Issue #23
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This week in WordPress

A big pivot

We finish the week off with the news that mental health initiative WPandUp has a new name and a new mission: "We're super excited to now be able to share that @WPandUP has pivoted to become @aBigOrangeHeart 🧡 Our charity's mission: To support and promote positive #wellbeing and #MentalHealth within the #RemoteWork communities," tweets Big Orange Heart.
Founder Dan Maby explains the change: "We had always planned more for #WPandUP but the current #coronavirus crisis moved our timeline up. So I'm now very happy to be able to share that we have pivoted to @aBigOrangeHeart supporting and promoting positive #wellbeing and #MentalHealth for the #RemoteWork communities."

Founded in 2018, WPandUp was originally set up to support and promote positive mental health within the WordPress community. It recognized the challenges faced by freelancers, consultants, web developers, designers, agencies and many more who work from home.

Phil tweets, "Just went and bought some WP&Up swag. I'll miss that brand, but great news on your pivot 👍🏼." But as Big Orange Heart tweets, "The brand will never really go away, we love it too much 🧡 but now we can reach and help even more people. So thank you for supporting us in this."

Wear what you want

WordCamp US has followed in the footsteps of other international WordCamps… "Announcing WordCamp US 2020 will be an online only event! •Attend from anywhere for free •Wear what you want •Don't spend a dime •Great content •International networking. We know you have questions. We've answered most of them here: https://2020.us.wordcamp.org/2020/04/30/wordcamp-us-will-be-virtually-awesome #WCUS," tweets WordCamp US.

As Justin Tadlock reports in WordCamp US 2020 Goes Online, Cancels In-Person Event for WP Tavern, with more than a million confirmed coronavirus cases to date, 63,000+ deaths, and 31 states set to partially reopen this weekend, the pandemic’s trajectory throughout the country has become increasingly uncertain.

WCUS will still happen on the originally scheduled dates, 27-29 October. Organizers plan to run sessions, workshops, and a virtual Contributor Day, along with co-founder Matt Mullenweg’s annual State of the Word address. There’ll also be a hallway track, some form of swag, and creative ways for attendees to connect, which will be announced at a later date.

WCUS lead organizer Jen Swisher tweets, "This decision was very difficult, but we love our community and want you to be safe and healthy. I'm going to miss seeing all of you in #STL this year, but I hope you'll join us online. Our team is already hard at work coming up with new ways to celebrate #WordPress. #WCUS."

Meanwhile, online registrations for WordCamp Europe are now open. Tickets are free for the online conference, which will run from 4-6 June.

New owner for Kirki

Switching gears now, and David Vongries has taken over as the new owner of the Kirki Customizer Framework. Developer Ari Stathopoulos sold Kirki, his six-year-old customizer framework, last week for an undisclosed amount.

The plugin is a widely-used tool for theme authors and currently has over 400,000 installations. Ari tweeted his decision to find a buyer on April 8, revealing that he could no longer maintain it. As he tells WP Tavern, between his full-time job at ThemeFusion, his role as a representative for the theme review team, and maintaining other open source projects, he was pulling 16-hour days.

Ark says he could’ve sold Kirki to the highest bidder but chose Vongries because they had previously worked together on Kirki and had similar visions for the plugin.
As Justin Tadlock tweets, "Great comment by Steve Weber on the sale of Kirki: ‘A feel good story about an ethical guy who wanted his labor-of-love project to "live on" … these types of stories confirm the reason I support and love the WP community.’"

Gutenberg news

Gutenberg 8.0 is out. Automattic JavaScript engineer and core contributor Andrew Duthrie details What’s new in Gutenberg (29 April), including merged block and pattern inserts, new inline formatting options, and visual changes to the code editor. There are also two dozen bug fixes, new APIs, and several enhancements.

In other news and views, Justin Tadlock asks: Should the Block Editor Have a Grid System? He argues page layouts are often done best via some sort of grid system. And readers all agree.

"The history of graphic design was built on a grid. We need one," says David Corradini, while David Innes writes, "A lot of us are pretty tired of hearing people say ‘well, Weebly/Wix/whatever let me do XYZ.’ When they say things like that it’s pretty much always about layout and design. Because that’s usually the only thing those tools are good at. And unfortunately it’s one of the big things users care about. So yeah, the block editor needs a grid editor. In core. It needs one just to get into the game."

Meanwhile, Automattic engineer and lead architect of the Gutenberg project Matías Ventura shares his Thoughts on Themes.
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Thrive and survive

What do WordPress agencies need to survive and thrive during the pandemic? asks Convesio’s Tom Fanelli. He reached out to a number of WordPress community leaders taking part in the WP Feedback Summit to find out their takes on the present state of the WordPress industry and their advice for business owners.

Tom writes: "These suggestions have a running theme: be strategic, whether you’re supplementing your marketing strategy or looking for ways to connect with team members who are feeling secluded. Don’t panic, think through your decisions and do the best with what you have."

The WP Feedback summit finishes up today after five days of talks and interviews with many well-known WordPress business leaders. The event is geared towards professionals looking to scale their business.

Jehrome Griffiths from WP Feedback tells The Repository the summit had 20,000 unique visitors. "It was way bigger than we anticipated," he says. If you missed the summit, it’s not too late—you can purchase an all-access pass that provides lifetime access.
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In other news...

  • WordPress 5.4.1 Addresses 7 Security Issues and Fixes Several Bugs, reports Justin Tadlock at WP Tavern. The release addresses seven vulnerabilities, which were all responsibly disclosed to the WordPress security team. Security fixes were added to every major version of WordPress from 5.4 back to 3.7.
  • Luke Carbis, Ryan Kienstra, and Rob Stinson from the Block Lab team are joining WP Engine. While the plugin will remain free to download from the WordPress.org repository, the team say they’re joining the web host’s Block Editor-focused product team where "we will work on technologies that improve block-based site-building for creatives and developers."
  • Nominations for Core Team Reps are now open. 10up’s open source practice manager Jeffrey Paul says if you would like to nominate someone, you can do so in the comments of the post. Self-nominations are welcome. Nominations close 14 May 2020.
  • – Where is WordPress going in 2020? In On the Future of WordPress, Convesio’s Tom Fanelli says after we see the first WordPress "unicorns" have IPOs, there’ll be an explosion of interest institutional money, private equity, corporate investment and all sorts of startups jumping into the WordPress space.
  • – Interested in Creating a customer review system for your site? Pixelgrade CEO George Olaru and chief people officer and storyteller Oana Filip share how the design company created an online customer review system that collects valuable feedback, and how you can adjust it to your own needs and goals.
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