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Issue #154
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This week in WordPress

WordPress Executive Director Outlines 2023 Goals for the WordPress Project

Yesterday, WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy shared WordPress' big picture goals for 2023. She says this year's goals, which focus on CMS, community, and ecosystem, round out the "excellent vision-setting" shared in the recent State of the Word and her Letter to WordPress published last week.

Sarah Gooding has more at WP Tavern: WordPress Project Aims to Complete Customization Phase and Begin Exploring Collaboration in 2023.

As Gooding reports, contributors have also called on WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg to consider having the project devote some time to working through old tickets and fixing bugs. Last week, Remkus de Vries, who runs Truer than North, kicked off a discussion about "cleaning up" when he tweeted, "🙋🏼‍♂️ Would it make sense to periodically dedicate one release cycle for #WordPress to just fixing bugs and not introducing anything new?" prompting WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg to reply he'd be "… happy to look at one of those a month this year. Let's plan it out."

WordCamp Europe Tickets Now On Sale

"I just got my ticket for #WCEU this year. Looking forward to meeting you 🫵 in #Athens this summer," tweets Ralf Wiechers, a consultant and WP Meetup Hamburg organizer, and among the first to secure a ticket to WordCamp Europe 2023.

The first batch of tickets for the event went on sale yesterday. As Sarah Gooding explains at WP Tavern, general tickets for the event, scheduled for 8-10 June in Athens, Greece, are €50, a fraction of their true cost and heavily subsidized by sponsors. WCEU is also offering micro-sponsorship tickets for €150, which organizers say is closer to the real cost of attendance.
For companies with more cash to splash, Mike Stott, a Senior Software Engineer at Automattic, tweets, "If you're wondering whether sponsoring WordCamps is a good idea and measuring ROI might be tough... Don't be. It can lead to unexpected things. Just over a year after this [conversation with Matt Mullenweg] our product was acquired by Automattic."
A conversation between Matt Stott and Matt Mullenweg, in which Mullenweg says he discovered Stott's company via WordCamp US.
But not everyone has the cash to sponsor a WordCamp, let alone attend one. Taco Verdonschot, Yoast's Head of Relations, tweets, "If you're part of a typically underrepresented group in Tech, and you have financial obstacles preventing you to submit a talk for #WCEU, please please please reach out to the @Yoast Diversity Fund!" He links to linking to Yoast Diversity Fund.

WordPress 6.2 Set for 28 March, Includes Fourth Beta to Accommodate WordCamp Asia

Work on WordPress 6.2, the first major release of 2023, is already underway. It's slated for release on 28 March 2023, and will include up to Gutenberg 15.1 for a total of 10 Gutenberg releases.

Automattic-sponsored core contributor Héctor Prieto shared the Core development team's WordPress 6.2 planning roundup, which details the version's beta, release candidate, and dry run dates. The proposed schedule includes four Beta releases to accommodate the first WordCamp Asia and avoid having major release milestones close to this event.

A known but new face will be contributing to this release: Felix Arntz, a Developer Relations Engineer at Google, WordPress core committer, and WordPress Performance Team rep, tweets, "After many years of contributing, I'm part of a #WordPress release squad for the first time 😊 I'm excited to collaborate with the team and help shape the new Performance Lead role so that we can document its responsibilities for the releases to come!"

Thierry Muller, a fellow Googler who's also on the Performance Team, tweets, "This is a big deal for WordPress Performance (aka #WPP)! Congrats and thank you @felixarntz for being the first person taking on this new role and setting the path for future versions. Exciting times ahead!"

Meanwhile, Automattic-sponsored contributor Anne McCarthy has created a video exploring the site building differences between WordPress 5.9 and 6.2, reports Sarah Gooding at WP Tavern. It's clear that 6.2 will bring smoother browse mode interactions, a more intuitive Navigation block, and extended Style Variations, among other things.

WordPress.com's Revamped Jetpack App Causes Confusion Among Users

WordPress.com launched its revamped Jetpack mobile app this week as part of broader efforts by the WordPress Mobile Team to refocus the official WordPress mobile apps on core features. But as WP Tavern's Sarah Gooding explains, WordPress.com's announcement only confused bloggers who don't understand the need for two apps or why they must migrate to keep using Stats, Reader and Notification features.

Gooding says that WordPress.com users who are unfamiliar with the history of the mobile apps and see it all as "WordPress" may not be aware that Automattic's integrated products have been controversial features in the official WordPress apps for nearly a decade.

She also calls out the poor messaging in the announcement, saying it "presents Jetpack as just a new optional app and doesn't convey the urgency of migrating if users still want access to stats, notifications, the reader, and any additional paid features."

At the WP Minute, Editor Eric Karkovack says the lines between the open-source WordPress.org and its commercial counterpart WordPress.com (owned by Automattic) have long been blurred and confusing.

New Look for WordPress Themes Directory

The WordPress themes directory is getting a facelift. In an effort to bring the theme directory in alignment with the overall WordPress.org vision, Automattic-sponsored designer Beatriz Fialho, who is leading the redesign effort, says the themes directory will soon look similar to the recently-revamped Showcase and News pages.

The new version will also incorporate updated theme taxonomies and improve overall usability.

Along with a stack of feedback and suggestions, Elma Studios' Ellen Bauer comments, "I love the fresh look, sooo long overdue 😍 Thank you so so much for your work Beatriz, really amazing!!!"
Three mock-up designs for the WordPress.org themes directory redesign.

#WPCommunityFeels: Jonny Harris

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This week, what’s inspiring WordPress core committer and freelance PHP/React developer Jonny Harris.
A podcast worth listening to: A podcast I always find interesting is This American Life, a set of stories from America. As a Brit, I find them interesting.

A concept worth understanding: That human beings respond to negativity. That you can put 9 good things out in the world, but if you put out one negative one, people will take note of that. You have to be careful about how negative you are, especially on social media. People will take note of it.

A Twitter account worth following: @jasonbahl always makes me laugh and is a very talented developer.

An article worth reading: The Cost of Contribution by Alain Schlesser. Alain is an important voice in the WordPress open source project. He is also a great speaker and thinker. This article is from a great talk from WordCamp US 2019, that really made me think the cost of contributing to core.

A habit worth forming: Ensuring you see daylight first thing in the morning. It sets you up for the rest of the day. Just go outside for a while in the morning.

Digital Payment Transformation: Growing Your Business

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A photo of Bob on a yellow background, next to black text about GoDaddy's Digital Payment Transformation event on January 25.
Digital is here to stay. From the way we work, consume, and interact on a personal and business level, the pandemic changed the behavior of both consumers and businesses alike—also providing opportunity.

The Digital Payments Transformation allows merchants to be creative in the way they can sell their products and services. From setting up an installment plan, to offering membership clubs, to offering discounts for upfront payments. It also allows a merchant the flexibility of closing a sale virtually anywhere. No longer are they limited to selling in a store or just on their website. Merchants can accept payment via social marketing sites, via a text, over the phone with a virtual terminal, or at the consumer’s home with a mobile application. If used correctly, the digital payments transformation can be leveraged as a true competitive advantage and part of the connected experience.

Join us to learn how to unlock the potential of digital payments with omni-commerce solutions by partnering with GoDaddy.

This free virtual event is presented by GoDaddy Pro and will take place on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 at 3pm EST.

Learn more and register here: Digital Payment Transformation: Growing Your Business.
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In other WordPress news...

  • In response to last week's claims by Justin Ferriman and Brian Gardner that a "WordPress gold rush" could be on its way, MasterWP's Rob Howard has made the case that such an event is unlikely. In The case against a WordPress ‘gold rush,' Howard says it would be quite the heavy lift for Gutenberg Blocks to change the client experience enough to initiate a new era of innovation.
  • WooCommerce has been caught up in Mailchimp's recent security breach. In an email to users, WooCommerce says no payment data, passwords, or other sensitive security information was part of the breach, and reassured users the incident was not a breach of WordPress.com or WooCommerce.com.
  • Africa's first WordCamp, WordCamp Entebbe 2023, is officially on! The event will take place March 10-11 and will include a range of activities, including a Women in Tech panel discussion and a teacher's workshop.
  • Five for the Future is seeking feedback on how to improve the contributor journey going forward. Contributors are encouraged to leave comments on a new blog post detailing the program's successes and pain points from the individual perspective.
  • Those who missed the 2022 State of the Word Q&A can read each question and its answer via WordPress.org's annual Q&A roundup. Questions from last year covered content ownership, post formats, AI art generators, and more.
  • WooCommerce released version 7.3 this week, heralding the arrival of the new Products block in beta. This first iteration on the Products block allows users to list products based on specific criteria and their layout in the list or grid.
  • WordPress has evolved over the years from a blogging platform to a multi-billion dollar industry that supports countless jobs. In "WordPress Has Evolved—It's Time We Solve The User Experience," LearnDash product manager Jack Kitterhing argues that the WordPress user experience should similarly mature into a more sophisticated version of itself.
  • LifterLMS has earned an investment from Paid Memberships Pro co-founders Jason and Kim Coleman. In a blog post, LifterLMS shares that Jason and Kim are additionally taking active roles in the company to apply their engineering, design, and business skills.
  • For its first episode of 2023, the podcast Hallway Chats—which Nyasha Green has joined as co-host—brought on Matt Mullenweg. The group chats about customer support, AI imagery, bucket lists, and more.
  • The return of in-person events and the Meetup reactivation project are just a couple of the highlights that marked a challenging but successful year for the WordPress Community Team. Megan Rose, an Expert Community Support Lead at Codeable and a WordPress Community Deputy, recaps what the team achieved in 2023 and goals for 2023.
  • The WordPress Community Summit and WordCamp US 2023 will take place in Maryland, USA, from 24-26 August 2023. Applications are now open to join the organizing team and help make the next WCUS a success.
  • Derek Herman is Yoast's new CTO. "Which means I can step down soon and focus on my new job as Head of WordPress Strategy for Newfold Digital," was Joost de Valk’s comment in Post Status Slack this week. Herman is a WordPress core contributor and former CTO at XWP.
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