17 Jul 2018

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WPTavern: New WordPress Feature Plugin Adds Support for Progressive Web Apps

WordPress contributors are working on getting support for Progressive Web Apps (PWA) into core. A new PWA feature plugin is now available on WordPress.org, spearheaded by the teams at XWP, Google, and Automattic.

Progressive Web Apps are applications that run on the web but provide a speedy app-like experience inside a mobile browser. Google describes them as having the following three qualities:

The plugin adds support for technologies that PWAs require, including Service Workers, a Web App Manifest, and HTTPS. These technologies support functions like background syncing, offline content, push notifications, mobile home screen icon, and other PWA features.

XWP CTO Weston Ruter said the purpose of the feature plugin is to curate PWA capabilities for proposed merging into core. The idea is to merge them piece by piece. Core tickets are already in process for adding support for web app manifests and support for service workers, as well as bringing improvements to HTTPS.

"This PWA feature plugin is intended to equip and facilitate other plugins which implement PWA features," Ruter said. "It's not intended to negate any existing plugins with these features, but rather to allow such plugins (and themes) to work together seamlessly and expand upon them."

The first release of the plugin on WordPress.org (v0.1.0) adds support for web app manifests and initial support for allowing theme and plugin developers to register scripts for service workers via wp_register_service_worker(). It also includes an API for detecting whether HTTPS is available.

"A next step for service workers in the PWA feature plugin is to integrate Workbox to provide a declarative WordPress PHP abstraction for managing the caching strategies for routes, with support for detecting conflicts," Ruter said. Anyone who is interested to contribute to PWA support for WordPress can check out the discussions and plugin on GitHub.

In the past, app-like experiences were only available for sites and services that had their own native mobile apps, but native apps can be costly to develop and maintain. Progressive web apps use the greater web as their platform and are quick to spin up. They make content easier to access on mobile even without an internet connection. It's also far easier to tap a home screen icon than to enter a URL on mobile, and this makes users more likely to engage with their favorite sites.

PWA Stats is a site that features case studies of progressive web apps that have significantly increased performance, engagement, and conversion. A few compelling examples include:

PWA support in WordPress will enable the plugin and theme ecosystems to work together in providing site owners with more engaging ways to connect with their visitors. Once the market starts building on core support, site owners should soon be able to offer better experiences for mobile users without having to become experts in the technologies that power progressive web apps.

17 Jul 2018 12:16am GMT

16 Jul 2018

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Dev Blog: Quarterly Updates | Q2 2018

To keep everyone aware of big projects and efforts across WordPress contributor teams, I've reached out to each team's listed representatives. I asked each of them to share their Top Priority (and when they hope for it to be completed), as well as their biggest Wins and Worries. Have questions? I've included a link to each team's site in the headings.









Meta (WordPress.org Site)





Theme Review



Interested in updates from the first quarter of this year? You can find those here: https://make.wordpress.org/updates/2018/04/24/quarterly-updates-q1-2018/

16 Jul 2018 2:50pm GMT

14 Jul 2018

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WPTavern: WordCamp Europe 2018 Draws 2,085 Attendees, Organizers Look Ahead to 2019 in Berlin

photo credit: WCEU Photography Team

WordCamp Europe closed out a successful event in Belgrade with 2,085 attendees from 76 countries. More than 800 others joined via livestream for a total audience of nearly 3,000 participants. A record-setting Contributor Day kicked off the event, followed by two days of conference sessions and workshops from 65 speakers.

A team of 54 organizers and 170 volunteers made WCEU possible, with 10 different organizing teams. Last year WordCamp Europe added a PR team and this year the event introduced an Attendee Services team to fill gaps in the organization. The operation ran smoothly, despite the conference being spread out across many rooms in the sprawling Sava Centar venue.

WordCamp Europe's PWA (progressive web app) was the highlight of the new features and services introduced this year. It was a central hub for keeping attendees informed on what was happening at any given moment. Organizers also added new amenities, including a site health check station, Community Room, and info booth to handle attendee questions.

Gutenberg and Progressive web apps were the hot topics of this year's WordCamp Europe. In addition to Matt Mullenweg unveiling a roadmap for Gutenberg's inclusion in core, a strong contingent of designers and engineers from the team were present to educate attendees on Gutenberg's architecture and the vision behind the project.

Many attendees were visiting Serbia for the first time and Belgrade delivered with its renowned hospitality and captivating nightlife. Attendees found no shortage of delicious options for food and drink.

Berlin to Host WordCamp Europe 2019

At the conclusion of the event, organizers announced Berlin as the next host city for WordCamp Europe, June 20-22, 2019. The conference, Contributor Day, and the after party will all be held at the Estrel Hotel and Congress Center, a venue with a capacity for 12,000 attendees.

Organizers said that Berlin's accessibility, reasonable prices, and strong community were the final deciding factors for its selection as the next host city.

Behind the Scenes at WordCamp Europe 2018 with Lead Organizers Jenny Beaumont and Milan Ivanović

Hosting a volunteer-led event at this scale requires an enormous amount of effort from the organizers, especially those taking the lead for multiple years in a row. There is nearly no down time as the team is already planning for the next edition of the camp.

I sat down with lead organizers Jenny Beaumont, the global lead, and Milan Ivanović, the local lead, to get a look behind the scenes at what is involved in bringing WordCamp Europe to thousands of WordPress enthusiasts in one weekend. We interviewed them at the conclusion of WCEU 2017 in Paris. Over the past two years these leaders have developed a strong working relationship built on encouraging each other and keeping a positive outlook for their teams.

Beaumont said she was hesitant going into a third year for this role, as Paris was the project that captured her heart and motivation. After going through this event as the global lead, she said she discovered what she could bring to the role and how she could serve the team.

"The event has been their project," Beaumont said. "My project this year has been the team, how I can really concentrate on this team, on its growth, on its health, on its sustainability. That's what I learned in Paris - the importance of making sure that was part of the project."

Beaumont and Ivanović explained the difference between the global and local lead roles, a structure that works well for flagship WordCamps.

"The local team is really about making it a good experience in this new place that everybody is going to be discovering for the first time," Beaumont said. "It's the hard work, it's the logistics, it's all of the small details, everything that's behind the scenes that make it so you walk in as an attendee and it just feels like you're at home. They do all of that hard work. The global role, as it has evolved, is really about being that sort of team care-giver, making sure that there is good communication happening, making sure the team is healthy and happy and motivated. Because you've got to get up and do this every day while you're also doing your day job, and that takes a lot."

WordCamp Europe had a strong impact on the local community with more than 400 Serbian attendees and 20 Serbian organizers. They worked to build awareness of WordPress in the local community ahead of the event.

"We used this event to grow our community and used our community to promote the event," Ivanović said. "When we announced last year in Paris that Belgrade is going to be next, at that time we had five or six cities for WordPress meetups. Currently, we are in 14 cities and starting the 15th in July. WordCamp Europe and the conference itself was such a win for the whole community."

Ivanović will return next year as the global lead for WCEU in Berlin. Beaumont is taking some time off after three years organizing WordCamp Paris and WordCamp Europe, but she hopes to return in some capacity in the future. They are working together with their team to publish a WordCamp Europe handbook that covers some of the important specifics of the event for upcoming teams. Check out the full interview in the video below.

14 Jul 2018 12:24am GMT