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Issue #82
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MailPoet - Zeplin 2019-10-25 17-00-44

This week in WordPress

Podcasting company Castos raises funds from Automattic and Yoast

"This may be the single biggest achievement of my entrepreneurial career thus far," tweets Castos founder and CEO Craig Hewitt, linking to his announcement that his podcast hosting and analytics company has completed a pre-seed fundraising round. At WPTavern, Sarah Gooding reports Castos has picked up $756k in funding from Automattic, Yoast and several individual investors.

Hewitt tweets, "The resources from this fundraising round gives @castosHQ the opportunity to make a serious commitment to our growth in the private podcast aspect of the podcasting market, and become a true leader in the space."

According to Gooding, in the past 10 months, Castos has grown to serve nearly 3,500 customers, and the team has grown from seven employees to 13. The company's Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin is used on more than 30,000 WordPress sites. Castos is actively hiring for several roles, thanks to the new round of fundraising, and is developing a mobile app specifically for private podcasting.

Hewitt talks more about Castos' funding and its expansion into the private podcasting market with Post Status publisher Cory Miller on the latest episode of Post Status Draft.

WordPress 5.8 second release candidate out now

The second release candidate for WordPress 5.8 is now available. WordPress 5.8 is slated for release on July 20, and as Automattic-sponsored community manager Hari Shanker R reminds us, also on the WordPress.org blog, it's ready to be translated.

Milana Cap, the documentation lead for WordPress 5.8, has published a WordPress 5.8 Field Guide. She says an unplanned beta 4 was included in the release cycle, which is no surprise given there are 96 enhancements and feature requests, 170 bug fixes and 24 other blessed tasks, totalling 290 Trac tickets.

Of course, the WordPress 5.8 release cycle is unique in that its focus has been on merging and releasing Full Site Editing with core. Yoast-sponsored core contributor Carolina Nymark shares a summary of theme features in WordPress 5.8 that recaps what's changing.

For an in-depth look at what's coming up in WordPress 5.8, web designer and developer Carlos Daniele has published an epic guide to what's new in WordPress 5.8 on the Kinsta blog. "WordPress 5.8 is going to be a momentous release," Daniele writes.

And at WPTavern, Sarah Gooding shares that WordPress 5.8 will include the latest version of Twemoji, Twitter's open source emoji library that supports the latest Unicode emoji specification. Version 13.1.0 will introduce five new smileys and emotions, including heart on fire, mending heart, face with spiral eyes, face in clouds, and face exhaling.

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WordPress achieves 42.1% market share – 7.9% to go

According to W3Techs, WordPress hit 42% overall market share on July 1. "That's a +0.5% in just a month (June)," tweets Post Status' David Bisset. On July 9, W3Techs updated its stats again to show WordPress had gained another 0.01%, and now sits at 42.1%. To top is off, WordPress has also achieved 65.1% total content management system market share.

WordPress is well ahead of ‘None' (35.4%), with Shopify on 3.7%, Joomla on 3.7% and Squarespace on 1.7%.

"So... According to @W3Techs, @WordPress is now 42% of the web. And this number feels oddly correct," tweets Yoast founder and CPO Joost de Valk. de Valk's latest CMS market share analysis found WordPress grew its market share by 4.6% in the six months to June 2021 — more than the total market share of Shopify, the second most popular CMS.

WordPress is now just 7.9% away from reaching WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg's goal of 50% market share.

Awesome Motive acquires SearchWP

Awesome Motive, the company behind WPBeginner, OptinMonster and WPForms has acquired SearchWP, a commercial plugin that enhances WordPress' search functionality.

In an announcement on the SearchWP blog, Awesome Motive founder Syed Balkhi says the entire SearchWP team will be joining Awesome Motive except for founder Jon Christopher. Balkhi says he plans to add several new features and improvements to SearchWP soon. "I sat down with the team, and we have a crystal-clear 12 month plan. A lot of exciting things are coming your way in the coming months," Balkhi writes.

Sarah Gooding interviews Christopher for WPTavern and shares SearchWP's history and Christopher's views on where plugin development is now headed ("… especially in the last 18 months we're getting a look at where WordPress is headed – lots of big players in a really big space.").

WPBeginner turns 12 and Ninja Forms turns 10

Speaking of WPBeginner, the tutorial website is celebrating its 12th birthday. In a post to honour the occasion, WPBeginner Turns 12 Years Old – Reflections and Updates, founder Syed Balkhi shares some notable updates, including that the site's YouTube channel has surpassed 246,000 subscribers, its Facebook group has over 77,000 members, and Awesome MotiveWPBeginner's umbrella company — hired developer Peter Wilson this past year as part of its commitment to Five for the Future.

Ninja Forms has also celebrated a milestone, tweeting, "We're 10 years old today! Thank you so much to our amazing users, customers, and friends that have helped us make it this far. You are all incredible!"

Community Team announces in-person meetups to resume for vaccinated attendees

"OMG YES YES YES YES WE'VE BEEN UNGROUNDED! :)" tweets Tim Cantrell, Lead Customer Support Engineer at Wordfence, linking to Sarah Gooding's headline: WordPress Green Lights In-Person Meetup Events for Vaccinated Attendees.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of many WordCamps and meetups last year, with some going virtual after the Community Team banned in-person events. In January, the team introduced an in-person meetup decision checklist as a first step to help meetup organizers determine whether or not to proceed with an event.

As Gooding explains, the checklist is still applicable to all Meetup groups but in places where vaccines are freely available, organisers can now forego its requirements if they limit gatherings to those self-reporting as fully vaccinated.

Unlike Cantrell, not everyone is excited about returning to in-person events. In the discussion below the original proposal to include vaccine status on the checklist, some raised concerns about excluding unvaccinated people (including those who are unable to be vaccinated) and the creation of a "two-tiered" audience.

Automattic-sponsored community organiser Andrea Middleton, who announced the decision, acknowledged it was "somewhat contentious" but "one of the ways I serve the community team is to make potentially-unpopular decisions."

In related news, WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy talks about in-person WordPress events on the latest episode of the WP Briefing podcast.

WordPress security researcher shares views on state of WordPress

WPScan has published an insightful interview with a WordPress Hacker: m0ze. Better known as Vlad, the security researcher says he got started in WordPress security after helping a friend set up a premium theme purchased from ThemeForest. He discovered it had several vulnerabilities and "The bottom line is that in ~15 minutes I found about 8 vulnerable themes on the marketplace, which surprised myself," he says.

Vlad shares his opinion on the state of WordPress security ("By itself, the WordPress engine is quite safe, which is confirmed by [WPScan's] statistics.") but says "There isn't much to say about themes and plugins – everything is very, very sad in terms of security."

In other security news, iThemes' Communication Coordinator Kristen Wright shares Website Security Stats You Should Know.

WordFest Live promises "fun and function"

With WordFest Live 2021 due to kick off in just two weeks, Marketing Lead Cate DeRosia has shared what attendees can expect at this year's July 23 event.

WordFest Live 2021 will introduce some fun new activities: a new virtual photo booth allowing attendees to share snaps on social media, a games tent where attendees can win freebies from global sponsors, and interviews with community members you wouldn't otherwise hear from.

The virtual event will also feature new functionality including live human captioning, time to hang out inside the virtual venue, and the event platform will be easier to navigate.

WordFest Live 2021 is a fundraising event for mental health initiative Big Orange Heart and attendees are encouraged to make a donation when they register. DeRosia says attendees are also invited to join a special fundraising challenge, The #24kStepstoMentalHealth Challenge, where they can help raise funds for mental health by pledging to take a fixed number of steps.

WordFest Live 2021 is free will be held over 24 hours on July 22 or 23, depending on your timezone. Check out the WordFest Live site for all the details.

The Repository is a proud media sponsor of WordFest Live 2021.

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In other WordPress news...

  • WordPress Biratnagar has announced the creation of a memorial scholarship honouring Ujwal Thapa, the co-founder of WordPress Nepal. Thapa, 44, died in May from complications with COVID-19. Justin Tadlock at WPTavern reports the annual scholarship will enable Nepalese recipients to attend WordCamp Biratnagar.
  • Gutenberg 11.0 shipped this week and "The development team has been moving fast, and it shows," writes Justin Tadlock in Gutenberg 11.0 Includes Over 70 Bug Fixes, Continues Improving With WordPress 5.8 Just Two Weeks Away. "The downside of such a massive release is that there are too many features and not enough time to cover them all," adds Tadlock and cherry picks the highlights: theme and template-editing mode changes, drag and drop media replacement, categories dropdown how has a label, the return of post classes, and decimals allowed in spacing controls.
  • "This could be fun. Or waste your entire morning," tweets Lireo Designs owner Deborah Edwards-Oñoro who links to Automattic Releases Sketch Block for Drawing in the WordPress Editor. Justin Tadlock says the beta plugin requires Gutenberg to be activated to use and is part of Automattic's Block Experiments project.
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  • The WordPress Polyglots Team has proposed celebrating International Translation Day throughout September. Automattic-sponsored community and polyglot contributor Erica Varlese says the goal is for locale teams to host an event at a time during the month that suits their community, including panels and interviews. Automattic-sponsored contributor Naoko Takano comments, "Really looking forward to organizing the event again this year and seeing everyone's creative ideas for getting translators excited and motivated."
  • WP Engine has shared a recap of its Speak Up! Black Speakers in WordPress Workshop, which wrapped up in June. The workshop, designed in partnership with Diverse in Tech, aimed to support Black voices in the WordPress community and elevate community members to speaking roles at WordPress events. It was hosted by WP Engine VP of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Culture, and Engagement Tarsha McCormick, Underrepresented in Tech co-founder Allie Nimmons, and Diverse in Tech CEO Jill Binder. According to Binder, "There was a real sense of magic in the room. It was incredibly valuable for participants to get to know each other and to workshop their dynamic and interesting talk ideas with people who look like them. I can't wait for you and I to enjoy their talks at the events they speak at!"
MailPoet - Zeplin 2019-10-25 17-00-44

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