Issue #206
Happy Saturday! It's April 6 and we're covering WordPress 6.5's official release, changes to the WordPress.org Hosting page, WPBeginner's new offshoot, and much more.

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Three big headlines

1. WordPress 6.5 'Regina' launches with Font Library and APIs after delay


WordPress 6.5 was released Tuesday and as Matt Medeiros writes at The WP Minute, the "WordPress 6.5 launch was nice, fairly uneventful."

The second major release for 2024 is named after renowned jazz violinist Regina Carter and introduces the much-anticipated new Font Library, Interactivity API and Block Bindings API, as well as impressive performance gains. WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg shares more in his announcement post: WordPress 6.5 "Regina."

An uneventful release but also a week late. Search Engine Journal's Roger Montti explains the disagreements that led to the eleventh-hour change to where fonts are stored: WordPress 6.5 Release Derailed By Bugs In New Feature.

Still, "The Font Library is going to be a game changer for core WordPress," writes Nathan Ingram in his Business Roundup for Post Status. He links to Automattic-sponsored contributor Anne McCarthy's excellent 3-minute overview video.

For an in-depth look at what's in WordPress 6.5, check out the nearly nine-minute video at Learn WordPress. For a bite-sized take, Automattic-sponsored design contributor Rich Tabor has posted his usual beautiful video-filled summary on X/Twitter. Next Tuesday, Bud Kraus will demo what's new in WordPress 6.5 via Zoom (April 9 at 7pm UTC). And WordPress co-founder Mike Little writes about what's in store for enterprise users.

Again, uneventful, but as Tabor highlights, "In many ways, WordPress 6.5 lays the foundational components of the next big wave of innovation in WordPress, particularly with the Interactivity API, Data Views, and Block Bindings. I've never been more excited about the future of WordPress."

WordPress 6.5 reflects the countless efforts of around 700 contributors in at least 57 countries. "i'm super proud of the 150 first-time contributors to WordPress this go-around. welcome to the team," says Tabor.

2. WordPress.org Hosting page quietly updated


The WordPress.org Hosting page has been updated, this time to include Hostinger.

According to Trac, Audrey Capital-sponsored contributor Samuel "Otto" Wood added the Lithuanian-based hosting company to the page on March 28. Otto also updated Bluehost's entry to state that the company is "WordPress.org's longest running partner." Neither change had Trac tickets or GitHub issues attached.

GoDaddy's Courtney Robertson picked up on the changes, commenting in the #meta channel on Make WordPress Slack that she had updated a spreadsheet containing a combination of rubrics that have been proposed for the Hosting page. She added, "To be clear, I want to see lots of hosts on the page. I'd like the criteria to be listed, continue being listed, guidance about how to word the claims there, etc. to all be publicly visible."

Hostinger's addition to the Hosting page comes after WordPress.com was added to the page last September in a similarly secret fashion.

Last July, Sarah Gooding reported for WP Tavern that WordPress contributors were demanding transparency and objective guidelines for listings on the Hosting page after Siteground was removed with no explanation as to why. At the time, Otto told a WordPress Meta Team meeting that WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg (who owns Audrey Capital) had asked him to remove Siteground because the page was being revamped and "I know no more than that."

In her report, Sarah noted that "The process for being listed on the Recommended Hosting page has historically been shrouded in secrecy, causing contributors to speculate that large sums of money were required."

Will the proposed hosting application rubrics ever be used? Who knows. But Marcus Burnette has done an excellent job incorporating them into the hosting directory at The WP World. As former Hosting Team rep Jessica Frick tells The Repository, "Although it's a long way from getting the level of traffic of the WordPress.org Hosting page, it makes great strides toward the level of transparency that the community has said it craves."

Meanwhile, Project Bedrock, a WordPress Hosting Team initiative to create a directory of recommended and/or compatible hosting companies on Make WordPress Hosting appears to have been abandoned. And the results of a hosting survey that Matt shared in Make WordPress Slack last July haven't been shared with the WordPress Hosting Team.

3. WPBeginner launches custom website design and maintenance services


"After nearly 15 years, I am excited to announce that @WPBeginner is now stepping into a brand-new chapter ๐ŸŽ‰" posted Awesome Motive's Syed Balkhi this week, linking to the news that WPBeginner now offers custom website design and maintenance at affordable prices.

WPBeginner Pro Services is "a one-stop hub where you can find professional WordPress services at revolutionary pricing." And by "revolutionary pricing" we're talking custom website design for $1,299 and site maintenance starting at $69 a month.

The news comes as no surprise. Syed announced last November that Awesome Motive had invested in Seahawk Media, an agency that offers white-label WordPress services at scale. Syed said he wanted to help small businesses that were unable to afford the services offered by the "best WordPress development agencies" typically included in listicles on WPBeginner.

Shawn Hesketh, who sold WP101 to Awesome Motive in February 2023, posted, "Nice! You're uniquely positioned to serve a growing number of small site owners who find themselves left in the lurch as WordPress becomes increasingly more complex for the average user, and agencies continue to go upmarket. Rock on."

The announcement prompted Jeff Chandler, Outreach Coordinator at Mindsize, to post, "I think I just heard a gasp from the direction of Valet and SiteCare," both companies that offer maintenance services. "Nah we good," replied SiteCare Chief of Staff Ryan Sullivan. Sure enough, SiteCare currently has a waitlist for its services, which start at $185 a month.
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In other news

WordPress project

> WordPress.org got a makeover this week. Automattic-sponsored contributor Nick Diego describes the changes as "not a complete reenvisioning of the homepage but rather a quick iteration" aimed at targeting new-to-WordPress users, showing modern WordPress, elevating the community section, and compacting the design. "New WordPress.org ๐Ÿ˜ป๐Ÿ˜ป๐Ÿ˜ป" posted WP Engine Developer Advocate Damon Cook. (Make WordPress.org | X/Twitter).

> Gutenberg 18.0 is available for download. According to release lead Birgit Pauli-Haack, it introduces improvements to sitewide color and typography presets and enhancements for feature images. The release had a record 17 first-time contributors (Make WordPress Core)

> Hรฉctor Prieto, the Gutenberg project's technical project manager, has kicked off planning for WordPress 6.6, calling on volunteers to join what will be a smaller release squad as part of a shorter release cycle. Last November, WordPress Executive Josepha Haden Chomphosy proposed holding WordPress 6.6 for maintenance and general polish, but it's not clear if that plan has stuck. WordPress 6.6 is tentatively scheduled for release on July 16 (Make WordPress Core)

> WordPressCS 3.1.0 shipped last week ahead of the WordPress 6.5 release. According to long-time self-employed core contributor Juliette Reinders Folmer, it includes three new sniffs (GitHub)

> Automattic-sponsored contributor Birgit Paul-Haack has recapped a Hallway Hangout focusing on how agencies and freelancers are using the Site Editor for client sites, including some of the major pain points that are hindering wider adoption (Make WordPress Core)

> Automattic-sponsored contributor Anne McCarthy is hosting a Hallway Hangout on April 24 at 11pm UTC to chat about what's next in Gutenberg and give folks a snapshot of what's being worked on (Make WordPress Core)

WordPress community

> PHP_CodeSniffer 3.9.1 was released this week. It contains new documentation for four sniffs, performance improvements and bug fixes (X/Twitter) | "If you are a #PHP developer who uses @PHP_CodeSniffer here is something actionable you can contribute.... All it takes is filling out one form!" posted developer Ben Peachey this week, linking to an initiative by the French Free Software Unit and NLnet to give โ‚ฌ 10,000 to four maintainers working on critical free software projects, such as PHP_CodeSniffer (GitHub) | Last December, PHP_CodeSniffer (aka PHPCS), a library used by almost every major PHP project, including WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, was abandoned by its long-time sponsor. Following an appeal for financial support, several companies and individuals stepped in to fund developer Juliette Reinders Folmer's work on the project. She now has 50 backers, including Automattic, Human Made, GoDaddy and several other core contributors (Open Collective)

> WordPress Themes Team rep Ganga Kafle recently reviewed his 5,000th WordPress theme, prompting WordPress Executive Director Josepha Chomphosy to congratulate him on X/Twitter. Ganga started as a volunteer reviewer in 2015 before making it his full-time job in 2021 when Rank Math offered to sponsor him. He wrote about his WordPress journey for HeroPress (KafleG | X/Twitter | HeroPress)

> WordCamp organizer and speaker Surendra Shrestha has been named a Yoast Care recipient. Each year, Yoast distributes $25,000 to people who give back to the WordPress community (Yoast)

> Jamie Marsland shared his pick of the top 15 WordPress developers to follow as part of his Build and Beyond video series (WordPress.com)

Business, enterprise & acquisitions

> GravityKit founder Zack Katz reflects on 10 years in business, sharing that GravityView made $4,000 on day one and more than $5.5 million over the past decade. GravityKit now powers 40,000 websites and last year passed $1 million in revenue for the year (Katz.co)

> Siteground is celebrating its 20th anniversary with 20 lessons in 20 years, a look back over the hosting company's history and what their team has learned (SiteGround)

> WP BizDev founder Lawrence Ladomery unpacks State of Digital Publishing's new consultancy, SODP Media, which offers audience growth solutions to digital publishers and news media properties. He comments on the company's advantage as a publisher who "practice what they preach" (WP BizDez)

Plugins, products & themes

> Ronnie Burt, who is leading Automattic's push to reinvent Gravatar as a link-in-bio platform, isn't holding back anymore, stating in his latest product update that "Gravatar Profiles are the newest, yet original, link in bio." New features include the ability to rearrange links, new background colors and overlays, and the ability to edit your URL (Gravatar)

> Developer Senol Sahin shares a behind-the-scenes look at AI Power, the first ChatGPT-powered plugin in the WordPress.org plugin repository. Submitted in 2022, the plugin offers everything from content generation to custom chatbots (Freemius)

> WooCommerce 8.8 is scheduled to ship on Tuesday and will introduce a big list of changes developers have been asking for including a new "Customize Your Store" feature that will allow merchants to easily design the look and feel of their online store and updates to make product onboarding and product tours extensible. According to Woo Developer Experience Lead Brent MacKinnon, the changes to onboarding and tours are significant for developers creating extensions that extend beyond standard offerings (Woo Developer Blog) | Woo is introducing a new extension for managing Woo.com product updates. According to Matt Cohen, Woo's Head of Product & Engineering - Marketplace, the update aims to align WooCommerce with WordPress.org guidelines (Woo Developer Blog)

Conferences, events & awards

> For the second year running, CloudFest kicked off on March 18 in Europa-Park, Germany with a WP Day dedicated to all things WordPress. This year's four-day conference, billed as the world's top internet infrastructure industry event, also featured the seventh edition of the CloudFest Hackathon, with a majority of the projects WordPress-related. Syde's Thorsten Frommen shared a great recap. Anne-Mieke Bovelett's CanEveryoneUse project was named the Overall Winner of the hackathon and also won the Web Impact and Social Media awards. The projects checks the accessibility score of elements in several frameworks, such as Bootstrap and Tailwind (Syde | caneveryoneuse.com)

> The Ugandan WordPress community is hosting two unique events as part of the WordPress Community Team's push for NextGen WordCamps. On April 6, the WordPress in Education Showcase 2024 will feature WordPress websites and interactive educational tools developed by secondary school students. And on July 5, the Uganda Website Projects Competition 2024 will give high school and university students the opportunity to pitch website projects that address real-world challenges for a shot at winning in-kind awards and cash prizes. According to community organizer Mukalele Rogers, a Yoast Care recipient, "These pioneering events represent more than just the evolution of WordPress gatherings in Uganda; they signify a commitment to advancing the digital landscape and fostering a new generation of WordPress users and developers." (WordCamp Central)

> WordCamp Canada organizers have announced the first batch of speakers for the inaugural July 11-13 event, which will be held in Ottawa. Among the speakers are Syde co-founder and CIO Robert Windisch (State of Multilingualism in WordPress), Marc Benzakein from SiteDistrict and MainWP (The Problem(s) with WordPress (not a rant session)) and Miriam Schwab, the Head of WordPress Relations at Elementor (Sustaining WordPress into the next generation) (WordCamp Canada) | Meanwhile, WordCamp Canada organizer Shawn Hooper talks about why the Canadian community felt the need for a national event and the hope it will be a catalyst to more participation (WP Tavern Jukebox)

> WordCamp Europe 2024 organizers shared updates this week: registration for Contributor Day is open and there are two official mascots inspired by two popular modes of Italian transport: Vespa Piaggio Wapuu and 'Cinquecento' Wapuu. Meanwhile, General and Micro Sponsor tickets are still available for the event, which will be held in Torino, Italy, from 13-15 June (WordCamp Europe)

> WordPress leadership has published answers to a series of questions that co-founder Matt Mullenweg wasn't able to answer live during his Q&A at WordCamp Asia 2024. Questions include "Are there any plans for establishing proper product marketing for WordPress itself?" and "How does the WordPress team prioritize which new features or improvements to work on?" (WordPress.org Project)

Security

> According to Patchstack's annual State of WordPress Security report, plugins were responsible for 97% of all new security vulnerabilities in 2023. Themes accounted for 3% and only 0.2% were found in WordPress core. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) was by far the most common security concern, accounting for 53.3% of all new security vulnerabilities. Patchstack reported 73% of all new WordPress vulnerability entries, and was responsible for 54% of new CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposure) IDs (Patchstack)

> Wordfence has awarded security researcher 1337_Wannabe a $5,500 bounty after they responsibly disclosed an unauthenticated SQL Injection vulnerability in the popular LayerSlider plugin. LayerSlider users are urged to update to the latest version of the plugin, which has been patched. The plugin has an estimated 1 million active installations (Wordfence)

WordPress community: Svilena Peneva

A young woman with long brown hair looks into the camera.
This week, whatโ€™s inspiring Svilena Peneva, Partnerships Manager at NitroPack.
A podcast worth listening to: I would have to say Seriously, BUD? This is the latest podcast in the WordPress space, though it focuses more on human stories as opposed to business or product topics. You can find it anywhere you get your podcasts and it's really worth a listen.

A concept worth understanding: Underpromise and overdeliver.

An X/Twitter account worth following: One of my favorite people to follow on X/Twitter is definitely @remkusdevries. He's not only a performance pro and a true WordPress veteran, but he also doesn't shy away from sharing anything and everything that's on his mind.

An article worth reading: I might be biased here, but I'll go with the latest article on the NitroPack blog, Artificial Intelligence Optimization (AIO): New Way to Speed Up Your Site. Unsurprisingly, it's about the topic that's been on everyone's lips โ€” AI, and how it's going to change the site speed game.

A habit worth forming: Something I always do no matter what is make my bed in the morning. I think it sets you up for success for the rest of your day.

Classifieds

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Meanwhile...

Warm & fuzzies
๐Ÿงก The community helped WordPress Community Team rep Leo Gopal raise funds to cover his mom's cancer treatment.
โœจ A history of site icons in WordPress or: how long-time core committer Aaron Jorbin went from arguing to remove them to working to get them included in WordPress 6.5.

Read
๐Ÿ˜  Eric Karkovack asks: Are we going too far with WordPress critiques?
๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ Matt Medeiros asks: Does WordPress need a new logo?
๐Ÿ™ƒ WP BizDev's exclusive scoop: Minecraft for WordPress leaked.
๐Ÿ“ƒ Brian Coords thinks pagesโ€”not postsโ€”should be the default experience.
๐Ÿ‘พ Mika Epstein says hacking websites is the worst way to report a vulnerable plugin.
โ˜๏ธ Automattic's new Director of Long-Term Futures wrote about visiting a data center.
๐Ÿ” Matt Cromwell shares an analysis of product release videos.

Listen
โ˜• Michelle Frechette on Seriously, Bud?
๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ Marcus Burnette on building The WP World.
๐ŸŽ๏ธ Justin Ferriman on winning in WordPress.
๐Ÿ“น Jamie Marsland on being a YouTuber.
๐Ÿš• Anil Gupta on sitting in an Uber with his heroes.
๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป Michelle Frechette and Chris Ford on being "old broads" in tech.
๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ Tammie Lister on her 18 years working with WordPress.
๐Ÿ”ฅ Fabian Kรคgy, Matias Ventura and Luis Herranz on why WordPress dominates the web.

Recaps
๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿผ WordPressers share their WordCamp Asia 2024 highlights.
๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ The team at Human Made share their experiences as organizers, speakers, moderators, panelists and attendees at WordCamp Asia 2024.
โœ‰๏ธ The team at Omnisend recap their first sponsored WordCamp.
๐ŸŒ XWPeople attended WordCamp Asia 2024 from seven different countries.
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿ’ป The team at XWP has also shared their key takeaways following DE{CODE} 2024.

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