WP Builds Newsletter #66 – Gutenberg motion blocks, Joost steps down and Firefox privacy

This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 3rd June 2019:

WordPress Core

Gutenberg Team is Exploring Adding Motion to Block Moving Actions


Joost de Valk Steps Down as WordPress Marketing Lead
(Why) I’m stepping down from my WordPress marketing role

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GoDaddy Pro

Automattic Adopts Alex Mills’ Plugins

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2019 WordCamp Europe works to empower future developers

The Month in WordPress: May 2019

Plugins / Themes

Jetpack 7.4 Adds Business Hours Block and Ability to Share Content Through WhatsApp

Introducing the Wordfence Login Security Plugin

New WordProof Plugin Timestamps WordPress Content on the Blockchain


Wordfence Weekly

Service Vulnerability: Four Popular Hosting Companies Fix NFS Permissions and Information Disclosure Problems

OS Command Injection in WP-Database-Backup

Never Miss a Critical Security Alert with the New Message Center in iThemes Security Pro

WP Builds

Stroke and poke your clients to keep you sane with Hannah Smith

WP Ultimo’s Pro Sites Migrator A.M.A. with Arindo Duque – WP Builds LIVE event

Not WordPress, but useful anyway…

Take Back Your Web: Tantek Çelik’s Call to Action to Join the Independent Web

When it comes to privacy, default settings matter!

How to block fingerprinting with Firefox

Keywords Everywhere

Google Analytics is Blocked by Firefox, Mozilla Explains Why

Is your kitty a convict?

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Hello, good morning and welcome to this the WP Builds weekly WordPress and use letter number 66 it covers the WordPress news for the week commencing the 3rd of June, 2019 and it was published on Monday the 10th of June, 2019 just a couple of things before we begin had over to the WP Builds.com website. Go to the subscribe link at the top and you can join all of the places where we publish our content. For example, we send out a couple of newsletters each week, one about the podcast and the newsletter that you're listening to now, and another one about updates to products and plugins and themes and that kind of thing. We issue some very, very brief text based emails to alert you when something becomes cheap. You can also join us on apple podcasts, Google podcast, join our 2000 strong Facebook group and we've also got options for you to find us on youtube and so on as well.

Nathan Wrigley: 00:54 The other links I'd like to point out. Our WP Builds.com forward slash deals you'll find a whole load of plugins and themes with significant percentages off. They're there all year round. Also WP Builds.com forward slash advertise. If you would like to advertise on our podcast a little bit like Kinsta have done, are you tired of unreliable or slow hosting? If so, check out Kinsta who takes managed WordPress hosting to the next level powered by the Google cloud platform. All their plans include PHP seven ssh and 24 seven expert support and you can migrate today for free at Kinsta Dot Com and we certainly do thank them for supporting the WP build podcasts and like I said, go over to WP Builds.com forward slash advertise if you'd like to get your product or service in our podcast or this, the weekly WordPress newsletter. Okay, let's crack on with this week's news.

Nathan Wrigley: 01:51 I've only got one item for you this week under the banner of WordPress core and it's over on the WP Tavern website. It's entitled, Gutenberg team is exploring adding motion to block moving actions. And the idea here is that if you've used Gutenberg for any length of time, you'll know that reordering things can be, well, it's fairly simple in that you click buttons to the left of the block and they go up and they go down. But that all happens instantaneously. And Mathias who is very, very much involved in Gutenberg has put out some proof of concept videos where he's talking about having animated movement. So things scroll into position. Um, and I have to say I'm absolutely persuaded by this, there's a lot of talk about the cognitive overload of Gutenberg and the fact that somebody new to it, it's a real struggle and there's so many moving parts as opposed to the classic editor which had very few moving parts.

Nathan Wrigley: 02:47 Well go and watch the video and he moves, for example, an image and he moves a paragraph block and a heading block and everything sort of scrolls into the correct position so that you can see it came from and where it's headed to on. Although this sounds like a very small matter, I think, I think it's very, very compelling and I would be very surprised if this didn't end up in core Gutenberg at some point in the near future. So yeah, go and check that out on WP Tavern. Right. The next few bits of news or under the title of community first one again on WP Tavern is entitled Yoast de Volk steps down as WordPress marketing lead. Earlier in the year Yoast took on the role of marketing and communications lead. Now this was an unpaid position and he's stepping down because essentially he feels that he's not being able to lead anything he says, and I quote to my experience over the last few months made me feel that whilst I was doing things and getting things done, it certainly wasn't leadership.

Nathan Wrigley: 03:47 I don't want to pretend that I have a say in things I don't have a say in. There's a stark difference between where I thought I would be in the organization in this role and where I'm actually finding myself now. Even things that every outside would consider marketing release posts about two pages are created without even so much as talking to me or others in the marketing team because I felt left out of all these decisions I feel like can't be a marketing lead. So he stepped down, he's obviously decided the role's not for him, he didn't have the autonomy or people were not reporting to him or asking his opinion. And uh, so that's it. We're apparently looking for a new person to fulfill this role because Matt Mullenweg chipped in in the comments to say as much, but, but he's gone. I've had quite a few comments over in the WP Builds Facebook group.

Nathan Wrigley: 04:37 Some people thought this was I think a, a sad development while other people thought that really he was, um, he perhaps wasn't the right person for the job to begin with and, and it was a good decision. So anyway, there we go. The other article I've linked to in the show notes for this episode is actually Yoast blog post. It's a yoke stock blog and it's entitled why I'm stepping down from my WordPress marketing role. And he explains basically everything that I've just said. Next up, we've got an article on the WP Tavern website called Automattic adopt Alex Mills Plugin. Um, Automattic employed Alex Mills until he passed away in February this year. He had a battle with leukemia and prior to that he was the author of many, many plugins. I think it was more than 40 or so. And many of them were downloaded significant amounts of time and had very, very high five and four and a half star reviews.

Nathan Wrigley: 05:32 Think the total was something like 138 million downloads for all of his plugins. Well, the, the guys at Automattic have decided that his legacy needs to continue and so they've, they've decided to take them under the Automattic banner. They're going to be forked into the Automattic get hub account and Automattic will take on from this moment the, the support tickets for them. I think it rather than carrying on 45 I think they've stripped them down to about 17 or so. But I think that's a really, really nice gesture in all honesty. A lovely thing to do. And obviously in many of these plugins or use a significant amount of time, so it's good that somebody's taken them over. Um, and in this case I think Automattic was possibly the right, right people to do it. The most famous one that I've used many, many times is his regenerate thumbnails plug in which you use to regenerate the thumbnails within your WordPress website.

Nathan Wrigley: 06:25 So there we go. Sad piece of news. But uh, every cloud has a silver lining you might say. Right. The next one is over on the talk mag.io website and it's entitled 2019. WordCamp Europe works to empower future developers and this is just a nice little thing that's happening at WordCamp in Europe, which is happening in the next few weeks. If you've got kids, you can bring them along to the contributor day, which is on the 20th of June and they will be allowed to play with WordPress and be taught how to use WordPress in a three hour session run by human maids. Petya she's going to require them to bring a laptop charger note pad and a pencil. But otherwise everything is provided. And a, if you're attending that event and you would like your children to be interested in WordPress as the title of this article says the future developers that they might be, then this seems like a really, really nice idea and it's a trend which I think is going to continue and um, Bravo is all I can say.

Nathan Wrigley: 07:26 Next one is at WordPress.org and it's entitled the month in Wordpress May, 2019 and this is just a nice little summary for those of you who have missed these news podcasts that I put out in probably a few hundred words on the WordPress websites. You can go and find out about what happened during the month of May, 5.2 release successful WordPress translation day for updated plugin guideline proposals and a couple of other things. But yeah, just a nice little summation of everything that's happened in May. The next few items are all about plugins and themes and we'll start with jetpack. 7.4 on WP Tavern, jetpack 7.4 ads, business hours block and the ability to share content through whatsapp. Again on WP Tavern, this is a very short piece all about the new updates to jet pack. They've added this business hours block so that you can put in business hours. You could for example, put in that you're open from nine till five or you could stagger it and say I'm open from nine til one and then three till six.

Nathan Wrigley: 08:30 That kind of thing. It display will depend on your theme and it might display incorrectly, but nevertheless it's there if you needed that kind of thing. Also the Carousel slideshow, tiled galleries, blocks of all received enhancements. Whatsapp is now available as a sh, one of the jetpack sharing module options. You go to jetpack setting, sharing, configure, and you can enable whatsapp. They've also made some enhancements to the recurring payments blocks so that you can display different renewal frequencies and so on, so that's basically it. Some updates to jet pack if you are using it wordfence next over on the wordfence.com website, the article entitled introducing the Word Fence Login security plugin. Now I'm sure that many of you have got a solution for this, but they have introduced a completely standalone and free plugin which enables you to offer security on your login screen.

Nathan Wrigley: 09:25 So for example, it provides, as they say, robust two factor authentication, a login page capture, and it also includes XML RPC protection. It's free. It does exactly that. If you've got wordfence premium, you don't need to bother because all of that's included. But if you don't and you have another let's say web application firewall and it doesn't offer this facility, then you can just add this in and it should work all for free. Very nice. The final piece of plugging news this week is again over at WP Tavern in title new WordPress plugin timestamps WordPress content on the blockchain. So there is now a plugin called word proof timestamp, which is freely available and it's a first attempt of putting content time stamped into the blockchain. The idea being that when you publish a piece of content you will get a timestamp certificate back saying when it was published and who published it and so on, and this is completely immutable proof that that was in fact when it was published.

Nathan Wrigley: 10:29 Now I can see for myself, I have zero need for this, but I could see that for example, if you were publishing legal documents for example, this might be of enormous interest. If you've got time sensitive information and you have to prove categorically that things were published in a timely manner, again could be very interesting. Apparently it takes about half a second for the authentication to to come back. It's based upon the eos, io blockchain and it just works. They've worked very hard on the Ui so that getting yourself set up with a blockchain account and so on is relatively straightforward. They've gone through testing, they've got pictures of the how you set it all up and it looks fairly painless, but a very interesting concept. It works only on the whole post at the moment. There isn't any talk about putting it individually into particular blocks, but they're saying that you know, if there's enough interest, that might be something that could explore.

Nathan Wrigley: 11:24 So fascinating. The next few items or under the banner of security, and I've said in the recent past that I Shan't be going into the minutia of all of these security alerts. It's a little bit, a little bit too technical, I think for this audio podcasts, but four pieces this week. The first one coming from wordfence, they've put out their weekly wordfence news bulletin and it lists out a whole bunch of vulnerabilities. So I would definitely go and check that out. They've also put out a post entitled service vulnerability, popular hosting companies fix n f s permissions and information disclosure problems. The, the ones mentioned our host wait, momentous, the paragon group and Melbourne it. So if you're using any of those, you might want to go and check that article out over on securi. It says OS command injection in WP database backup plugin. So apparently this is nice and easy to exploit.

Nathan Wrigley: 12:19 If you're using the WP database backup plugin, maybe go and check this out and also never miss a critical security alerts with the new message center in ithemes security pro, so they've got a new option in iThemes security pro which has ticked over onto version six and it says we've added some subtle improvements in other ways for you to stay current on your security health of your WordPress site with a new security admin message and you basically you get a pop up if there's something crucial that needs to be said and you can go through them in order and a, it tells you things like whether a malware scan failed, where the malware has been found, whether there's been file changes, whether there's been a recapture era, whether there's been a network protection problem or a licensing reminder and it's quite a nice little feature that pops up.

Nathan Wrigley: 13:06 Maybe something that would annoy you, but I can see myself using it. A couple of bits from us. WP Builds this week. Firstly, we had Hannah Smith on the podcast that was episode 131 in titled Stroke and Poke Your clients to keep you sane. And Hannah talks about how she really has got a bit fed up with always saying yes to clients and therefore promising over promising and then getting unhappy clients as a result when she can't do it in a timely manner. And so she's decided to adopt a new strategy of sort of saying no and pushing back a little bit more. And the podcast is all about how she's come to do that and and how she does it and why she does it. But we also, this week on WP Builds had a Facebook live, I've actually put it in the WP Builds websites. It was WP Ultimos, um, pro sites migrator it was an ama with Arindo Duque, the founder of WP Ultimo.

Nathan Wrigley: 14:00 And in it he explains how his WP Ultimo migrator tool can essentially pull over your ProSites network in a few clicks. Now WPMU Dev have decided not to update a whole bunch of plugins. One of them is pro sites, so if you are using pro sites to make your multisite network, that's going to be discontinued and they themselves have recommended WP Ultimo as the best alternative. And so Arindo set to work to make our migrator tool and he shows how it can pull over all of your transactions, your subscribers, your plans, your templates and all of this. And he shows it on a live demo on a completely vanilla sites including installing all the plugins and so on and so forth. So very good. You can find that. What you need to do to get to that is you'd go to WP Builds.com a hover over the archives section, then go to the contribute archives menu and you'll find it in there, the most recent one, but it was absolutely fascinating.

Nathan Wrigley: 14:57 Okay. That's it for WordPress this week. We'll move on to the bit that I always entitled, not to WordPress, but useful anyway. This oddly is on the WP Tavern websites because it's gotten not much to do with WordPress and it's entitled to Take Back Your Web Tantek Celek call to action to join the independent Web. Well, Tantek Celek is the web standards lead at Mozilla, the guys who make the Firefox web browser amongst other things, and he did a speech recently entitled Take Back Your Web at a conference in Dusseldorf, Germany where he spoke about how really it's time to stop giving our content to people like Facebook. You listed out a whole bunch of misdemeanors pointed to a very, very long Wikipedia page, which is so long that you can barely make any sense of it. It's so large listing out all of the criticisms and he's encouraging people to take back your web and use platforms where you are in control.

Nathan Wrigley: 15:54 So WordPress for example, is a good suggestion. Obviously there's a little bit of cost to that, but he's saying, stop giving everything to Facebook. Stop giving everything to these proprietary platforms and start doing things for yourself. Start hosting your own content and having your own conversations on your own infrastructure. Very interesting speech. The video itself is fairly long. It's about 30 odd minutes, but I think well worth or watch if you're into this kind of open sourcing of things and privacy on the Internet. Speaking of Firefox, the next couple of articles are related to it. The first one is [email protected] website. It's entitled when it comes to privacy default settings matter and Firefox have taken, they're very interesting decision that from now on they're going to be installing the new versions of Firefox with the privacy settings really ramped up by default. So the argument that they make in this article is that it can be difficult for people to find the settings for privacy things.

Nathan Wrigley: 17:00 Often they simply don't understand what they're getting themselves into, so they leave as options on checked. So they're saying from now on, they're going to put this on for you. You can turn it off if you would like to do that, but the default is now going to be enhanced tracking protection. You can find all of that under the privacy and security section of the browser, but it's all going to be switched on by default. Personally, I think of having listened to the Tantek Celek video that I mentioned a moment ago, this kind of stuff does really matter and I think Firefox are leading the way on that. And so again, Bravo to them. The second piece that they've got is all about browser fingerprinting. It's in called entitled how to block thing fingerprinting with Firefox. And it's turns out that you can get a lot more out of your browser.

Nathan Wrigley: 17:47 That is to say advertisers can get a lot more out of your browser than you may know about. So for example, they can, uh, query what fonts you're using. They can query the size of your screen and they can query what extensions you've gotten your browser. And by piecing all of this together, they can find out a unique fingerprint, which is often utterly unique to you. Now if you have just a default browser with basically nothing in, in a standard monitor and hardly anything that's nonstandard, then that's not the case. But I know in my case I've got a whole suite of extensions, probably a combination of which nobody else has. So in that way I can be targeted and advertisers can learn, not necessarily what my name is or anything like that, but they can target me and keep retargeting the same person over and over again.

Nathan Wrigley: 18:33 Well, Firefox now has a fingerprint disabling option. It says, um, it's under the custom section. You've got to tick the box fingerprints and it says it will be blocking content that can cause some websites to break. It's easy to disable blocking for sites that you trust. So it's up to you whether you want to enable this. But, uh, I think going forward, things like this will become, uh, talked about more and more. Speaking of fingerprinting and chrome extensions and the like, I've got one for your chrome extension and titled Key words everywhere you can install it in Firefox or chrome. And what does it do? It gives you free search volume CPC and competition data on 16 websites. Useful for Internet marketers. So if you're into Internet marketing, you can install this in your browser. Click a button and it will give you absolutely tons of data, uh, almost immediately.

Nathan Wrigley: 19:24 So perhaps worth checking out keywords everywhere. Okay. Back on search engine journal. And going back to the story that we mentioned a moment ago about Firefox, this article is entitled Google analytics is blocked by Firefox. Mozilla explains why apparently go back a week or so. And this new updates was, um, it was widely believed by SEO experts that Google analytics data was being blocked. Mozilla were quick to point out that yes, in fact this was the desired position. And so the SEO experts went mad. You know, Google analytics is very important for all sorts of reasons, especially to us as site owners. And there's now been an update and apparently the most recent updates as the analytics functionality of Google analytics is a first party cookie. So users will still count towards a sites, Google analytics stats, like the user users of apple ITP. So maybe it's not quite as severe as we thought anyway.

Nathan Wrigley: 20:23 If you're using Firefox, keep your eye on this and let me know how you experience things in terms of Firefox and Google analytics. And the very last piece today is just something a little bit unusual. There's no news value in it whatsoever and it's just a shout out really. I've linked to an article I'm all about cats. The article is called is your kitty a convict? And what I'm really trying to do here is get you to go and visit a website called the the oatmeal. I'm sure that many of you have seen this before, but if you haven't, just for giggles, go and check out stuff that he produces over there. Some wonderful, wonderfully funny comics. There's quite a lot to do with technology and things like that and it is really, really, really side. Splittingly funny, so you go the oatmeal and particular, this article about is your kitty a convict?

Nathan Wrigley: 21:15 That's it from us at WP Builds. The news is over. Thank you for listening. The news today was brought to you by Kinsta. Kinsta takes managed WordPress hosting to the next level, powered by the Google cloud platform. Your site is secured like Fort Knox and runs on speed obsessive architecture. You've got access to the latest software and developer tools such as PHP seven ssh and staging environments, and the best part, their expert team of WordPress engineers are available 24 seven when you need help and you can migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com okay. Join us next Thursday, this Thursday I should say when we'll be putting out a new podcast episode. It would also be very nice if you want to come back and see us again on Monday when we'll be doing this news thing all over again, but that's all I've got for you this week. Thank you for joining us for the WP Builds news. Hope you found it informative. As always, please leave some comments. Join us when we'll be doing our live version of this news. I'll be joined by some, some special guests, possibly Paul Lacey, possibly some others you never know. I'll see you on Monday. You k time 2:00 PM and bye bye for now.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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