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Issue #119
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This week in WordPress

WordPress 6.0 release team calling for testers to help "kick the tires"

We're kicking off today with an ICYMI: WordPress 6.0 Beta 2 is out and the release team has put out a formal call for help. Automattic-sponsored core contributor Brian Alexander says testers are needed to "kick the tires and help ensure its 400+ updates and 500 bug fixes handle like a dream." He shares general testing tips and the key features to focus on: the editor, blocks, design, and theme/plugin development.

WordPress 6.0 is scheduled for release on 24 May 2022, with another beta, three releases candidates, and a dry run yet to come.

Meanwhile, at WPTavern, Justin Tadlock reports WordPress 6.0 Might Ship a Feature for Picking a Block Pattern on Page Creation and A Pared Back Web Fonts API May Land in WordPress 6.0 or Not at All.

WordCamp US leading new initiative to support underrepresented speakers

"I think WCUS just set a very nice example for all future WordCamps by publicly calling for help in supporting speakers from typically underrepresented groups."

That was Yoast Community Manager Taco Verdonschot's take in Post Status Slack on the news that WordCamp US has kicked off an initiative to connect underrepresented speakers with companies willing to fund their travel. (Aside: Readers will remembers that in issue #115, we reported Yoast, led by Verdonschot, is now sponsoring Underrepresented in Tech.)

Valet co-founder and CEO Kimberly Lipari, who's on the WordCamp US organizing team, provides context: "The hope is that this is a first step in a general database of businesses willing to sponsor underrepresented speakers. It won't live in WCUS specifically, we're just the harbinger 🙂 This was @Winstina's passion project and I'm so glad we could make it happen," referring to community organizer Winstina Hughes.

"That this becomes a part of WCUS for us here, and that this expands beyond our borders. Underrepresented groups exist in every country… It's beyond ethnicity, color, gender identity, perceived divergent physical characteristics and abilities," adds Hughes.

Elsewhere, the full schedule for WordCamp Europe is now available. Forty-seven speakers will share their expertise across 29 talks, 18 workshops, and two panels spanning 11 different categories. Sarah Gooding has more on the 2-4 June event in Porto, Portugal—including discussion on the lack of backend dev topics—at WPTavern.

Performance Lab plugin out of beta, and controversial WebP plans put on hold

The WordPress Performance Team has released the first stable version of its Performance Lab plugin. Modules include WebP Uploads, WebP Support, Persistent Object Cache Health Check, Audit Autoloaded Options (experimental), and Audit Enqueued Assets (experimental).

Felix Arntz, a Developer Programs Engineer at Google and a WordPress core committer, says the plugin's primary purpose is to facilitate testing for future WordPress core performance features and enhancements.

In other news: The WordPress Performance Team has put its controversial proposal to make WebP by default on hold after critical feedback. At WPTavern, Sarah Gooding reports vocal opponents to the feature have characterized it as "heavy handed" and have pushed for it to be "opt-in" only or introduced with a more user-friendly way to disable it. "One of the chief concerns is that the proposal has the potential to double the amount of disk space used for images, as it would generate WebP thumbnails in addition to the JPEG sub sizes," she writes.

At MasterWP, Editor Brian Coords asks Should WordPress should load WebP images by default?, noting, "I'd love to see less efforts from Google to push their software and ideology into WordPress core."

Business Spotlight: LearnDash

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LearnDash is taking cutting-edge e-learning methodology and infusing it into WordPress. We're trusted to power the learning programs for major universities, small to mid-size companies, startups, entrepreneurs, and bloggers worldwide.

Elementor criticized for moving slow to patch "extremely severe" vulnerability

And, ouch, this tweet also from MasterWP Editor Brian Coords: "I set my monthly calendar by the regular recurrence of ‘elementor had a vulnerability but we couldn't get in contact with them' stories."

Sarah Gooding at WPTavern reports Elementor 3.6.3 Patches Critical Remote Code Execution Vulnerability. As Threat Analyst Ram Gall explains on the Wordfence blog, he disclosed the vulnerability to Elementor via the company's official security contact email address last month and after waiting two weeks for a reply, contacted the WordPress Plugins Team. Elementor released a patch in version 3.6.3 the following day.

Wordfence describes the vulnerability as "Insufficient Access Control leading to Subscriber+ Remote Code Execution." Sucuri Threat Research Antony Garand says the vulnerability is "extremely severe" and notes in Critical RCE Vulnerability in Elementor WordPress Plugin that "with over 5 million active installations of Elementor at the time of writing, a significant number of websites are impacted"—according to Gooding, 34% of Elementor users are running vulnerable versions of the software, which works out to 1.7 million websites.

New roles, life changes, and people leaving WordPress

  • After five and a half years at Liquid Web, Chris Lema announced this week he is Changing Things Up. In early May, he'll be leaving his role as General Manager at LearnDash to join Cherith Analytics where he'll lead teams building mobile and SaaS apps for ministry in the US, missionary care globally, and tackling other challenges in the faith space.
  • WPCampus founder Rachel Cherry has announced she is stepping down as Director after almost seven years in the role. She says work has begun on transitioning to a new leadership model. Meanwhile, WPCampus is considering hosting WPCampus 2022 in September at Tulane University in New Orleans.
  • "Today's my last day at Automattic! I'm very proud of my 8 years here and grateful to have worked with such kind, talented colleagues. Automattic has absolutely changed my life for the better," tweets Kjell Reigstad, who has stepped down as Automattic's Design Director. Reigstad has been a major contributor to the development of Gutenberg and led design for the Twenty Nineteen and Twenty Twenty-Two default WordPress themes.
  • Jonathan Bossenger is leaving Delicious Brains and his role as Senior Technical Writer to join Automattic. In I'll Remember the Days Before I Knew Everything, he says he'll be part of the team sponsored to work on the Learn WordPress platform as a developer educator, creating educational content for WordPress developers. Notably, Bossenger was invited to join the WordPress 5.9 release team as a technical writer.
  • Remkus de Vries is stepping down as Head of People & Partners and Servebolt after two years. In Life is what happens… he says he wants to refocus his attention on his WordPress agency, Truer than North, and spend quality time on side projects.

"Hefty" Gutenberg 13.0 release now available

Gutenberg 13.0 is out and adds text selection across multiple blocks, new stack and group variations, and featured cover blocks, reports Justin Tadlock at WPTavern. He says it's "one of the heftier releases lately" and contains the final features that will be shipping with WordPress 6.0. Automattic-sponsored core contributor Adam Zielinski's What's new in Gutenberg 13.0? is extensive, to say the least.

Tadlock also reports Gutenberg contributors are beginning early exploration of a new distraction-free mode.

In other news, Extendify's Head of Product Rich Tabor explains how Full Site Editing will change WordPress's identity on the Post Status Excerpt podcast.

WP Engines launches Atlas Blueprint and hosting

WP Engine has released Atlas Blueprints of its Atlas framework for headless WordPress. Launched in March last year, Atlas brings together Node.js and headless WordPress in one integrated platform.

Timing the announcement ahead of its annual DE{CODE} conference held earlier this week, WP Engine has also launched four new Atlas hosting plans ranging from $49 to $499 to "help Atlas span the entire spectrum of headless WordPress needs for sites of all sizes," according to the media release.

As David Bisset notes in Post Status Notes #494, "Now you can generate fully functional headless installs complete with new theme designs by [designer and WP Engine Principal Developer Advocate] Brian Gardner.

#WPCommunityFeels: Stephanie Hudson

This week, what's inspiring Stephanie Hudson, co-founder of FocusWP.

The Repository is a proud media sponsor of Atarim Web Agency Summit 2022. The four-day business-orientated event will kick off on April 26. Get your ticket for free.
A podcast worth listening to: I swing between binging podcasts and audiobooks. It’s been mostly books the past few months for some reason, but I did stumble on a fun podcast called Imagined Life. Each episode tells the story of a famous person before they became famous. They never mention the name until the last sentence so you get to try to figure out who it is along the way. Every episode I’ve listened to has been really interesting and fun to guess.

A concept worth understanding: It’s OK to present the real you to the world, imperfections and all. In a world of influencers with glam squads, Photoshop, and catfish filters, it can feel impossible to keep up… so don’t. Being an actual real human will resonate with your tribe more than you know.

A Twitter account worth following: I know it’s not cool, but I’m just not a Twitter person. I’ve tried many times, but it just doesn’t click with the algorithms in my brain.

An article worth reading: I have to work hard to be productive rather than just busy. It’s easy to be busy. Productivity takes real effort in our world of non-stop notifications and alerts. I enjoyed this article which compares busy and productive to running on a treadmill and running in place, respectively: You Need to Practice Being Your Future Self.

A habit worth forming: I’m a big believer in listening to your body, especially when it comes to your circadian rhythms (sleep/wake cycles). I spent years trying to jam my night owl self into an early bird schedule and all it resulted in was frustration and failure (and tiredness!) over and over again. I’ve come to accept that my brain works best after 10pm. Is that convenient? Not particularly. But as a business owner, I have the ability to set my own schedule. By listening to your body instead of societal norms, your productivity and mental health will benefit so much that it is totally worth swimming upstream.

Growing Your Brand Coffee Chat

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What's your company brand strategy? Maybe your brand is personal or more business-oriented. Maybe it's laid-back or a bit more corporate. Building your brand strategy personally and professionally can be a walk in the park with the right tips and tricks... and that is exactly what we talked about this week! On this month's coffee chat about growing your brand, we welcomed Dave Amirault and Michelle Schulp, who joined us to talk about business and personal branding. They have built brands for major companies as well as themselves.

Michelle, founder and lead designer at Marktime Media, has worked with brands like Target to ensure seamless brand recognition. She also has her own personal brand and style that allows her to be easily found when speaking at events.

Dave, Director of Marketing at Pagely, worked with several large ski brands before joining the Pagely marketing team. He also has his own style and personal brand that will be sure to grab your attention.

This free virtual event was presented by GoDaddy Pro and took place on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. The replay is now available to watch back: Growing Your Brand Coffee Chat.
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