Issue #78
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This week in WordPress

WordPress economy worth $500 billion

The big news this week: The WordPress economy drives more than half a trillion dollars in revenue. According to the WP Engine-commissioned study, the WordPress economy was worth $596.7 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to $635.5 billion by the end of 2021.

Heather Brunner, Chairwoman and CEO of hosting company WP Engine, says the research shows the "definitive leadership role WordPress plays in the global digital economy" and "is such a validation of the value that WordPress, its ecosystem and its robust community bring to the world."

Brad Williams, whose agency WebDevStudios was one of the 100 that took part in the study, tweets, "'If the WordPress Economy were a country, it would rank 39th in the world according to an IMF list of countries by GDP.' 🔥"

The study, The Value of WordPress, examined both the economic value of the WordPress ecosystem and the social impact of the ever-expanding community of open source developers, agencies and users.

"[WordPress] allows people to communicate with freedom. And that creates tangible value and wealth, but it also creates intangible value for our societies in this time of centralization of power. Two very different, but very critical values," tweets Andy North, WP Engine's Director of Corporate Brand and Communications, highlighting a quote from Pragmatic founder David Lockie in the announcement

Meanwhile, industry analyst and strategy Robert Jacobi says, "Juice up, investors!" In 500 Billion Dollars he writes, "You know what this means of course, at least you should if you've been reading here for a bit, it's going to be IPO time really really quickly... The press release was generated by WP Engine, and there is only one reason why they would spend the time and resources to explain the size of the WordPress market."

WordPress 5.8 beta 1 available and includes WebP

WordPress 5.8 Beta 1 shipped this week. Release coordinator Jeffrey Paul, who's also the Open Source Practice Manager at 10up, has put out a call for testing. Paul also lists this release’s highlights: powerful blocks, handpicked patterns, better tools, blocks in widgets areas, and an end to support for Internet Explorer 11.

WordPress 5.8 also introduces support for WebP images, is Sarah Gooding's story at WPTavern. On the Make WordPress Core blog, Adam Silverstein, a WordPress core committer and Developer Relations Engineer at Google, explains how WebP works with WordPress. ICYDK, Google developed the WebP file format.

Mike Schroder, a GoDaddy-sponsored core contributor, tweets, "Glad to have been able to help out with the WebP support that is planned to ship with WordPress 5.8! Thanks @roundearth and the many others who helped it land."

"Fantastic! When it comes to content management systems, WebP has been waiting in the wings for far too long but WordPress support will encourage uptake elsewhere, I hope. 👏🏻" tweets Equator developer Rob Foxx. "Definitely a step in the right direction! ⚡" adds Brian Jackson, who co-founded the Perfmatters performance plugin.

The final release of WordPress 5.8 is expected to ship on July 20.

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Designers calling for patterns to launch with Block Pattern Directory

With the new WordPress Block Pattern Directory set to launch alongside WordPress 5.8 in July, the WordPress Design Team is asking for early contributors to submit patterns, reports Justin Tadlock for WPTavern.

In Initial Patterns for the WordPress.org Patterns Directory, Automattic Design Director Kjell Reigstad, who's a sponsored design contributor, says "These patterns will set the tone for quality in the repository, and will make the directory useful for folks upon its launch."

Reigstad, together with Automattic-sponsored designers Beatriz Fialho and Mel Choyce-Dwan, have already added several block patterns, which are now available to use via the Gutenberg plugin.

Speaking of, Gutenberg 10.8 is now available. On the Make WordPress Core blog, core contributor Sandip Mondal says the release features performance improvements, more block design tools, and template editor enhancements.

Awesome Motive buys Plugin Rank

"Another acquisition in the #WordPress space this week. Plugin Rank has been acquired by @AwesomeMotive with @syedbalkhi making the announcement here," tweets Post Status, linking to Plugin Rank is Now Part of the Awesome Motive Family 🎉. Awesome Motive is owned by serial entrepreneur and acquirer Syed Balkhi and is the company behind WPBeginner, OptinMonster and WPForms.

A better starting point to get your head around this deal is Iain Poulson's post, Plugin Rank – From Lockdown Side Project to My First Exit. Poulson shares the story behind Plugin Rank, the SaaS (software as a service) app he built to help WordPress plugin developers (like himself) track and improve their rankings in WordPress.org search results, and how he built and sold it within 12 months.

"Love reading the background for how/why @polevaultweb built Plugin Rank - and as always congrats @syedbalkhi and team and Ian on this acquisition!" tweets Post Status owner Cory Miller.

"W00t W00t 🥳 one of the most useful tactical tools for plugin devs we've seen in years 🎸 Congrats Iain!" tweet the folks at Freemius, adding, "Kudos @syedbalkhi 🧠 another smart strategic acquisition🧐 we're looking forward for your interview about M&As on Thu🍿." As Freemius hint at, they'll be releasing a mini-series about mergers and acquisition in the WordPress plugin space on their YouTube channel soon.

Meanwhile, Speckyboy writer Eric Karkovack shares his thoughts about the maturation of the WordPress ecosystem and what the recent WordPress plugin acquisitions say about the future.

WordCamp Europe done and dusted for another yea

WordCamp Europe came and went this week, and if Twitter is anything to go by, the online event from June 7-9 was a success. Post Status' David Bisset shares some stats: 3,290 people registered to attend the free event, with 1,841 people logged in at once. Attendees spanned 121 countries and 13 timezones, and there were 48 speakers across 29 sessions.

WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg, who closed out the conference, tweets, "If you're at @WCEurope and we didn't get to your question, please drop it here and we'll respond and chat in the comments!" He links to WCEU Open Thread.

Here's hoping WordCamp Europe attendees can get together in person next year... "Goodbye #WCEU2021 See you next year in Porto for #WCEU2022,” tweets the WordCamp Europe organizing team.

The Hub: Electronic Signatures now available

We built the Hub by GoDaddy Pro to streamline workflows and shave time off tasks that typically eat up a workday. But we aren’t done yet.

May 2021 Hub updates:
You can keep track of our progress here, as we regularly publish our updates to this platform custom made for web designer and developers.

Electronic signatures
Electronically sign, notarize and store documents with this new feature powered by Acronis Notary Cloud. It’s another big step toward the Hub becoming an all-in-one solution for your business. You’ll have convenient access to key documents like contracts and proposals, as well as the ability to send them to clients.
To get started, go to the right-hand Common Tasks sidebar, click Electronic signatures, select your region, and then click Get Started.

Explore the Hub by GoDaddy Pro – It's free!
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In other WordPress news...

  • Original Dark Mode Developer Relaunches Plugin After the Apparent ‘Cash Grab' of the New Owners, is Justin Tadlock's headline at WPTavern. After two years away from WordPress pursuing other projects, Daniel James has released Dark Mode 2 in response to recent issues with the Dark Mode. As Tadlock reported last month, Dark Mode's current owner, WPPOOL, repurposed the plugin to include the commercial Iceberg editor—a feature entirely unrelated to providing a dark viewing mode for the WordPress admin—and renamed the plugin WP Markdown Editor. James comments, "As mention in the article it's still early days but I hope to update the plugin very, very soon and include more features to return the plugin to its former glory."
  • WPMU DEV has launched its annual survey and CEO James Farmer is on a mission to get 1,000 responses after getting 998 last year – and he read every single one. As the marketing team put it in this week's company newsletter: "More importantly, help us swamp James with submissions, so the rest of us can actually get some work done around here. 😙"
  • Courtney Robertson has joined GoDaddy Pro as a Web Designer & Developer Advocate. Helping folks at all skill levels achieve their goals is her passion professionally. Over the past few years, she's seen that same passion for uplifting others coming from the GoDaddy and GoDaddy Pro teams. Whether it's through contributing to the Make.WordPress.org teams, sponsoring WordCamps, or through the content and speakers they present at their weekly GoDaddy Pro Meetups, it's clear that our passions align. "I am so excited to be a part of the GoDaddy Pro brand team and continue to share my knowledge and experience." Follow Courtney on Twitter. Sponsored link
  • Cloudways has partnered with Patchstack to integrate the security company's features into its cloud hosting platform, reports Seda Nur Cinar for tech news site cloud7. The integration will allow users to scan and automatically patch vulnerabilities in WordPress, plugins, and themes. Cloudways Director of WordPress, Robert Jacobi, says, "This is a huge contribution to the WordPress and open-source community. In May alone, 292 unique vulnerabilities were reported by Patchstack's Red Team, which they have since quickly helped plugin developers fix." Jacobi says Cloudways is calling on more WordPress-focused companies to support Patchstack and its open initiative to make the web more secure.
  • "I'm sensing a theme at Codeable: Step 1, find talented WordPress folk who have hosting experience; Step 2, hire them," writes Robert Jacobi. He links to the WordPress freelancer platform's news it is Developing the Codeable Expert Community & Partner Community operations, hiring Mike Demopoulos and Christie Chirinos in the process. Demopoulos previously worked at InMotion Hosting as the open source evangelist of the BoldGrid team, and Chirinos most recently with Nexcess / Liquid Web on their managed WooCommerce offering. Demopoulos blogs about his career change, writing Home is where the code is.
  • ICYMI: after eight years of measuring peak performance and consistency for WordPress hosts, Review Signal has relaunched its benchmarks at wphostingbenchmarks.com, reports Sarah Gooding for WPTavern. As Gooding points out, "Review Signal's benchmarks are one of the most thorough and transparent evaluations of hosting products in the industry. This is because Ohashi doesn't accept any hosting sponsorship."
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