Theme

A whole new way of building WordPress themes.

WordPress 5.9 introduces features that make Full Site Editing possible, including the first default block theme.

Using minimal CSS, theme styles reside in theme.json so that you can configure them in the Styles interface of the WordPress Admin. Make this theme take on its own personality site-wide, with a wide array of color schemes, type combinations, page templates, premade components (forms), and image treatments to choose from.

More Improvements and Updates

Props to @chanthaboune, @priethor, @psykro, @annezazu, @webcommsat, @marybaum, @hellofromtonya, @davidbaumwald, and @rmartinezduque for their research and copy.

30 Nov 2021 11:35pm GMT

WordPress.org blog: People of WordPress: Devin Maeztri

In this series, we share some of the inspiring stories of how WordPress and its global network of contributors can change people's lives for the better. This month we feature a translator and campaigner who uses WordPress to highlight good causes and helps people in her area benefit from the open source platform.

Devin pictured with one of her cats

Going to a WordCamp can be a life-changing experience, as Devin Maeztri discovered. Every event she attends is a further step on a journey of discovering the WordPress community and its many opportunities.

"It is not that hard to fall for WordPress if you have a chance to experience WordPress. For me, it took a WordCamp."

Devin Maeztri

Devin's first experience with camps came when she volunteered impromptu at an Indonesian event, WordCamp Denpasar, Bali in 2016.

Here, she made a profound discovery: "WordCamps can bring people who will give back to the community, even if they don't get anything from WordPress directly."

With every WordCamp after that first experience, she became more interested in WordPress and the community.

Over time, Devin found she wanted to be part of WordPress events more often. She became a regular at Meetups in Ubud and Jakarta, joining as a co-organizer at WordCamp Jakarta in 2017 and 2019. Later, she took on the role of co-organizer for Meetups in Jakarta and Ubud.

Smitten by what WordCamps can offer and how they can bring people together across national borders, she joined the organizing team for WordCamp Asia 2020. Sadly, this event was to become the first major WordPress event to be cancelled in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Naturally, Devin hopes WordCamp Asia will happen someday very soon. Beyond the expected WordPress learning and sharing that event will promote, she believes its very scale will showcase how WordCamps add international tourism and cultural understanding everywhere they take place.

Devin pictured with other WordCamp Asia organizers who attended WordCamp Europe in 2019WordCamp Asia 2020 Organizers at WordCamp Europe 2019. Devin is pictured in the front row, second from left. Photo Credit: Abha Thakor

Showing how WordPress can be used locally

After experiencing several events, Devin had questions: "At WordCamps and Meetups, you hear stories about how WordPress powers the web. How it changes the lives of so many people, how it helps dreams come true. It made me think, considering WordPress is that powerful, why are there not even more people in Indonesia using websites, and more using WordPress? Why aren't more talented Indonesian WordPress users, developers, designers, and business owners taking part in WordPress.org projects? Language, for me, was the main answer."

The solution Devin felt was to make WordPress available in the main local language. She said: "I believe, the more content translated into Indonesian, the more Indonesian WordPress users see WordPress as more than just a blogging platform or a content management system. They will realize it's a huge open source community that works together to make the web a better place. The more plugins and themes translated, the easier the work of the developer and designer will be. The more people see how WordPress can enhance their life, the better the ecosystem for business owners becomes."

Encouraging others to translate WordPress

After talking with others about how WordPress could be even more useful in Indonesia, Devin felt she had to make a personal commitment to reviving the polyglot project in Indonesia. With another volunteer contributor and through promotion, the local polyglot team got bigger and the interest in translation grew. She also took on the responsibility of a General Translation Editor for the language.

Polyglot nominatee - Devin Maeztri

Through the efforts of Devin and the other translation editors, Indonesia took part in WordPress Translation Day in 2020, and in 2021 held sprints and learning sessions spanning the whole 30 days of the event.

Her enthusiasm and dedication to helping others translate WordPress locally and promoting the global community were recognized in the Polyglot Appreciation Nominations for 2021.

Helping to give access to more diverse audiences

Through her involvement in translation, Devin noticed there were not many women involved in the WordPress community in Indonesia. Often, she found herself the only woman at an event.

So, along with a couple of community members, she started Perempuan WordPress, a local initiative. This group is open for everyone to join, but prioritizes women as event speakers.

Devin has gone on to support the work of the Diversity Speaker Training group in the Community Team, translating materials and promoting initiatives in Indonesia. She is keen to encourage others to get involved with this initiative which helps increase the diversity of presenters at Meetups and WordCamps.

Organizing at WordCamp Jakarta 2019

In her professional roles, Devin is an advocate for WordPress as a tool for people with a wide variety of skill sets. She does not code, but uses the platform extensively for her projects. In 2014, she signed up for a free account on WordPress.com to keep and share notes about what she saw or was thinking about as she commuted on public transport to work. This site did not turn into a blog, but instead introduced her to other opportunities and the vast capabilities of the platform.

WordPress can support your skills and passions

With a background in environmental activism, Devin has worked for international development organizations on everything from policymaking to campaigning.

Behind the desk, she worked with policymakers and organized conferences and meetings. That meant doing a lot of writing and translating and working with people on the ground who were impacted by the policies. "My work on the ground usually involved researching, movement building and community empowerment," she noted.

Her work with events inspired Devin to get involved in WordCamps and Meetups and share her energy for making things happen. As in her professional work, she felt WordPress was an opportunity to work and share with people about something that can make a positive impact on someone else's life.

"For me, everything comes from the heart. I do things that I feel so strongly about. Things that call me, and things that I am good at but still giving me room to learn and become better at. WordPress can be the perfect place for this."

While she was between jobs, Devin was encouraged to volunteer at WordCamp Denpasar 2016. With some help, she created an online CV. She also learned to manage a WordPress site, navigate the wp-admin, and make the content appeal to potential employers.

She eventually got a job as a campaigner to build a movement online and offline. The brainchild of many university friends in America, who used digital campaigns to go global, the campaign used WordPress.

Devin worked alongside a digital campaigner and helped shape the content, the call to action, and the user experience. She also had to use the wp-admin to make some amendments. As a global movement, it developed its resources in English, so she also reviewed the work of the translators she worked with.

One of Devin's cats watches the WPTranslationDay 2021 livestreamed events.Devin's cat became a regular on social media posts about #WPTranslationDay 2021

She left her job as a campaigner at the end of 2018 to concentrate on freelancing - and to spend more of her free time contributing to the WordPress community. She also took up the initiative to help street cats in Jakarta.

Devin said: "So, I am busy helping these cats but also learning how to fundraise using a website. I'm learning to use online forms, set up a payment service provider, work on SEO, and do other new things I need to learn to grow my initiative. I do have the privilege to learn directly from a personal guru. The same person who convinced me to volunteer at WordCamp Denpasar, and who I married in 2018."

WordPress gives everyone a chance to learn

Devin was so enthused by being a contributor for WordPress, she took part in the video shorts following the Translation Day events.

Devin talks about translating in this short video (opens in a new tab on YouTube)

She is also active in other Contributor Teams and decided to become a Community Team Deputy to support meetups in new cities across Indonesia and perhaps future WordCamps.

She said: "One of the things that I like about WordPress is that it is very welcoming and open to people like me, who don't code at all. At the same time, it shows me a different way of looking at the world."

Devin believes in the power of WordPress to give 'everyone a chance to learn new things' and allows her to contribute and share her knowledge and experience. "By contributing, I hope to make a difference in someone's life. I hope they feel the benefit of using WordPress and want to give back to create a healthier WordPress community."


Thank you to Abha Thakor (@webcommsat) and Mary Baum (@marybaum) for the interviews and writing this feature, and to Devin Maeztri (@devinmaeztri) for sharing her story. Thanks to Meher Bala (@meher) for work on the images, and to Chloé Bringmann (@cbringmann) and Collieth Clarke (@callye) for proofing.

Thanks to Josepha Haden Chomphosy (@chanthaboune) and Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe) for their support for the series.

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

30 Nov 2021 10:21pm GMT