23 Sep 2014

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Matt: Checky

Checky tells you how many times a day you check your phone, which Mary Meeker said in 2013 that we do 150 times a day. In a brilliant act of marketing, Checky is brought to you by the same people as Calm.com.

23 Sep 2014 7:58am GMT

Matt: Fog of Sadness

It's happened every year for the past five years. Sometimes it sets in the afternoon I arrive home, like today. Sometimes it sets in after I wake up from the post trip nap (last year's "nap" was 18 hours long, due to sheer exhaustion from too much fun).

Lori McLeese on the post-meetup Fog of Sadness.

23 Sep 2014 4:29am GMT

WPTavern: Is It Maintained? Web App Monitors the Activity of Open Source Projects


If you've ever wondered how well an open source project is maintained, you now have a quick way to get an overview, without scouring the project's issues queue or trying to infer something based on its release history. Is It Maintained? is a new web app that allows you to check the activity of open source projects by plugging in the URL of its public GitHub repository.


In this example, we're checking up on Varying Vagrant Vagrants. The output displays the percentage of open issues and the median closing time for issues.


Previously, Matthieu Napoli, the app's creator, had considered using release frequency and last commit date as metrics, but dropped those ideas given the difficulty in determining what constitutes a "good" or "bad" frequency. Currently, the Is It Maintained app measures how well a project is maintained, based on analysis of the following metrics mined from the project's repository:

It's important to note that not all issues in the queue are taken into account. The app ignores issues from collaborators as well as ones with labels like "feature", "enhancement", "duplicate," etc.

In the future, Napoli is considering adding "reactivity" into the metrics, which would measure the average time for issue acknowledgement (i.e. first comment after the issue was open).

Browsing the site, you can see projects recently analyzed along with the most popular projects that have been checked. The app can be particularly handy for checking up on a library or framework before building on top of it. Obviously, it only works with open source projects that use GitHub for their central place of development.

Measuring whether or not a project is maintained is not an exact science, but Napoli is committed to improving the app, which is still in alpha version. He's open to suggestions and contributions to the project on GitHub. Do you think there's any set of metrics that can ever provide a reasonable approximation of how well an open source project is maintained?

23 Sep 2014 1:28am GMT

22 Sep 2014

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WPTavern: Fukasawa: A Free Masonry WordPress Theme for Photographers and Collectors

WordPress theme designer Anders Norén is an unstoppable force, rolling out his ninth free theme to WordPress.org in just over a year. Fukasawa is a masonry theme designed to showcase the work of photographers, collectors, and visual artists.

The theme is named for Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa, who is both well-known and highly decorated for his influential work in designing electronics and household appliances. Design is a way of life for Fukasawa, and his works originate out of an awareness of what is natural, an instinctual response to the surrounding environment.

"I wanted to do a really clean design built with a media-heavy grid in mind," Norén said about his latest creation. Fukasawa delivers with its minimalist Pinterest-style layout.


The theme offers support for three post formats, including image, gallery, and video. Gallery posts include a built-in slideshow of images before the post content. Both galleries and videos play on the home page in addition to the single posts template.

Fukasawa adds support for one sidebar area and five custom widgets, including recent posts, categories, Flickr, Dribble, and a video widget. A few of these can be seen in the sidebar of the live demo.

In contrast to the masonry style homepage, Fukasawa includes a highly simplified archive template, which will populate the page with a list of posts, categories, tags, and contributors to the site.

The theme's design is mostly set and your site will look very similar to the demo immediately upon installation. The customizer allows you to upload a custom logo and to change the theme's accent color, which is visible in certain elements like blockquotes and links.


Fukasawa integrates with Jetpack for adding infinite scroll to load posts without reloading the page. It also includes built-in support for Jetpack Tiled Galleries, which you can preview on the live demo's style guide page.

When composing in the visual editor, you'll find that Fukasawa includes matching editor styles to help you visualize your content on the frontend. The theme is also responsive, retina-ready and translation-ready.

If your blog features highly visual posts, then Fukasawa is a solid option for putting the spotlight on your content in an elegant, mobile-friendly way. Download it for free from WordPress.org or install it via your admin theme browser.

22 Sep 2014 4:02pm GMT

Matt: Automattic Grand Meetup 2014

Although Automattic is a fully distributed company with most people working from home in 197 cities around the world, we think it's really important to meet in person as well and we bring the entire company together once a year. This year we went to Park City, Utah, and were blessed with amazing weather all week. We were right at the base of a mountain so there were beautiful trails for hikes and runs and gorgeous views no matter what direction you looked.


There were all sorts of activities people did throughout the week from paintball to skydiving to a Magic: The Gathering tournament (I played for the first time in about 15 years) and morning running classes every day at 7 am. I went to a Crossfit class with about 15 colleagues. My body is sore but my heart is happy.

Myself and Joe

I'm really grateful that I get to work with the people I do, and on the problems that we work on together. It's far from easy, in fact each year brings new challenges and I make mistakes as often as not, but it is worthwhile and incredibly fulfilling. A few hours ago I gave a closing toast and teared up looking around the room. So many folks that give their passion and dedicate themselves to jobs both large and small, visible and unseen, to help make the web a better place. A web that we want to live in. Here's a vignette from when we were taking our annual family photo, it's a goofy and crazy group of incredibly unique individuals that I hope to know and make things with for many decades to come.

22 Sep 2014 3:05am GMT

21 Sep 2014

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Matt: Cuomo’s Embarrassment

Last week in the New York elections my friend who was running for Lieutenant Governor, Tim Wu, lost. However, the New Yorker has a great look at how close the race was. As John Cassidy puts it, "The strong showing by Teachout and Wu was a victory for progressive voters who warmed to their message about tackling rising inequality, political corruption, and corporate abuses." Hat tip: Cody Brown.

21 Sep 2014 5:57am GMT

20 Sep 2014

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Matt: Zero to One

Zero to One by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters is one of the best business books I've read in a while.

20 Sep 2014 10:30am GMT

WPTavern: Add Remote Libraries to the WordPress Media Library

WordPress offers excellent oEmbed support for embedding content from more than two dozen major services. Pasting a link into the editor on its own line will have it magically appear as embedded media on the frontend. However, the task of finding that media in another browser window is still required, and this takes you outside of WordPress.

The Remote Media Libraries plugin aims to simplify the process of inserting remote media, while keeping you in the admin. The plugin gives you quick access to content that is hosted on Youtube, Vimeo, or Dailymotion, and presents it as a natural part of your media library.

When setting up the plugin, you can add remote libraries by selecting a service and adding your account username. For example, let's say you're creating a fitness site and you want quick access to videos from the FitnessBlender account on Youtube. Simply paste the username into the settings.


Next, you can navigate to the post editor and test the integration by clicking Add Media. Use the menu on the left side of the modal to insert from your remote gallery.


The URL for the selected video will be wrapped in an embed shortcode and will display on the frontend like any other video. I'm not sure why it adds the shortcode as inserting the plain URL would be adequate.


Currently, the supported remote libraries are limited to Youtube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion, but the plugin author plans to add the following in the near future:

Sites that frequently embed media from one or more of the supported video service providers can benefit from having quick access to remote media in the WordPress admin. This is especially helpful for video bloggers who regularly post their most recent video as a blog post. The Remote Media Libraries plugin brings your latest videos into the media library in a way that feels like a natural part of WordPress. Download it for free from WordPress.org.

20 Sep 2014 12:40am GMT

19 Sep 2014

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WPTavern: Add the New BuddyPress Mentions Interface to bbPress Forum Replies


BuddyPress 2.1 was released yesterday with a handy new mentions interface that pops up a suggestions panel as you are typing. In the past, you would need to know a member's username in order to write a mention in the activity stream, which many times meant looking it up. The new mentions interface makes it easier to pull users into conversations that happen in the activity stream.

Many BuddyPress sites utilize bbPress for forums, as the plugins work quite seamlessly together. bbPress forum replies is another place where access to the new mentions interface would prove to be enormously useful, as forums are a central place for interaction and conversation on many community sites. A ticket for adding this already exists in bbPress trac.

In the meantime, BuddyPress core developer Mathieu Viet, better known as @imath, posted a quick gist for adding the mentions to bbPress forum replies. Simply add the code to your bp-custom.php file:

function custom_bbpress_maybe_load_mentions_scripts( $retval = false ) {
        if ( function_exists( 'bbpress' ) && is_bbpress() ) {
                $retval = true;
        return $retval;
add_filter( 'bp_activity_maybe_load_mentions_scripts', 'custom_bbpress_maybe_load_mentions_scripts' );

I tested it and it works exactly the same as it would in the activity stream. Here's what it looks like, added to a test site with BuddyPress and bbPress:


Keep an eye on the relevant ticket, as this feature is likely to make its way into bbPress core in the near future. In the meantime, many thanks to @imath for this quick workaround. You can add it to any site using BuddyPress 2.1 and bbPress for better use of mentions in your forums.

19 Sep 2014 8:12pm GMT

WPTavern: A Vagrant Configuration for Contributing to WordPress Meta

Contributors on the WordPress Meta team are responsible for WordPress.org and its associated sites, i.e. wordcamp.org, apps.wordpress.org, etc. The team works on supporting and improving these sites along with the build tools that are used by the other contributor groups. Folks often complain about how the sites work, but did you know that much of the code is open source and open for contribution?

Up until recently, there was no easy way to set up a local development environment for contributing to WordPress Meta. This created a hindrance for new contributors looking to get involved, according to team member Ian Dunn.

Setting up local development environments to contribute to the Meta sites can be an obstacle for those without access to the private subversion repositories or a sandbox, especially at a meetup or WordCamp contributor day, where time is limited.

That's why Dunn created WordPress Meta Environment, a vagrant configuration based on Varying Vagrant Vagrants. It allows you to quickly set up a development environment that is already provisioned with everything you need to contribute a patch to any of the supported meta sites. The setup includes all the open source code and sample data, similar to what you would find on the production site.


Currently, the WordPress Meta Environment supports the following sites, with more planned in the future:

Setup is very similar to the instructions for Getting Started with VVV, except you'll clone the WordPress Meta Environment repository instead. Once the setup is finished, you can visit http://wp-meta.dev for a list of supported sites and server tools.

The configuration will continue to evolve and add support for other official WordPress sites. Dunn received some helpful feedback after attending WordCamp Seattle's contributor day. As a result, the project's road map includes a number of priorities for future refinements that will make it a better turnkey local development environment.

The WordPress Meta team works together to create goals/priorities and to provide feedback on efforts toward meta site improvements. If you're thinking about submitting a patch or have already created one, it's a good idea to check in with the WordPress Meta team on the P2 blog or in IRC in #wordpress-meta. For more information on contributing, check out the Getting Started section of the Meta Handbook before heading over to Meta trac.

19 Sep 2014 7:12pm GMT

18 Sep 2014

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WPTavern: Staffer Plugin Adds Staff Management and Profiles to WordPress

Adding staff, board members, or another collection of individuals is a common requirement when building an online presence for an organization. The best way to make sure that your staff member data is portable when you change themes, is to add it via a plugin.

Staffer is a newly approved plugin on WordPress.org that stores staff/employee information in a custom post type. It allows you to create and manage a directory of staff members, which displays on the frontend as individual profiles and a grid style directory.


Individual staff member pages can easily be created just like you would compose a regular post. The plugin adds a metabox to the editor for including staff member details such as a member's title and social links. Member profile pictures are assigned using the featured image.


Staffer offers a wide range of settings for customizing the display of the directory and profiles, including the following:

Staffer is compatible with nearly every WordPress theme. For the few cases of incompatibility, the option to use custom content wrappers will usually solve any issues. Developers can also create their own archive-staff.php and single-staff.php files to override the plugin's templates. If you want to order staff profiles, the plugin's author recommends using the Post Types Order plugin in combination with Staffer.

I tested the plugin and it works as advertised. Staffer adds minimal styles, which helps it to integrate well with the rest of your site. If you're in need of a ready made custom post type for staff management, Staffer is a flexible option that's easy to use. Download it from WordPress.org.

18 Sep 2014 11:36pm GMT

WPTavern: BuddyPress 2.1 Patsy Released


BuddyPress 2.1 "Patsy" is fresh out of the oven, named for a coal-oven pizzeria in East Harlem, NYC. Patsy's is famous for its traditional New York style thin crust pizza and claims to have originated the practice of selling pizza by the slice.

New @mentions Interface


The name is fitting, because 2.1 is another slice of excellence from BuddyPress contributors. Building on the @mentions feature in the activity stream, this release introduces a totally revamped @mentions interface. As you begin to type the @ key, members will be autosuggested via a new suggestions panel. You'll find that this feature also works nicely on mobile.

New URL Profile Field Type


This release also introduces a new profile field type that will have broad appeal to many BuddyPress communities. Site administrators can now select the URL field type, which will transform URLs of any format into links on the frontend of a user's profile:

Automatic Translation Fetching


A survey conducted in 2013 showed that nearly 50% of BuddyPress sites are in languages other than English. The 2.1 release offers better support for translations, which will now download automatically to your WordPress installation. BuddyPress lead developer Boone Gorges credits volunteers from the polyglots team for making this release more translatable and more translated than ever.

BuddyPress 2.1 Highlights

In addition to the most visible new features, the 2.1 release adds many smaller improvements that make this version faster, more secure, and easier to use. A few of the highlights include:

There's also no small number of improvements under the hood for developers who are creating BuddyPress themes and plugins, as Gorges outlines in the release post. Check out the changelog for 2.1 to see the full list. Backup your site and update to BuddyPress 2.1 to take advantage of all the latest improvements.

18 Sep 2014 7:47pm GMT

BuddyPress: BuddyPress 2.1 “Patsy”

The BuddyPress team is proud to introduce BuddyPress 2.1 "Patsy"!

Revamped @mentions interface


BuddyPress has long supported @mentions in the activity stream. But previously, you needed to know the username of the member you wanted to mention. No longer. In BuddyPress 2.1, typing the @ key will bring up the new suggestions panel, making it easier than ever to connect with others in your network.

New profile field type: URL

The new URL field type allows your users to enter URLs in a number of formats, and ensures that they're properly linked when displayed on member profiles.

Better translations

Running a BuddyPress site in a language other than English? We've worked with the WordPress team to get BP translation files downloading automatically to your WP installation. And, thanks to the tireless effort of a team of polyglots, BP is more translatable - and more translated - than ever.

Under the hood

We've made dozens of improvements with developers in mind. Here's a taste:

Read more about the hundreds of bug fixes and feature enhancements in BuddyPress 2.1 at our official 2.1 changelog.

Give me my propers when you get home

The following users contributed code to BuddyPress 2.1. Huge thanks to them, and to all who have tested and provided feedback during this development period!

adamt19, Alex Mills (Viper007Bond), allendav, alternatekev, Automattic, Beau Lebens (beaulebens), Boone B Gorges (boonebgorges), Brad Williams (williamsba1), Brajesh Singh (sbrajesh), danbp, David Cavins (dcavins), Erin B. (ebellempire), esroyo, godavid33, Henry Wright (henry.wright), Hugo (hnla), Mathieu Viet (imath), John James Jacoby (johnjamesjacoby), Jose Conti (jconti), jreeve, Laurens Offereins (Offereins) lenasterg, mercime, Michael Beckwith (tw2113), Miles Stewart (milesstewart88), needle, OC2PS (sooskriszta), Paul Gibbs (DJPaul), r-a-y, Roger Coathup (rogercoathup), Sarah Gooding (pollyplummer), Sergio De Falco (SGr33n), shanebp, Slava UA (slaFFik), Stephen Edgar (netweb), Tammie (karmatosed), tomdxw, treyhunner, ubernaut, wbajzek, WCUADD, wpdennis, wolfhoundjesse.

By the slice

BuddyPress 2.1 is named for Patsy's, a classic pizzeria in East Harlem, NYC. Aside from top-notch pies, Patsy's is famous for its claim to have originated the practice of selling pizza by the slice. What better way to celebrate a new version of BuddyPress than grabbing a slice for yourself?

Download BuddyPress 2.1 "Patsy" today, from your WordPress Dashboard or wordpress.org/plugins/buddypress. Questions or comments about this release? Stop by our excellent support forums or visit our development tracker. Thanks for using BuddyPress!

18 Sep 2014 6:31pm GMT

WPTavern: Crawford: A Free Minimalist WordPress Theme for Writers

A steady stream of minimalist themes for writers has been flowing into the official WordPress Themes Directory this year. As people grow disenchanted with interaction on social networks, the personal blog is on course for a renaissance. The beauty of WordPress is that anyone with something to say can be a writer.

Crawford joins their ranks of free minimalist themes designed specifically for writers who wish to place more emphasis on their content without all the distractions of sidebars, widgets, and superfluous features.


With Crawford activated on your site, you're almost guaranteed to have it looking like the demo in under a minute. The theme options mirror the frontend simplicity, offering only the basics. Crawford doesn't include any header, background, or color customization options.

The customizer features your standard controls for changing the site title and tagline. You can also set the primary and secondary navigation menus and assign widgets to the three footer areas. That's it. The design itself cannot be further customized from here unless you create a child theme.


No design options in the mix may seem like a drawback for those looking for a more flexible, all-purpose theme. However, the lack of features in Crawford is meant to be one of its chief selling points. The theme is also responsive for displaying your content beautifully on mobile devices.


Crawford was created by Australian theme developers from wpmultiverse. Check out a live demo to see the theme in action with blog posts set for the homepage. Of all the minimalist blog themes I've seen lately, Crawford stands out as exceptionally readable. View a single post to see how elegantly the design displays blockquotes, unordered lists, and tags.

Having a new, clean theme in place can sometimes make all the difference for having the motivation to write. If you need a fresh start, Crawford is a beautiful option now available for download from WordPress.org

18 Sep 2014 6:07pm GMT

Matt: Tim Cook on Privacy

Tim Cook's letter on Apple privacy is pretty amazing and a shot across the bow of Google.

18 Sep 2014 7:24am GMT

WPTavern: New Plugin Adds Conditional Profile Fields to BuddyPress

photo credit: Dunechaser - ccphoto credit: Dunechaser - cc

When you create profile fields in BuddyPress, they apply to every user in the same way. Each user responds to the same set of questions, but this could stand to be a little more flexible to account for differences in users. What if you could conditionally show profile fields, based on a user's answers to certain questions?

Prolific BuddyPress plugin developer Brajesh Singh created a plugin to do exactly this. Conditional Profile Fields for BuddyPress gives site administrators the ability to set conditions for hiding/showing profile fields based on a user's responses to other profile fields. For example, let's say you create a field to ask if the user is a morning or night person.


You can then set up a second question, such as "Do you eat breakfast?" With the help of this plugin, you can make the question contingent on the first question where you asked if the person is a morning or night person. Perhaps you are curious if a user who identifies as a "night person" also eats breakfast. While editing the breakfast question, scroll to the bottom and you will find a new box for setting a Visibility Condition.

From the dropdown, select the question you want as the condition, show/hide, and the value that field is contingent upon. The plugin also includes support for muti-option fields.


Once you have your condition set, you can navigate to the frontend to see that the conditional fields are shown or hidden based on your selection. Here's a quick demo:


If you mark the first profile field as "Required" when creating it, then BuddyPress will also show the field on the registration form and conditional fields will also apply. The plugin currently supports the following features:

The Conditional Profile Fields plugin is an excellent addition to any BuddyPress site that brings together different types of users. For example, educational sites might include students, teachers, tutors, etc. Instead of using a complicated plugin to set up different user types, you can add a conditional profile field to ask the user to select from student, teacher, etc. From there you can create different profile field groups containing questions conditional upon the user's previous selection.

Conditional profile fields could also be useful for many other types of social networks, including:

I tested the plugin with BuddyPress 2.1 beta 1 and found that it works exactly advertised. Conditional profile fields are an excellent way to extend a niche social network to display profile fields specifically tailored to different user types. Download Conditional Profile Fields for BuddyPress for free from BuddyDev.com.

18 Sep 2014 6:45am GMT