WPTavern: WordPress Community Support Shuts Down WordCamp Netherlands in Favor of City-Based WordCamps

The application for WordCamp Netherlands 2017 has been denied. The camp, which held its sixth edition in Utrecht last year with more than 425 attendees, was one of the most well-established WordPress events in Europe. Yesterday lead organizer Marcel Bootsman published a post on the Dutch WordPress community site to explain why the camp has been cancelled.

Bootsman’s post is written in Dutch but includes correspondence in English between the WCNL team and WordPress Community Support (WCS), formerly WordCamp Central. WCS is now pushing for all WordCamps to be city-based with the exception of regional camps, such as WordCamp US and WordCamp Europe, where the cities already have their own camps and do not prevent or detract from local communities launching their own camps.

“WordCamp Netherlands has been held 6 times to date and…It has not inspired any local WordCamps (in fact, I think it’s probably fair to say that local camps have not been happening because people don’t see a need for them with the country-wide camp happening each year) and, with the exception of Nijmegen, which is still in the pre-planning phase, no cities in the Netherlands have their own WordCamps,” a WCS representative said. “With that in mind, we feel that the time has come for your community to move from the country-wide camp to running local camps. This has started happening with Nijmegen already and can easily start happening more with WordCamps in Utrecht, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and other cities.”

The Netherlands is roughly the size of Maryland, or twice the size of New Jersey, in terms of land space. One can drive across the country in two hours or less. The WCNL team contends that a country-wide WordCamp makes sense for geographical reasons and because of the locations of the organizers. The country already has an active meetup culture with 13 different meetups hosting an average of 100 attendees per event. Organizers do not see the need to have multiple smaller WordCamps fill the role that the local meetups are already doing.

In response to the reasons WCNL organizers’ outlined for not shutting down their event, the WCS representative replied, “I don’t think there’s really any benefit to responding to all of your points in the last email individually.” WCS reiterated its decision regarding the camp:

We will not be approving WordCamp The Netherlands 2017. We would like to see city-based WordCamps happening around the Netherlands – Nijmegen being a great start to that process.

We’re confident that with the space that WCNL filled being vacated, we will see some of the meetup organizers around the country stepping up to fill that space for their local communities. The local city camps may be smaller, but in many ways that can be a much better than a single large camp.

As I said before, we would be happy to look at doing WCNL again in a couple of years time once there are a few city-based camps around the country happening regularly. In that case, however, WCNL would be there to complement, and not replace, the city-based camps.

WordCamp Netherlands was the last remaining exception to this new rule that drops country-wide WordCamps in favor of city-based camps. The Dutch community and many of its supporters are now in an uproar over the decision and organizers are at a crossroads. They can choose to rebrand the event as WordCamp Utrecht, with significant drawbacks, or move forward with an independent country-wide event without the use of WordCamp tools, branding and trademarks, or funding from the Global Community Sponsorship Program.

WordCamp Netherlands Conflict Highlights Cultural Differences Between the U.S. and Europe

Marcel Bootsman, who heads up the 13-person WordCamp Netherlands organization team, said they have been working since late December 2016 on the upcoming event. The team had added eight new members after the event grew 68% from 2015 to 2016.

“Everybody was thrilled to start, and the news that we could not continue hit us hard,” Bootsman said. “We have officially stopped and I have thanked everyone for their enthusiasm and support, which was difficult because I wanted to let these people feel what it is to organize an event and see happy faces all over the place.”

WordPress developer and Dutch community member Juliette Reinders Folmer said she doesn’t believe that more than one or perhaps two city-based WordCamps will get started in the Netherlands. Organizing a WordCamp is not an easy endeavor with a small pool of local organizers and volunteers. Folmer notes that since the WordPress Foundation doesn’t allow for compensating speakers for their out-of-pocket costs, the speaker pool is further limited.

“A trend I’ve spotted over the last few years is that ‘local’ WCs will have a mix of local, national and international speakers,” Folmer said. “While national speakers might still be prepared to go out of pocket, the only international speakers who can afford to do this are the ones who are sponsored by big companies which pay their travel and time to speak at those WCs.

“Instead of creating a larger speaker group with new and interesting voices, we’re ending up with a corporate uniform message where the more innovative and sometimes dissident voices are few and far between. By forcing WCNL to break up into smaller more local groups, this trend will become even more persistent and insidious as the demands on the limited group of national speakers will increase unless they have corporate sponsoring. Even they will not able to afford the time and costs to attend and speak at the various local WCs.”

Remkus de Vries, WordCamp Netherlands lead-organizer from 2009 to 2015, said the team has worked for years to see the local communities come together, and have seen people get involved with translations, forum moderation, and local meetups after attending the WordCamps.

“Our idea from the get go for WordCamp Netherlands was to be as inclusive as possible, to unite the scattered Dutch WordPress community,” de Vries said. “The Dutch community consisted of little islands that didn’t really connect at all. We’ve been working very hard to unite our Dutch Community via WordCamp Netherlands and it was working perfectly.

“Because of our inclusive approach we started getting international visitors and speakers from the early start as well, but more importantly, the event, as a national event, pulled everyone in from all corners of the Netherlands. Our community started and flourished because we started as a central entity.”

Bootsman is not optimistic about the future of the Dutch WordPress community after receiving the decision from WCS. The conflict has highlighted a key difference between U.S. and European cultures when it comes to traveling. Whereas Americans might think a 4-5 hour drive to another city is a short road trip, Europe’s population is much more dense than the U.S. and traveling several hours to another city is not common.

“When there is no WordCamp Netherlands, my personal belief is that this will break up the community,” Bootsman said. “Of course we will have central tools like Slack, nl.w.org and other ways to communicate, but that is nothing compared to an event where all these people can meet. People are busy and can’t find time to visit multiple WordCamps in the Netherlands. Distances are not that large in NL, that is not an issue, but time is. When you have a central WordCamp The Netherlands once a year you plan, so you are available to go. In the new situation, when there is a WordCamp Rotterdam, why visit a WordCamp in another town? This maybe hard to understand, but this is how it works for Dutch people. We’re too practical sometimes, and in this situation, it will not help the community.”

WordCamp Netherlands Organizers are Considering Hosting an Independent Event

Both de Vries and Bootsman are said they do not believe rules that make sense for the U.S. should be applied universally. They would prefer them to be guidelines that communities can follow or depart from if they express their preference for a country-wide WordCamp. WordPress communities in other countries like Denmark, Croatia, and Switzerland have expressed similar frustrations with the U.S.-centric rules.

“WordCamp Netherlands was what started the local WordPress meetups and ended up being the glue between the WordPress Meetups,” de Vries said. “Forcing us to stop using WordCamp Netherlands is going to impact that as you could see by the outpouring of reactions yesterday on Twitter and Facebook. Renaming WordCamp Netherlands to WordCamp Utrecht, as suggested by many, could be a solution, but nobody of the organizing team lives in the city which means, per the WCS rules, we can’t do that. But more importantly, we would be losing ‘our glue.’ We feel that our efforts of the last years have just been flushed down the toilet with this ‘one-size-fits-all’ rule.”

Although WCNL organizers were told in no uncertain terms that their camp is cancelled, a recent post on the Community team blog indicates that representatives are considering feedback on the decision.

The first two WordCamp Netherlands were not under the umbrella of WordCamp Central, and de Vries said they will find a way to have the camp if it comes to that. Organizers are currently examining their options.

“It is too soon to announce things about this but let me say that we feel the Netherlands needs to have a countrywide WordPress event based on the experiences of the last years,” Bootsman said. “We are not going to let the Netherlands WordPress community down.”

Source: planet

WPTavern: WordPress Plugin Directory Redesign: Why So Many People Feel Their Feedback Was Ignored

Earlier this week, the WordPress plugin directory relaunched with a new design and an improved search algorithm. Feedback has been rolling in from Tavern readers and members of the Advanced WordPress Facebook group.

The improvements to search has received a number of positive comments in addition to people requesting the ability to sort results. The responsive design and aesthetics of the page have also received praise.

There are a number of items that plugin developers and users have reported as downsides to the new design. Some of the most notable include:

  • Plugin stats are only available to the plugin author by logging into the admin.
  • Tabbed layout was replaced with a series of Read more links.
  • Plugin banner images are distorted.
  • The Installation tab which provided instructions on how to install the plugin is gone.
  • Screenshots do not open in a lightbox, but open on a new page instead.
  • Links to download older versions of plugins is missing.

Many of the issues reported above are known and have been known for months. While it may seem like a lot of people are suddenly complaining and didn’t participate in the feedback loop, it’s important to look back to see how the plugin directory redesign reached this point.

From Prototypes to Open Beta

In May 2016, the WordPress Meta team published prototypes of a new design for the WordPress plugin directory. The announcement generated abundant feedback with a strong push towards adding data instead of removing it.

Many users reported that moving the plugin author, last updated, and active install information from the plugin’s listing page to the plugin’s details page was a downside. Samuel Sidler, Apollo Team Lead at Automattic, responded to the feedback explaining why he didn’t think showing the information to users was useful.

Author, as you said, is only really useful for insiders. The latter two, meanwhile, are already taken into account in the search results. If a plugin doesn’t have a recent compatible version, it will move down the list. If it’s too old, it won’t get shown at all (which is the case today).

Active installs is more interesting, but we account for it weighting search results as-is. I actually find it refreshing to not show the active installs as it allows for less-popular plugins to get more downloads. Users will be less likely to click the popular plugins (outside of familiar names) and more likely to find the plugin they actually need.

There was also a lot of discussion on how to improve and display search results.

In June 2016, at WordCamp Europe, Konstantin Obenland, WordPress core contributor, announced that the WordPress plugin directory redesign was in open beta. The team received feedback from Matt Mullenweg, co-creator of the WordPress project, on changing the direction and design of the page. “We’re really just at the beginning of design iterations,” Obenland said. “He thinks we can do better, which he’s right about. We can and we should.”

Kevan commented on the open beta and pointed out many of the same issues that were reported with the prototypes. In July 2016, Obenland announced version three of the open beta. The use of Read more links in favor of the tabbed interface was again brought up in the comments by John Blackbourn.

“I’m really concerned about the liberal use of ‘Read more’ links on individual plugin pages,” Blackbourn said. “They’re being used in order to fix the information overload problem caused by placing all the information onto one page, instead of using the tabbed interface of the current directory.”

In response to Blackbourn, Joy stated that the issue of Read more links had already been discussed and that the feedback was ignored. The feeling of being ignored was also shared by Jon Brown.

“It’s hard to see feedback has been heard and in this case a lot of it doesn’t seem to have been taken into account (bring back tabs, no read more…).” Brown said. “I don’t see everything, or even much, so I could have certainly missed it.”

Mika Epstein responded that the feedback was not ignored and that Obenland was in the process of collecting and collating information.

Four months ago, Kenshino created a ticket on WordPress Meta that outlined usability concerns with using Read more links instead of tabs.

“Clicking on Read more – say on the change log requires me to scroll to the bottom before I’m able to reach the next section,” he said. “Essentially for me to go through all the sections, provided that they are long enough, I’d have to click, scroll a few pages, click, scroll a few pages etc until I get through all the sections.”

The ticket was closed as a duplicate of Greg Ross’ ticket. In it, he suggests a Jump section be added so users can navigate to specific sections of the Read Me without having to scroll through the entire page. The ticket has received minor support and recently had its milestone changed from version three to a future version.

WordPress Contributors Feel Ignored

In a meeting held earlier this week in the WordPress Meta Slack channel, Matt Cromwell, Head of Support and Community Outreach at WordImpress, suggested that the Meta team describe the process of collecting and acting on feedback in as much detail as possible in the announcement post.

“I’ve chatted with a lot of developers and many feel like they provided actionable feedback about the direction of the plugin directory and all advice was ignored,” Cromwell said. “Whether or not that’s an accurate assessment, it’s a real feeling that is shared by many. I’ve been here most weeks and know well that feedback was received and acted on, but there’s still a strong perception.”

Despite the concerns of using Read more links brought up during every phase of the project, they don’t appear to have been addressed. Other gripes expressed by members of the community at the outset of the redesign have largely remained. It’s no wonder that so many people feel like they’ve been ignored.

Mullenweg commented in the meeting saying he, too, felt ignored, “For what it’s worth, I feel like my feedback was ignored as well,” he said. “I hope we can do another major iteration on the directory, because I’m not really a fan of the new one.

“Perhaps the WordPress backend will make it easier to make incremental improvements in the future, as being on bbPress before was often cited as the reason things were slow to iterate previously.”

Although Mullenweg’s feedback in June 2016, was not public, his recent comments indicate not much has changed between then and now.

Alex Shiels, a member of Team Apollo at Automattic, says user feedback wasn’t ignored. “It’s not that anyone’s feedback has been ignored; just that we’ve had limited resources and a big back-end component to the project, and a lot of conflicting requests” he said. “I’ll make sure to give a clear invitation to provide feedback in the announcement post, and include something about future iteration.

The Inability to Measure the Impacts of the Redesign

Kevin Hoffman, who participated in discussions on trac about how to display screenshots, asked if there was any user data and feedback that the Meta team could share that led to some of the decisions and changes that were made. For example, changes to the UI or how often the Read more links are clicked. Shiels responded that the team does not have that data because they don’t have the tools to do it.

“There is Google Analytics tracking, but access is very limited and from what I’ve seen of it (I don’t have direct access) it’s messy and hard to draw objective conclusions from,” Shiels said. “I absolutely agree that analytics and A/B testing would be great, but we just don’t have the tools for it right now. I think that needs to be considered a next step, but a separate project by itself really.”

Hoffman stepped back from contributing to the redesign after receiving this response seven months ago from Sidler on Trac where he says much of the feedback received was from plugin developers and not representative of users.

First, we’re building the site for users, not developers. Certainly some of our users are developers, but not the vast majority. One of the WordPress core philosophies is building first for the 80%, not the 20%, and that applies in this case as well.

Second, almost all of the ‘overwhelming community feedback’ we’ve received so far is from plugin authors who are (typically) developers. It’s all great feedback and we’re obviously listening closely. But it’s not necessarily representative of the users who visit the plugin directory regularly. We’ll certainly run user tests before launching, and we can probably run a more obvious beta, with a link from the current directory to the new one. But the directory isn’t yet ready for that.

Third, this ‘self-imposted limitation’ as you call it is not arbitrary. Rather, it’s the result of research and in-person discussion with a number of designers. Will it be the final design? I dunno. But since we haven’t tested it with real users (see the paragraph above), it’s hard to say right now. I think pursuing this direction is worthy for a number of reasons, which aren’t really worth rehashing here. First and foremost though, until we build out a product that can run through user tests, we won’t know if it’s the right direction.

How can the team know that the redesign is working or is the right direction if WordPress.org doesn’t have the tools necessary to measure its impacts? There’s also the question of what data was obtained or user testing done that supports the decisions that were made? Who are these users and how does the team know what the best user experience is for them?

Iteration Is the WordPress Way

Now that the new directory is publicly available, the Meta team is reviewing feedback, gathering bug reports, and organizing tickets on Trac.

“If there are tickets that were closed or postponed during the project that you think need revisiting, then this would be a great time to start reviewing and re-opening them,” Shiels said. “We already have a bunch of tickets against the future milestone.

“The new directory has been built with future maintainability and iterative enhancement in mind. We’re looking forward to hearing feedback from the whole WordPress community, and making regular improvements and additions.”

To report a bug or enhancement with the plugin directory, you’re encouraged to create a ticket on Trac. If you have any questions concerning the directory or would like to get more involved, visit #meta on Slack.

The Vocal Minority

There are a lot of people voicing their complaints about the WordPress Plugin Directory redesign and to summarize them as a vocal minority is unfair.

“Let’s also not forget that one of WordPress’s philosophies is The Vocal Minority,” Aaron Jorbin, WordPress core contributor, said in a conversation on the Meta Slack channel concerning feedback. “Many people being loud on the internet isn’t a reason to do anything.”

As I’ve documented above, the issues people are complaining about today are roughly the same as those reported during the prototype stage more than seven months ago.

If months have passed and the issues brought up by members of the community who are part of the so-called vocal minority were not addressed before shipping to the public, can we blame them for complaining and feeling ignored? What about those who think that getting involved to be part of the solution was a waste of time? While the plugin directory design will undoubtedly improve with time, the complaints and concerns expressed by people this week are justified.

Source: planet

WPTavern: WordPress App for Android Adds Better Support for Jetpack-Enabled Sites

Automattic’s mobile engineers released a major update to WordPress for Android this week. Last year the app’s users saw a growing disparity between the features available to self-hosted sites and those available to WordPress.com users. Not having the WP REST API in core was holding the app back from providing the same site management features that WordPress.com site owners already enjoy. The upcoming release narrows that gap with better support for Jetpack-enabled sites.

Self-hosted WordPress sites owners will now have access to People Management, Site Settings, and Site Icons in the app. A complete re-write of the app’s network layer brings more performance improvements to Stats and other features.

The Jetpack blog announced the release but doesn’t mention that these features are not yet available to all users. If you manage a self-hosted site on your mobile device, you’ll need to wait until version 7.0 hits the Google Play Store. According to Automattic mobile engineer Maxime Bias, version 7.0 is currently in staged rollout and not all users can update to get it yet. He said 7.0 should be fully rolled out soon but could not give an ETA.

Source: planet

WPTavern: Community Team Releases Plugin That Displays WordPress Events Nearby

Two weeks ago, I highlighted a WordPress plugin that displays upcoming WordCamps in the Dashboard. I’ve recently discovered that the WordPress Community team is working on an official plugin that does something similar called Nearby WordPress Events.

The plugin attempts to detect a user’s location and displays upcoming events within the WordPress News dashboard widget. Events include WordCamps and Meetups from Meetup.com. If the location detected is incorrect, users can click the pencil icon and change it to their city and state.

Nearby WordPress Events Dashboard Widget

The bottom of the widget includes links to the WordPress Meetups landing page, WordCamp schedule, and the official WordPress news blog. If your site has multiple users, each one can configure the widget to display events near their locations.

According to Ian Dunn, the API includes any meetups that are within a 100 kilometer radius. For WordCamps, the radius is 350 kilometers.

Here is what the radius looks like for WordPress Meetups.

US WordPress Meetup Radius

Here is what the radius looks like for WordCamps.

US WordCamp Radius

The distances can not be modified but, depending on feedback, they can be increased to be more accommodating.

WordCamp data is gathered using an API endpoint on WordPress.org. The initial HTTP request is performed asynchronously so it doesn’t affect page loading times. The response is cached for 12 hours to avoid making unnecessary requests.

The WordPress Community team created the plugin to generate more awareness of WordPress events.

“The community that has been created around WordPress is one of its best features, and one of the primary reasons for its success, but many users are still unaware that it exists, and aren’t taking advantage of all of the resources that it makes available to them,” Dunn said.

“Inviting more people to join the community will help to increase its overall health, diversity, and effectiveness, which in turn helps to ensure that WordPress will continue to thrive in the years to come.

“We think that wp-admin is the perfect place to display these events, because that’s the place where almost all WordPress users are visiting already. Instead of expecting them to come to us, we can bring the relevant information directly to them.”

I tested the plugin on WordPress 4.8 Alpha and didn’t encounter any issues. Users can report bugs on the plugin’s support forums or create an issue on the project’s GitHub page. If you test the plugin, let us know what you think in the comments.

Source: planet

WPTavern: WordCamp Miami 2017 Will Livestream All Sessions this Weekend

WordCamp Miami kicked off today with its ancillary workshops for beginners, freelancers, and BuddyPress enthusiasts. The WordCamp is entering its 9th year and organizers are expecting more than 800 attendees. Tickets are once again sold out, but latecomers hoping to attend can sign up for the wait list.

WordCamp Miami is one of the most well-established WordPress events and is known for having high quality sessions. This year’s schedule includes 60+ local and international speakers, a JavaScript learning track, and new AMA spots, featuring prominent people in the community. If you are unable to attend but want to join in remotely, the camp will be live streaming all sessions on Saturday and Sunday for free. There is no registration for the live stream and organizer David Bisset said it doesn’t have a limit on the number of people who can watch simultaneously. Participants can join in on Twitter with the #wcmia hashtag.

Source: planet

WPTavern: Medium Aims to Fix ‘Broken’ Media with New $5 Subscription Program

Nearly three months after laying off a third of its staff and publicly admitting that its previous ad-based revenue model was broken, Medium has introduced a new $5 per month subscription program. The internet speculated freely about Medium’s next move after CEO Ev Williams said the company would be taking “a different, bolder approach” to the problem of driving payment for quality content.

It turns out the “bolder approach” he referenced is a subscription-based model, one that skeptics are already eager to tear apart as many media organizations have struggled to find success with paywalls. Early subscribers will receive access to curated content, a new reading experience, ad-free browsing, and an offline reading list. Medium will be using the subscription revenue to pay writers for content, some of which will be restricted to members only.

“We will be routing 100% of the revenue from founding members (those who sign up in the first few months) to writers and independent publishers who have important work to do,” Williams said. “Those who have hard-won expertise, do exhaustive research, and think deeply. Those who make us all smarter. Those who maximize our understanding of the world but don’t necessarily maximize clicks — and, therefore, are at a disadvantage amongst the highly optimized algorithm chum being slung by the truckload by low-cost content purveyors.”

Medium’s new curated content stream will surface the most worthwhile articles from its network, which grew from 1.9 million posts in 2015 to 7.5 million in 2016 posts. Williams identified the types of content members can expect with their subscriptions in a followup post viewable only to subscribers:

  • Politics. What’s happening behind the headlines. How to think about it. What to do about it.
  • Work. Lessons in business, startups, leadership, management, and money.
  • Self. Smart takes on how to be your best you — happier, healthier, more productive.
  • Future. Where the world is going — technology, trends, what it all means.

For those who have long regarded Medium as the home of hot takes, open letters, and scintillating rants, the new curated content will feature pieces from those who Williams describes as “doing important work.” The list above indicates the platform will be promoting a hefty does of spoon-fed thought and self-improvement topics. In order to make money from the people who have it to spend, the blogging silo must focus on helping those with too much information and not enough time to figure out “how to think about” important issues.

Medium is currently soliciting writers via email, according to one recipient, Adam Hodgkin. This move marks a change in the company where it is essentially becoming a publisher in addition to an aggregator, commissioning content that will deliver that trademark Medium flavor.

Authors should be aware that articles published behind Medium’s paywall will lose their potential to go viral. In addition to trading site and content ownership for convenience, those who agree to write for Medium’s members will be limiting the potential reach their content may have had if it was published in the open.

“Media is broken,” Williams said. “And we need to fix it. I’m super passionate about this. Though we’ve changed our approach recently, this has been Medium’s mission from day one. We saw the feedback loops for publishing content to be a major problem, and we set out to build a new model. We’ve come a long way since — establishing ourselves as the platform for thoughtfulness, depth, and insight from independent thinkers. But the greater challenge — changing the incentives that drive our consumption of media online — has become even more pressing. It’s time to double-down.”

If there’s something new about this economic model, we have yet to see it. Spotify, Netflix, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many other businesses have successfully implemented the subscription model. Using it to fund the type of content that Medium aims to highlight may not be feasible, however, as consumers tend to gravitate towards free content and news that is read and shared in the open.

If Medium’s only option for exiting the attention economy is to further lock down users’ content inside its proprietary silo, the remedy is worse than the disease. Instead of seeing ads on articles available to everyone, subscribers now pay to read content that is selected by and owned by Medium, a company that still needs to find a way to keep the lights on once all the VC money is gone.

Medium tried the ad-driven publishing model without success and then declared that it was a broken system. Was the model broken because it didn’t bring Medium enough money to keep paddling on? Or is it fundamentally broken because it “incentivizes the wrong behaviors,” as Williams put it? His newfound idealism behind the push to leave the domain of “ad buyers and social media echo chambers” appears to be a mask for the lack of a concrete monetization strategy.

Williams’ closing appeal says everything: “Join us early, and help us figure it out.” Medium is still experimenting on publishers to find a way to stay afloat.

Source: planet

WPTavern: How to Find the Age of a Plugin Hosted in the WordPress Plugin Directory

The WordPress plugin directory provides information such as version requirements, compatibility, last updated, and active installs for plugins. What it doesn’t tell you is how old a plugin is. A new site called Age WP Plugin created by Ahmad Awais and Maedah Batool makes finding this information easy. Simply type in a plugin’s slug into the search box and hit enter.

Hello Dolly is 8 Years Old

Awais created the site after Batool inquired about the age of a plugin for an article she was writing. Using the WordPress.org API, Awais discovered that one of the data points was a plugin’s submission date. In addition to displaying a plugin’s age, the site also shows the number of downloads it has. In early 2015, the plugin directory was redesigned and replaced the download count with the number of active installs.

The site has received positive feedback from plugin authors in the Advanced WordPress Facebook group. Something I’d like to see added is a list of 10 or 25 of the oldest plugins in the directory. Awais plans to redesign the site using a different color scheme and fix styling issues reported by testers.

Source: planet

WPTavern: PHP 5.6 Is Now the Most Widely Used PHP Version

PHP 5.6 usage has steadily increased over the past year and has now overtaken versions 5.3 and 5.4 to be the most widely used version, according to W3Techs’ stats. PHP is used by 82.6% of all the websites for which W3Techs can detect a server-side programming language. PHP 7 accounts for 3.1% of these websites and PHP 5.x makes up 95.3%, with version 5.6 usage at the top end.

PHP.net’s usage stats page hasn’t been updated sine 2013 but the project recommends W3Techs’ stats for viewing PHP market share by version. W3Techs’ methodology takes the top 10 million websites, according to Alexa rankings, to offer a representative sample of established sites without including domain spammers.

PHP 5.6 overtaking older versions is a significant milestone for the PHP community, since it still receives support for critical security issues until December 31, 2018. The older versions that previously dominated usage reached End of Life in 2015 and 2016 and are no longer receiving security updates.

Adoption of supported PHP versions is somewhat slower in the WordPress community. According to the project’s stats, more than half of all WordPress sites (55.6%) are using unsupported versions of PHP (versions 5.2 – 5.5).

In early December 2016, WordPress updated its hosting recommendation to PHP 7+, which should help new users who are approaching hosts to request their sites be put on newer versions of PHP. In addition to these recommendations, WordPress’ strategy in the past has been to cultivate relationships with hosts to help improve host configurations for users. The project recently launched the Make WordPress Hosting community to facilitate collaboration among those with hosting experience. Participants are currently working on documenting best practices, including recommendations for PHP versions offered, and providing tools for the community.

Source: planet

Donncha: How to Auto Schedule WordPress Posts

If you post to a WordPress blog on a regular basis like I do on In Photos dot Org you’ll no doubt recognise the fatigue that comes from adjusting the publish date every single time on a new post so it appears a day later. If you have multiple posts like on a daily photoblog you have to remember what day the last post was made and adjust the date accordingly.

A few years ago I wrote a small plugin that I never released to help schedule posts. In the media uploader you could select multiple photos and click a few buttons to be brought to a new page where you could enter title, content and tags for each image. Based on this experience, I suggested it as an idea to one of the teams at Automattic who built Post Bot. I used that for a long time and it has its strengths. If you’re posting content that has the same or similar tags you can copy and paste the tags from one post to another. I posted lots of black and white street images from my home town this way and it was super useful!

I got tired of manually typing out tags, and unfortunately the site broke a few times, with posts not scheduling or one time they scheduled all in one go. Luckily the problems were quickly fixed. However, I started using the WordPress post editor again and scheduling a bunch of photos that way.

Manually editing the publish date quickly became a chore. Lazarus, the form saver Chrome extension, would sometimes popup if I didn’t click exactly on the date, or as I said before I had to remember when the last post was made. They say there’s a plugin for everything, and there is for this too. Check out Publish to Schedule.

You tell “Publish to Schedule” which days and how many posts should be published and when you go into the post editor the next available date is picked for you! The date doesn’t change until you hit Publish but I already used it to schedule a number of posts and it works really well.

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Source: planet