Post Status: Maintaining Legacy WordPress Websites — Draft podcast

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Joe Hoyle — the CTO of Human Made — and Brian Krogsgard.

Brian and Joe discuss many of the factors that are a part of maintaining a website for the long term. They discuss it both in the sense of when you own the site (like Brian with Post Status), and when you are doing long-term client work (like Human Made with retainers).

There are several things to consider, whether it’s in your own code, or the decisions you make on which third party developer’s tools to use.


https://audio.simplecast.com/68341.mp3
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Source: planet

HeroPress: HeroPress Geography: Eastern Europe

Google map of eastern Europe.

I don’t have nearly as many countries from Eastern Europe as I’d like.  The ones I do have are along the western edge. Several of the countries represented have more than one essay from them.

Also of note, the first HeroPress essay ever came from Ukraine, and is listed here.

Finding Your Place

The WordPress Mantra Is Mine Too

You Really Have No Excuse

Taking A Chance With WordPress

Rebirth

Growing a Business in Europe with WordPress

Even Crisis Has Options

Blogging, Solopreneurship, & Terrorism

The post HeroPress Geography: Eastern Europe appeared first on HeroPress.


Source: planet

WPTavern: Shopify Discontinues Its Official Plugin for WordPress

Shopify’s official plugin for WordPress was removed from the plugin directory this week. The plugin allowed users to create “Buy Buttons” for products from their Shopify stores and insert them into WordPress posts and pages using a shortcode. It was built by WebDevStudios and had approximately 9,000 active installations before it was removed.

Shopify’s documentation says the plugin has been discontinued and will not be supported after June 30, 2017. WordPress users who want to display Shopify products on their sites are now instructed to create a Buy Button for a product or collection and paste the embed code into WordPress instead.

The WordPress plugin team would not comment on why the plugin was removed, but a support representative from Shopify said it was outdated and difficult to maintain.

“The reason it was removed is that it was being replaced by Buy Button, which is a better way of selling in WordPress,” Shopify customer support representative Jacquelyn Failano said. “The WordPress plugin was built by a third party and even if we support it, it could break at any time as we make future updates to the Buy Button channel.”

Failano said that by switching from using the plugin to creating Buy Buttons with Shopify, users will have access to updated features, including fonts, colors, layouts, buttons, and multiple images on variants. Merchants will also be in a better position to take advantage of future updates.

“The plugin uses older code and methods that will no longer be updated or supported,” Failano said. “There is no longer a dedicated development team for it. This means that there are no resources to maintain or rebuild the plugin.”

Failano would not confirm whether or not the plugin was removed from the directory by Shopify at the company’s discretion or whether it was forcibly removed by WordPress for a violation of the guidelines.

“I’m afraid I cannot confirm on that part – the main reason why it was discontinued was because the plugin uses older code and methods that will no longer be updated or supported,” Failano said.


Source: planet

WPTavern: How the San Francisco WordPress Meetup is Using Open Collective to Fund Activities

In 2016, WordPress meetups had the fastest growth the community has seen in five or six years with more than 62,566 people attending in 58 different countries. Meetups are the seeds of future WordCamps. These local gatherings help users further their WordPress skills and underpin the community’s growth across the globe.

Funding a local meetup can be a challenge, as organizers often have to seek out sponsors just like a WordCamp but at a smaller scale. The San Francisco WordPress meetup (WPSFO) is trying something new by publicly managing its budget and expenses with Open Collective. Last week we featured the service in an article and WPSFO lead organizer Shannon Dunn commented on his meetup’s experience with it so far.

“It creates a level of transparency for the whole community and lets current and prospective customers understand where the money goes,” Dunn said. “I’d say we’re pretty happy with it and it’s an integral part of managing our meetup.”

Dunn started attending and helping out with WPSFO in 2011 and stepped up to be lead organizer at the beginning of 2016. Former lead organizer Zach Berke, who started in 2007, was the one who initially suggested the idea of using Open Collective.

“Before we started with Open Collective, sponsors paid for things directly,” Dunn said. “We’ve had various host sponsors (Automattic, Exygy, Pantheon) that have provided meeting space, food, and drinks. These hosts have always paid for the food directly. We also had a relationship with WPEngine at one point. They paid a videographer to film the meetups. All other expenses, usually for minor things, were paid for by the organizers.”

Dunn said that Open Collective has helped to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses for meetup organizers, as it provides a straightforward process for posting expenses and getting reimbursed.

“Funding a meetup can be pretty tough,” Dunn said. “It’s great that we have hosts to cover the big items, but various other expenses come up. Those small things are usually paid for by the organizers. Also, there are times when one of our primary hosts can’t provide a space to meet. We have several alternative meeting spaces but not all of them provide food and drinks. On those occasions, organizers have paid for the food and drink out of pocket. We could have gone without, but we try to keep each meetup a consistent experience.”

Dunn said the team wanted to cover these costs without digging into the pockets of the organizers, who already volunteer a lot of time and energy to the meetup. They do not charge for the events and don’t plan on doing it in the future, so having additional funds on hand became a priority.

“Pia from Open Collective reached out to Zach about a year ago,” Dunn said. “Zach had a prior relationship with another OC founder, Xavier, from his early Storify days. Zach agreed to sign up for OC because it seemed to address a pain point. Zach handed the reins of OC to Michelle and I, who have brought sponsors onto the platform.”

Dunn said using Open Collective has had many positive advantages over the previous system WPSFO had for managing funds. Receiving donations and submitting expenses is now streamlined into a transparent pipeline. The meetup has an estimated annual budget of $6,658, based on current donations.

“Being able to provide recognition to our sponsors is a big plus,” Dunn said. “It’s worth noting that this is a young and ever-evolving platform so with that you’re provided direct access to Open Collective’s front line, which is beneficial in addressing any questions or concerns that arise.”

Dunn said using Open Collective has opened up additional possibilities, like making WPSFO t-shirts to sell to members and the general public. Having money in the meetup account means the organizers can do it without having to pre-sell the shirts.

“It’s not like we’re floating in cash now, but we have little bit of money to work with,” Dunn said. “It feels great to have that and we’re deeply appreciative of our sponsors for making it possible.”

WPSFO is one of 23 meetups that have started managing their budgets and funds through Open Collective. Other early adopters of the service include multiple WWCode meetups, Women Who Code Atlanta, and SF Data Science Meetup, with budgets ranging from a few hundred dollars to more than $25,000.


Source: planet

WPTavern: WordCamp US 2017 Ramps Up Ticket Sales, Organizers Plan for 2,500 Attendees

Promotion for WordCamp US 2017 in Nashville, December 1-3, is now in full swing, as organizers have ramped up social media efforts to stimulate ticket sales. Instead of releasing batches of tickets in stages, all WordCamp US tickets are on sale at once.

“Our goal is to sell between 2,000 and 2,500, but we could accommodate more,” marketing lead Laura Byrne-Cristiano said. “We will also again have a livestream that is fully closed captioned as it was the last two years. Folks who can’t make it to Nashville from around the globe can see what’s happening in real time.”

Music City Center was selected as the official venue. It is within walking distance to several of the city’s attractions and museums. Last week organizers announced The Renaissance Nashville Hotel as the official hotel for the event, which is also within walking distance of the venue and will offer a special discounted rate for attendees.

“At this stage of the game, ticket sales are light which is to be expected with an event is that is eight months out,” Byrne-Cristiano said. The team plans to release more specific numbers in the fall once the full slate of speakers has been announced. Byrne-Cristiano said speaker submissions will be open within the next few days.

“While we would like to see every seat filled, our focus is on putting together a high quality camp for the community,” Byrne-Cristiano said.

You can sign up on the WordCamp US website to subscribe to the latest news for the event or follow @WordCampUS on Twitter. If you have an Android device, check out the WordCamp Android app to add the event to your calendar and follow updates on speakers and the schedule.


Source: planet

Matt: Songs for My Father

One of the things that surprised me most about when my Dad was sick last year was that while he was in the hospital over about 5 weeks he lost any interest in music, TV, movies, anything on a screen. Music was particularly surprising given that he had music on at his desk pretty much all the time, and really enjoyed loading a new CD or record into the media library he had set up at home. One of the songs I remember playing for him was from a band, Manhattan Transfer, that we used to listen to a lot when I was younger and just learning about jazz, I chose Tuxedo Junction because it might cheer him up.

I remember him smiling faintly. (I wish I had played him more music. I wish I had recorded more of his stories, ideally before he got sick. I wish I had figured out how to navigate the hospital and health care system better.)

What I didn’t anticipate was how after his death there would be aftershocks of grief that would hit me over and over again, especially while driving or in a plane. I went from crying maybe three times in the past decade to breaking down at the end of a company town hall, when talking to family, when my Mom found out about the anniversary present my Dad had been looking at, and with any number of songs that unexpectedly took on a new meaning.

Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth’s See You Again, is obvious, and was in heavy rotation every public place I went; Lukas Graham’s 7 Years completely broke me down when it talked about children — if I ever have any my father will never meet them; Kayne & Paul McCartney’s Only One, the tribute to Kanye’s daughter and passed mother and I think perhaps his best song; Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud, about growing old together, turning 70 as he was so close to doing; Kanye’s Ultralight Beam snuck up on me, I didn’t expect it, but the questioning and gospel and anger and hope in it captured something I didn’t even realize I was feeling. Even jazz wasn’t safe, Horace Silver’s lyric-less Song for My Father had the same effect.

John Mayer’s Stop This Train is a song I’ve probably heard a hundred times since it came out in 2006, but all of sudden these words meant something completely different:

So scared of getting older
I’m only good at being young
So I play the numbers game
To find a way to say that life has just begun

Had a talk with my old man
Said, “Help me understand”
He said, “Turn sixty-eight
You’ll renegotiate”

I almost had to pull the car over: he was sixty-eight. What I would give for just one more conversation with him like the one the day before he passed. I wish I had written more down, recorded more of his stories, learned more about his journey.

As the year has passed, the surprise crying is much less common even when one of these songs comes on the radio. Usually when I think of my father it’s with a smile. I’ve even had a few treasured dreams where we’ve been able to talk, nothing that made much sense (it was a dream) but I remember waking up with an overwhelming feeling of enveloping love. While the “new normal” is different, I can’t say it’s better — he’s still gone.


Source: planet

WPTavern: Embed Mastodon Statuses in WordPress

After the controversial changes to Twitter’s @reply feature, which no longer counts usernames towards the 140-character limit, Mastodon registrations rose sharply. Mastodon is a free, open source, decentralized network that has many similarities to Twitter. The software, named in honor of its creator’s favorite metal band, was launched in October and registered 24,000 users in the first six months. A strong negative reaction to Twitter’s changes has fueled a spike in Mastodon registrations. In the last week alone, the software’s user base has grown from 237,000 users on April 15 to more than 414,000 users today.

Mastodon is different from Twitter in that it is broken up into different independently-hosted instances. Whereas Twitter has struggled to combat trolls and abuse on its platform, Mastodon instances can each declare and enforce their own rules. For example, the flagship Mastodon.social instance bans content that is illegal in Germany or France, such as Nazi symbolism and Holocaust denial, excessive advertising, racism, sexism, and other undesirable posts.

Mastodon’s Tweetdeck-style interface allows users to post “toots” with a 500-word character limit. Toots can also be published with a content warning so that users can choose whether to view it.

With all the increased activity around Mastodon this week, there was bound to be someone with the desire to display toots on their website. The first plugin for bringing Mastodon content into WordPress has landed in the plugin directory. Embed Mastodon was created by David Libeau, a French developer and Mastodon enthusiast. It allows users to embed toots using a shortcode.

“I created this plugin because Numerama, a french tech website, was saying that it could be cool to embed Mastodon statuses, like with Twitter, in WordPress,” Libeau said. “I was thinking the same when I wrote a small article on my personal blog. I am using both Twitter and Mastodon but want to progressively leave Twitter.”

Libeau said he is not a WordPress developer and Mastodon Embed is his first plugin. He does not know if it’s coded well but said users may be interested in an alternative plugin on GitHub that is a complete rewrite of his effort. The rewrite includes multiple embeds, caching, proper shortcode initialization, and fallback to “direct” embeds if embed via iframe is forbidden.

Libeau said he doesn’t know what will happen to his plugin in light of the rewrite, but he is continuing to develop small tools for Mastodon users. Mastodon has an open API for apps and services, which makes it easy for developers to build things that integrate with it.

After testing the Mastodon Embed plugin I found that it works but may have a couple of styling issues with the link display. If you find that it’s not working, it’s possible that your particular Mastodon instance configuration does not allow embedding via iFrame. To resolve this you may need to contact the admin of the instance or use the fork of the plugin that has a fallback for this scenario. If you find a bug with the Mastodon Embed plugin hosted on WordPress.org, you can log an issue on Libeau’s Mastodon Tools repository.


Source: planet

WPTavern: Headway Themes Appears to be Dying a Slow Death

It’s been seven months since Grant and Clay Griffiths, founders of Headway Themes, apologized to customers for failing to communicate on a regular basis and provide adequate customer support. In the apology, the founders admit that the company was experiencing financial difficulties and noted that competition in the WordPress drag-and-drop page-builder space was tough. The duo vowed to communicate more, provide better customer support, and continue to develop Headway 4.0. Has anything changed since the apology was published?

Headway Themes Migrates to FlyWheel Hosting

In December of 2016, Flywheel hosting acquired Pressmatic, created by Clay Griffiths. Soon after, Headway Themes migrated to Flywheel hosting which caused a few hiccups such as site downtime due to DNS propagation, login issues, and an issue with the Headway Dashboard. The acquisition raised questions on how it would affect Clay’s ability to work on Headway.

“This acquisition and employment will provide myself and my family much more stability than we’ve had in a long time, and will allow me to better focus on Headway in my spare time,” Griffiths said. “This includes rolling out the upcoming 4.1 release, and working hard to make sure the support and other outstanding issues are resolved for all our customers.”

Influx Confirms Communication Issues With Founders

Soon after the apology, Headway Themes began to use Influx to provide first-tier customer support. Influx provides customer support for companies, including those in the WordPress ecosystem such as Advanced Custom Fields. Any issues that Influx couldn’t solve are escalated to Clay and Grant. In February, Gary Bairéad, a former Headway Themes employee, contacted Headway Themes support about the status of Headway 4.0 and received the following response.

Influx couldn’t answer the question because Headway developers had not informed them of its progress despite inquiring about it. Influx notes that there may be a beta released in the near future but not to be quoted on it because a similar promise was made five months prior. In January, the official Headway Themes Twitter account confirmed that Headway was being supported and that 4.0 would be released soon.

Around the same time period, another Headway Themes customer submitted a support request asking about the status of a longstanding issue they were having. Influx explained that there was a lull because the main developers were failing to communicate. The support representative also pointed out that it seemed the only way for customers to get information about Headway Themes was by emailing support.

Influx says it tried multiple times to contact Headway Themes developers about the issue and said it was lobbying hard to get it rectified.

Payments Stop for Third-Party Block Developers

In February, Bairéad published a request to third-party block customers to not renew through Headway Themes.com and to instead, purchase and renew directly from the developer’s sites. Chris Howard, founder of Pizazz WP, and Chris Rault, co-founder of HeadwayRocket, confirmed they are owed money from customers who purchased and renewed blocks through Headway Themes.com.

I reached out to both developers to see if they’ve been paid since February.

“I’ve sent Clay a bunch of messages, but he’s completely ignoring me and hasn’t paid over another cent since the last long delay,” Rault said.

“It’s down to only 2 or 3 renewals a month, but I’m not receiving anything still. I’d estimate they still owe me around $2,000,” Howard said.

For Howard, the issue of not receiving payments has been going on for months.

Former Support Staff Still Owed Money

Headway Themes’ apology does not mention the former support team who the company failed to pay on time for months. Since the apology, members of the team have received small payments but are still owed thousands of dollars. Receiving payments from Headway Themes is often a difficult process.

After not receiving a payment in February, a former team member sent a flurry of emails to Grant and Clay Griffiths inquiring about the payment. Clay eventually responded that they would send out payments when they’re able too. After a week of questioning when that would be with no response, the team member received a payment.

Influx Says Headway Themes is Restructuring

A Headway Themes customer recently contacted support to ask about the status of Headway and published Influx’s response to the company’s support forums. Here’s their response:

Hi [Redacted],

Thanks for reaching out.

Currently, Headway is going through a restructuring phase to resolve the challenges being faced at this time. We do not have the full details here at support but the main stakeholders are working to return Headway to its rightful mode of operations.

Please let me know if there are any more questions that I can answer for you. Kind Regards.

To learn more about the restructuring process and what’s going on with Headway development, I reached out to Grant and Clay Griffiths. Both have not responded to my request for comment.

Blox Picks Up Where Headway Left Off

Last year, when it appeared the future of Headway Themes was in jeopardy, Maarten Schraven forked the Headway 3.8.8 codebase and named it Blox Builder. Blox Builder is 100% GPL Licensed and is a direct replacement for Headway. Schraven recently answered a number of questions related to the project, one of which is how easy is it to transfer from Headway to Blox.

There are different ways to convert your Headway Theme to Blox Theme. The best way is to export your template, you get an .json file. In this file you have to change hw to bt and headway to blox. If you have a large website you also can change the database tables. Some of our users have Blox Theme and Headway Themes side by side and switch between them. The last way (not yet available) is our conversion script. This script can do two things, change the database or do the same search and replace. This script will work automatic or as standalone.

Or, if you think this is to difficult, you always can ask us for the conversion, we can discuss this on e-mail or skype

There’s no time frame on when the conversion script will be available. If you’re a fan of the way Headway Themes works and are looking for a similar replacement, check out Blox Builder.

Many in the Headway Themes Community Have Moved On

A number of devoted fans and customers of Headway have switched to other page builders like Divi, Elementor, and Beaver Builder. What was once a vibrant community-run Slack channel for Headway Themes enthusiasts has turned into a ghost town. There is little hope among them that the company will be able to rebound.

Not Much Has Changed

Unfortunately, the issues that prompted Headway Themes’ founders to issue an apology are still present. There is a lack of communication on the company’s blog, social media accounts, and to Influx, the company it has outsourced customer support to. The apology dated Sept 13, 2016, was the last post published to the company’s blog. Former employees and third-party developers are still owed considerable amounts of money and there has been little if any development on the Headway code base.


Source: planet

WPTavern: HeroPress Partners With WPShout to Offer WordPress Education Scholarships

HeroPress has teamed up with Alex Denning, Fred Meyer, and David Hayes of WPShout to offer 10 copies of Up and Running Second Edition at the deluxe tier. The deluxe tier is valued at $249 and includes everything the course has to offer including video tutorials, creating a theme and child theme, screencast series, creating a WordPress plugin, and more.

The scholarship applications are geared towards three groups of people:

  • Those in financial hardship (unemployment, jobseeking, students or underemployment).
  • Those in low-income countries without the means to purchase the course.
  • Under-represented groups in tech and the WordPress community, including but not limited to:
    • Women
    • Transgender applicants
    • BAME applicants

Those who qualify have until May 9th to fill out the application. Five members of the WordPress community make up a panel that will review the applications and choose 10 recipients who they feel are deserving of the award. HeroPress will then tally the selections and those with the most votes will be awarded a scholarship. In case of a tie, HeroPress will be the deciding vote. The five panelists are:

Pippin Williamson, founder of Easy Digital Downloads, says he accepted the panelist role because it’s an opportunity to make a significant difference in someone’s life.

HeroPress, founded by Topher DeRosia in 2015, publishes an essay every Wednesday from members of the community on how WordPress has positively impacted their lives. HeroPress has published essays from people in the Middle East, Oceania, Central and South America, and other parts of the world.

To learn the HeroPress story, listen to our interview with DeRosia. In it, he explains his motivation for creating the site and shares a personal story of someone who couldn’t write an essay because they were spending all of their time trying to stay alive.

To learn more about Up and Running Second Edition, listen to our interview with the founders where they explain how and why they created the course.


Source: planet

WPTavern: Checathlon: A Free WordPress Business Theme with Support for Easy Digital Downloads

Checathlon is new business theme on WordPress.org that was designed to seamlessly integrate with Easy Digital Downloads. The name is a combination of the words checkout and decathlon, according to its creator Sami Keijonen.

Checathlon combines elegant typography with a bold, pink accent color to showcase products and services on a business or e-commerce website. The theme was designed by Finnish designer Toni Suni and is Keijonen’s 13th theme to be listed in the directory.

“I had some kind of vision of what I wanted and Toni created a pixel perfect design based on our discussion,” Keijonen said. “I’m super happy about the end result. Unfortunately, the design and the theme was not good enough for WordPress.com and the theme was rejected from there.” Keijonen opted to create a Checathlon Plus plugin as an alternative way to monetize the theme.

Checathlon has an intuitive way of organizing the content featured on the front page. Unlike many other themes, the front page is not controlled by a custom page template. Once you set the front page as a static page, the Customizer will give access to the service/pricing, products, testimonial, and blog sections.

The theme includes support for a Pricing page template and a Team Page template. These features make Checathlon more flexible for use on a business, agency, non-profit, or e-commerce website.

The pricing template has a “Service and Pricing widget” area where users can drop in the custom widgets available in the Checathlon Plus plugin. The widgets make it easy for users to set an icon, title, content, price, and a link for each pricing tier, as well as the ability to highlight one tier as featured.

Checathlon was built to support several plugins, including Easy Digital Downloads, Custom Content Portfolio, and Jetpack (testimonials and portfolio). The theme includes styles for the Jetpack email subscription widget and EDD downloads and account pages. It’s also tagged as accessibility-ready, which means that it has successfully passed an accessibility audit. Check out the live demo to see Checathlon in action.

Keijonen is taking a unique approach by creating a Checathlon Plus plugin as an alternative to offering a “pro version” of the theme. It extends the theme to include more customizer capabilities, additional widgets, cart customization features for EDD, and two child themes. The free theme is available on WordPress.org and documentation can be found on the theme’s website.


Source: planet