Issue #212
Happy Friday! It's May 17 and we're covering WordCamp Europe, WordPress dashboards, scathing reviews of Gutenberg, plugin activation, and more.

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Four big headlines

1. WordCamp Europe granted prestigious European Parliament patronage


WordCamp Europe has been granted a prestigious patronage from the European Parliament. Announcing the news today, WordCamp Europe organizers said the patronage not only elevated the event's stature but highlighted the pivotal role WordPress plays in driving innovation in Europe, empowering businesses and individuals, and fostering community engagement across the world.

Patronage is a way for the European Parliament to grant its moral support to a selected number of non-profit quality events with a clear European dimension. The patronage was made by European Parliament President Roberta Metsola. WordCamp Europe organizers described the Maltese politician as "committed to fostering innovation and collaboration within the European community" and said she was instrumental in making the patronage a reality.

WordCamp Europe 2024 will be held in Torino, Italy, from June 13-15. Tickets are still available.

Meanwhile, organizers Hacer Yilmaz, Liza Bogatyrev and Piermario Orecchioni joined Do the Woo this week to cover all you need to know about WordCamp Europe. They highlight several community activities, including Contributor Day, new tables for coding standards and playground projects, a wellness track with yoga and guided walks, and a children and teens workshop.

The Repository is a proud media partner of WordCamp Europe 2024.

2. Call for input on WordPress dashboard data and tools


GoDaddy's Courtney Robertson has provided an update on efforts to bring dashboards to the WordPress project, this week calling on folks to help determine what data should be tracked and suggest available tools.

In Recognizing Contributions and Acknowledging Challenges, Courtney recaps the challenges around recognizing contributions to WordPress and the various places where contributions happen, emphasizing that there's more to contributing that coding and event management.

She also reminds folks that dashboards have been a long-time coming. Dashboards were originally proposed in February 2021, followed up a month later, and again a month later. Dashboards came up again during the WordCamp Europe 2023 Q&A when Courtney asked about finding ways to track project needs, and Matt Mullenweg said he wanted to see dashboards implemented. Courtney has since spear-headed efforts to make dashboards happen, posting a request for Make/Team dashboards last September.

More recently, Courtney and Automattic-sponsored contributors Hari Shanker and Isotta Peira have been trialing Bitergia, an analytics platform they're using to measure contributor activity on GitHub. Automattic is covering the USD$1,000 a month cost to trial the platform.

3. Freelancer's scathing review of Twenty Twenty-Four sparks debate


Freelancer David Bushell caused a stir last week with his critical deep-dive into Twenty Twenty-Four, Modern WordPress - Yikes!

The long-time web developer picks apart the default theme, at one point describing it as "the most utterly bizarre chimera of bastardized code." Or, as developer Bruce Lawson highlights from the article, "'CSS-in-JSON-in-HTML-comments-in-a-PHP-file.'"

Bushell's article was picked up by CSS evangelist Kevin Powell, who published his own take: What the heck is going on with WordPress?!

"I cannot emphasize enough how big of a red flag this is," posted Luehrsen // Heinrich CEO Hendrik Luehrsen, adding that Kevin has 900,000 YouTube subscribers. "If this isn't a wakeup call, I don't know what is. I think some reflection in #WordPress is needed."

This week, David published a follow-up, backtracking on some of his criticizms of Twenty Twenty-Four after Greyd developer Jessica Lyschik, who co-led the default theme's development, reached out to him on Mastodon.

But he didn't change his mind about Gutenberg (which he has previously criticized here and here.) "Although I used the Twenty Twenty-Four theme as an example, my issues are indeed with the 'underlying architecture of Gutenberg itself,' as Jessica puts it." He concludes that "Gutenberg is a hack, not a framework."

4. Core contributor seeking feedback on next steps after plugin activation


WP Engine's Kevin Hoffman is calling on folks to help determine what WordPress users should do next after activating a plugin.

Kevin blew up Post Status Slack this week with his proposal for a two-step flow, allowing users to "install and activate" in one click and then "open" with a second click.

His proposal followed last week's release of WordPress 6.5.3, which included a contentious dashboard nag asking users to refresh after installing a plugin. For the full run-down, read issue #211 of The Repository.

After fielding 110 replies, Kevin ditched his proposal and outlined a new path forward: He wants to address the immediate need in WordPress 6.6 (i.e. figure out the next step after plugin activation), streamline the plugin dependencies workflow in WordPress 6.6 and later, and combine the ability to "install and activate" plugins in WordPress 6.7. He says adding a full-fledged plugin onboarding framework to WordPress could be completed "someday."

Fellow WP Engine contributor Damon Cook posted in Post Status Slack, "I just read through this entire 110 reply Slack thread and it was very insightful. Thanks for working through such a critical piece to the WordPress project 🫶🏼"
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In other news

WordPress project

> In the latest episode of WP Briefing, Josepha Haden Chomphosy reveals that a conversation with instructor and DEI advocate Allie Nimmons in 2020 was the genesis for the WordPress Media Corps. The WordPress Executive Director says Allie challenged her to do something about the fact that WordPress relies on third-party supporters to share information about the open source project and software: "And she was right… These folks who have more flexibility than [the WordPress project] can be a little more nimble, who are canonical power users of WordPress, sharing not only what they are excited about now and in the near future but also the things that they had to learn in order to get the most out of the features and the software." (WP Briefing)

> A new Blueprint Gallery has been launched to allow WordPress developers and extenders to share their setups as blueprints with others on GitHub. So far, the gallery includes examples ranging from setting up language packs to installing plugins and themes. Automattic-sponsored contributor Birgit Pauli-Haack says contributing to the Blueprint Gallery means helping other developers with blueprints for specific use cases while also encouraging the use of Playground for WordPress's overall growth and innovation (Make WordPress.org |WordPress Blueprints Gallery)

> The WordPress 6.5 release squad was announced yesterday, with Matt Mullenweg serving in his usual role as Release lead. Other notable roles have been filled by Whodunit CTO Jb Audras (Core Tech Lead), Automattic's Rich Tabor (Design Lead), and Automattic software engineers Ella van Durpe and Vicente Canales (both Editor Tech Leads). WordPress 6.6 is scheduled for official release on July 16 (Make WordPress Core)

> Automattic is funding 100 licenses for Paradigm Reach, a diversity, equity and inclusion platform, so WordPress contributors can complete courses for free. Angela Jin, Head of Programs & Contributor Experience for WordPress.org at Automattic, says providing DEI training to WordPress' vast and diverse community had been a challenge, and the licenses were a "step in the right direction." Angela is inviting contributors to apply to try out two courses, "Intro to DEIB" and "Advanced DEIB." (WordPress.org Project)

WordPress community

> The biggest threat to the growth of WordPress is perceived security, says Emilia Capital investor Joost de Valk, in a piece critical of Search Engine Journal's unbalanced focus on security issues. Since January 1, 2024, the SEO and marketing news site has published 31 articles about WordPress, including 21 about security vulnerabilities, nine on other topics, and one about WordPress 6.5 being delayed due to "bugs" in the font library. "Fixing a small issue that nobody was ever going to exploit should not lead to an article that makes people feel unsafe. It's simply not that interesting. We have much more exciting things for journalists in our space to write about," Joost adds. Highlighting Joost's piece on X/Twitter, PootlePress owner Jamie Marsland posted, "Wouldn't it be great if 90% of the WordPress Media Corps work was outreach to media outlets outside of the WordPress bubble 🤔" (Post Status | X/Twitter)

> Francisco Torres has spent over 900 hours contributing to WordPress since joining the WordPress Plugin Reviews team last year. Recapping the past 12 months, the SiteGround-sponsored contributor says he woke up on more than one occasion after dreaming about an algorithm and needing to test it (frantorres.es)

> Brian Gardner and Nick Diego went head-to-head in this week's Website Speed Build Challenge, described by one viewer as "the most exciting of Jamie's challenges that I have watched so far." YouTuber Jamie Marsland's live-streamed events pit two people against each other and the clock to replicate a website design in 30 minutes. On May 30, Kadence's Ben Ritner will battle it out with Automattic's Justin Tadlock. Jamie will host a live speed build challenge at WordCamp Europe 2024 (YouTube | PootlePress)

> Applications are still 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)

> Nathan Wrigley is celebrating WordPress' upcoming 21st birthday with a special WP Builds podcast episode. He's asking folks to record an audio snippet about what WordPress means to you, what it's enabled in your life, or a reflection on your WordPress journey (WP Builds)

Business, enterprise & acquisitions

> WordPress websites created for NASA, SEGD and Bluey were amongst this year's winners at the 28th Annual Webby Awards. Lone Rock Point, a WordPress.com VIP Gold Agency Partner, led the NASA project, which Sarah Gooding covered in-depth for WP Tavern last year. The NASA website also was also a People's Voice Winner. Australian agency Guerilla developed the Bluey website, and Wide Eye from Washington D.C. created the new SEGD website (Webby Awards | WP Tavern) | WP Engine and The Webby Awards will soon host the fifth annual Crafted with Code series, a showcase delving into the how-they-did-it stories behind select Webby-recognized websites built with WordPress (Webby Awards)

Conferences & events

> Higher venue costs are just one of the challenges the WordPress community in London is grappling with as organizers make a concerted effort to revive in-person events. Dan Maby (Big Orange Heart), Paul Smart (designer and developer) and Nathan Wrigley (WP Tavern Jukebox) discuss digital fatigue, finding creative ways to fund higher post-pandemic expenses, leveraging physical and virtual formats to include a wider audience, and the need for consistency in event scheduling to rebuild community participation (Do the Woo)

> WP Accessibility Day's call for speakers is open until June 24. 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)

> WordCamp Leipzig 2023 was an experiment in "setting the bar low," writes Animay Brown in a much-delayed recap. Syde co-founder and CIO Robert Windisch led efforts to keep numbers low, make sponsorships count, and leverage existing resources where possible. The event was held on July 1 last year in an old cinema, now a community space. Banners, shirts and name tags were recycled or upcycled, with strategically placed tape and Sharpie use the norm. "The event harkened back to the grassroots origins of WordCamps, where camaraderie reigned supreme. It served as a reminder that genuine connections and meaningful conversations are the true currency of the community," writes Syde developer in his own recap (Syde | Kau-Boys)

WordPress Community: Mike Johnston

This week, what’s inspiring Mike Johnston, a food and travel writer at The Cook and The Writer, WordPress enthusiast, WordCamp Europe organizer, and grandpa.


Get to know the folks behind WordCamp Europe 2024! The Repository will feature organizers every week ahead of the June 13–15 event in Torino, Italy.
A podcast worth listening to: I’ve been listening to the WPBuilds podcast since I got started in WordPress in 2018. I appreciate the open-minded and curious approach that Nathan Wrigley takes during interviews — looking for the best in the subject and the people. Also his sense of humor. I met Nathan at WCEU in Athens. He is a genuinely nice guy.

A concept worth understanding: Continuous improvement, or what the Japanese call kaizen. Time and again, during my professional career, I saw the tangible benefits of consistently making small improvements to processes, workflows, and applications. It’s like compounding interest — those small improvements add up over time to consequential change.

A Twitter account worth following: I exited Twitter shortly after the ownership change. I’m now happily resident on Mastodon, though I read much more than I post. One person I follow is Ben Werdmuller (werd.social/@ben or werd.io/). I appreciate his thoughtful perspective on technology, particularly open source, and how it applies to, serves, and impacts humans.

An article worth reading: Annie Duke, Monkeys and Pedestals: Find the bottleneck and solve for that first. This was a knock on the head for me. How many times have you heard someone on a project team say “Let’s go after the low-hanging fruit.” Annie Duke’s article describes a prioritization approach developed in Google’s Innovation hub that focuses on solving the hardest problem first. Because if you can’t solve the hardest problem, you’re wasting your team's time, energy, and budget and “there is really no point in doing the rest of the work.”

A habit worth forming: Always be working on the most important thing. It’s easy to get distracted by emails, social media, and trivial items on your to-do list. But through long trial and error, I’ve found that if I start my day working on the most important thing (which is not necessarily the most urgent), I get better results and greater satisfaction. There are dozens of methods for prioritizing your work. Most of them are useful, none of them are “the best.” Just pick one and stay with it as long as it helps you identify the high value, high impact things that help move you towards your ultimate goals.

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Meanwhile...

Read

🆓 Lana Miro is celebrating six years working in partnerships by giving away a free ebook on WordPress partnerships (Medium)

💵 Convesio's former Marketing Manager Lawrence Ladomery says the web host's acquisition of Growmatik is a smart move (WP Biz)

✈️ Matt Mullenweg has wrapped up his sabbatical with a post about how he spent the past three months (ma.tt)

🏗️ Daniel Bachhuber on the origins of Studio, its core audience, and using WordPress Playground (The WP Minute)

🤝🏼 Martin Dubovic on consolidation in the WordPress and the wider web industry (WPShout)

Listen

🍻 Ronnie Burt on the recent addition of alternative text support in Gravatar (Accessibility Craft)

🛒 Marcel Schmitz and Mike Andreasen on their recent work with WooCommerce's High-Performance Order Storage (HPOS) updates (Do the Woo)

🦾 Anne Bovelet and Taeke Reijenga on the European Accessibility Act and their own research findings (Do the Woo)

☕ Chris Vanover on Bluehost Cloud and discovering coffer later in life (WPCoffeeTalk)

🎓 Scott Stapley on how he started BigScoots while still in college (The WP Minute+)

👨🏼‍💻 Alexander Gilmanov on his transition from hands-on coding to strategic management (WP Tavern Jukebox)

Watch

🐊 Crocoblock is celebrating its sixth birthday next week with a livestream featuring WPTuts' Paul Charleton (YouTube)
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