Issue #69
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This week in WordPress

Wix attacks WordPress in bizarre marketing campaign

This week we discovered there are two types of WordPress people: those who got free Bose noise-canceling headphones from Wix and those who didn't.
If you didn't, Sarah Gooding at WordPress Tavern (yes, we too noticed WPTavern has become WordPress Tavern) explains how the website building platform's marketing stunt fell on deaf ears (pun intended): Wix Takes a Jab at WordPress with Bewildering New Marketing Campaign.
Wix also released a series of six bizarre videos attacking WordPress this week, which WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg took aim at in a scathing blog post about Wix and Their Dirty Tricks. He likens Wix's "creepy, misleading" campaign to Encyclopedia Britannica attacking Wikipedia, and points out that Wix, unlike other CMSs, doesn't let users to export their website data: "So if we're comparing website builders to abusive relationships, Wix is one that locks you in the basement and doesn't let you leave."

"I had no idea @Wix doesn't let you export your OWN content. Honestly, it's crazy to assume any website builder in 2021 wouldn't have an export option… I guess that's one thing their campaign did. It gave me more ammo to sell people on WordPress over Wix!" tweets WebDevStudios CEO Brad Williams.
The ads are set in a therapist's office where a web developer is seeking counselling. As Search Engine Journal's Roger Montti highlights in Wix Negative Ads Against WordPress Generate Backlash, the subtext is that WordPress is so bad it causes mental anguish.
Rogers adds: "The choice of portraying WordPress in the context of mental health distress is curious in light of the fact that so many people are suffering pandemic-related mental health crises."

For more, TechRadar journalist Anthony Spadafora with Wix slams WordPress in bizarre marketing campaign and Sarah's follow up piece, Wix's Negative Advertising Campaign Falls Flat with WordPress Developers and Professionals.

Decision on Full Site Editing in core set for April 14

Matt Mullenweg, WordPress Executive Director Josepha Chomphosy Haden, Matías Ventura (the lead architect of the Gutenberg project) and Helen Hou-Sandí (OG WordPress lead developer and 10up's Director of Open Source Initiatives) will decide next week whether Full Site Editing (FSE) will launch with WordPress 5.8.

The group will meet on April 14, the go/no go date for merging FSE with core, to view a demo of the features in Gutenberg 10.4 intended for WordPress 5.8 before making a decision, says Josepha in Full Site Editing Scope for WP5.8.

Josepha stresses that WordPress won't be shipping the full, default FSE experience for users. "The focus now is not on a full and nuanced user experience, but more of an open public beta within WordPress 5.8," she says. The initial phase of the merge will focus on bringing tools to extenders (agencies, theme authors, plugin developers, site builders, etc.) so they can prepare for the upcoming changes.

Meanwhile, Gutenberg 10.3 is out and features improvements to the Block toolbar, layout configuration in theme.json, changes in theme.json block supports and supported styles, Inserter enhancements, more theme blocks, and improvements to the Navigation Block, Navigation Editor, Cover block, and Editor performance.

iThemes acquires Kadence WP

iThemes has acquired Kadence WP and the entire team behind Kadence Blocks, a WordPress page builder-style block package, for an undisclosed amount.

Industry analyst and strategy Robert Jacobi says what we're all thinking: “Well this is an interesting acquisition, interesting in that it totally makes sense, even more so since the WordPress themes part of iThemes has been, uh, quiet for quite some time."

iThemes General Manager Matt Danner, who shared the news on the iThemes blog this week, says while the company got its start in themes in 2008, it pivoted to the more obvious needs of its customers (e.g. security, backups, memberships, and maintenance) when the theme marketplace got more competitive. He says joining forces with Kadence WP means iThemes can once again have an “innovative and modern WordPress theme platform."

iThemes will sunset its iThemes Builder and legacy themes at the beginning of 2022. The acquisition comes after iThemes and parent company Liquid Web bought out Restrict Content Pro last September and WPComplete last October.

Hallway Chats joins HeroPress

In other acquisition-related news, HeroPress has “adopted" the Hallway Chats podcast. Founding hosts Tara Claeys and Liam Dempsey passed the mic to new hosts Cate and Topher DeRosia during the 150th episode this week.

“This is a bittersweet moment-yet could not be more happy that Cate and Topher are the new hosts of Hallway Chats! I am grateful to @liamdempsey for his partnership over the last 3 years as cohost of this podcast, and to all the amazing guests who shared their story with us. 😃" tweets Tara.
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In other WordPress news...

  • WordPress 5.7.1 RC 1 is now available. This release candidate features 23 bug fixes in core, as well as eight bug fixes for the Block Editor.
  • WordPress Executive Director Josepha Chomphosy Haden says she does not support Richard Stallman's return to the Free Software Foundation's board. Sarah Gooding reports that Josepha's statement, published on her personal blog, is the WordPress project's official stance on the reinstatement. Richard, who authored the GPL, resigned as director and president of the foundation in 2019 and was subsequently ousted by GNU project maintainers from his position as head of the project. Sarah has previously reported that calls for Richard's removal came after his controversial remarks on rape, assault, and child sex trafficking, along with two decades of behaviors and statements that were found to be disturbing and offensive.
  • Post Status's Brian Krogsgard got folks talking about comments in WordPress this week after tweeting that “WordPress should have one singular button that says: Turn off all comments and comment displays. This is so hilariously complicated, it's absurd." Justin Tadlock takes Brian's rant and runs with it in his typically in-depth style in Yes, Comments Are Still Relevant, But We Need a Better System at WordPress Tavern.
  • The Gutenberg plugin repository currently has an open ticket calling for community-contributed Query block patterns, reports Justin Tadlock for WordPress Tavern. He says the patterns would launch alongside FSE's inclusion in WordPress or could be included in the upcoming WordPress.org block pattern directory.
  • The Polyglots Team is making progress on building its contributor training program, shares Automattic globalizer and contributor Naoko Takano. The team is also requesting feedback on the building of its dashboard.
  • Pagely has published its WordPress security updates for March and iThemes has shared part one of its Vulnerability Report for April.
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