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Issue #90
MailPoet - Zeplin 2019-10-25 17-00-44

This week in WordPress

Automattic acqui-hires Frontity team

Automattic's spending spree continued this week with CEO Matt Mullenweg announcing the company has acquired Frontity, an open source React framework for WordPress-powered websites.

Frontity to Join Automattic is the headline on his blog — an apt description since Frontity's co-creators Pablo Postigo and Luis Herranz, along with the entire Frontity team, will move to Automattic — aka "snapped up by the mothership," as CodePen founder Chris Coyier puts it.

Mullenweg says the Frontity team's "proven drive and experience with clean technological solutions will benefit our efforts as we continue to make the block and theme APIs a joy to use and WordPress the best development platform on the web." In other words, the Frontity team has been tasked with improving the full-site editing experience for developers. They share more details in Frontity is joining Automattic, along with the news Frontity will transition to a community-led project.

Post Status tweets that according to Reyes Martínez, who looks after marketing and communications for Frontity, the whole team (and founders) are joining Automattic's .org division "to look at the opportunities around Gutenberg and its development ecosystem."

Jeff Chandler covers the story for WP Mainline (Automattic Acquires Frontity), while Sarah Gooding at WPTavern looks at the deal in depth in Automattic Acquires Frontity, Founders to Work Full-Time on Gutenberg.

Blue Liquid Designs Head Developer Jake Jackson points out "Since [Postigo and Herranz] aren't going to be working on Frontity anymore, this sounds more like a hiring bonus with some extra steps than an acquisition. That's certainly a useful strategy for hiring new talent for Automattic in the current [climate], especially when they've so many open positions right now."

Venturebeat's Paul Sawers reminds readers that Automattic quietly raised $288 million in financing in February to fund acquisitions and spearhead a hiring spree.

Automattic investing in developer relations

While WordPress developers have debated the barrier to entry these past few weeks, Automattic has been quietly working to improve it. Sarah Gooding reports for WPTavern that in addition to putting the Frontity team on improving developer experience, Automattic has recently hired Tara King as its new Director of Developer Relations.

King, who previously led Pantheon's community team, tweets she will be "… leading the #DeveloperRelations team, contributing full time to make #WordPress (and #Gutenberg) warmer, fuzzier, more useful, and easier to learn."

King was joined this week by two new developer advocates (and probably many others as Automattic ramps up its hiring): Birgit Pauli-Haack, who curates Gutenberg Times and runs the Gutenberg Changelog podcast (both sponsored by Automattic), and Ryan Welcher, former Lead Web Engineer at 10up. Pauli-Haack tweets, "To be part of the WordPress developer relations team feels like coming home to me with so many friends as co-workers!"

In other Automattic-related news, Andrea Middleton announced this week she will be taking up a community role with Reddit after contributing full-time to WordPress for 10 years. Middleton joined Automattic in 2011 to lead WordCamp Central.

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Gutenberg 11.4 now available

Gutenberg 11.4 was shipped this week. Ramon James, an Automattic-sponsored core contributor, says it features a refactored Gallery Block, duotone filters for featured images, padding support for Button Block, and support for block gap spacing. Justin Tadlock at WPTavern says this version of Gutenberg overhauls galleries and lays the groundwork for global spacing.

Meanwhile, Sarah Gooding at WPTavern reports the block-based navigation editor screen got a status check last week as part of a hallway hangout meeting aimed at identifying what needs to happen to remove its "experimental" flag. According to Matias Ventura, the Gutenberg project's lead developer, the navigation block and navigation screen projects are a main target for WordPress 5.9. He says a large part of the remaining work is to improve the user experience, reduce complexity, and test as much as possible on themes."

Security vulnerabilities found in plugin formerly known as Redux Framework

In other Gutenberg-related news, Extendify has patched two vulnerabilities in its Gutenberg Template Library & Redux Framework, formerly known as the Redux Framework plugin.

At WPTavern, Sarah Gooding reports that Wordfence disclosed the flaws in the plugin's template-browsing feature on August 3. Extendify responded immediately, shipping a patched version on August 11.

Wordfence threat analyst Ram Gall has shared how attackers could potentially exploit the vulnerabilities, and says more than 1 million sites have been affected. He's urging users to update to the latest version as soon as possible. Gooding says more than 71% of sites using the plugin are running on older versions that remain vulnerable.

WordPress Plugins Team says inaccurate plugin stats due to fake data

"The lengths people will go," tweets WP Mainline's Jeff Chandler, linking to WordPress Plugins Team rep Mika Epstein's announcement that gives her "...no joy whatsoever to have to post…": Inaccurate Stats Have Been Corrected.

Around 100 plugins at WordPress.org have had their active installs counts revised downwards by around 8,000 installs after it was discovered their counts had been artificially inflated by an unnamed culprit. According to Audrey Capital-sponsored core contributor Samuel Wood, "This is not unusual, it's happened before, although people are usually much more blatant about it, which is why it took a long time to notice."

Mark Zahra, CEO of RebelCode, whose WP RSS Aggregator plugin was affected, tweets a couple of points to help clarify the fallout for plugin authors: "1. The growth rate chart continuing to decline is expected for at least another week as the stat collections (which are recalculated at the end of a week) even out. 2. It won't impact repo search rankings."

Free Client Email Templates to You Save Time

How many hours each week do you spend emailing clients? One recent study from CNBC suggests the average worker commits more than five hours a day to tapping away at emails. That's a lot of time you could get back — and at GoDaddy Pro, we're all about taking back those hours. It's why we're creating a series of free email templates that web pros like designers and developers can use to save themselves serious time.
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For many of us, our primary money-making skill doesn't have much to do with writing. It's about perfecting a .CSS stylesheet or editing images until (as clients are fond of saying) they have that "pop." Ask us to handle those techie tasks and we're all over it. But ask us to write a simple message, say, asking a client to send in content, and it's a delete-and-repeat ordeal to finally get that email out the door.

Here are the free email templates you can quickly copy and paste into messages addressing these common scenarios:
We'll continue adding free email templates to this post as they're created, so keep checking back to get the latest content.

In other WordPress news...

  • WP Engine founder and CTO Jason Cohen took part in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit last week. Cohen shares that WP Engine is now the seventh largest public website host in the world and the largest that focuses on WordPress, with 170,000 customers and 1,100 employees. Asked why he originally chose to bootstrap a WordPress hosting company, he says, "Definitely not luck to pick this area - I did 50 customer interviews before determining this was a good idea, and had done many interviews on other product ideas which I rejected on the basis of those interviews."
  • Web3 WP co-founders Aaron Edwards and Joshua Dailey are creating collectible Wapuu NFTs as a way to fund their experiments with Web3 technologies and WordPress. Jeff Chandler explores the experiment in more detail at WP Mainline and says half of the proceeds will go to the WordPress Foundation.
  • The Hub by GoDaddy Pro was created to streamline your workflow and save time on tasks that typically eat up a workday. But we aren't done yet. See the latest Hub updates and changelog here, and then explore the Hub by GoDaddy Pro – It's free! Sponsored link
  • WordPress Translation Day kicked off on September 1, and as WPTavern's Sarah Gooding reports, the event has been expanded to run from September 1-30 this year. WordPress Polyglots contributors from all over the world will be hosting mini-events throughout the month where they will be translating themes, plugins, apps, meta, docs, and other important projects. Events will also focus on recruitment, virtual training for new contributors, and general process improvements.
  • Announce Your Plugin to the World, Shout It From the Rooftop is Justin Tadlock's headline and advice at WPTavern, where he says "the easiest way to kill your WordPress plugin is to fail to let the world know about it." He speaks to marketing consultant Bridget Willard, who recently published How to Market Your Plugin, about some basic things developers can do to market their projects while they're still in development.
MailPoet - Zeplin 2019-10-25 17-00-44

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