Issue #209
Happy Friday! It's April 26 and we're covering Ari Stathopoulos' post that blew up X/Twitter, and much more.

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One big headline

1. Respected core contributor "gives up" on Gutenberg due to its "alien" code


What do you get when a well-respected core contributor — sponsored by Emilia Capital, no less — posts that he's given up on contributing to Gutenberg because the code base is too "alien" to understand? More than 86,000 views and a truckload of opinions, that's what.

Ari Stathopoulos blew up X/Twitter this week when he posted: "I give up. I can no longer contribute to Gutenberg… I can't understand our code anymore, at this stage it's alien to me and it keeps getting more and more complex instead of simpler. I'm wasting too much time trying to understand what we do."

TeamWP's James Giroux (who recently trialed for a job at WP Tavern) best summed up how folks reacted in his piece When assuming positive intent gets lost in translation: "We had a number of folks raise its profile as a commentary on the state of Gutenberg. We had others highlight the concern of losing a valuable contributor as a result of Gutenberg's codebase. Others felt seen and empathized with how Ari was feeling as it represented their experience as well. And others took it as permission to launch personal attacks against folx in the project or air their frustrations with Gutenberg or React."

James also highlights how a select few — Automattic-sponsored Gutenberg contributor Riad Benguella, WP Engine Developer Advocate Damon Cook, Daniel Bachhuber, who's running WordPress.com while Matt Mullenweg is on a sabbatical, and GoDaddy's Courtney Robertson — looked beyond the emotion to try and get a better understanding of the underlying issues.

While Damon, Daniel and Courtney sought to understand Ari's experience and find solutions, Riad also took the opportunity to field questions about Gutenberg's codebase. His post drew a pointed question from veteran contributor John James Jacoby: "Why don't you document your code?"

It’s a good question and one that Riad answered though John wasn't satisfied with his response.

But back to documenting code. Jonathan Bossenger, an Automattic-sponsored training contributor, reminded folks with his post that long-time core committer Drew Jaynes spent years (5 years and eight months, according to his LinkedIn) working to ensure that WordPress core's PHP code had complete inline documentation.

So what happened? As Jaynes posted this week, "A lot of standards and practices for WordPress core development relaxed around v5.0 to allow for easier iteration and innovation in the Gutenberg project. After 7 years of development, isn't it about time to reprioritize those standards?"

His post drew a response from WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg, who says, among other things, "If I had to guess we may need to take a year to loop back on already implemented things and iterate, bug-fix, and simplify before moving onto a ton of new functionality." Something to think about.

Meanwhile, Ari's boss, Joost de Valk, posted yesterday that he's looking to hire another WordPress developer, adding, "before I start writing a job description: what / whom should I be looking for?"

Courtney replied, "Hot topics that come to mind: UX/UI + Accessibility focused in Gutenberg. Loves to write inline documentation."
Correction: Last week in our story, "WordCamp Europe 2024 full speaker line-up embraces diversity," we said WordCamp Europe 2024 will be held from May 7-9. It's actually on from June 13-15 in Torino, Italy.
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In other news

WordPress project

> Gutenberg 18.2 is out. WP Engine-sponsored release lead Damon Cook says significant activity during this release cycle was directed toward improving documentation and code quality. Updates include an improved pattern overrides experience, enabling template previews in the post editor for non-administrators, and simplifying the experience when resetting templates (Make WordPress Core)

> Core contributor Andy Fragen has published a proposal to merge a rollback auto-update feature-as-a-plugin into WordPress core. If merged, the feature would detect PHP fatal errors during an automatic plugin update on a WordPress site and roll back to the previously installed version. "Several years in the making and 🤞 it lands in WordPress 6.6. Please test," tooted Andy. The proposal has been well received, with WPCharitable Project Manager David Bisset tooting, "As a #programmer (#PHP and other) I think the ‘rollback' work that has been done in #WordPress (and looks like more coming) is very impressive given the complexities and the scope." (Make WordPress Core | Mastodon)

> The WordPress.org Security page has been overhauled for the first time since it was published in March 2015. A whitepaper that once featured on the page has been replaced with a summary of how the WordPress Security Team works, plus information to guide plugin and theme developers and web hosts. Security Team contributor Ryan McCue posted in Post Status Slack that a separate piece of work is underway to update the security whitepaper (WordPress.org Security)

> WordPress 6.5 delivers 5x faster typing processing, 2x faster editor loading, and a 60% reduction in pattern loading. According to core committer Joe McGill, who has published the latest in a series of posts focused on performance improvements in major releases, “WordPress 6.5 delivers site performance that is similar, if not superior to previous versions, despite the addition of many significant new features.” (Make WordPress Core)

> WordPress Meta Team contributors have made a call for feedback on WordPress.org plugin directory Playground previews. Contributors want to hear from plugin developers about their experiences with blueprints and onboarding users (Make WordPress.org)

> Eighteen folks joined a Hallway Hangout held this week to discuss what's coming up in Gutenberg. The first hour covered demos of features, including theme style presets, section styles, zoomed-out editing, advancing data views, overrides in synced patterns, blocked connections, and the grid layout. According to organizer Anne McCarthy, "The hope is that by coming together early before the next beta period to talk about different features, we can, as a community, flush out concerns sooner, help more folks get involved, and find ways to work better together." A recording of the hangout is now available (Make WordPress Core)

WordPress community

> ICYMI, WP Includes has launched a survey on gender equality in WordPress businesses. The survey's scope is to "gain critical insights into the gender composition of leadership teams, the experiences of women and gender-diverse leaders and employees, and the challenges and barriers to their career success." (James Giroux | WP-Content)

> Applications are now open for the WordPress Foundation's Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded each year to a woman in the WordPress community to help fund their travel to WordCamp US. Applications close May 30 (WordPress Foundation)

> Rich Tabor has started a block-focused blog series he's calling "Shaping WordPress." The Automattic-sponsored designer, who's serving as the WordPress 6.6 design lead, says every two weeks he'll share "what's top of mind and what's shaping up for WordPress." This week, he's been working on clearing a path forward for applying styles to all blocks within a group at once (Rich Tabor)

> WPShout's Sabina Ionescu asked a bunch of WordPress folks how they are using AI in their day-to-day work. GitHub Copilot is by far the most popular AI developer tool. "I can no longer imagine programming without it," says LOOS Inc.-sponsored Gutenberg contributor Aki Hamano (WPShout)

> Paid Memberships Pro's Kimberly Coleman shares her advice for fledgling entrepreneurs: "Start small. Worry about the right issues at the time." In an interview with WP-Content's Jyolsna JE, Kimberly also says she loves seeing competitors get acquired. "Keep the acquisitions coming. I'm here and independent for the long haul." (WP-Content)

Business, enterprise & acquisitions

> Atarim and Dollie have announced a new integration that brings together Atarim's visual collaboration tools and Dollie's site management capabilities. According to Dollie founder and CEO Bowe Frankema, "I'm so incredibly proud of our team and what we're building with Dollie. Integrating with a product like Atarim and seeing how much actual, real-world, problems it solves for WordPress agencies. Heck darn it, it's ‘just' work, but sheesh it makes me proud and happy!" (Atarim | Dollie)

> Beaver Builder is celebrating 10 years. Initially conceived in co-founder Billy Young's garage, the page builder now powers almost 10 million WordPress sites. Meanwhile, the Beaver Builder team is working on what's next after releasing Beaver Builder 2.8 in February (Beaver Builder | Beaver Builder Dev Update)

> Rymera Web Co has acquired AdTribes, the company behind the popular Product Feed Pro plugin for WooCommerce. Rymera CEO Josh Kohlbach says, "The whole Rymera team is excited to continue delivering the same great service and value. We also have some pretty exciting innovations to bring over the next 12 months too!" The free version of AdTribes Product Feed PRO has over 90,000+ active installs. The deal comes after Rymera acquired WC Vendors, a WooCommerce multi-vendor marketplace plugin, in September 2022, and Visser Labs and all its WooCommerce plugins in October 2023. Awesome Motive invested in Rymera via its WPBeginner Growth Fund in December 2019 (AdTribes)

Plugins, products & themes

> Anders Norén has released Vermeer, a profile theme with an eye-catching marquee. Fellow designer Rich Tabor is a fan: "Anders Norén crafts some of the most intriguing themes, which are not only beautiful but also practical. His latest WordPress theme, Vermeer, is exceptionally creative and appealing—I totally vibe with it." (Anders Norén | Rich Tabor)

> Joost de Valk has released AAA Option Optimizer, a plugin for removing unused autoloaded options on a WordPress site. As user shirtguy72 says in one review, after years of trying out different themes and plugins that left nearly 2,000 auto-loaded options, using the plugin "was like performing an Options Exorcism! 🙂" (WordPress.org Plugins)

> Developer Tom McFarlin has released Callback Info, a plugin that provides contextual information about every function registered with all WordPress hooks. The release wraps up a comprehensive three-part series about anonymous functions in WordPress (Tom McFarlin)

> WordPress.com officially launched Studio, its new local development environment. Under the hood, Studio uses WordPress Playground. A Windows version of Studio is coming soon. Earlier this month, CSS-Tricks founder Chris Coyier described Studio as a "real shot across the bow" at WP Engine-built competitor Local (WordPress.com | Chris Coyier)

Conferences, events & awards

> The third-ever WP-CLI Hack Day kicks off today (Friday, 26 April at 8am UTC). Automattic-sponsored WP-CLI contributor Daniel Bachhuber says the goal is to finish the day with 20 pull requests merged during the event (WP-CLI)

> WP Accessibility Day 2024 organizers have put a call out for speakers. This year's 24-hour virtual event will be held on October 9-10 and will feature 24-27 talks. The global event is dedicated to promoting and learning website accessibility best practices for WordPress websites (WordPress Accessibility Day)

> Long-time WordPress Community Team contributor Aditya Kane says he wants to see a WordCamp India, but not before there are 50 local meetup groups and 20 yearly WordCamps across the country. He says a national gathering of WordPressers might be the only chance for the Indian community to attend a flagship event due to the cost of international travel and issues with obtaining visas. But he warns such an event might have unintended consequences for local communities (Bombay Pirate)

> StellarWP is hosting Stellar Spark, a new virtual conference for the WordPress community, on July 19. Fifteen speakers will "spark" ideas for growth, creativity, collaboration and more. Speaker applications close May 15 (StellarWP)

> This year's CloudFest Hackathon comprised 11 projects, 124 attendees from 26 countries, 2,500+ human hours of hacking, and six awards across four winning teams. According to a detailed recap by Carole Olinger, Head of CloudFest Hackathon, "The hackathon was a vibrant tapestry of technology and human spirit, with participants working tirelessly to develop open-source solutions that promise to enhance the open web." The event included 33% female & non-binary attendees, with accessibility project Can Everyone Use ____? named the #CFHack2024 Overall Winner (CloudFest Hackathon)

Security

> Wordfence has awarded security researcher Stiofan a $2,063 bounty after they responsibly disclosed a privilege escalation vulnerability in User Registration. The free version of the plugin has more than 70,000 active installations. Developer WPEverest has released a patched version of the plugin (Wordfence)

> WPScan's has published its 2024 Website Threat Report. The most reported vulnerability types in 2023 were Cross‑Site Scripting, Cross‑Site Request Forgery, Authorization Issues, and SQL Injection vulnerabilities. 67% of the reported vulnerabilities were of medium severity, while 18% were classified as high severity, and 2% as critical (WPScan)

WordPress community: Tammie Lister

A photo of Tammie Lister.
This week, what’s inspiring product creator Tammie Lister who recently launched Press Navigator.
A podcast worth listening to: Unlocking Us: Brené Brown is the podcast I would recommend. It’s one I come back to both for the topics and conversations.

A concept worth understanding: How to give and receive feedback is a concept I think is a concept worth understanding. It’s something you need to practice also and learn.

A social media account worth following: Gutenberg Times (@gutenbergtimes) continues to be a constant resource for all things editor and beyond.

An article worth reading: I recently really enjoyed Jeffrey Pearce’s post Six Things around using a method of six things to focus on a day. As someone always looking to refine my process this really struck me:

A habit worth forming: Creating something every day. It can be a piece of art, a line of a poem, generating a visual - a few rows of a jumper knitted or carving something in wood. It doesn’t matter but creating something that’s simply to create not for work refuels you.

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Meanwhile...

Read

👎🏼 Long-time plugin review Mika Epstein writes about a plugin developer who was banned for overreacting to a single bad review.

⏲️ Get Ellipsis Managing Director Alex Denning says he would've made Woo's branding clearer in search results and left it a bit longer.

🐈 Gato GraphQL creator Leonardo Losoviz says GraphQL could be a key component in shaping WordPress' future as an innovative force.

🥸 Former Yoast CEO Marieke van de Rakt shares her experiences of imposter syndrome.

📣 Eric Karkovack writes about the monumental challenges that come with marketing WordPress to the masses.

Listen

🧡 The Iconic Expressions' Maestro Stevens on inclusivity in website design decisions (WP Tavern Jukebox)

📢 Emma Young (Hostinger) and Adam Weeks (Cirrus Influence) on adding public relations to your WordPress stack (Do the Woo)

👐🏼 Kasirye Arther (from Uganda) and Dave Loodts (from Belgium) on innovative approaches to community building (Do the Woo)

🎙️ Podcaster Matt Medeiros on his years-long journey working with WordPress (WPCoffeeTalk)

📈 WP Engine founder Jason Cohen on the art of scaling (plugin.fm)

Watch

💥 Developers Aurooba Ahmed and Brian Coords unpack the Interactivity API (viewSource)

📼 Forty-six videos from WordCamp Asia 2024 are available to watch (YouTube)

Play

🖱️ Clicky Blocks is an interactive block of blocks that uses the Interactivity API (GitHub)

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