Today is 14 years from the very first release of WordPress. The interface I’m using to write this (Calypso) is completely unrecognizable from what WordPress looked and worked like even a few years ago. Fourteen years in, I’m waking up every day excited about what’s coming next for us. The progress of the editor and CLI so far this year is awesome, and I’m looking forward to that flowing into improvements for customization and the REST API. Thanks as always to Mike for kicking off this crazy journey, all the people chipping in to make WordPress better, and Konstantin and Erick for surprising me with the cool cake above.
There’s a lot of great WordPress content published in the community but not all of it is featured on the Tavern. This post is an assortment of items related to WordPress that caught my eye but didn’t make it into a full post.
WordPress Turns 14 Years Old
WordPress turns 14 years old tomorrow. David Bisset celebrates the occasion and mentions four things he wants to see in the next year.
WordPress 4.8 Dev Notes
As the WordPress 4.8 release date draws near, component maintainers are publishing dev notes for the features they worked on. So far, the following dev notes have been published:
- Media Widgets for Images, Video, and Audio
- Changes to the Tag Cloud Widget in WordPress 4.8
- Addition of TinyMCE to the Text Widget
- Editor API Changes in 4.8
Keep an eye on Make WordPress Core for further dev notes.
HeroPress Announces Educational Scholarship Winners
HeroPress has announced the winners of the WPShout Up and Running educational scholarships. Birgit Olzem, in Gerolstein, Germany, was one of the winners chosen.
— CoachBirgit ☯ (@CoachBirgit) May 25, 2017
A WordPress Plugin That Renames Excerpt to TL;DR
The other day, I was thinking about how the TL;DR (Too long, didn’t read) summary of articles is similar to the way Excerpts work in WordPress. I browsed the plugin directory to see if anyone had created a plugin that renamed Excerpts to TL;DR.
I wasn’t surprised when I discovered TL;DR created by Ozh Richard. It hasn’t been updated in more than two years so it won’t show up in casual searches. It simply renames Excerpt to TL;DR using a filter to replace a string with custom text.
Human Made Shares Handbook
While it’s not a perfect fit for every one, it provides an in-depth look at the principles the company values. The company provides a number of great employee benefits. Take there bereavement policy for example.
What’s in Matt’s Backpack?
Matt Mullenweg provided an update on what he’s carrying around in his backpack. While it’s filled with technology, ear buds, and the like, the item that stands out to me is the fidget spinner.
If you don’t know what a fidget spinner is, this article by Live Science is a good primer.
Organizing WordCamps and Developing the Finnish Community
A great article that describes the Finnish WordPress community and what transpired after switching the name of WordCamp Finland to WordCamp Helsinki.
Five Things To Know about Video Headers
Deborah Edwards-Onoro, of Lireo Designs, shares five things you should know about video headers, a feature that was introduced in WordPress 4.7.
Marketing Tips and Experiences
Scott Bolinger, shares what has and hasn’t worked in his marketing efforts:
“I’ve had my nose stuck in product code on and off for 3 years now, but recently I’ve decided to shift my focus to marketing. This is something I’ve done before, and it seems to come in cycles, depending on what my business needs.
Over the years I’ve tried many different things related to marketing, most of them have fallen short. A few things have worked, I thought I’d share some of my journey up to this point.”
Women Who WordPress Wapuu!
In what is a traditional part of this series, I end each issue by featuring a Wapuu design. For those who don’t know, Wapuu is the unofficial mascot of the WordPress project.
The Women Who WP Wapuu represents the Women Who WP group. The group is dedicated to inspiring, connecting, challenging, and educating women throughout the WordPress community, through referrals, networking, workshops and mentorship focused on professional development and WordPress.
The Women Who WP Wapuu pin was a huge hit at WordCamp Chicago earlier this year. If you’d like to purchase one, Wapu.us has 11 available for $6 each.
Women Who WordPress Wapuu
That’s it for issue twenty. If you recently discovered a cool resource or post related to WordPress, please share it with us in the comments.
Before the release of PHP 7 in 2015, many WordPress managed hosting companies looked to Facebook’s HHVM to provide better performance. Pagely, WP Engine, and SiteGround added HHVM hosting options in 2014 and early 2015. However, PHP 7 performance gains have been enough to preclude wider HHVM adoption.
WordPress core developer John Blackbourn announced yesterday that the project has removed HHVM support in the Travis test suite after April 2017 stats showed a mere several dozen WordPress websites running on HHVM. WordPress never officially supported HHVM but Scott Taylor made many improvements to core for better HHVM compatibility three years ago. Blackbourn clarified on Slack that WordPress is not removing this support but rather will no longer include HHVM in its testing infrastructure.
“Support for HHVM itself hasn’t been dropped, but support for testing WordPress on HHVM has been dropped,” Blackbourn said. “HHVM usage is so minuscule (literally in the dozens according to update stats) that we can’t warrant the time needed to ensure the test infrastructure works.”
The change isn’t likely to affect too many developers, but it’s an important milestone that signifies how well PHP 7 has been performing for sites that have switched. Blackbourn suggests those running WordPress on HHVM should consider switching to PHP 7+, as it is “far more widely supported and tested, and offers all of the memory and performance benefits that HHVM pushed forward.”
The open source MongoDB project also announced yesterday that it will no longer be supporting its HHVM driver, saying it no longer makes good use of contributors’ engineering time.
“At the start of 2015 we began work on an HHVM driver for MongoDB, as part of our project to renew our PHP driver,” Derick Rethans, MongoDB engineer and author of Xdebug, said. “Back then, HHVM was in its ascendancy and outperforming PHP 5.6 two to one. With such a huge performance difference it was reasonable to assume that many users would be switching over…With PHP 7 released, we saw very little use of the HHVM driver for MongoDB.”
These announcements may be the start of more open source projects giving HHVM compatibility a lower priority. On the ticket for removing HHVM from the test matrix on Travis, John Blackbourn thanked HHVM for its importance in helping move PHP forward.
“The PHP world owes a lot to HHVM for helping it push it forward,” Blackbourn said. “Without HHVM, maybe we wouldn’t have seen such incredible performance gains in PHP 7.”
Rainmaker Digital, formerly known as Copyblogger Media, has entered into a letter of intent to partner with Nimble Worldwide, a marketing agency based in Dallas, TX. Assets from both companies will be combined into a new entity with Rainmaker Digital being the majority owner. Brian Clark, CEO of Rainmaker Digital, says the partnership enables them to transform from a Software as a Service provider to Software and Services.
“People need sophisticated marketing technology, yes — but they also need done-for-them services such as design, content, and lead generation strategy,” Clark said.
“In that last year, we’ve explored several viable ways to do more for our customers and prospects as a hybrid technology and digital marketing service provider. After careful deliberation, we’ve come up with a path that allows us to expertly provide anything that a Rainmaker user needs.”
This isn’t the first time both companies have worked together. Prior to RainMail, Rainmaker’s in-house email marketing service, the company used Nimble Worldwide as its email marketing provider. Although the partnership brings in a number of new employees under Rainmaker Digital, Clark admits that they had to let some employees go.
“This deal provides instant access to an experienced team of digital marketing professionals and a network of talented contractors that ensures our service solutions are expertly crafted and delivered,” Clark said. “This grows the Rainmaker team significantly, without the pain and uncertainty of building an agency from scratch.”
“The change in business model unfortunately left four of our existing employees without positions, along with the loss of some of our own contractors. That was certainly no fun, and our operations leadership preserved every job possible despite the significant reorganization.”
Before the end of June, customers will no longer be able to purchase services à la carte. Instead, sales of the platform will be more hands on, bundled with services, and prices will significantly increase. Customers who start a free trial before the end of June will be able to use the platform at a cheaper rate and without the bundled service components.
Genesis Framework Remains a Priority
StudioPress, Synthesis, Copyblogger, Authority, and DCI are not part of the deal and remain separate entities. Clark says StudioPress sales are going strong and the Genesis Framework is still a priority.
“Our Synthesis managed WordPress hosting line will be folded into the StudioPress brand at some point, which shows how much we value StudioPress going forward,” he said.
“Genesis is still in the hands of Nathan Rice, and he’s moving it forward at a faster pace than in years past when he had to divide time to work on Rainmaker. Now that he’s free from that, I’m excited to see where he takes the framework, which will continue to be a part of Rainmaker as well.”
Contributors began by summarizing the criteria for evaluating framework options, includes factors like stability, longevity, maturity, adoption, accessibility, proven in a WordPress context, and extensibility, among others. Most of the discussion centered on the benefits and drawbacks of React vs Vue.
The majority of those who participated in the meeting seemed to favor React, as it is already used with several major WordPress projects such as Calypso, Gutenberg, and Jetpack. WordPress’ project lead, Matt Mullenweg, has publicly stated that Automattic is betting on React long-term. Mullenweg has also expressed a desire for Calypso, or a similar interface, to replace wp-admin in the future. The company has been building its products on React for several years and is pot committed at this point when it comes to the framework.
— Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) December 13, 2016
Contributors present for the meeting agreed they would be hesitant to commit a new framework to core without using it in some way for a core feature. The decision has not yet been made. Anyone with experiences to share on implementing JS frameworks in the context of WordPress is invited to comment in the discussion on the meeting notes and join the next core-js meeting Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 8:00 AM CDT.
The Economist writes about who’s wrong when flyers end up in the wrong cities. This has actually happened to me! Probably 7-8 years ago, it was an Air Canada flight from New York to Montreal, and I accidentally boarded the one to Toronto. The mistake was realized when we were on the ground, but had pulled away from gate. Being Canadian, they were exceedingly nice and asked me to stay on the flight but they’d find me one from Toronto to Montreal after I landed.
Like Yahoo a few years ago, IBM, an early pioneer of distributed work, is calling workers back to the office.
The shift is particularly surprising since the Armonk, N.Y., company has been among the business world’s staunchest boosters of remote work, both for itself and its customers. IBM markets software and services for what it calls “the anytime, anywhere workforce,” and its researchers have published numerous studies on the merits of remote work.
If “IBM has boasted that more than 40% of employees worked outside traditional company offices” and they currently have 380,000 employees (wow), then that’s 152k people on the market.
As I said when Yahoo did the same, it’s hard to judge this from the outside. A company that was happy about how they’re doing wouldn’t make a shift this big or this suddenly. It’s very possible the way distributed folks were interacting with their in-office teams wasn’t satisfactory, especially if they were forced to use subpar in-house tools like SameTime instead of Zoom or Skype. Yahoo didn’t have the best trajectory after they made a similar move, and hopefully IBM isn’t going to follow the same path.
In the meantime, Automattic and many other companies are hiring. If you aren’t going to work in a company’s headquarters, it is probably safest to work at a company that is fully distributed (no second tier for people not at HQ) rather than be one of a few “remote” people at a centralized company.
Brian is joined by guest-host Rachel Cherry — a Senior Software Engineer at Disney, and the organizer of WP Campus, an event for WordPress in higher education. They discuss many of the things that folks working with WordPress in higher education encounter during this episode.
Prior to working for Disney, Rachel spent around a decade working on the web in higher ed, most recently at the University of Alabama.
- Rachel’s website
- WP Campus, which will be held on July 13-14 in Buffalo, New York.
- The Events Calendar, by Modern Tribe
- University of Alabama Engineering
- Washington State University Github
SiteGround is engineered for speed, built for security, and crafted for WordPress. They offer feature-rich managed WordPress hosting with premium support, and are officially recommended by WordPress.org. Check out SiteGround’s website for a special deal for Post Status listeners, and thanks to SiteGround for being a Post Status partner.
Photo by Found Art Photography
Theme Fusion’s Avada WordPress Theme, the highest selling theme on Themeforest for the past four years, has fixed stored XSS and CSRF vulnerabilities in its 5.1.5 release. The security issues were discovered by WP Hütte, a WordPress security blog, and the site published details of the vunlnerabilities after Theme Fusion patched its theme.
Although the patched version has been available since early April, a notification was only recently sent out to Avada customers from Envato via email, urging them to update. Avada announced the release of 5.1.5 but did not publish anything publicly on the security issues that it fixes. Customers started learning about the vulnerabilities from the WPScan Vulnerability Database, WP Hütte, and posts on Twitter.
Avada 5.1.5 is out and is compatible with the new WooCommerce 3.0!
— ThemeFusion (@Theme_Fusion) April 4, 2017
— Jan-Peter Lambeck (@jplambeck) May 18, 2017
— Val Vesa (@adspedia) May 18, 2017
Theme Fusion left the security issues buried in the changelog until today when customers began receiving email notices about it. A fix was available for more than a month while customers who were unaware and had not updated were left vulnerable. Envato’s email encourages all users to update, as the release is for all previous versions of Avada.
If you have purchased Avada for clients or for yourself, you can update to the latest version by downloading it from your Envato Market account and reinstalling it. Customers with the Envato Market WordPress plugin installed can access automatic updates within the WordPress admin.