22 Sep 2017

feedWordPress Planet

WPTavern: WordPress Explores a JavaScript Framework-Agnostic Approach to Building Gutenberg Blocks

photo credit: found_drama E.'s pirate town - (license)

The discussion regarding WordPress' JavaScript framework selection continues in the #core-js Slack channel ahead of next week's meeting. One of the more recent topics is the possibility of framework-agnostic block rendering for Gutenberg, which would allow developers to extend the new editor using any JS library they prefer. This means that Gutenberg blocks, which are colloquially referred to as "Gutenblocks," could be built with Vue, React, Preact, Angular, or whatever the developer feels comfortable using.

Proponents of this idea contend that pursuing a more flexible approach makes WordPress' core JS framework decision less critical. While answering questions on the #core-js channel, Gary Pendergast explained how Gutenberg could be built to maintain the separation.

"I'm really not joking when I say that this decision doesn't matter, even for people contributing to Gutenberg," Pendergast said. "In #2463, the library is treated entirely as a utility library, much like we use lodash, for example. It performs a handful of tasks, and it can be relatively easily pulled out and replaced with something entirely different, with no disruption to the rest of the codebase. For people contributing to Gutenberg, they're contributing in the Gutenberg coding style, not the style of whatever library we happen to import."

When asked about a timeline for when the decision will be made and what factors are being considered, Pendergast replied that there is no timeline and that those interested in participating should blog about their experiences and write examples of things they can build with the JS frameworks they are familiar with.

"There is neither roadmap, nor timeline, nor does there need to be," Pendergast said. "As Matt mentioned, it's really just a technical decision - the important decision for the wider community was choosing 'not React.' Unfortunately, this decision has been blown way out of proportion, and heavily conflated with 'what JS library will I be able to build my plugins with?' and sometimes 'what JS library's practices will Gutenberg blocks resemble?,' neither of which are related. Tweets and posts that treat it like a horse race are not helpful in this way."

Pendergast said whatever library is selected will "continue to be wrapped by the WordPress element, the underlying library won't be exposed." The Gutenberg team is working to remove all library dependencies from its components so that plugin developers can use any library they choose.

However, other community members are not so eager to relegate the JS library selected for core to a simple technical decision or utility library.

"Most developers understand that their plugins are not bound by the framework chosen for core/Gutenberg," Kevin Hoffman said. "But that doesn't diminish the significance of the decision. If we want to encourage more contributors, we'd be well served to choose a framework in which a significant majority feel capable and confident. If this majority is out there developing plugins with one framework and has to learn another in order to contribute to core, then we're limiting the number of potential contributors."

Peter Booker contends that no matter how elegant Gutenberg's separation is, having a decent understanding of the library chosen for core affects a developers' ability to deeply troubleshoot certain issues.

"I do not think we should be so dismissive of the choice as a minor technical decision," Booker said. "Understanding how PHP, JavaScript, and Backbone (among other things) work is essential to be able to properly debug problems with WordPress. The JS framework chosen for Gutenberg is going to impact a great many people, even if we are not core contributors. It will be essential knowledge to be able to fully troubleshoot issues. This is a decision which will impact far more people than just the Gutenberg team."

What are the implications of providing a flexible, framework-agnostic approach to building Gutenblocks?

Jason Bahl asked if anyone has tried mixing React, Preact, Vue, and Angular in a single app to see if it is "a recipe for a performance nightmare." He posed an example scenario wherein Gravity Forms builds Vue-based Gutenblocks, Yoast has React-based blocks, WooCommerce builds blocks with Preact, and another plugin uses Ember.

"It sounds kind of nice to be flexible and allow folks to use whatever but also like it could lead to a lot of division on best practices, and potentially performance issues," Bahl said. "We'll see tutorials pop up for how to build Gutenblocks in Vue, React, Preact, Ember, Vanilla JS, etc., which would be cool to see, but also confusing and potentially cause further divide in the community and accepted best practices. Flexibility is nice to a degree, but a strong opinion at some level is also good."

Carl Hancock, co-founder of Gravity Forms, contends that offering a framework-agnostic approach to building Gutenblocks will have little influence on developers who are extending the project. The decision cannot be made less critical by offering more flexibility, because developers will inevitably adopt whatever WordPress core uses.

"People are going to end up adopting whatever core uses for the most part despite the rainbows and butterflies some are claiming as it relates to creating an abstraction layer so plugin/theme developers can use whatever they want," Hancock said. "Which means however complex that core framework ends up being will have a direct impact on the barrier to entry for plugin and theme developers. That barrier to entry has been historically low to date and a direct contributor to the growth of WordPress as a self-hosted CMS. Dramatically raising that barrier to entry isn't necessarily a bad thing. For example, Gravity Forms will use Preact, Vue, whatever, because we have the manpower and skillset to do so when we can finally decide to do so once core makes it's decision."

WordPress' Opportunity to Advance the Web

WordPress currently powers 28% of all websites, according to W3 Techs, and whatever framework it chooses will make a major impact on which library many developers decide to learn in order to extend the software and advance their careers.

Matías Ventura, one of the technical leads on the Gutenberg project, encouraged participants in the discussion to look at the bigger picture and embrace the opportunity to work together and collaborate on a solution for WordPress that will advance the web. The team's efforts to collaborate with representatives from competing frameworks stands apart in an ecosystem that is generally fragmented and fractious.

"I'm excited about the opportunity we have to advance web development in terms of JavaScript UI representation, in a similar way to how WordPress was a driving force for web standards during the past decade," Ventura said. "That's also where I see us having a responsibility as a project, as people will continue to learn web development through WP. Many people have been introduced to PHP through WordPress, originally just interacting with WP functions and APIs, eventually diving a bit more deeply into the language as needed. I do see our core remaining close to JS the language, as that gives the most meaningful tool to learn, spanning across all frameworks and libraries."

Ventura assured participants in the ongoing discussion that the Gutenberg team is listening and working towards a solution that will push the web forward.

"We are absolutely aware that how we build and what we offer through Gutenberg is going to affect the dev community and we are not taking this lightly-quite the opposite," Ventura said. "I've been talking with Evan (Vue) and Jason (Preact) because rather than having a 'choose your framework' contest, this seems an opportunity to collaborate and push the web forwards."

22 Sep 2017 10:26pm GMT

WPTavern: DonateWC Reaches Fundraising Goal

DonateWC, an initiative focused on providing less fortunate people an opportunity to attend large WordCamps has reached its fundraising goal of 1,000€. Ines van Essen expressed gratitude and appreciation for the donations. "The responses and feedback that have come in during the past week have been overwhelming," She said.

"I can't believe we can already move to legalizing things and actually getting things done. Lesson learned: do not spend two years thinking about something you could maybe do at some point in the future. The time is now, and it's time to change some lives."

DonateWC Reaches Fundraising Goal

Essen confirmed that Automattic is not affiliated with the initiative although quite a few of her colleagues are supportive of the idea. "Everyone can do something to help another community member," She said. "Whether that's buying someone a meal, sharing a ride, or even sharing a room. DonateWC is a big picture thing, but there's so many other things you can do to help under privileged groups."

Essen hopes to have the non-profit and other legal aspects of the project taken care of in time to sponsor at least one person to WordCamp US. Part of the funds will be used to pay someone to design a logo and for social media marketing. If you're interested in helping out with the project, please get in touch.

22 Sep 2017 12:13am GMT

21 Sep 2017

feedWordPress Planet

WPTavern: WordCamp for Publishers Videos Now Available on YouTube

WordCamp for Publishers, held last month at The Denver Post building, was the first niche WordCamp to be focused around a specific industry. The event was designed for people who use WordPress to manage publications and also to encourage collaboration among project maintainers who build open source tools for publishers.

In addition to hands-on technical workshops, the schedule included a variety of publishing-related topics, such as monetization, content distribution, newsletter tools, and print and digital workflows.

"The schedule prompted a great deal of learning and discussion that extended well beyond the content typically found at a regional WordCamp," attendee Maura Teal said. "One of the best aspects of this conference was chatting with other developers and leaders involved in media on the web. There were multiple sessions and hallway discussions that brought intriguing solutions to the table. My primary takeaway was that there certainly needs to be more WordCamps of this kind - that is, focused on a niche but still rooted in community."

The unique format of the event offered more small group opportunities than a traditional WordCamp does for learning, asking questions, and collaborating around tools and strategies that directly relate to publishers.

"WordCamp for Publishers was not your average or typical WordCamp," attendee Dwayne McDaniel said. "It felt a lot more like WPCampus insofar as the general mood and feeling I got from the participants. Getting to see folks from competing media companies openly discussing how to solve their common challenges, I learned a whole lot and I am grateful to have had the chance to learn about the publishing space."

Videos for all of the sessions held in the auditorium are now available in a YouTube playlist. They will also be uploaded to WordPress.tv in the near future. Organizer Steph Yiu said the event was so successful that they are already planning next year's conference. Anyone interested in volunteering or donating a venue can get in touch with the organizing team.

21 Sep 2017 6:53pm GMT

WPTavern: Apply Filters Podcast to be Retired after 83 Episodes

Brad Touesnard and Pippin Williamson are retiring from podcasting. Their bi-weekly show Apply Filters, a favorite podcast among WordPress developers, will go off the air after publishing its 83rd episode. The hosts have not yet revealed why they are retiring but plan to share more details in the final episode.

We'll answer that next week during the episode! :)

- Apply Filters (@applyfilters) September 20, 2017

Apply Filters focused primarily on development and technical topics but also provided a wealth of information on business models, pricing, and marketing in the WordPress product ecosystem. The first episode aired August 15, 2013, just after the Heartbeat API was introduced in WordPress 3.6.

The show's imminent retirement was announced on Twitter today to the disappointment of its many loyal fans. According to the information available on the sponsors page, each episode was receiving more than 2,000 downloads in the first three months after publishing. Roughly 54% of the audience identified as developers.

During the past six months, the frequency of the episodes had slowed to once per month. I wouldn't be surprised if the hosts became too busy to keep up with the show, as they both lead successful WordPress product businesses. Touesnard and Williamson plan to record one final mailbag episode before retiring the show indefinitely and are inviting listeners to send in any last questions.

21 Sep 2017 3:54am GMT

WPTavern: New Core Gallery Widget Targeted for WordPress 4.9

The Core Media Widgets feature plugin introduced a gallery widget in the 0.2.0 release this week. WordPress 4.8 added the new audio, image, and video widgets from this feature plugin. The gallery widget is targeted for merge into the upcoming WordPress 4.9 release.

In testing the new feature I found it to be a simple, straightforward implementation of a gallery widget that could easily replace many plugins that are currently filling this need for users. The option to edit or replace a gallery is immediately available and users can easily rearrange or randomize the images included.

On the frontend the gallery displays neatly in a thumbnail grid. I was able to change the number of columns while editing the gallery, but the preview in the admin did not match the the way the gallery looks on the frontend. The number of columns is correct on the frontend but not in the admin preview. This might cause some confusion for users if it isn't fixed before landing in core. Contributors to the plugin are looking at this issue.

Overall, the implementation is user-friendly and similar to adding galleries in posts and pages. However, the widget could still use some testing, especially with different plugins installed. For example, with Jetpack enabled, users can choose between a thumbnail and a slideshow gallery, but the slideshow option doesn't seem to work correctly in the widget. WordPress.org has several hundred plugins that implement some sort of gallery widget and these plugin authors will want to test the new core widget.

Theme authors will also need to test how the core gallery widget interacts with their themes. After testing the gallery widget with several popular WordPress.org themes, I found that many display the thumbnails with unsightly outlines and unpredictable spacing between images.

Weston Ruter, who authored the dev note post when the previous media widgets were introduced in 4.8, said that the paragraph regarding default theme updates is still applicable:

Themes that add custom styles to the MediaElement.js player (namely Twenty Thirteen and Twenty Fourteen) were updated from just styling it within syndicated content, to also include instances within widgets. Most themes don't restrict styles for captioned images or media players to just post content, that is, limit CSS selectors to classes output by post_class(). If your theme does, make sure to either remove that constraint or include a .widget selector.

Ruter said another dev note will be coming with common theme changes that are required to add the right styling for galleries. Users and theme/plugin developers can test the gallery widget right now on 4.8.2 or 4.9-alpha using the Core Media Widgets plugin. Once the widget is added to WordPress, it will be deactivated in the feature plugin for future releases. Contributors plan to merge the new widget into core next week, provided testing goes well.

21 Sep 2017 12:35am GMT

20 Sep 2017

feedWordPress Planet

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 288 – No React.js Framework for Gutenberg

While I was supposed to be on vacation last week, I instead had surgery for a broken ankle. Tune in to hear the hilarious explanation on how I broke it. The lesson I learned is to not chase animals out of the yard.

John James Jacoby and I discuss the news of the week, including a major decision where Gutenberg will not be written in React due to a patent clause in its license. Other topics include, blind speaker selection for WordCamp US, bbPress performance improvements, and our picks of the week.

Stories Discussed:

Equifax Launches WordPress-Powered Site for Consumers Affected by Security Breach
SWFUpload Will Officially Be Removed From WordPress
WordPress.org Adds New Support Rep Role for Plugin Pages
Display Widgets Plugin Permanently Removed from WordPress.org Due to Malicious Code
WordPress Abandons React due to Patents Clause, Gutenberg to be Rewritten with a Different Library
DonateWC Aims to Provide Travel Sponsorships to Attend Large WordCamps

Picks of the Week:

WordPress Global Translation day is next Saturday, September 30th. Twenty-four hours dedicated to translating the WordPress ecosystem through sessions, training marathons, and local events.

Local by Flywheel is software that easily creates a local environment for WordPress development.

From the folks behind GiveWP, Give Live is a series of webinars for the community.

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, September 27th 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Itunes: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via RSS: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Stitcher Radio: Click here to subscribe

Listen To Episode #288:

20 Sep 2017 10:13pm GMT

HeroPress: What I Do Does Not Define Who I Am

Pull Quote: I became completely inspired by the mission of WordPress. I had become a part of something bigger than myself.

The first time I ever made a WordPress site, I got 180,000 views in 2 days, 253 comments, and (give or take) 7 death threats.

It was 2014 and I was working on an MBA at Florida State University during the peak of the Jameis Winston controversy, where a football quarterback was accused of rape and protected from prosecution by the university and local police. I had used WordPress before, but not a lot. But, in true democratizing publishing, giving a voice to the voiceless fashion, when I had something I wanted to say, I knew just the thing to get it out there with minimal know-how: a free, single page WordPress.com site.

I had just returned to Florida from a summer in New York City. To my amazement, I got the life-changing opportunity, paid for by the university's College of Social Sciences paid, to go up there for a summer of exploration in the social entrepreneurship and technology circles after pitching Florida State on a concept for financial education.

Beginning the Journey

I had become interested in financial education around the age of 16, when my family became homeless for a month. My mom hadn't been able to make the rent, so we got kicked out, and then couldn't find an apartment easily due to my mom's lack of credit. Later, I started working at a major commercial bank and met hundreds, if not thousands, of people in similar situations (and saw the ways in which major commercial banks don't help these people, but that's a different conversation).

Imagine having been homeless at 16. Then, 6 years later, you're attending graduate school, funded by the university, and that same university also paid for you to live in the country's most expensive place for 3 months so that you could learn about executing your ideas on how to make a positive difference through technology entrepreneurship.

You would probably be overcome with gratefulness. But you would also likely be extremely protective of the people making such a thing possible.

Now imagine, that while Florida State University's programs making such an impact on you, a football player's actions are driving the narrative of this place you want to be proud of.

Imagine me, telling the story I just told you, and watching people connect the dots between what institution was making all of this possible for me, and what they had heard of it. "Oh, my God, with the quarterback that raped that girl?" they would say.

I would link you to the page I created, but quite honestly, it wasn't a lot more than a profanity-laden rant (of admittedly epic proportions). But, it got a reaction: she needs to shut the f**k up. She's completely right. She's an "attention-seeking whore!". She's the story we should be focusing on. She's just upset her Kickstarter campaign failed.

There it was: WordPress had amplified my voice, and everyone else's, too.

Finding WordPress Business

Today, I'm the lesser-known half of Caldera Labs, makers of Caldera Forms, a top drag-and-drop form building plugin for WordPress. A few weeks ago, we got a one-star review on WordPress.org that called me out by name: "their team is useless, especially Christie Chirinos." I received caring notes from several seasoned WordPress product developers, reassuring me that these things happen and I ought to not take it personally. "It's not the first time someone's been mean to me on the internet, and it probably won't be the last," I wrote in a Slack DM to my incredible business partner, the part of Caldera Labs you probably know, Josh Pollock. Josh laughed.

My road from single-page rants on WordPress.com to WordPress product leadership was actually pretty straightforward, although certainly wrapped in incredible fortune. I kept up that blog for a few months at the request of some of those 253 people (and the dismay of some others). Eventually it was forgotten for my financial education project's website, which went from Wix to self-hosted WordPress.

Some months of working on that site made me acutely aware that if I wanted to execute more of my ideas, I should learn more code. I started learning JavaScript and PHP. I met Josh somewhere around that time. He liked my WordPress.com story, and encouraged me to keep learning, while picking my brain on what my almost-finished MBA thought about Caldera Forms.

A professor asked me if I would work on his academic WordPress website for a fee. I was a broke graduate student, so I said yes. Suddenly I had clients. When I graduated, Josh approached me with a proposal to join him in business. I said yes, but my only condition is that I'm moving back to New York City. Josh said, remote work is the norm.

Screen shot of Caldera website

Despite the quote-unquote "formal business education," I was flabbergasted when the full weight of what a WordPress product business entailed hit me. I didn't understand the community. I didn't understand the niche's culture. Much of what I learned were business norms, were completely non-existent in WordPress. I communicated all of this to Josh.

"I have no idea what I'm doing."

"Of course you don't, you've never done this before."

He introduced me to the extensive library of talks on WordPress TV on imposter syndrome.

Diving Into WordCamp

For me, it clicked at the inaugural WordCamp US. I showed up to the event looking like a deer caught in the headlights and was welcomed with open arms. I got to put faces to all of the names I had learned in the last half-year, and surprise: they were nice. They were welcoming. They were understanding.

I scoffed at the idea that I would have anything to contribute on Contributor Day, and then found out that the polyglots team could totally use an immigrant that speaks 4 languages. More importantly, I became completely inspired by the mission of WordPress. I realized that, by total accident (or perhaps completely on purpose), I had become a part of something bigger than myself. I had to stick with it, no matter how hard it was.

In the year after that, I also began to find a small niche for myself. I became "the girl with the MBA," smart, young, and clearly lucky. "There's not a lot of people in the space with your background," said the host interviewing me on a WordPress podcast. Meanwhile, I'm thinking to myself, "oh my god. I don't even understand why you invited me. I'm very grateful, but I also really don't know that much about business. Didn't you notice? Didn't anyone tell you?"

Move forward a year, and results started rolling in. I spoke at 4 WordCamps and many other shows. Josh published his 2016 Year In Review, where he outlined the explosive growth that Caldera Forms experienced at the end of the year and acknowledged the benefit of having partnered with me. He doesn't know this, but I cried when I read that (now he knows).

It was surreal: the unlikely thing that we set out to do was working.

This year, 2017, has consisted of taking on the next step in that process: teaching myself how to turn all of those thoughts on their heads. I have had to unlearn "why me?" and internalize "why not me?", and most importantly, practice differentiating the story that I tell myself about myself versus the evidence-based reality.

Self Discovery

A crucial part of this stage has been learning that what I do does not define who I am. That's a tired joke where I live. The joke goes that you can go to any bar, and participate in the same script: what's your name? What do you do? "I'm Christie, and I'm a partner and the business manager at a commercial WordPress plugin shop, Caldera Labs" is a story, and it immediately sparks self-doubt. That isn't an answer that describes an evidence-based reality, it is an answer that describes a story, and stories by definition require effort to be believed.

Who I am, I am learning, is the collection of my experiences, which then drive my priorities in how I do what I do, which is business.

In that podcast interview, I wasn't told "there aren't many business managers in the space." I was told that there weren't a lot of people with my background in the space. It's the collection of my stories - of immigration, difficult childhoods, arguments in business school classrooms and accidentally viral WordPress websites, that perfectly positioned me to do what I'm doing right now.

The main reason I wanted to write for HeroPress when Topher offered was to take these thoughts out of my story. The more I grow into this role, the more I'm learning that this is especially common with people like me.

Research is being conducted more and more every day seeking to discover why we don't become entrepreneurs who fearlessly pursue happiness and high-risk, high-reward situations (the common trope being that privilege is being told to strive to be anything one wants to be, while others are told to strive for an escape from instability).

Most of it boils down to the idea that many minorities, women, immigrants, people from low-income households - take your pick - have convinced themselves of a story that does not, in fact, reflect the reality of their possibilities.

It's a shame, because there's almost as much research that demonstrates that businesses with diverse leadership teams outperform homogeneous teams almost every single time.

Let's start talking about this, even if this isn't something that directly relates to you. Because, if that is the case, chances are that this is a topic that relates to someone you know. Diversity of thought is an important part of our WordPress community narrative. If you are not the person who must assess replacing a story with an evidence-based reality, you may be someone who is positioned to engage in powerful actions to promote diversity of thought, like encouraging someone else to challenge the stories they tell themselves and the stories they tell others about themselves. "I'm Christie, and I lead all of the business development and marketing for a commercial WordPress plugin shop, Caldera Labs" sounds a lot better.

The post What I Do Does Not Define Who I Am appeared first on HeroPress.

20 Sep 2017 12:00pm GMT

WPTavern: WordPress 4.8.2 Patches Eight Security Vulnerabilities

WordPress 4.8.2 is available for download and users are encouraged to update as soon as possible. This release patches eight security vulnerabilities and has six maintenance related fixes. Hardening was also added to WordPress core to prevent plugins and themes from accidentally causing a vulnerability through $wpdb->prepare() which can create unexpected and unsafe queries leading to potential SQL injection (SQLi).

To see a full list of changes, check out the release notes. Auto updates are rolling out to sites that support them but if you'd like to update manually, you can browse to Dashboard - Updates and click the Update Now button.

20 Sep 2017 1:22am GMT

19 Sep 2017

feedWordPress Planet

Dev Blog: WordPress 4.8.2 Security and Maintenance Release

WordPress 4.8.2 is now available. This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.

WordPress versions 4.8.1 and earlier are affected by these security issues:

  1. $wpdb->prepare() can create unexpected and unsafe queries leading to potential SQL injection (SQLi). WordPress core is not directly vulnerable to this issue, but we've added hardening to prevent plugins and themes from accidentally causing a vulnerability. Reported by Slavco
  2. A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability was discovered in the oEmbed discovery. Reported by xknown of the WordPress Security Team.
  3. A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability was discovered in the visual editor. Reported by Rodolfo Assis (@brutelogic) of Sucuri Security.
  4. A path traversal vulnerability was discovered in the file unzipping code. Reported by Alex Chapman (noxrnet).
  5. A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability was discovered in the plugin editor. Reported by 陈瑞琦 (Chen Ruiqi).
  6. An open redirect was discovered on the user and term edit screens. Reported by Yasin Soliman (ysx).
  7. A path traversal vulnerability was discovered in the customizer. Reported by Weston Ruter of the WordPress Security Team.
  8. A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability was discovered in template names. Reported by Luka (sikic).
  9. A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability was discovered in the link modal. Reported by Anas Roubi (qasuar).

Thank you to the reporters of these issues for practicing responsible disclosure.

In addition to the security issues above, WordPress 4.8.2 contains 6 maintenance fixes to the 4.8 release series. For more information, see the release notes or consult the list of changes.

Download WordPress 4.8.2 or venture over to Dashboard → Updates and simply click "Update Now." Sites that support automatic background updates are already beginning to update to WordPress 4.8.2.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to 4.8.2.

19 Sep 2017 10:17pm GMT

WPTavern: WooCommerce 3.2 to Introduce Pre-Update Extension Version Checks, Release Date Pushed Back to October 11

WooCommerce 3.2 RC1 is coming next week ahead of the plugin's second major release this year. Version 3.1 introduced a new built-in product importer/exporter that supports CSV files and brought significant improvements to extension management. Version 3.2 is on track to make the process of updating stores a smoother experience with a long-awaited new feature that displays version compatibility checks to users prior to updating their extensions.

Many WooCommerce store owners experienced considerable difficulties in updating to version 3.0 due to incompatibilities with extensions that were not fully compatible. The widespread problems with updating caused a direct hit to the plugin's reputation, even though the main issue was with third-party extensions not being ready to go for 3.0. WooCommerce 3.2's new pre-update extension version checks will help users to be more informed about the status of extension compatibility before updating.

WooCommerce plugin developers can now add two new headers to their extensions to specify a minimum required version and a "tested up to" version.

/*
* Plugin Name: WooCommerce Barter Gateway
* Plugin URI: https://wordpress.org/plugins/woocommerce-gateway-barter/
* Description: Take payments by bartering crops and livestock.
* Author: WooCommerce
* Author URI: https://woocommerce.com/
* Version: 3.0.7
* Text Domain: woocommerce-gateway-barter
* Domain Path: /languages
* WC requires at least: 3.0.0
* WC tested up to: 3.2.0
*/

Plugin authors are recommended to update these headers after each major and minor WooCommerce release. (Patch releases do not require headers to be updated.)

The core WooCommerce plugin will check through the extension headers and display a warning to users when updates are available, detailing which plugins have or haven't been tested with the latest major version.

WooCommerce developer Claudiu Lodromanean cited several important benefits for extension developers in a post announcing the new feature:

The pre-update version checks for extensions is an exciting improvement for store owners and the greater WooCommerce developer community. Updates will be much easier when users can see at a glance which of their extensions are ready to go. Developers are also interested in seeing this feature applied for themes and the WooCommerce team confirmed they will look into the possibility.

WooCommerce 3.2's release date has been pushed back one week to October 11 to give store owners and extension developers enough time to test. The first release candidate is slated for September 27.

19 Sep 2017 9:06pm GMT

WPTavern: DonateWC Aims to Provide Travel Sponsorships to Attend Large WordCamps

DonateWC is a new initiative by Ines van Essen, Happiness Engineer at Automattic, that aims to provide an opportunity for less fortunate people to attend large WordCamps. Essen was inspired to create the non-profit organization after realizing how expensive it was to attend WordCamp US 2015. "As I did not work for a company that could send me there, I had to pay for travel, accommodation, and food/drinks myself," She said. "All in all, I spent a full month's worth of income to attend."

While many WordPress focused businesses purchase and give away WordCamp tickets, DonateWC sponsorships include the following:

To be eligible for a sponsorship, you can not work for a company that is involved in WordPress or known to sponsor employees to WordCamps. You must be active in the community and either a speaker or volunteer at the WordCamp you're attending.

Essen has a crowdfunding campaign through GoFundme and is asking for 1,000€. The initial 1,000€ will be used to design a logo, register the non-profit in the Netherlands, customize the theme for the site, and commercial plugins. However, if you can help out with providing any of the above, the savings will go towards sponsoring more people. Once DonateWC officially becomes a non-profit organization, a call for sponsors will go out.

If DonateWC is an initiative you believe in, consider donating to the campaign.

19 Sep 2017 7:01pm GMT

Akismet: Akismet WordPress Plugin 4.0 Now Available

Version 4.0 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress is available.

This update, a.k.a, "Akismet for the REST of Us," adds endpoints to the WordPress REST API for configuring Akismet and retrieving Akismet stats. Documentation is available here, or you can read the code that adds the endpoints in the `class.akismet-rest-api.php` file.

The progress indicator on the "Check for Spam" button has been improved as well and now shows the percentage of comments that have been rechecked rather than just a loading indicator.

This release also removes support for versions of WordPress before 4.0. If you're running anything older than that, you should upgrade.

To upgrade, visit the Updates page of your WordPress dashboard and follow the instructions. If you need to download the plugin zip file directly, links to all versions are available in the WordPress plugins directory.


19 Sep 2017 6:12pm GMT

WPTavern: Why Vue.js Creator Evan You Thinks Vue Could Be a Good Fit for WordPress

photo credit: JSConf China

After last week's news that WordPress is abandoning React due to its unfavorable patents clause, the discussion regarding the selection of a new framework is heating up again. As Vue is once again among the leading contenders, I reached out to Vue.js creator Evan You to get his perspective on the possibility of WordPress adopting the framework.

"Yes, I had a conversation with the WordPress team mostly answering questions they had about Vue," You said. "The discussion happened before Matt's announcement of moving away from React. It was mostly intended for filling the team in with the state of Vue and there was no particular conclusion made from it.

"To be honest, I got the feeling that the team had already decided to go with React and simply wanted to explore other options before they make the final call. I was a bit surprised by Matt's post, but also understand the concerns behind that decision. I think React is a technically sound choice, and the whole patent issue is unfortunate."

Vue is back in the mix alongside Preact.js and other libraries WordPress core contributors are considering adopting. You has been active in the comments on the WordPress core development blog during the previous discussion, as well as more recently in the discussion in Gutenberg's GitHub repo, clarifying misconceptions about the financial stability of the project.

You has been careful to disclose his bias when participating in conversations about which framework WordPress should adopt. During my interview with him, he offered the community three reasons why he sees Vue as a good fit for the project:

"Now that WP has decided to pick a different framework, as the creator of Vue, I surely hope that the WordPress team can adopt Vue," You said. "Below is why I believe Vue would be a good fit for the choice:

Evan You and six others from the Vue.js core team will be participating in an AMA on Hashnode at 12PM on September 20, inviting general questions about the project, how to use it and contribute, and general programming advice. The questions are already rolling in and their answers should provide more information about the future of Vue and its place in the wider JavaScript ecosystem.

WP Tavern has also reached out to Jason Miller, creator of Preact.js to get his perspective on the possibility of WordPress selecting Preact and what it would mean for both projects. The React-alternative is another strong contender among JS libraries WordPress is looking at for use in core.

The Gutenberg team has been working to ensure that WordPress developers will be able to create "Gutenblocks" using any JS library they prefer with different explorations of framework-agnostic block rendering. Ultimately, this would make creating plugins and themes less dependent on the library that is chosen for use in core. Other community members involved in the discussion, however, are keen to emphasize that the framework selected will have an impact on the greater WordPress product ecosystem, far beyond its use in Gutenberg, and are not eager to down play it as a simple technical decision. We'll have a more detailed look on that in a separate post.

In addition to the discussions on independent blogs, the Gutenberg GitHub issues queue and the #core-js channel on WordPress Slack are both hosting active conversations on the upcoming decision. This week's core JavaScript chat has been cancelled due to many of those involved traveling or unable to attend. The agenda for the next meeting is to discuss the role a JavaScript framework will play in current and future core focuses (including but not limited to the Gutenberg editor). This meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 8:00 AM CDT.

19 Sep 2017 5:42pm GMT

17 Sep 2017

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HeroPress: DonateWC: Getting People to WordCamp

Image of a plane wing with the sunset on the horizon

One of the first addons for HeroPress I ever thought of was sending people to WordCamp who might have a hard time getting there. HeroPress started out to be a voice for people on the fringe of WordPress, and being outside the ability to go to WordCamp practically defines the fringe.

I never could figure out the logistics of how to make it work. How is money handled? International law? So the idea languished.

On the other side of the world, Ines van Essen had the same idea. She's far more clever than I though, and she's making it happen. She's starting a new organization called DonateWC, specifically to help people get to WordCamp. Not just local WordCamps, but the large ones like WordCamp Europe and WordCamp US. Trips that can cost multiple months, or even a years salary.

I am so so so excited that this is happening, Ines is my hero.

How You Can Help

To get things really rolling Ines needs some funds. I mentioned logistics earlier; if this isn't handled properly a tax agent somewhere is going to come investigating. A non-profit org needs to be created, a logo needs to be created, a site needs to be built, a board needs to be formed, etc. Getting started costs money.

So there's a GoFundMe page for DonateWC. All things considered she's not looking for very much money right now, we can DO THIS.

If we can make this thing work it's going to really change lives. Please help out if you can, and keep an eye on the project. The first person to get sent to WordCamp is going to make history.

The post DonateWC: Getting People to WordCamp appeared first on HeroPress.

17 Sep 2017 8:42pm GMT

15 Sep 2017

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WPTavern: Vue Project Launches Community Campaign on OpenCollective

With the recent news that WordPress is abandoning React due to its BSD + Patents license, core contributors are now revisiting the discussion of the merits of other frameworks. Gutenberg development is currently on hold until a new library is chosen to replace React, and selection is likely to be imminent to prevent further delay.

Vue is once again a strong contender with a recent surge in enthusiastic support in discussions on GitHub, Mullenweg's announcement, and social media posts. One of the chief concerns WordPress core contributors had regarding Vue in previous discussions was the longevity of the project and its dependence on creator Evan You, who has historically done most of the development.

The Vue project has recently been taking steps to mitigate this drawback. Earlier this week You announced that Vue is now accepting financial support on OpenCollective, a platform for funding open source projects in a transparent way. You already has a successful Patreon campaign where contributors are paying $8,815 per month to support his work on Vue, but the new OpenCollective account will support the work of core contributors and community events.

"When I started the Patreon campaign, the primary goal was providing myself with enough income so that I can work on Vue full-time," You said. "Today, as the Vue community grows, there are more and more contributions from the community, and OpenCollective's transparent expense model could help us scale the financial contributions beyond a single developer."

Just four days after launching, Vue already has an estimated annual budget of $9,895 on its OpenCollective account. You is still independently accepting contributions on Patreon to fund his full-time work on the project.

Preact, the other leading contender WordPress core contributors are considering, has had an account on OpenCollective since late 2016. Backers and sponsors have contributed to a $16,091 estimated annual budget for the project.

Both Vue and Preact have growing networks of financial supporters and are not heavily influenced by a single corporation's interests. WordPress core contributors continue to discuss the merits and drawbacks of the two frameworks on various places around the web, but the discussion is somewhat scattered and it's difficult for participants to know where their feedback will receive consideration.

"The main options are actually all pretty good, and we'd probably be fine going with any of them, which is makes it a tough decision - objectively and technically there isn't one clear without-a-doubt winner," Matt Mullenweg said today in WordPress' #core-js Slack channel.

An updated post detailing the frameworks and technical considerations that contributors are now examining has yet to be published to the make/wordpress.org development blog. Having communication throughout the process of selecting the framework, instead of announcing it after the decision, would go a long way towards keeping the community informed and involved. We'll be following the public discussion as it develops.

15 Sep 2017 7:54pm GMT

WPTavern: WordPress Abandons React due to Patents Clause, Gutenberg to be Rewritten with a Different Library

photo credit: Lalesh Aldarwish

This evening Matt Mullenweg announced on his blog that WordPress has decided to move away from React due to its BSD + Patents clause licensing. Gutenberg engineers will be rewriting the new editor to use another JavaScript framework and Automattic plans to rewrite Calypso as well:

We had a many-thousand word announcement talking about how great React is and how we're officially adopting it for WordPress, and encouraging plugins to do the same. I've been sitting on that post, hoping that the patent issue would be resolved in a way we were comfortable passing down to our users.

That post won't be published, and instead I'm here to say that the Gutenberg team is going to take a step back and rewrite Gutenberg using a different library. It will likely delay Gutenberg at least a few weeks, and may push the release into next year.

Mullenweg clarified that Automattic has been happy with React and that the company's general counsel didn't think they would ever run into the patent issue. He also commended Facebook on being "one of the better open source contributors out there" and for making their intentions clear. Ultimately, Mullenweg decided that he wasn't comfortable with the larger WordPress community inheriting the patents clause:

Automattic will also use whatever we choose for Gutenberg to rewrite Calypso - that will take a lot longer, and Automattic still has no issue with the patents clause, but the long-term consistency with core is worth more than a short-term hit to Automattic's business from a rewrite. Core WordPress updates go out to over a quarter of all websites, having them all inherit the patents clause isn't something I'm comfortable with.

After the Apache Software Foundation added Facebook's BSD+Patents license to its Category X list of disallowed licenses, many open source project leaders and developers petitioned Facebook to consider re-licensing React, as many React-based projects are now having to be rewritten. Facebook decided it wasn't budging on the patents clause and opted to continue protecting its own interests, fully recognizing that it may lose some React community members.

In the past Mullenweg has been outspoken about how Automattic was betting on React. Many in the community considered WordPress adopting React to be a foregone conclusion, given that both Calypso and Jetpack's new admin interface were built on it, as well as WordPress' new Gutenberg editor. In making the costly decision to rewrite Gutenberg and Automattic's products in another library, Mullenweg has demonstrated he is willing to lead the WordPress project in a direction where the community can feel confident about continuing to use and extend the software.

"The decision on which library to use going forward will be another post; it'll be primarily a technical decision," Mullenweg said. "We'll look for something with most of the benefits of React, but without the baggage of a patents clause that's confusing and threatening to many people. Thank you to everyone who took time to share their thoughts and give feedback on these issues thus far - we're always listening."

Gutenberg could certainly use the extra time and may gain a new crop of contributors, given that the learning curve for the new library isn't likely to be as steep as learning React.

At the end of May, WordPress core contributors had narrowed their considerations for a new JavaScript framework to React and Vue. It appears that Vue is still a strong contender. After a commenter on Mullenweg's post suggested switching to Vue, he replied that it has been frequently suggested and that the team has met with Evan You, Vue's lead developer.

When I interviewed Evan You in June, he said he didn't have enough perspective on WordPress core to make an unbiased recommendation but offered feedback on some technical issues being discussed at the time. He also clarified some common misconceptions about Vue, which WordPress' React proponents had been using as leverage in their arguments against adopting it.

Mullenweg also confirmed in the comments of his post that Preact is another library under consideration. Preact.js is a lightweight 3kB alternative to React that uses the same API but is MIT-licensed. Some are already speculating about Preact being the front-runner for the replacement, as Gutenberg already has a branch devoted to trying it.

There is a Preact "try" Gutenberg branch. But there is no Vue.js "try" Gutenberg branch. https://t.co/mFRYTLIV3b

- Carl Hancock 🚀 (@carlhancock) September 15, 2017

Also, Mullenweg's comment that the decision "will likely delay Gutenberg at least a few weeks, and may push the release into next year," seems to only be feasible if the team rewrites the project using Preact.

For Gutenberg, not Calypso. I'd take a friendly bet like some booze. 😀

- Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) September 15, 2017

Public reactions to the news that WordPress is shifting away from React have so far been overwhelmingly positive. Many are thankful and relieved that Mullenweg made the tough decision to change course and select another library after investing so heavily in React.

The discussion regarding the new framework continues behind closed doors and is not open to the public, although a pull request for using Preact in Gutenberg is open on the project's GitHub repo and some community discussion regarding the library selection is happening there.

15 Sep 2017 5:39am GMT