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  • feedwordpress 14:16:57 on 2018/12/05 Permalink
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    Interview on Gutenberg and Future of WordPress 

    Yesterday I was able to have a great conversation with Adam from WP Crafter, a popular Youtube channel with over five million views. Adam said it was his first interview but you can’t tell, we had an excellent conversation that covered Gutenberg, the 5.0 release, why WordPress has done well so far, and what’s coming in the future. If you’d like more context than text or tweets can give for what’s happening in WordPress today, check it out.

    Of course Friday and Saturday are WordCamp US, which returns to Nashville this year. Everything will be live-streamed for free, including my State of the Word presentation on Saturday, you just need to pick up a free streaming ticket.

     
  • feedwordpress 23:56:51 on 2018/11/29 Permalink
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    WordPress 5.0: A Gutenberg FAQ 

    We are nearing the release date for WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg, one of the most important and exciting projects I’ve worked on in my 15 years with this community.

    I knew we would be taking a big leap. But it’s a leap we need to take, and I think the end result is going to open up many new opportunities for everyone in the ecosystem, and for those being introduced to WordPress for the first time. It brings us closer to our mission of democratizing publishing for everyone.

    I recently visited WordCamp Portland to talk about Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0, which will also include the new default theme Twenty Nineteen, which you’re seeing me test out on this very site. There were some great questions and testimonials about Gutenberg, so I’d urge you to watch the full video and read the WP Tavern recap. I’ve also visited meetups, responded to review threads, kept an eye on support, and I’m in the middle of office hours with the core community.

    As we head toward the release date and WordCamp US, I’ve put many questions and answers into a Gutenberg FAQ below. For those who have other questions, I will be hosting upcoming office hours and I will be checking the comments here.

    It’s an exciting time, and I’m thrilled to be working with y’all on this project.

    What is Gutenberg?

    Gutenberg, for those who aren’t actively following along, is a brand new Editor for WordPress — contributors have been working on it since January 2017 and it’s one of the most significant changes to WordPress in years. It’s built on the idea of using “blocks” to write and design posts and pages.

    This will serve as the foundation for future improvements to WordPress, including blocks as a way not just to design posts and pages, but also entire sites.

    The overall goal is to simplify the first-time user experience of WordPress — for those who are writing, editing, publishing, and designing web pages. The editing experience is intended to give users a better visual representation of what their post or page will look like when they hit publish. As I wrote in my post last year, “Users will finally be able to build the sites they see in their imaginations.”

    Matías Ventura, team lead for Gutenberg, wrote an excellent post about the vision for Gutenberg, saying, “It’s an attempt to improve how users interact with their content in a fundamentally visual way, while at the same time giving developers the tools to create more fulfilling experiences for the people they are helping.”

    Why do we need Gutenberg at all?

    For many of us already in the WordPress community, it can be easy to forget the learning curve that exists for people being introduced to WordPress for the first time. Customizing themes, adding shortcodes, editing widgets and menus — there’s an entire language that one must learn behind the scenes in order to make a site or a post look like you want it to look.

    Over the past several years, JavaScript-based applications have created opportunities to simplify the user experience in consumer apps and software. Users’ expectations have changed, and the bar has been raised for simplicity. It is my deep belief that WordPress must evolve to improve and simplify its own user experience for first-time users.

    Why blocks?

    The idea with blocks was to create a new common language across WordPress, a new way to connect users to plugins, and replace a number of older content types — things like shortcodes and widgets — that one had to be well-versed in the idiosyncrasies of WordPress to understand.

    The block paradigm is not a new one — in fact many great plugins have already shown the promise of blocks with page design in WordPress. Elementor, one of the pioneers in this space, has now introduced a new collection of Gutenberg blocks to showcase what’s possible:

    Why change the Editor?

    The Editor is where most of the action happens in WordPress’s daily use, and it was a place where we could polish and perfect the block experience in a contained environment.

    Additionally, the classic Editor was built primarily for text — articles have become increasingly multimedia, with social media embeds, maps, contact forms, photo collages, videos, and GIFs. It was time for a design paradigm that allowed us to move past the messy patchwork of shortcodes and text.

    The Editor is just the start. In upcoming phases blocks will become a fundamental part of entire site templates and designs. It’s currently a struggle to use the Customizer and figure out how to edit sections like menus, headers, and footers. With blocks, people will be able to edit and manipulate everything on their site without having to understand where WordPress hides everything behind the scenes.

    What does Automattic get out of this?

    There have been posts recently asking questions about Automattic’s involvement in Gutenberg compared to other contributors and companies. There is no secret conspiracy here — as project lead I was able to enlist the help of dozens of my colleagues to contribute to this project, and I knew that a project of this size would require it. Automattic aims to have 5% of its people dedicated to WordPress community projects, which at its current size would be about 42 people full-time. The company a bit behind that now (~35 full-time), and the company is growing a lot next year, so look for 10-15 additional people working on core and community projects. 

    In the end, Gutenberg is similar to many other open source projects — Automattic will benefit from it, but so will everyone else’s in the WordPress community (and even the Drupal community). It’s available for everyone under the GPL. If the goal was purely to benefit Automattic it would have been faster, easier, and created an advantage for Automattic to have Gutenberg just on WP.com. That wasn’t, and isn’t, the point.

    Is Gutenberg ready?

    Absolutely. Our original goal with Gutenberg was to get it on 100,000 sites to begin testing — it’s now already on more than 1 million sites, and it’s the fastest-growing plugin in WordPress history. There is a lot of user demand.

    The goal was to both test Gutenberg on as many sites as possible before the 5.0 release, and also to encourage plugin developers to make sure their plugins and services will be ready. With everyone pitching in, we can make this the most anti-climactic release in WordPress history.  

    In the recent debate over Gutenberg readiness, I think it’s important to understand the difference between Gutenberg being ready code-wise (it is now), and whether the entire community is ready for Gutenberg.

    It will take some time — we’ve had 15 years to polish and perfect core, after all — but the global WordPress community has some of the world’s most talented contributors and we can make it as good as we want to make it.

    There is also a new opportunity to dramatically expand the WordPress contributor community to include more designers and JavaScript engineers. With JavaScript apps there are also new opportunities for designing documentation and support right on the page, so that help arrives right where you need it.

    Someone described Gutenberg to me as “WordPress in 3D.” I like the sound of that. Blocks are like layers you can zoom in and out of. The question now is: What are we going to build with this new dimension?

    Do I have to switch to Gutenberg when WordPress 5.0 is released?

    Not at all. When it’s released, you get to choose what happens. You can install the Classic Editor plugin today and when 5.0 is released, nothing will change. We’ve commited to supporting and updating Classic Editor until 2022. If you’d like to install Gutenberg early, you can do that now too. The Classic Editor plugin has been available for 13 months now, and Gutenberg has been available for 18 months. Both have been heavily promoted since August 2018, and more than 1.3 million .org sites have opted-in already to either experience, so nothing will change for them when they update to 5.0.

    How can I make sure I’m ready?

    Before updating to 5.0, try out the Gutenberg plugin with your site to ensure it works with your existing plugins, and also to get comfortable with the new experience. Developers across the entire ecosystem are working hard to update their plugins, but your mileage and plugins may vary. And you can always use the Classic Editor to address any gaps.

    As with every new thing, things might feel strange and new for a bit, but I’m confident once you start using it you’ll get comfy quickly and you won’t want to go back.

    The release candidate of 5.0 is stable and fine to develop against and test.

    When will 5.0 be released?

    We have had a stable RC1, which stands for first release candidate, and about to do our second one. There is only currently one known blocker and it’s cosmetic. The stability and open issues in the release candidates thus far makes me optimistic we can release soon, but as before the primary driver will be the stability and quality of the underlying software. We made the mistake prior of announcing dates when lots of code was still changing, and had to delay because of regressions and bugs. Now that things aren’t changing, we’re approaching a time we can commit to a date soon.

    Is it terrible to do a release in December?

    Some people think so, some don’t. There have been 9 major WordPress releases in previous Decembers. December releases actually comprise 34% of our major releases in the past decade.

    Can I set it up so only certain users get to use Gutenberg?

    Yes, and soon. We’re going to be doing another update to the Classic Editor before the 5.0 release to give it a bit more fine-grained user control — we’ve heard requests for options that allow certain users or certain roles and post types to have Gutenberg while others have Classic Editor.

    What happens after 5.0?

    We’ve been doing a release of Gutenberg every two weeks, and 5.0 isn’t going to stop that. We’ll do minor release to 5.0 (5.0.1, 5.0.2) fortnightly, with occasional breaks, so if there’s feedback that comes in, we can address it quickly. Many of the previous bugs in updates were from juggling between updates in the plugin and core, now that Gutenberg is in core it’s much easier and safer to incrementally update.

    What about Gutenberg and accessibility?

    We’ve had some important discussions about accessibility over the past few weeks and I am grateful for those who have helped raise these questions in the community.

    Accessibility has been core to WordPress from the very beginning. It’s part of why we started – the adoption of web standards and accessibility.

    But where I think we fell down was with project management — specifically, we had a team of volunteers that felt like they were disconnected from the rapid development that was happening with Gutenberg. We need to improve that. In the future I don’t know if it makes sense to have accessibility as a separate kind of process from the core development. It needs to be integrated at every single stage.

    Still, we’ve accomplished a lot, as Matías has written about. There have been more than 200 closed issues related to accessibility since the very beginning.

    We’re also taking the opportunity to fix some things that have had poor accessibility in WordPress from the beginning. CodeMirror, which is a code editor for templates, is not accessible, so we have some parts of WordPress that we really need to work on to make better.

    Speaking of which, CodeMirror was seeking funding for their next version — Automattic has now sponsored that funding and in return it will be made available under the GPL, and that the next version of CodeMirror will be fully accessible.

    Finally, Automattic will be funding an accessibility study of WordPress, Gutenberg, and an evaluation of best practices across the web, to ensure WordPress is fully accessible and setting new standards for the web overall.

    After WordPress 5.0, is the Gutenberg name going to stick around?

    Sometimes code names can take on a life of their own. I think Gutenberg is still what we’ll call this project — it’s called that on GitHub, and you’re also seeing it adopted by other CMSes beyond WordPress — but for those outside the community I can see it simply being known as “the new WordPress editor.”

    With the adoption of React for Gutenberg, what do you see as the future for React and WordPress?

    In 2015 I said “Learn JavaScript deeply” — then in 2016 we brought the REST API into Core. Gutenberg is the first major feature built entirely on the REST API, so if you are learning things today, learn JavaScript, and I can imagine a future wp-admin that’s 100% JavaScript talking to APIs. I’m excited to see that happen.

    Now, switching to a pure JavaScript interface could break some backward compatibility, but a nice thing about Gutenberg is that it provides an avenue for all plugins to work through — it gives them a way to plug in to that. It can eliminate the need for what’s currently done in custom admin screens.  

    The other beautiful thing is that because Gutenberg essentially allows for translation into many different formats — it can publish to your web page, it can publish your RSS feed, AMP, it can publish blocks that can be translated into email for newsletters — there’s so much in the structured nature of Gutenberg and the semantic HTML that it creates and the grammar that’s used to parse it, can enable for other applications.

    It becomes a little bit like a lingua franca that even crosses CMSes. There’s now these new cross-CMS Gutenberg blocks that will be possible. It’s not just WordPress anymore — it might be a JavaScript block that was written for Drupal that you install on your WordPress site. How would that have ever happened before? That’s why we took two years off — it’s why we’ve had everyone in the world working on this thing. It’s because we want it to be #WorthIt.

    And WordPress 5.0 is just the starting line. We want to get it to that place where it’s not just better than what we have today, but a world-class, web-defining experience. It’s what we want to create and what everyone deserves.

    Was this post published with Gutenberg?

    Of course. 😄 No bugs, but I do see lots of areas we can continue to improve and I’m excited to get to work on future iterations.

     
  • feedwordpress 04:45:33 on 2018/11/09 Permalink
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    Gutenberg in Portland Oregon and Podcasts 

    I’ve had the opportunity to talk about Gutenberg at two great venues recently. The first was at WordCamp Portland which graciously allowed me to join for a Q&A at the end of the event. The questions were great and covered a lot of the latest and greatest about Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0:

    Last week I also joined Episode 101 of the WP Builds podcast, where as Nathan put it: “We talk about Gutenberg, why Matt thinks that we need it, and why we need it now. We go on to chat about how it’s divided the WordPress community, especially from the perspective of users with accessibility needs.”

    They may be out of seats already, but I’ll be on the other coast to do a small meetup in Portland, Maine this week. As we lead up to release and WordCamp US I’m really enjoying the opportunity to hear from WordPress users of all levels all over the country.

     
  • feedwordpress 03:44:13 on 2018/10/31 Permalink
    Tags: In My Bag   

    What’s in My Bag, 2018 Edition 

    1. SDR Kashmir Travel Folio, made with this super-cool material called Dyneema, which is twice as strong as Kevlar and 15 times as strong as steel, but virtually weightless.
    2. Garmin Forerunner 935 which is a triathlon watch, so it can tell me how much I don’t run, how much I don’t bike, and how much I don’t swim. Crazy sensors on it, and it’s lighter than an Apple Watch, which I tried again to use this year but wasn’t able to handle another device in my life that I had to charge daily. It has a weird charger, pictured next to it, but only needs charging once every few weeks so I don’t mind at all.
    3. This is the latest 15” grey touchbar MacBook Pro, customized by Uncover to have the Jetpack logo on it. I like the keyboard quietness and performance improvements of latest generation.
    4. Fit Pack 2 from Aer is the same I wrote a whole blog post about last year, and I still love and adore it every day. They have a few bigger and smaller packs, but the quality is just fantastic and I love all the pockets. Mine is starting to tear a little bit by one of the shoulder straps, but I do keep ~18lbs in it regularly.
    5. This is a grey wool buff, which works as a scarf, a hat, or an eye cover if I’m trying to sleep. I tried this out because of one of Tynan’s also-great gear posts.
    6. Passport, because you never know when you’ll need to leave the country.
    7. Kindle Oasis with this random case on it. I dig that this one is apparently waterproof — which I’ve never tested — but doesn’t feel like we’ve found the perfect size and weight balance yet. Reading is my favorite activity right now so this is my most-loved item.
    8. Imazing 10k charger. Great capacity, charges via USB-C. (2nd year)
    9. I’ve started carrying around some stationery so I can write notes to people when I’m on the road. Now I just need better handwriting…
    10. Delfonics is a funky-cool Japanese stationery, and this 3”x4” Rollbahn notebook is tops, and actually fits in my pocket. The Amazon one linked might be larger, I found it at Paper-Ya on Granville Island.
    11. A small leather bracelet I got in Seoul, Korea.
    12. Two things here: a rolled-up chamois cloth for cleaning glasses, inspired by my late friend Dean, and a WordPress ring I wear sometimes.
    13. Three pens here: A cool customized one we did for Automatticians; a Lamy Accent 4pen which has red, blue, black, and a mechanical pencil built in; a Sharpie for signing stuff.
    14. Have gone away from the carbon fiber clip and now using this small Paul Smith card wallet.
    15. Apple Magic Mouse 2. When this one breaks I’ll switch it out for a black one.
    16. Charger for the MacBook Pro.
    17. A super small international adapter, which is also nice for converting the 3-prong in the next item into a 2-prong. It’s Lenmar but I’m not going to link Amazon because they’re charging too much, just picked up in an airport store.
    18. Probably my favorite new item of the year: I have given Native Union a hard time in the past but super love this combo extension cord and USB charger. It is an 8-foot extension cord, which is remarkably handy, has two AC outlets, 3 USB ports, and one USB-C. Total life-saver.
    19. A dyneema accessory pouch, retaW aoyama / tokyo fragrance lipcream, Aveda Peppymint breath refresher, Aesop Ginger Flight Therapy roller, a spray hand cleanser, and Mintia COLDSMASH.
    20. District Vision makes these these running sunglasses in Japan, which I found at the Snow Peak store in NYC.
    21. These sunglasses are a collaboration between Salt and Aether.
    22. A single-use packet of Sriracha. Hot sauce in your bag? Swag.
    23. A palo santo smudge stick, smells great when you burn it. I’m turning into a hippie.
    24. Hermes business card holder.
    25. iPhone XS with a Jetpack Popsocket.
    26. Pixel 2, now replaced by a Pixel 3 XL.
    27. This is a bag with some small opals I gave as a Burning Man gift.
    28. iPad Pro 10.5 and Apple sleeve with Pencil holder, which is still one of my favorite gadgets of the year. Everything about this device just works and is a pleasure to use, and I’ve already ordered the new 11″ Pro and related accessories.
    29. Half meter (the perfect size) lightning cable.
    30. Apple USB-C dongle.
    31. Cool multi-function USB cable with lightning, two micro-USBs, and USB-C. I give these away all the time now and it’s nice to pair with the battery in #8 because I know I can charge anybody with this thing.
    32. Short USB-C.
    33. Combo micro-USB and Lightning.
    34. Short lightning cable, just like 29.
    35. Velcro cable ties, great for tidying pretty much anything. I just take a few out of the big pack and roll them up to travel with.
    36. Retractable USB-C, don’t love these as they break but it’s the best of what’s out there.
    37. USB-C to Lightning, great for super-fast charging.
    38. My favorite USB-C hub so far, the Satechi Aluminum Type-C Multimedia Adapter with 4K HDMI, Mini DP, USB-C PD, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, Micro/SD Card Slots. Pretty much everything you could possibly need.
    39. A pretty handy Ventev dashport car port charger that’s small and light. (2nd year)
    40. A few spare SIM cards, some SD cards, thingy to poke SIM card holder, and combo USB-C / USB-A 64gb stick.
    41. Lockpick set. (4th year)
    42. Bragi Pro custom earphones. For many years I had custom in-ear monitors, but the convenience of wireless overcame that, even before they started taking headphone jacks out of phones. Bragi now allows you to send in ear molds from an audiologist and they’ll make these custom true wireless headphones that fit and sound great, but I have trouble recommending because the case is so heavy and once got so jammed I almost thought I’d have to throw the whole thing away, and the app has never been able to “connect” for me because it gets stuck on turning on some fitness sensors. If it could connect I think I could turn off the other feature that is annoying, which is the touch controls that I find get triggered by my hat or when my head is against a chair. So, a qualified “maybe try this.”
    43. Sennheiser Culture Series Wideband Headset, which I use for podcasts, Skype, Facetime, Zoom, and Google Hangout calls with external folks and teams inside of Automattic. Light, comfortable, great sound quality, and great at blocking out background noise so you don’t annoy other people on the call. I’d love to replace this with something wireless but haven’t found one with as high fidelity audio.
    44. GL.iNet GL-AR750 Travel AC Router which I use to create wifi networks different places I go, which is often faster than hotel/etc wifi, and I can also VPN encrypt all my traffic through it. Pretty handy! But not user-friendly. Often keep it in my suitcase and not my backpack. I have a retractable Ethernet and micro-USB attached to it.
    45. Matte black Airpods. I love Airpods and these look super cool, I think these were from BlackPods which looks shut down now but Colorware has some alternatives. (2nd year)
    46. Westone ES49 custom earplugs, for if I go to concerts or anyplace overly loud. (4th year)
    47. An ultralight running jacket I think I got at Lululemon Lab in Vancouver. They don’t have anything like it available online right now but it folds up ultra-tiny, weighs nothing, and is a nice layer for on an airplane. My only complaint (as with all Lululemon products) is the low quality of the zipper. (2nd year)

    That’s it for this year. As a bonus I’ll link some of my favorite other-bag items including toiletries: Muji dopp kit bag, these amazing travel bottles for creams, travel atomizer, Elysium Basis, Muji q-tips, Aesop Two Minds Facial Hydrator, Sunleya Sun Care SPF 15, folding brush / comb, Philips Sonicare Brush, Aesop toothpaste, Tom’s SLS-free toothpaste, Orabrush cleaner.

    If you’re curious, here are the previous years: 2014, 2016, 2017.

    If you have any questions please leave them in the comments!

     
  • feedwordpress 16:40:50 on 2018/10/16 Permalink
    Tags: , distributed work, ,   

    The Importance of Meeting In-Person 

    I recently returned from Orlando where Automattic hosted its annual Grand Meetup where nearly all of our 800 employees from around the world, spend a week together in the same place. (And yes, we’re hiring.)

    Despite being a fully distributed company, I believe it’s still important to meet face-to-face — just not every day, in the same office. The Grand Meetup is our chance to get to know the people behind the Slack avatars and build relationships that can carry us through through other 51 weeks of the year, when we’re working from more than 65 countries. It’s so much easier to hear the nuance in someone’s chat messages or p2 posts if you’ve hung out with them at Harry Potter World, or learned about their family, pets, and hobbies during a flash talk.

    Photo by Paul Jacobson

    The week can be mentally exhausting, given that you’re often meeting many people for the first time. But we urge people to take it at their own pace, and the results are well worth the effort. Our data team actually studied the impact of the Grand Meetup on our work relationships — the connections established between coworkers using our “Meetamattician” tool were demonstrably closer after the meetup:

    Before the Grand Meetup.
    After the Grand Meetup.

    This year we were proud to welcome some incredible keynote speakers: Wild author Cheryl Strayed talking about creativity and writing; Automattic board member Gen. Ann Dunwoody, the first woman in U.S. Army history to achieve the four-star officer rank; Ari Meisel on delegating and automating your life; and Dan Harris, author of 10% Happier, on the panic attack that led him to embrace meditation and mindfulness.

    Instagram Photo
    Photo by Leif Singer
    Ann Dunwoody. Photo by Luca Sartoni
    Ari Meisel. Photo by Luca Sartoni
    Instagram Photo
    Photo by jessicacg
     
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