Issue #44
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This week in WordPress

Yoast headhunts WordPress Core Team Rep Francesca Morano

We end your week with the news that Yoast has hired a team lead to manage its WordPress core efforts. "I honestly couldn't be happier about @FrancescaMarano joining team @yoast. She's going to lead our #WordPress Core team and I already know she's going to be awesome at it. Let me tell you why," tweets founder and CPO Joost de Valk, linking to his announcement: Francesca Marano is Yoast's new core team lead.
Francesca brings a wealth of core experience to Yoast. She was previously SiteGround's WordPress Community & Partnership Manager, co-led the release of WordPress.org 5.3 and 5.4, and is currently a Community Team rep.
Francesca tells The Repository co-leading the two releases gave her a broader view of the project that allowed her to determine where her skills could better serve others. "At the moment I am involved with the 5.6 release in a mentorship capacity and this is giving me all sorts of ideas for outreach and mentorship initiatives. Stay tuned!" she says.

Yoast CEO Marieke van de Rakt tells us: "Everyone who ever met Francesca will also know that she is a wonderful, amazing, talented force of nature. We hired her because of that. We hired her because she breaths WordPress like we do. She fits the core values of our company. I am so proud to have her on board."

The SEO company has long contributed to WordPress core. Joost has personally racked up "props" on 24 major versions going back to WordPress 2.3. He still spends "about a day a week" — according to Marieke — on improving core.

Currently, Yoast has 5 full-time employees dedicated to core, including core committer Sergey Biryukov — the most prolific individual contributor to WordPress 5.5 — and recent hires Ari Stathopoulos (who's on the Themes Team) and Justin Ahinon (who's on the Core Team and coordinated documentation for 5.3 and 5.5.).

"Francesca is one of my heroes in the WP space. What a cool move. Congratulations YOAST on bringing such an amazing human onto your team," tweets WP Buffs Community Manager Allie Nimmons, while Davel founder Dave Loodts tweets: "Yoast paid contributors team keeps growing! Fantastic. More (bigger) companies should follow Yoast's leading example."

Marieke tells us she's planning to hire more core contributors. "As soon as we find the budget and the right people, we'll hire some more!" she says.

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Themes Team moves to improve privacy and tracking around webfont use

In other news, the Themes Team has released a new packages to allow locally hosted webfonts, allowing theme authors to load webfonts from a user's site instead of a third-party CDN.

As Yoast core contributor and Themes Team rep Ari Stathopoulos explains, current theme guidelines prohibit the use of CDNs to load assets due to privacy/tracking concerns. Google Fonts is the only exception to that rule.

"The intention is to remove the Google-Fonts exception soon from our guidelines. When that happens, themes that use Google-Fonts will need to implement a way to locally host the fonts," Ari writes.

"If this is good enough for the theme team, it should be good enough for WordPress core," comments core contributor John James Jacoby. "Having an API like this in core would (mostly) guarantee everyone who needs this functionality uses it. It would also help avoid authors including different versions of this file in the future across multiple parent & child themes, which could cause breakage if the internals ever change, or as methods come and go. Lastly, it also avoids themes from not updating their bundled versions of this file."

Meanwhile, Yoast CPO and core contributor Joost de Valk is proposing going a step further by adding an API to embed fonts in core. "… we should implement wp_enqueue_font. Building that so that fonts are always loaded the same way allows us to continuously improve the way we load fonts as the standards evolve," he writes.

W3C picks Craft CMS, stirs drama

After dropping WordPress from consideration for its redesign, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has chosen Craft CMS, reports WPTavern's Sarah Gooding.

Last week, we shared Sarah's report into concerns Studio 24 — the digital agency chosen for the project — had regarding Gutenberg, accessibility, and that the Classic Editor plugin will stop being officially maintained after 31 December 2021.

This week, Sarah reports that Studio 24 failed to contact anyone from WordPress' Accessibility Team regarding its concerns or put WordPress through the same content creation and accessibility tests as Craft or the other contender, Statamic.

In response to Sarah's article, Studio 24 founder and Managing Director Simon Jones published On not choosing WordPress for the W3C redesign project.

While WordPress devotees have taken issue with the W3C choosing a proprietary CMS over open source, accessibility advocates, as Sarah points out, have taken "W3C's decision as a referendum on Gutenberg's continued struggles to meet WCAG AA standards."
WordPress accessibility specialist Amanda Rush says it's "nice to see the W3C flip tables over this." "Prioritizing accessibility over open source/free software isn't the wrong thing to do, it's the right thing to do, especially given the state of accessibility in the FLOSS space," she writes in "W3C Is Prioritizing Accessibility Over Its Open Source Licensing Preferences". Why is that a bad thing again?
"I totally agree with Amanda's assessment. It is time we stop excusing lack of accessibility with ‘but it's free and open source'. Hats off to the W3C for this statement!" tweets Mozilla accessibility engineer and evangelist Marco Zehe.

In The W3C Drops WordPress from Consideration, accessibility consultant and WordPress Accessibility Team rep Joe Dolson offers a sober assessment of WordPress' accessibility, internationalization, and stability: "Gutenberg is not mature software. It is still undergoing rapid changes, and has grand goals to add a full-site editing experience for WordPress that almost guarantees that it will continue to undergo rapid changes for the next few years. Why would any organization that is investing a large amount into a site that they presumably hope will last another 10 years want to invest in something this uncertain?"

The W3C and Studio 24's decision has caused a lot of drama, to which Joe says: "Why should anybody outside of the W3C and their chosen vendor care what choice they make? If you're not actively editing documents on their web site, then it's really none of your business."

Hosting survey reveals GoDaddy most popular host and SiteGround top-rated

CodeInWP has published its annual WordPress Hosting Survey and it's a big one: Over 8,900 users took part, giving the blog plenty of data to pore over. Some of the top takeaways in writer Karol K's summary of the results include:
  • GoDaddy is the most popular web host for WordPress.
  • Respondents rated SiteGround the best host, with Amazon AWS popular amongst developers.
  • People are generally happy with their hosting, with respondents giving an average rating of 7.6 out of 10.
  • When asked what they valued most about their shots, 44% of respondents said support and 21% said price.
Interestingly, Karol says the "cheap" hosting space is growing, with prices dropping every year and their ratings and service quality noticeably improving.

"While more expensive companies have good ratings as well (WP Engine at 8.69 and Kinsta at 8.00), there's no longer a huge gap between the cheap and the premium," writes Karol. He adds: "For new websites and small business owners, though, cheap hosting will be more than enough. There really isn't a reason to pay more than $5 / month for hosting in 2020."

Meanwhile, WPMU DEV has published a detailed breakdown of how its one-year-old hosting offering compares to eight other managed WordPress hosts in Our Managed WordPress Hosting Test Results Are In…

In a true show of authenticity, the all-in-one WordPress company reveals it doesn't quite stack up against the competition — though it does give its competitors a run for their money in terms of pricing and TTFB. The top hosts according to WPMU DEV are Kinsta and GoDaddy, with WPMU DEV not too far behind.
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In other news...

  • – "RIP the mentions of my coworker @chriswallace," tweets 10up Director of Open Source Helen Hou-Sandí, whose colleague Chris Wallace, the VP of Experience Design at 10up, shares the same name as the moderator of this week's U.S. presidential debate. Chris had some cheeky fun replying to random Twitter DMs.
  • Page Builder Summit 2020 is set to kick off on 5 October. Nathan Wrigley, the podcaster behind WP Builds, and Anchen le Roux, the founder and lead developer of Simply Digital Design, are hosting the five-day online event, which will focus on the vast ecosystem of page builders for WordPress. The summit will include 35 sessions lasting around 30 minutes each covering a range of builders, including the default WordPress block editor, Elementor, Beaver Builder, Oxygen, Brizy, and Divi. Nathan tells WPTavern's Justin Tadlock the event is not all geared toward developers, with some of the sessions focusing on marketing, optimization, and conversion.
  • Fuxia Scholz, a prolific WordPress Stack Exchange (WPSE) contributor, has become the first member to reach 100,000 reputation points. She tells WPTavern she started on Stack Overflow a few months before WordPress had its own site. She wrote around 50 answers and made connections with other WordPress developers ahead of the site's beta phase in June 2010.
  • – We've previously shared that Facebook and Instagram posts in WordPress sites will soon stop working. After evaluating third-party solutions, WordPress VIP is recommending its partners enable Jetpack's Shortcode Embeds module, reports WPTavern. Jetpack will be shipping the update in its 9.0 release, which is anticipated to land on 6 October. It will also include a new feature that allows users to share blog posts as Twitter threads in multiple tweets.
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