Issue #197
The Repository logo.
Happy Friday! It's December 1 and we're covering the community's overwhelming support for the latest iteration of live plugin previews, State of the Word's stunning new look, a not-so-popular proposal to add sponsor tracks to WordCamps, and more.

First time reading? Sign up here. Got an opinion? Send your thoughts, feelings and news tips to [email protected].

This week in WordPress

1. Plugin authors praise latest attempt at adding live previews to

An improved version of live previews for plugins is now "ready to go" following extensive feedback from the community and, importantly, asks developers to double-opt-in.

Posting on the Make blog this week, long-time Automattic-sponsored contributor Alex Shiels says the latest attempt to add a 'Live Preview' button to plugin listings has been designed to allow developers to safely experiment and test the WordPress Playground-powered preview experience for their plugins.

In October, an early version of the feature was added to the plugin repository with no warning from contributor teams. Plugin authors only noticed it when 'Live Preview' buttons appeared next to the 'Download' button on plugin listings. The feature was abruptly pulled following outcry from developers whose plugins appeared broken when using it.

At the time, former plugin reviewer Mika Epstein said, "the ball was completely dropped when it comes to communication and notification prior to release." This time, Shiels has published a detailed overview of how the live preview feature has been improved and how plugin authors can double-opt-in to use it. Currently, the feature is only available to plugin authors for testing, but Shiels says the plan is to "take the preview button out of test mode and allow public use very soon, depending on your feedback."

So far, the feedback from plugin authors has been overwhelmingly positive.

"I am very impressed by this new rollout. Great job listening to the community and improving so that authors can use this excellent feature properly," commented Devin Walker, general manager at StellarWP and the co-creator of GiveWP.

Nate Allen, a code wrangler at Automattic working on special projects, said, "Tested it with my plugin and it works well, great job! I like that we can specify the landing page. I'm looking forward to trying the more advanced features soon. I think this is going to be huge!"

After GoDaddy-sponsored contributor Courtney Robertson asked folks in Post Status Slack how they were feeling about the 'Live Preview' button going live again in the plugin repository, Stackable creator Benjamin Intal replied, "This iteration is night and day better than the previous Live Preview. Now you can really craft an actual preview that doesn't make your plugin look broken."

2. A fresh look for State of the Word on

This year's State of the Word has a snazzy new landing page. Automattic-sponsored contributor Nick Diego pitched the idea of a simple landing page three weeks ago on GitHub, arguing that the annual event needed a consistent home on

The page features a stunning design (Editor: we asked contributors on Make WordPress Slack who designed it but they didn't reply before deadline) and includes details of the event, a map with watch party locations, and videos of past State of the Word addresses.

WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg will deliver this year's keynote from Madrid, Spain, in front of a live audience on December 11. It will be the first time the event takes place outside of North America since it started in 2006. The address will be live-streamed on the WordPress YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, Automattic-sponsored community contributor Devin Maeztri talks about State of the Word watch parties and support available to organizers, including venue support and Zoom accounts, on the latest episode of WordPress Event Talk.

3. Contributors reject idea of paid sponsor tracks at WordCamps

WordPress contributors have shut down the idea of allowing a dedicated sponsor track at WordCamps. Automattic-sponsored contributor Cate DeRosia floated the idea on the Make WordPress Community blog yesterday after the organizers of an unnamed WordCamp proposed running a sponsor demo room or track at their event. She says discussion at the WordCamp US 2023 Contributor Day had "sparked conversation around new opportunities events could possibly offer to sponsors."

DeRosia's post prompted rigorous debate, with commenters overwhelmingly opposing the idea.

Pablo Moratinos, a WordCamp organizer responsible for sponsors at WordCamp Irun 2020, posted that it would be a "mistake to sell conference space" at WordCamps. He says paid sponsor tracks would compete with unpaid speaker tracks, "a space the speakers have earned for the quality of their proposal."

Adam Warner, Director of Field Marketing at GoDaddy, agreed with Moratinos's sentiments, adding, "What I would like to see is dedicated time for sponsors at opening and closing remarks. In my view, this is not only good for sponsors but also for event organizers in incentivizing attendees to stay for the entire event."

10up-sponsored core committer Peter Wilson added some context: "I suspect a part of the reason this came up in conversation at WCUS this year was because of sponsor dissatisfaction with the location of the sponsor-hall. Being located two floors below and at the other end of the building to the conference rooms required attendees to make an effort to visit the sponsor booths."
🗞️ Enjoying today's email? Share with your friends.

Business Spotlight: Do the Woo


Podcast for Woo and WordPress Builders
Whether you build sites, products or services, or want to learn more about all things Woo and WordPress, our 12+ shows have you covered. Best of all, it won't cost you anything. Subscribe to Do the Woo on your favorite app →

In other news

WordPress project

> The Matrix server is now syncing with Make WordPress Slack, according to contributor Paulo Pinto. Matrix contributors are also seeking community feedback on what tooling is needed to address administrative tasks on Matrix, such as GDPR erasure and moderation (Make | Automattic-sponsored Matrix contributor Alex Kirk has shared a detailed overview of WordPress' Matrix migration to date. The open-source federated chat system will eventually replace Slack as WordPress' official communication platform. Kirk encouraged folks to start using Matrix chat and get acquainted with its features ( Project)

> A collaborative effort is underway to explore native support for modern JavaScript modules and import maps within WordPress (Make WordPress Core)

> Sponsored Gutenberg contributors from Automattic, 10up, Inpsyde, and others met for a Hallway Hangout to discuss ways to triage extensibility issues with Gutenberg for inclusion in WordPress 6.5 (Make WordPress Core)

> Automattic-sponsored contributor Anne McCarthy is giving folks a lot of notice ahead of a Hallway Hangout planned for January 16, 2024, where they'll be sharing some of what's coming up in WordPress 6.5 (Make WordPress Core)

> Isabel Brison, a JavaScript Engineer at Automattic, joined the final episode of the Gutenberg Changelog podcast for 2023 to talk about the latest Gutenberg release, the command palette, data views, and grid layout (Gutenberg Times)

> profile pages are now sporting a fresher, cleaner design ( Profiles)

WordPress community

> Matt Medeiros pulled OG plugin developer Pippin Williamson out of WordPress retirement for a wide-ranging discussion about why he left WordPress and his take on the software now that he's a user rather than a developer. Williamson sold his business, Sandhills Development, and all his plugins, including Easy Digital Download, to Awesome Motive in 2021 to escape the relentless "hamster wheel" of building and maintaining products. He says he doesn't regret leaving WordPress (The WP Minute+)

> Winstina Hughes, founder of Support Inclusion in Tech, is taking steps to evolve her initiative into a nonprofit. Hughes launched SiNC last year to promote diversity and equity at events by connecting underrepresented people who want to speak at WordCamps with companies willing to pay for their travel and/or lodging (Post Status Slack)

> Automattic-sponsored contributor Anne McCarthy and Joy of WP's Bud Kraus joined host Ahha Thakor on The WordPress Way show for a retrospective on WordPress 6.4 (Do the Woo)

> Devin Walker, a general manager at StellarWP and the co-creator of GiveWP, has launched a weekly WordPress news video series. Earlier this month, Walker said he pushed past imposter syndrome to publish his first video. "I'm looking forward to improving and creating content that helps and engages the community," he posted. (YouTube | X/Twitter)

> WordCamp Europe's lead organizers Wendie Huis in 't Veld (owner of Websiteclub), Takis Bouyouris (co-founder of Nevma), and Juan Hernando (Director at Vertixe), along with local team lead Laura Sacco (Support Engineer at Yoast), share how the flagship event is being organized behind the scenes (CodeInWP)

> How does the WordPress Training Team keep pace with WordPress development? Team co-rep Pooja Derashri shares a behind-the-scenes look at how contributors create training manuals for WordPress (WP Tavern Jukebox)

Business, enterprise & acquisitions

> In her latest column for Post Status, investor Marieke van de Rakt opines that gender diversity is lacking in the leadership teams of companies both in and outside WordPress (Post Status)

> Matt Medeiros interviewed Kelley Muro of North Commerce, a new entrant to the ecommerce space marketed as an alternative to WooCommerce (The WP Minute+)

Products, platforms & plugins

> Gravatar has rolled out a new profile editor. Ronnie Burt, Head of Gravatar at Automattic, says the changes include new privacy settings and three highly requested fields for sharing the pronunciation of names, linking to contact forms, and linking to appointment calendars like Calendly. "Just the beginning. Big things are around the corner!" posted Burt on LinkedIn. (Gravatar | LinkedIn)

> David Callaway, VP of Creative and Communications at Woo, joined Inside Woo this week to publicize's recent rebranding to Callaway explains that the changes were made to support greater brand awareness, to broaden appeal, and compete more directly with SaaS competitors. He says the rebranding is more about the company's broader offerings, such as payments (Do the Woo)

> Yoast SEO 21.6 was released this week with generative AI capabilities for WooCommerce, giving store owners the ability to improve product titles and descriptions (Yoast)

> Pagely is now SOC 2 Type 2 compliant. SOC 2 – System and Organization Controls – is a universally recognized auditing standard by the American Institute of CPAs designed to ensure service providers handle data responsibly. On X/Twitter, Pagely co-founder Joshua Stebel posted, "This is pretty cool and a BFD. The effort led by @Japh started 3ish years ago. @GoDaddy kept after it and saw it through. Kudos team. @Pagely is now SOC 2 Type II Managed WordPress Hosting. Soup to nuts." (Pagely | X/Twitter)

Conferences, awards & events

> WordCamp Europe 2024 has put a call out for sponsors with six packages ranging in price from €1000 to €85,000 (WordCamp Europe)

> WordCamp Asia 2024 announced its first speaker: WordPress co-founder and Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg (WordCamp Asia)

#WPCommunityFeels: Birgit Olzem

A photo of Birgit Olzem.
This week, what's inspiring Birgit Olzem, a self-taught web and surface designer, WordPress expert, and inspiring author who balances motherhood, a carer, and her advocacy for unsung heroes and underrepresented groups in the WordPress community. Birgit is currently working on WP DEIB, a project she proposed and continues to champion.

Want to nominate someone (or yourself!) for #WPCommunityFeels? Reply to this email and let us know.
A podcast worth listening to: Untapped - The Diversity and Inclusion Podcast. Everyone is talking about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace—but what are companies actually doing to solve this problem? Tariq Meyers interviews leaders from diverse backgrounds about practical approaches to enforcing DEIB strategies.

A concept worth understanding: One interesting concept within the DEIB framework, which is often overlooked but has a significant impact, is "inclusive language." It's an applicable approach that can be easily integrated into everyday communication, yet its importance is frequently underestimated. Inclusive language involves choosing words that respect and acknowledge all aspects of human diversity, avoiding terms that might exclude or stereotype based on gender, race, ability, or social status. It's about being mindful in communication to ensure everyone feels seen, valued, and included.

An X/Twitter account worth following: Anne-Mieke Bovelett (@bovelett) doesn't mince words and roots for digital accessibility and DEIB. I feel honored to call her a friend.

An article worth reading: Unveiling the Impact: DEI Metrics Overcoming Social Barriers in Open Source. Anita Ihuman presents the findings of an interview campaign to explore how CHAOSS DEI metrics are perceived.

A habit worth forming: Consistently using inclusive language and avoiding stereotypes in everyday conversations. The benefit? Fostering an environment of respect and belonging.


🫰🏼 Former Plugin Review Team rep Mika Epstein recalls the time someone tried to bribe her with 50% of their lifetime revenue.

🧹 Do you maintain client websites? MainWP is interested in your experiences.

🔍 Awesome Motive founder and CEO Syed Balkhi has warned WordPress companies to look out for scammers creating fake recruiting websites.

😎 Didn't make it to WordCamp San José? Dreamhost-sponsored contributor Jos Velasco blogged about his experiences in Costa Rica.

The Repository is a weekly email for the WordPress community by Rae Morey. Also on our team: proofreader Laura Nelson and columnist Jonathan Wold (who'll be returning soon, stay tuned!). Thank you to Kinsta, our web hosting sponsor, and MailPoet, our email sponsor.

Send your feedback to [email protected] and help us provide high-quality news written entirely by humans that matters to the WordPress community.

Interested in reaching WordPress people like you? Become a Repository sponsor.