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Issue #91
MailPoet - Zeplin 2019-10-25 17-00-44

This week in WordPress

WordPress 5.9 set for release on December 14

WordPress 5.9 has been set a December 14 release date and as Sarah Gooding at WPTavern reports, this version marks a major push towards full-site editing — and a new default theme — before the year’s out.

WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy has published a planning roundup that sets out a tentative schedule and scope. She says the "main goal for 2021 is getting full site editing to all WordPress users" and this release will need "a slightly larger release squad" considering what’s proposed: blocks and intrinsic web design, navigation menus, an interface for theme.json, refining editing flows for block themes, more details tools, and the Twenty Twenty-Two theme.

Gooding points out, "While this timeline seems ambitious for the proposed features, work on many of these efforts has already been happening for months via the Gutenberg plugin."

The full squad list is yet to be announced, with the exception of WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg as release lead, Haden Chomphosy as marketing lead, and Jonathan Bossenger, a core contributor and Developer Educator at Delicious Brains, who's been invited to be a technical writer. More leads will be announced as features for this release are confirmed.

Another week, another Automattic acquisition

Automattic has acquired Social Image Generator, a commercial plugin that automatically creates social share images for WordPress content for all major social networks. Sarah Gooding at WPTavern reports Daniel Post, the plugin’s creator, is joining Automattic to continue developing the product as a new addition to Jetpack’s social media tools. The plugin launched in February 2021 but is now closed to new sales.

"As a happy user of both Jetpack and SIG, I dig this! 😊" tweets Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg who links to the announcement on the Jetpack blog.

At WPMainline, Jeff Chandler questions what the future has in store for the plugin’s early adopters.

IT director and WPwatercooler founder Jason Tucker tweets, "Congrats to @danielpost over at Social Image Generator for being acquired by Automattic. I love this plugin and its ability to create clean and consistent social media images for blog posts. It's helped me and my clients immensely."

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WordPress lead developers share experiments with custom blocks

"What if building custom blocks for the Block Editor was as easy as supplying attributes and a block of HTML? What if this produced React editing code and PHP rendering code without a build step?" tweets OG WordPress lead developer Mark Jaquith, who shares a "Weekend exploration, egged on and sparked by" Helen Hou-Sandí, a fellow OG WordPress lead developer.
In her post Exploring custom blocks from a PHP-centric developer UX point of view, Hou-Sandí explains she has "spent the last 8 months telling anybody I talk to about custom WordPress block development that they were way less scary and much easier than I thought they were going to be as somebody with minimal React experience…"

She thinks a "big game-changer for adoption and shifting thinking" would be to find a way to unify templating between the front-end and the editor, essentially swapping the places where you output content with the corresponding editor component.

She adds: "these are experiments and there will likely be many failed paths", and that the focus remains on the problem to be solved during the research and experimentation phase, not on the implementation details."

Replying to Jaquith, Hou-Sandí tweets, "Leadership by influence 😉 I’m super super excited about this exploration, there's magic to be had if we stop fighting about PHP vs. JS and take advantage of both, because in the end we're (almost) all trying to make websites."

Meanwhile, at WPTavern, Justin Tadlock explores where the React-based WordPress block editor (aka Gutenberg) has been putting up speed bumps and roadblocks for PHP-centric developers.

Termly apologizes to users, increases free tier limit

Termly has apologized to GDPR/CCPA Cookie Consent Banner plugin users, admitting it "fell short" after acquiring the free plugin in July and turning what was once a free offering into, essentially, a commercial SaaS product.

After updating the plugin and setting a 100-monthly visitor limit for free-tier users and charging a minimum $180 per year above that, the company has responded to negative feedback by increasing the limit to 10,000 monthly visitors. It has also dedicated more resources to the WordPress support forums.

In Termly Responds to Feedback, Updates Its Cookie Consent Banner Limits, Director of Marketing Raffaele Riconosciuto tells WPTavern’s Justin Tadlock: "Given that data privacy laws are constantly evolving, as are mechanisms for tracking users on the web, CMPs require a high degree of maintenance and upkeep just to keep their users meeting base legal requirements." Hence why the company charges a recurring subscription.

Riconosciuto says Termly’s 100-monthly visitor limit hadn’t been a problem for Termly’s existing customers prior to the acquisition, but "in hindsight, the structure is less favorable for people who are currently getting something for free, and thus why we made the changes as quickly as we could."

Audrey Capital-sponsored core contributor Samuel "Otto" Wood, who’s on the Plugin Reviews Team, comments, "Just for anybody experiencing this problem in the future, think ahead, and ask the plugins team for advice. We’re happy to help out with this sort of thing."

Automattic announces Worldwide WordPress 5k 2021

Automattic is hosting its 2nd annual Worldwide WordPress 5K during October. Participants are asked to run or walk 5k any time between October 1-31. Registration for the virtual race is free and participants are encouraged to donate to a charity of their choice, with Automattic matching donations up to $50,000.

Official gear is available for purchase on the WWWP5k site. Sarah Gooding at WPTavern notes in Worldwide WordPress Virtual 5K Set for October 1-30, 2021, "The lack of in-person WordCamps has left some people hankering for new WordPress swag, and the 5K wapuu is ready to deliver."

The first WWWPk5 was held in 2015 and as BlackHOST tweets, "The WordPress Virtual 5K is finally happening for the 2nd time after 6 years!"

WordPress pioneers return to community, reinvent themselves

Two long-time WordPress stalwarts who have reinvented themselves are doing the rounds in WordPress publications, sharing their stories in recent interviews.

Brian Gardner, who we covered in issue #88, chats to Jeff Chandler on the WP Mainline Podcast about how an article written by Justin Tadlock at WPTavern about block patterns pulled him back into WordPress and led him to launch his new theme business, Frost.

Gardner, an OG premium WordPress theme pioneer, blazed a trail when he launched the Revolution theme back in 2007. He took a step back from WordPress when he sold StudioPress and the Genesis framework to WP Engine in 2018

Speaking of Chandler, he features in an interview with marketer Lawrence Ladomery on the Convesio blog. He talks about returning to WordPress and launching his news and community site WP Mainline, the new WP Mainline Podcast, and shares his thoughts on the increasing number of acquisitions in the WordPress ecosystem.

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In other WordPress news...

  • Former WooCommerce community lead Jonathan Wold has joined Post Status to work on partnerships. Wold writes about his new role and friendship with Post Status publisher and owner Cory Miller on his blog in Post Status. He also shares that the pair is starting a consulting practice together focused on helping WordPress businesses grow. “I had a fantastic 18 months at @automattic, working with @WooCommerce (for anyone interested, they’re always hiring!) - now back to entrepreneurialism for me :)” tweets Wold. Back in June, we reported that Wold is working on An App Store for WordPress.
  • WordCamp US 2021 is just three weeks away! Get your free ticket if you haven’t already. The organizing team has announced the first two groups of speakers, which include Helen Hou-Sandí, GoDaddy Senior Product Manager of WordPress Rich Tabor, and Kjell Reigstad, who leads the Theme Design Squad at Automattic. The team has also opened up calls for contributor stories and chat directors. Check out the event website for more information. The Repository is a proud media partner of WordCamp US 2021.
  • “So I've been on Twitter as BobWP for long, long time. Well, as you can see, this is a new account. Wonder why? Here you go,” tweets Bob Dunn, who is now sharing all things WooCommerce related under the new Twitter handle, @DotheWoo. He says “Do the Woo is a lot more than myself. I have a fantastic group of co-hosts and entire community of WooCommerce builders who represent Do the Woo,” hence the rebrand.
  • “I keep waking up at 4:18am with a list of things I urgently want to tell people,” tweets Andrea Middleton, who explains in Letters to an open source contributor that as she gets closer to wrapping up her 10 years at Automattic in her role leading WordCamp Central and all things community, she has “a lot of stored up counsel, that I want to share with a bunch of people before I go on my possibly-forever hiatus.” Middleton says she’s planning to publish a series of articles about what works and what doesn’t work in WordPress, and hopes it will help open sources contributors when she’s no longer around.
  • This year’s 2021 WPMRR Virtual Summit kicks off in just 10 days on September 21. Founder Joe Howard says the three-day event aims to "help as many people as possible responsibly achieve their MRR (monthly recurring revenue) goals." The full schedule and speaker lineup will be announced soon, but so far include WebDevStudios CEO and co-founder Brad Williams, Weglot co-founder Augustin Prot, and Codeable Director of Partnership’s Christie Chirinos. Howard has shared some behind-the-scenes information about the event and what to expect in the WPMRR Community. The Repository is a proud community partner of the 2021 WPMRR Virtual Summit.
  • Anne McCarthy, the program manager for the Full Site Editing outreach experiment, has put out a tenth call for FSE testing. This round calls for help with the future of block theme switching and the steps are loose and not required, explains Justin Tadlock at WPTavern, who shares the results of his testing and replies back and forth with McCarthy in the comments. The test is open to anyone who wants to participate through September 29.
MailPoet - Zeplin 2019-10-25 17-00-44

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