Press This Podcast: December 2020 Word Around the Campfire

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Welcome to Press This, the WordPress community podcast from WMR. Here host David Vogelpohl sits down with guests from around the community to talk about the biggest issues facing WordPress developers. The following is a transcription of the original recording.

David Vogelpohl: Hello everyone and welcome to Press This the WordPress community podcasts on WMR. This is your host, David Vogel Paul, I support the WordPress community through my role at WP Engine, and I love to bring the best of the community to you hear every week on press this as a reminder, you can find me on Twitter @wpdavidv, or you can subscribe to press this on iTunes, iHeartRadio, Spotify, or download the latest episodes at wmr.fm. In this episode or press this we’re going to be doing one of our monthly segments Word Around the Campfire, we talk about news around the WordPress ecosystem. You’re talking about exciting updates in the world of Gutenberg blocks acquisitions in the WordPress space and much much more like to join. I’d like to welcome for this episode of press this back for this word around the campfire segment Mr. Anthony Burchell WP Engine Anthony Welcome back to Press This.

Anthony Burchell: Hey, thanks for having me.

DV: So glad to have you here I know you’ve always got great insights from the world of WordPress core. Also joining us regular segment guests I’d like to welcome Doc Pop of torquemag.io Doc welcome.

Doc Pop: David thanks for having me back. Pew Pew. That’s my new catchphrase.

DV: Isn’t that Star Wars’ catchphrase?

AB: Yeah you are going to have to pay Disney for that.

DV: Okay, good. Well, that was it. That was a strong move by you should trademark and moving on from trademark Can you hear us talk about some of the things happening here in the WordPress community. Lots of things actually going down real quickly, like to do a few shout outs for some prior episodes we did here press this check that out. It’s really cool to speak with Courtney Robertson about scale your business and contributing back by teaching others WordPress, Courtney actually had a lot of really insightful ideas around, educating people and how to use WordPress, which of course can be a huge deal. If you need to train content creators or others on your staff. In order to kind of increase your velocity and Courtney is actually very versed in this and professional educators she’s on the Learn dot WordPress team. And she works for a, an organization out of Philadelphia dedicated to teaching underrepresented communities WordPress called and other technologies called code differently so he’s got a really good point of view there, and then Katrina Martin I love this I’ve said, Ed today I don’t know if you’ve used this much in your agency or freelancing days or time but this episode is how to grow by saying no to your agency clients. Did you have to say no and your agency and freelance days Anthony?

AB: My biggest problem is that I would just say yes to everything and then you’re like stuck with three projects that you aren’t extremely passionate about. Yeah, I guess so maybe I like to take I like to not take on too much at once.

DV: So it sounds like you’re actually okay maybe it’s saying no but Katrina. Yeah, Katrina had a lot of really good thoughts on how she was able to leverage it and kind of customer friendly ways to which I thought was pretty cool. Other things happening at least in my world was the launch of Genesis collections. So this is a feature set if you will within the, the free plugin Genesis blocks and collections are really interesting. Doc Have you played with themes with like block based demo content.

DP: I haven’t yet. You haven’t that. No. That seems pretty awesome. There, I haven’t seen a lot of new themes that really prioritize block based content yet, because they’re still kind of new. So, nothing has come up that kind of put my needs but I’m sure next year.

DV: Mostly I guess, in general, I see I definitely see where you’re coming from like that is somewhat rare still, even here two years after Gutenberg was released in the studio press contacts and there are other theme providers that do this as well but there are no blocks that are loaded with the theme setup wizard. And it’s kind of cool when you set up a new site it’ll loaded up with a bunch of block based demo content. But what collections does is it takes that one step further and ultimately chops up all that demo content so that way you can use it, not just when you’re starting a new site that actually on demand when you’re building out any content in any poster page. And so that was a big release from the Genesis blocks plugin as well as a beta theme really building up to this future full site editing, where y’all. At least list regular listeners of the show, or just talk about those changes come into WordPress core. In the full public beta version and version 5.6 of WordPress.

DP: Could I ask a question real quick? Collections versus patterns block patterns are they at all similar those two totally different things.

DV: Yeah, that’s a great question doc so block patterns were inspired after a few conversations in WordPress core and one of those inspirations actually came from the version zero Genesis blocks called atomic blocks, which I’m sure you’ve, of course covered and known about, Doc. But block patterns are basically a array of blocks in a poster page that you can drop in and so you might think of it like a section of a page or maybe even you can do a whole page as a block pattern. But what a collection is is it leverages that notion of having kind of an array of blocks, if you will, but it’s a whole website’s worth of them. So, to think about it more simply, block patterns are part of collections, it’s a piece of the tech that is used to facilitate this kind of successful site of demo content on demand does that help, Doc.

DP: Oh yeah, that that’s a great description.

DV: Yeah, so the simple version I like to tell people is like imagine as a website with block based demo content and you chop it all off up and put it in an interface for people to just click on and use whatever. That’s what a collection is. So you’re going to start to see more innovation like this, as of course the Justice universe but across WordPress. As technology start to adopt are built a new that helped to support the WordPress block editor and this is the latest iteration in the Genesis context. Doctors you guys cover the uncanny owl acquisition for, or should I say addition to the WP beginner Growth Fund on tour because that that news it hit your radar.

AB: I missed that, it might be on the site or I might have missed it.

DV: Yeah, it was making the rounds. Syed Balkhi, the owner of the site WP beginner. There’s so much in the WordPress ecosystem. Also it’s a plugin OptinMonster and WP forms and things like this he started something called the WP beginner Growth Fund, and it invests in technologies and sometimes acquires technologies that are in the WordPress space for the betterment of WordPress a lot of his, a lot of his plugins are really kind of core critical functions for WordPress sites. And so he added two companies to the roster of that growth fund. I did not catch it was I think is is just an investment, but It’s uncanny Owl and Automator plugin. So that was neat to see science project there start to grow gain more more momentum and you know add some really interesting plugins to the mix. So congrats to say Ed and the team from awesome motive for growing that fund and finding some some great new things to invest in super super cool stuff. I’m guessing you probably were exposed to the growth fund at one point is accurate.

DP: Yes. Yeah, that was a that was a cool, kind of, Angel fund, not really. Yeah, but a cool cool thing in the WordPress community to help fund projects.

DV: I know and it’s. I’m sure there’s like gotta be some private fund out there I’m not aware of that specifically invest in WordPress companies, but I know that size is certainly the most prominent most popular in that way so I thought that is really cool, and both from a business perspective and just kind of community implications. If you’re having that kind of resource within, within the WordPress context. We have more to come with more WordPress news but we want everybody to hang tight. We’ll be right back.

DV: Welcome back to press this the WordPress community podcast on WMR This is your host David Vogel poll we’re in the middle of our word around the campfire segment, talking about word of news from the WordPress community. Doc right before the break we were talking a little bit about the WP beginner Growth Fund, but I want to shift gears now, how we know it’s going to WordFest I’ve been seeing this all over the place, even registered for it but I haven’t had the chance to dive into what’s going on with WordFest

DP: Well, you know, I all conferences have kind of switched to virtual for 2021 It looks like that’s still going to be the case. There’s not a lot of word camps coming up early. But, uh, definitely one that is happening like the first one of the year that’s probably a note is wordfest happening on January 22 of 2021. It’s a 24 hour virtual event, and it’s not their first time doing it. I can’t remember how many times I’ve done it before, but it’s just a celebration of WordPress is what they say and the idea is that they want to have a word camp that no matter where you are, you can experience. So that’s why the 24 hour thing like it, you know, might not might not be something that you and I can do for all 24 hours but like somewhere someone is going to get something out of, out of that you know midnight hour for us. So, yeah, it’s just a celebration of, you know, WordPress, Dan maybe is one of the lead organizers. He’s really into WordPress community he is the organizer of WordPress meetup in London, and he’s also camera the name of it basically he was really into WordPress and mental health, and has

DV: WP and Up which is now, what is the name of the place Anthony you mentioned it the other day.

AB: I think it might be Big Orange Heart.

DP: okay yeah so so I got invited to the big orange hearts Slack channel when I signed up for word fest and I didn’t know that was basically WP and up now so that’s uh but yeah that’s it’s going to be like I said a 24 hour event they have closed their call for speakers and I think today they just announced their first wave of speakers, and I, you know, volunteered to be an MC for, you know, a couple hours so fingers crossed that I’ll be able to partake in some way and help out there, but I’m definitely looking forward to it it’s a miss, I miss word camps and, you know,it’s nice to have one on the calendar again to go to,

DV: you know, with a name like word fest live I feel like I should be able to get like a henna tattoo, in a, like a scone when I’m there. Probably not. Virtual right.

DP: Yeah, yeah, they could they could mail you a temporary Wapuu tattoo.

DV: Okay, that would be super cool. Maybe if your moderator, Doc, you can you can convince them of this this outcome. Yeah. The cool again that festival spirit. All right, word fest live sounds like very interesting, check it out we glide is putting that on shifting gears let’s talk about some WordPress core stuff, Anthony Burchell WordPress 5.6 RC one what’s going on there. Yeah, so what is RC by the way.

AB: Yeah, an RC is is at the point in the release cycle where, where the team says we will no longer make significant changes to the code for this release, and the changes from here on out our string changes usually are very small bug fixes. So, the release candidate is the best version of WordPress to test if you are looking to get up onto the next version. And you can do that by installing the WordPress beta tester plugin and choosing the bleeding edge Mike Lee’s option. And that you can find in the wordpress.org plugin repository. But yeah, the release is ready to go. I encourage everyone to go test it, there’s a block patterns and all kinds of great new features, too many to even list in here because it’s pretty long list, um, navigation widgets, another really good call up and things import so yeah, go to test it.

DV: Have you seen Carrie Dils’ post for testing full set at anywhere she uses a local blueprint to basically set people up in an environment like in a second to do this kind of testing.

AB: Yeah blueprints are cool I’ve been wanting to play around with them. I did see that I think she she released the code right like you can you go

DV: yeah it’s on her blog you can download the zip and you can get started testing full site editing in just seconds we talked about a new method actually it’s even faster and more helpful so she’s going to be sharing that maybe in future episodes, Anthony we can actually literally just share a link to a zip where people can like just ask right away what do you think of that yeah. testing 5.6 so if you if you know what we’re talking about here basically WordPress of course as reversions and update. And sometimes it’s helpful very helpful even to test the new version when it gets into that release candidate stage. So you can see like is this version of WordPress gonna cause issues for my site that a lot of releases WordPress is for most sites doesn’t cause big issues in version 5.6 there is something you probably want to pay attention to what is that Anthony.

AB: Oh, the jQuery changes the jQuery changes! I got it. the jQuery changes are significant just because typically when you’re changing libraries and things like that. If you have a high risk of having a plugin. Maybe that’s using the old verbiage or the old functions that may have been deprecated. But there is a way to, to, to do this and that’s sort of what the problem is right now that people are kind of scared of is that they put in this fix with a plugin. And then this new version is coming out so there’s the potential of that having a conflict. So, there are three steps. This is from a WordPress taberner article that just came out about this issue. If you are in WordPress five dot five and you’re updating you will need to remove the jQuery migrate script. If you are in WordPress Five, six, you need to update to the latest jQuery jQuery UI and jQuery migrate scripts. And then for five, seven, you will need to remove the jQuery migrate. So there’s a whole process on it I encourage everybody to kind of look at the article because it really does outline what you need to do

DV: the articles aren’t lying, the quote fix though this causes a break tear site help people understand like what kind of things might be broken by the Library Reference changing.

AB: Yeah, so I think typically you’re going to just see plugins I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of steam things maybe you will, I mean there’s a lot of fun of people by functions inside of their themes that should be probably plugins. But you may have some conflicts there I think typically what you’re going to be looking at is plugins and a good way to test is the way I do it personally is like I have a local instance of my site I use local. And I just go through and turn on my plugins until I find the culprit. And that’s usually a good way to just kind of figure out what is breaking. So that, so that you can contact those plugin developers and see if they can make an update or maybe you already just have an update that you need to apply, so it’s just a good way to test is to do it locally.

DV: And I think the other important thing I guess I’ll mention here real quick is that as you test the same release candidate for WordPress. It’s also important to provide that feedback to the core team. They they use that feedback as they think about, you know what modifications to make in the future what problems might be common like these kind of things so just keep that in mind that testing and providing feedback is actually a great way to contribute to WordPress, even if you don’t have time for contributing code and things like that. And that’s actually insanely helpful his feedback good and testing Anthony.

AB: I don’t want any review back, no feedback. Just kidding.

DV: No, of course. Yeah, extremely extremely valuable way to contribute. Anthony you and I mentioned that we both kind of use local for a lot of this testing and actually local is one of the next news items here. But local for WP if you’re not familiar with it it’s a local development solution for WordPress. It’s free, local wp.com had two big feature releases recently which I normally would not make a feature release per se like below or even in this case I think it is. And that’s free image optimization and broken link, checking. So in other words, image compression, as well as checking your site for broken links now the reason I get so excited about these two features is that this is taking place within the local WP software which runs on your computer, which means it’s not taking place in your WordPress instance. And that means that less resources are used in order to compress images or to check for broken links so it’s really cool it’s great to see that as a free feature release. So if you don’t have a solution for testing your site locally or developing on a local environment, and you’re like thinking like, well, how am I going to test for WordPress 5.6 and, you know, how am I going to do these functional tests and things like that you can check out local again totally free local wp.com. We have more news, including some pretty famous people that have been using WordPress on their site, as well as some interesting things happening on wordpress.org, we’re gonna take a quick break and we’ll be right back.

DV: Everyone welcome back to press this the WordPress community podcast on w Omar. This is your host, David Vogel Paulo we’re in the middle of our word around the campfire episode, talking about word from around the WordPress community. Doc I want to shift over to you for this one. There was a couple of people that started using WordPress on one of their websites recently that people may know a little bit about who has this

DP: yes so Biden and Harris, President Elect Biden and VP Harris, launched the transition website, and it’s on WordPress. That’s not a huge surprise when you look at sort of like the number of government sites out there whitehouse.gov is on WordPress nastas I’m like there’s a lot of them out there. But this is a beautiful site. It was created by white I from Washington DC, and it’s just got like these really cool accessibility features. It’s got a developer mode. I don’t know if they call it that, but it’s got this sort of like contrast you know where you can toggle the background from you know white and black, black and white. They really paid a lot of detail to accessibility and they actually even have an accessibility statement that they’re committing towards WCAG standards for this website and also I guess the implication is for for the websites they do when when they’re in the whitehouse.gov and federal websites, it’s kind of it’s kind of nice to see that this is a priority, you know on the transition website, getting ready to come into office, and they’re already talking about making websites more accessible and using WordPress and stuff like that. It’s pretty cool. That’s cool.

DV: I had not heard about that side of the story there. Anthony What about you, if you had a chance to check out the site,

AB: read up I have it was a really really nice site on mobile, it was pretty, pretty good and I actually I think I heard some stats somewhere that all but one of the candidates for president this this election cycle was using WordPress, who can we talk about that one.

DP: Well this is a little, this is a little off topic but Trump’s presidential website like for us campaign website was built on an expression engine, which is that, oh yeah, yeah. So that’s, you know, another CMS, and it was famous the hacked. On October, 27, which would be about a month from when you heard this, so it’s kind of nice to read, you know, a story about a website hack and, like, not WordPress like. You heard it here WordPress is tried and true.

DV: Yeah, absolutely. And I think you know as we were talking earlier about, you know, kind of local as being a way to test your site and Anthony you were kind of talking about disabling plugins I think that’s critical just to remind people. You know that. Keeping your plugins up today keeping WordPress up to date is also a critical part of your security strategy. So I think for me like I think WordPress benefits greatly from its open source nature relative to security. But certainly, you know, make sure you stay on top of things, there’s interesting to hear about the kind of black background white text color changer there I know that from an accessibility standard, you know, having kind of white on black is for some readers often betters those kind of cool to hear that from the Biden Harris transition website, Doc. What’s going on with Google and Ed pages. I saw you mentioned this earlier. I’m very curious what’s happening here.

DP: Well this is this is an ongoing thing. Google is. I mean, every year and it seems like it’s happening twice or several times a year. Google has a run with some sort of federal authorities, whether it’s us or, you know, the European Union, just talking about anti monopoly kind of practices or monopolistic practices, and right now they’re going through another kind of wave of those. And as part of that probably, Google has announced that they’ll no longer be AMP pages, which is Google’s, you know sped up Web product kind of minimal version of a website. They’ve always been prioritized on search results, specifically for mobile but I think across the board now if you’re on a desktop amp results will oftentimes show up in the top. And that was a way that Google really encouraged developers to start using amp practices. And it did sort of strike me as just a little bit though of like, it felt a little weird like if you use our tool you’ll get listed on this thing. And, yeah, that’s something that they’re probably going to start changing what they’re saying now officially is that they will no longer prioritize amp sites specifically but. But if technology does make your site load a little faster than other sites, it’ll still

DV: Good to hear that update there I know that amps quite controversial topic we’ve actually covered here several times and press this been interesting to hear those updates. Last shout out I’ll do here is actually for Ian Dunn I picked this news tip up off of the post status newsletter if you haven’t had a chance to check out a status, definitely check it out they wonderful slack community and it just one of the best newsletters I’ve ever read Frankly, I’m not a big newsletter person, but they kind of posted their work camp or URL migration is complete and they’re basically fixing some SEO problems and they had previously had the domain be year that city that word camp.org and now they’re doing city dot word camp.org forward slash here, so obviously much much better from an SEO and indexing perspective. The reason I also mentioned post status is because next week’s guest is going to be Corey Miller who’s oppressed that post status previously by themes, really excited to have him on the show, Doc. In, Anthony thank you for joining us today. This was a lot of fun. And thanks everyone else for listening to press this the WordPress community podcast on WMR. This has been your host David Vogelpohl, I support the WordPress community through my role at WP Engine, and I love to bring the best of the community to be here every week.

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