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This week in WordPress

Welcome to the first edition of The Repository! 🎉 Thank you for subscribing. If you enjoy the news and views below, please forward this email to someone you know who might enjoy it too. Let's get stuck into this week's WordPress news...

All roads lead to the block editor

Whether you were in St Louis last weekend or watched WordCamp U.S. online in the comfort of home in your track pants, there’s been a lot to unpack this week. But as Justin Tadlock from WP Tavern writes, "If there was one common theme in Matt Mullenweg's State of the Word address this year at WordCamp U.S., it was that all roads lead to the block editor."
I survived Gutenberg
Or as GoDaddy’s Andy McIlwain tweets: "4-ish years ago: 'Learn Javascript deeply!' Now: 'MOAR BLOCKS!' #WCUS." Justin’s State of the Word 2019 Recap: All Roads Lead to the Block Editor digs into Matt’s speech, including stats, block editor news, and Matt’s defense of the yet-to-be-widely-loved editor.

Matt admits 2019 was a "controversial year" thanks to the block editor, but as Alex Denning from Ellipsis Marketing observes in the MasterWP newsletter, "….framing last year as a 'Controversial Year', as Matt did, suggests that the controversy is finished. I'm not cynical enough to think this was a deliberate ploy, but it does show us Matt thinks this issue is over."
Blocks falling over onto child
Yoast CEO Marieke van de Rakt led the Q&A at WCUS, highlighting that only half of her customers use the block editor despite the company encouraging users to embrace it. Matt said he believed 25%, not 50%, of users were still using the Classic Editor. Developer Mark Jaquith was quick to tweet: "I want a #wcus session where @MariekeRakt and @photomatt politely argue about statistics, surveys, and sampling bias. 🙇🏻".
Developer Milana Cap, who grew up under communism and now lives in a democracy, asked Matt, aka WordPress' Benevolent Dictator for Life, what he would label the CMS. He replied: "theWordPress system." Meanwhile, governance continues to be a problem. WP Tavern reporting back in September the WordPress Governance Project is Looking for New Leadership and weekly meetings that were cancelled at the time are yet to resume. "I am grateful that multiple questions asked of @photomatt #wcus state of the word were about clarifying policies and governance structure. This an important discussion for the future of the community," tweets Josh Pollock from Caldera Forms and Ninja Forms.

Brian Krogsgard from Post Status has published his quick-fire take on Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word, 2019. You can watch the full video, Q&A and Notes from the first-ever State of the Word designed in Gutenberg on Matt Mullenweg's blog.

Meanwhile, YITH tweets: "#wapuu survived Gutenberg!!! 😅 Make sure you get yours... #WCUS #yithevents"

The future of the web, without speed limits

As Justin Tadlock from WP Tavern reports, BoldGrid Joins Forces with W3 Edge, Acquires W3 Total Cache Plugin. Unfamiliar with BoldGrid? It’s a WordPress product and services company. W3TC is, of course, the most popular caching plugin for WordPress, with 1+ million active installs. Frederick Townes, W3TC's creator, has joined the BoldGrid team, along with his development and support staff.

Justins story quotes Harry Jackson, product manager at BoldGrid, who says after concerns about W3TC breaking sites, a security vulnerability in 2016, and talk the plugin had been abandoned that same year, his team was open to community feedback and rebuilding trust: "With a bigger team and additional Quality Assurance resources we feel that Total Cache will continue to improve in all the major areas."

Saving the planet, one image at a time

"Interesting article on the carbon footprint of the internet (and how the Smush plugin saves the yearly carbon emissions of 4,409 cars)," tweets Simon Hibbott from Generation X Digital. He links to Rick Crawshaw's eye-opening post on the WPMU DEV blog: How Smush Is Saving The Planet One Image At A Time. After doing the math, Rick calculated how many metric tons of C02 per month the average website saves by optimizing images.
"No matter your views on climate change, you have to admit that's an incredible feat for a simple WordPress plugin," he writes.

Media coverage in WordPress

In case you missed it, check out Oana Filip’s thought-provoking piece about how Media coverage in WordPress should take another route for Pixelgrade. If you need convincing, Matt Cromwell tweets, "This is one of the best reads on anything in WordPress I've read in quite a long time. I laughed, I cried, I felt @-ed... I'll be reading everything @oanafilip writes going forward."

Oana follows up with Survey results: media coverage through the lens of authors and publishers. She reached out to 50+ authors and publishers to understand how they interact, why media coverage is lacking, the disconnect due to affiliate links, and how authors and publishers could work better together. "Hopefully this will shake things up for the better. Only time will tell," tweets Ben from LyrWP.

In related news, Justin Tadlock from WP Tavern thinks WordPress businesses should send out press releases.
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In other news…

  • - WordPress 5.3 RC4 is now available, with the final release set for November 12. It includes significant changes to the look of the admin interface, block editor enhancements that will affect theme and plugin developers, and improvements to the way core processes images. For more, read the WordPress 5.3 Field Guide.
  • - "Hi folks,📢 It is the time for all #WordPress peeps to add their feedback for the @WordPress annual survey! 📄" tweets developer Mukesh Panchal. The 2019 Annual Survey is open for another three weeks.
  • - It’s one of the "biggest leaps forward in the history of Search" and will help with understanding searches better than ever before, according to Google. Yoast unpacks the search giant’s latest algorithm update, Google BERT: A better understanding of complex queries. As Edwin Toonen writes, "…Google’s advice never changes when rolling out these updates to its algorithm. Keep producing quality content that fits your users’ goals and make your site as good as possible."
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