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Issue #101
MailPoet - Zeplin 2019-10-25 17-00-44

This week in WordPress

WordPress 5.9 delayed, pushed back to January

Breaking, not surprising, and necessary: WordPress 5.9 has been pushed back to a possible January 25 release date.

On Tuesday, Audrey Capital-sponsored core contributor Samuel "Otto" Wood raised a red flag in the Make WordPress Slack group involving the editing of specific templates, prompting core contributors to quickly identify a blocker to the Beta phase.

WordPress 5.9 Beta 1, which was due to ship on November 16, was delayed by 24 hours, and then delayed indefinitely while the release squad decided on next steps: either further delaying and revising the WordPress 5.9 schedule or punting Full Site Editing to WordPress 6.0. In the #5-9-release-leads channel on Slack, contributors overwhelming voted to delay the release.

Contributors also raised concerns about working through the holidays, which Anne McCarthy, the Automattic-sponsored program manager for the Full Site Editing (FSE) outreach experiment, summed up best: "Contributions have been lower this year and we need to recognize the very Human situation we're in right now both in terms of larger cultural moments coming up with various holidays/celebrations and the reality of still being in the midst of a pandemic. Delaying provides sustainability to get this release right without potentially burning out the remaining contributor base."

WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy has shared a revised schedule, which adds seven weeks to the release cycle and includes an additional beta, giving contributors extra time during the holidays. WordPress 5.9 was originally scheduled for release on December 8.

As Automattic-sponsored contributor and WordPress Core Principal Architect Tonya Mork says in WordPress 5.9 Beta 1 delayed, "The information that surfaced… suggests two to three weeks of focused work will produce a significantly better 5.9 version—much better than would a set of quick fixes intended to meet the current schedule."

A further update from Mork is expected on Monday, and as she tweets, highlighting the beauty of open source and the WordPress project: "Discussions are openly happening in the release squad's Slack channel."

State of the Word scheduled for December 14 in New York

Speaking of schedules… "Mark your calendars; it's almost time for State of the Word 2021!" Josepha Haden Chomphosy shared this week in State of the Word 2021. Right, so far so good.

"Expect to hear about a range of topics, from WordPress 5.9 and Openverse to Web3 and non-fungible tokens (NFTs)." Wait. What?

Sarah Gooding has more about WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg's annual address at WPTavern: State of the Word 2021 Will Be Broadcast Live from New York City on December 14. "As WordPress is closing in on 43% of the web, it will be interesting to see what Mullenweg has to say about what the project's role is in this potentially polarizing issue," writes Gooding, referring to NFTs.

"Are we in trouble or at the forefront of the next technology wave in WP?" tweets the team at Web3 WP, whose recent experiments include a Wapuu NFT collection.

"All I want to hear about Web3 and NFTs is 'The WP project itself will do nothing to encourage these questionable technologies,'" tweets Simon Dickson, a senior technical product owner for hire and former Director of Platform Services at WordPress VIP.

Elementor launches marketing campaign that doesn't mention WordPress

Elementor launched a big budget marketing campaign and Hollywood-style video this week aimed at "web creators," prompting at least one WordPress commentator to suggest the website building company may be taking its first steps towards autonomy from WordPress.

The 90-second video features web creators, "regular-looking people with multilayered skills," aka designers, developers and marketers. Interestingly, WordPress is not mentioned once in the video or on the landing page that accompanies Elementor's campaign, but there's a blink-or-you'll-miss-it reference to open source at 1 minute 14 seconds.

According to Elementor-commissioned research released as part of the campaign, 67% of so-called web creators are Gen Z or Millennials. As part of the campaign, 150 Elementor employees changed their job title on LinkedIn this week to "Web Creator."

At The WP Minute, Matt Medeiros writes, "This looks to be a commercial on par with Webflow or Squarespace. Is this [Elementor's] first step towards autonomy from #WordPress?"

The campaign comes after internet icons Gary Vaynerchuk, Seth Godin and Swan Sit headlined #webcreators2021, Elementor’s virtual conference for web creators, in June. It also follows the launch of Elementor’s Full Website Kits for web creators in July.

Elementor was founded in 2016 by Israeli entrepreneurs Yoni Luksenberg and Ariel Klikstein and now powers 9 million websites.

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Liquid Web acquires Modern Tribe

Back in the US, managed hosting company Liquid Web has acquired Modern Tribe to "complement its family of WordPress businesses," according to an aptly titled Statement published on the digital agency's website this week.

Modern Tribe will continue to operate as an independent agency with its existing leadership, but will also serve as an innovation team for the Liquid Web family of brands.

The deal comes after Liquid Web acquired The Events Calendar plugin, originally a Modern Tribe product, in 2020.

Not really surprising, but "Pretty crazy seeing Modern Tribe picked up by Liquid Web," tweets Chris Wiegman, a Senior Software Developer at WP Engine. Photographer, speaker and author Aaron Hockley adds, "How long until all major players in the WP ecosystem are owned by about 3 companies?"

We're with WP Mainline's Jeff Chandler: "Someone's going to have fun putting an infographic together that shows the WordPress space after 2021."

Gutenberg 11.9 packed with dozens of enhancements

Gutenberg 11.9 focuses on navigation menus and block theming, reports Justin Tadlock at WPTavern, who says the latest release is packed with dozens of enhancements. Gutenberg 11.9 is the last plugin release to include new features for the upcoming WordPress 5.9 release, now expected to ship in January. Bug fixes will continue to be ported over in the coming weeks. Automattic-sponsored core contributor Andrew Serong also details what's new in Gutenberg 11.9.0 on the Make WordPress Core blog.

Also at WPTavern, Tadlock reports on a proposal to allow themes to have multiple theme.json files, essentially enabling WordPress themes to have "skins." He also covers news the proposed Web Fonts API will not be coming to WordPress 5.9, and instead will possibly land in the Gutenberg plugin first.

In other design-related news, at speckyboy, writer Eric Karkovack explores How WordPress Full Site Editing Could Impact the Design Process.

Stepping away from WordPress vs sticking around

Gutenberg has split the WordPress community. But as long-time community members decide to step away from the project (or simply disappear), should their departure be viewed as collateral damage or simply their time to move on?

This week, WordPress expert, designer, speaker and podcaster, Paul Lacey, shared why he’s taking "a big step back" from WordPress in Blocks, Boards & Fishing Reels – How Gutenberg has Divided WordPress. "WordPress should not be about forcing the adoption of change, it should be about celebrating choice. That's a philosophy that glues a community together. Otherwise, it's no longer community, it's just software," he writes.

Newsletter Glue co-founder Lesley Sim says it's "Required reading/listening for anyone in the WordPress biz in 2021."

"@paullacey_dgtl This nearly brought me to tears! It reflects how so many of us feel. Thank you 4 writing & sharing it. Thank you 4 making me feel so welcomed on the podcast this summer. I proudly plan to keep designing w/ @BeaverBuilder as a laggard w/ happy clients," tweets developer Cami MacNamara, who links to her take: There is more than one way to WordPress.

Some, like investor and Bertha.AI co-founder, Andrew Palmer, believe Lacey will be back after taking a break from WordPress: A personal (Public) note to Paul Lacey.

And then there's Doo the Woo's Bob Dunn on the opposite end of the spectrum. After 11 years working with WordPress, he writes, "When others are becoming less involved with the community, making changes in content or other mediums to not be so WordPress-centric, or simply jumping the ship, instead, when it comes to the WordPress community, I am turning it to eleven."

"Nice read from @Bobwp on why he's "turning it to eleven" regarding #WordPress community. A view less virally shared and discussed in various communities than other kinds of legit views, but nevertheless deserves time and eyeballs as well," tweets Post Status' David Bisset.

#WPCommunityFeels: Jack Kitterhing

Photo of Jack Kitterhing
This week, what's inspiring Jack Kitterhing, Product Manager at LearnDash and self-described "maker of too many side projects 🤣."
A podcast worth listening to: Has to be How I Built It with Joe Casabona. It offers an insightful look into small businesses and marketing. Perfect for anyone getting started to understand common challenges in the online world.

A concept worth understanding: The concept of the MVP. You don't need to polish your product to perfection or add every feature for version 1.0. Launch it! Get feedback and iterate.

A Twitter account worth following: Definitely @chrislema. He's a powerhouse in the product world and shares insightful best practices from his vast experience. His blog is pretty kick-ass too.

An article worth reading: @lesley_pizza's blog, Learning to ship 1 big thing per cycle, on learning the importance of an MVP with shipping one big thing per quarter rather than trying to do everything at once.

A habit worth forming: Not so much a habit as a mindset, but understanding, seeing things from others' points of view, and taking on opinions from colleagues and peers. Blazing through believing you are perfect in everything is a sure-fire way to fail.

Testing WordPress Full Site Editor

testing FSE
Have you started testing out the features coming in WordPress 5.9? Full Site Editing brings a lot of big changes to the interface of block-based themes. This is an opportunity to have your voice heard by the developers.

Join us for a low-key Zoom session as we test the new features coming. We will be exploring the Twenty Twenty-Two default theme, block theme template parts, how to access theme and block style settings, and more.

This will be a collaborative group activity with Courtney Robertson, Web Design and Developer Advocate at GoDaddy, where we all set up a testing site and work through the steps together. Upon completion, we'll share our feedback with the testing organizers. We anticipate this event to last more than one hour as we work through our findings.

By participating in testing, you will more readily spot areas that will need your attention upon upgrade and help the WordPress project consider any issues that arise. As time permits, we could even test third-party plugins with the new features.

Read more: Testing WordPress Full Site Editor.

In other WordPress news...

  • The 2021 WordPress Annual Survey is now open and WordPress folks are encouraged to take part and share their experiences. The results of the 2020 survey are also available to view. According to Josepha Haden Chomphosy, more than 17,000 responses were collected in 2020, compared to just 6,203 in 2019. In the inaugural year of the survey (2015), over 50,000 responses were collected. (Editor: We'll be reporting on the results of the 2020 survey in next week's issue.)
  • Josepha Haden Chomphosy has also announced six new core committers for 2021, all of whom have dedicated years of their time and expertise to the WordPress project: David Baumwald (a Dream Encode full-stack developer), William Patton (a self-employed WordPress developer), Jonny Harris (a freelance developer and former lead WordPress developer at Time Inc UK), Jeff Ong (a creative technologist and sponsored contributor at Automattic), Jb Audras (CTO at Whodunit and WordPress Core Team rep), and Tonya Mork (an Automattic-sponsored core contributor). Congratulations and thank you for your contributions!
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  • "If you're looking for holiday gifts, or some coloring therapy for yourself, grab a copy (or several) of this coloring book. Crowd sourced and full of positivity. We highly recommend it! We give it 5 crayons: 🖍🖍🖍🖍🖍" tweets Post Status, linking to the back story behind Big Orange Heart's new coloring book, Color My Heart Orange. The fundraising project features drawings created by the community in a format designed to be relaxing and therapeutic.
  • From Sarah Gooding at WPTavern: Some new data from a recent Core Web Vitals (CWV) technology report produced by the HTTP Archive shows WordPress sites running newer versions have lower CWV pass rates. One of the most notable findings in the report, produced by HTTP Archive maintainer Rick Viscomi, showed that just 22% of WordPress-powered origins pass the Core Web Vitals "Good" threshold.
  • Wordfence has disclosed a reflected XSS vulnerability in the Preview E-mails for WooCommerce extension, which is installed on over 20,000 websites. The flaw makes it possible for an attacker to inject malicious JavaScript into a page that would execute if the attacker successfully tricked a site's administrator into performing an action like clicking on a link.
  • The upcoming release of BuddyPress 10.0.0 Beta 1 has been delayed, with a stable release now expected to be shipped on December 24, reports Sarah Gooding at WPTavern. The beta 1 release was originally scheduled for November 20, but contributors decided to postpone the beta by two weeks due to a lack of time for adequately testing recent improvements to planned features.
MailPoet - Zeplin 2019-10-25 17-00-44

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