WP Builds Newsletter #72 – PHP coding standards, kids in WordPress and Javascript SEO

This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 15th July 2019:

WordPress Core

PHP Coding Standards Changes


The WordPress Fire Drill – Three Tasks 100% of Us Waste Time On

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GoDaddy Pro

Newspack Opens Up Application Process for Phase Two

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History and Future of Kids Heroes in WordPress

JAMstack’s Growing Popularity Brings Increase in WordPress Plugins for Deploying to Netlify

ThemeIsle Redesign: Here’s How It Went and How Much It Cost

Plugins / Themes

Experimental Block Areas Plugin Allows for Editing Content Sitewide with Gutenberg

Project Huddle – New Release: automatic website screenshots, subscribed users and markdown shortcuts.


Critical Vulnerability Patched in Ad Inserter Plugin

All-in-One WP Migration 7.0 Patches XSS Vulnerability

Wordfence Weekly July 10 2019 – July 16 2019

WordPress Vulnerability Roundup: July 2019, Part 1

WP Builds

Make your WordPress website load faster with Jan Koch

UX and UI audit with Piccia Neri – Submit your site now!

Not WordPress, but useful anyway…

Google Publishes a New Guide to JavaScript SEO Basics

DuckDuckGo Now Handles 40 Million Searches a Day

Preserving the Wilderness – The web is a sacred wilderness, and it deserves preservation. What role can open source communities play?

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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 there. Good morning and welcome to this. The WP Builds weekly WordPress newsletter. This is number 72 it was published on Monday the 22nd of July, 2019 and it covers the WordPress news for the week commencing the 15th of July, 2019 just a couple of things before we begin. Head over to WP Builds.com and there you're going to find absolutely everything that we produce each and every week, all to do with WordPress WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. We'll get you to a page and on that page are multiple ways that you can be engaged with the WP Builds community. There's newsletters that you can subscribe to. Two of those. There's also our Facebook group of over 2,100 members. You can find our youtube stuff on there as well. Basically we push everything out to youtube and there's a couple of other options as well. Head over to WP Builds.com forward slash deals if you want to find a whole bunch of product coupon code, it's a bit like black Friday every day of the week.

Nathan Wrigley: 01:00 We've added a few new ones over the last couple of days. One of them is page builder cloud. We've got a coupon code for that and also we've got a coupon code for Katka pro template packs and there's absolutely loads more as well. So if you're in the market for products in the WordPress space, go check that out. The last page that I want to draw your attention to is WP Builds.com forward slash advertise if you're interested in advertising on WP bills.com banner ads, audio inserts, and so on to get your product or service in front of a wider audience. A little bit like Kinsta, the WP Builds podcast is brought to you today by Kinsta. Are you tired of slow or unreliable 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 experts support migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com okay, let's get stuck into this week's WordPress news.

Nathan Wrigley: 02:04 Each week we group our WordPress news into different categories, and the first one is always WordPress core. And we've only got one article this week relating to that and it's [email protected] it's by Gary Pendergast entitled PHP Coding Standards Changes. It's a little bit of a nerdy article, so I'm not going to read a great deal about it, but it goes into all of the, all of the new features that might need to be required as regards PHP in WordPress core. For example, it deals with the subject of closures and says quote with these points in mind, a conservative, but practical step is to allow closures as a f, as functioned call backs, but not as Hook callbacks in core. Ultimately, we should be able to allow any sort of complex call back to be attached to hooks, but the core APIs aren't quite ready for it yet. The article then goes on to talk about, um, coding standards changes, Short Array Syntax, short turnery operators, uh, assignments with conditionals and so on and so forth.

Nathan Wrigley: 03:05 So as you can see it's a little bit and getting into the weeds and probably not best in an audio podcast. So go and check it out. Uh, Gary was keen to say that he was pleased with the, the way the discourse has happened over the, the recent period because disagreements have been dealt with respectfully. He says, cause I, these kinds of things always lead to disagreements as you can see in the comments where there's quite a few comments with people disagreeing but keeping it nice and polite. But anyway, if you are a plugin developer or a theme developer or you are tinkering with court, this is well worth a look. The next section is entitled community. And the first in the community section is our very young David McCann who's regularly in the WP Builds community Facebook group and so on over on web tng.com he's written an article entitled the WordPress fire drill three tasks 100% of us waste time on.

Nathan Wrigley: 03:57 And he goes on to explain that there's probably well over a hundred million WordPress websites out there and pretty much everybody when installing WordPress goes out and finds themselves a contact form solution, a backup solution and a security solution and he's saying, wouldn't it be nice if we could add these things into core? He goes on to talk about things like in the security space we could easily, for example, have something like a two factor authentication options switched on in core that that wouldn't be impossible with backups. We could have a native backup facility that people could hook into with their third party solutions and it would be trivial, easy for WordPress to come with a contact form all set up and ready to go. We suggest something streamlined and simple like contact form seven of course there's jet pack, but I'm jetpack. I think we can, I think most of us would agree is kind of a conduit towards paying services and then it goes on to mention some options which are free and paid for in those three spaces.

Nathan Wrigley: 04:55 I can see the point in this obviously WordPress's mission is that if 80% of the people need it, then it probably should be in core. And David's point is that he thinks at least anyway, 80% of the people install these three things off the bat as soon as they get WordPress installed. And he, he calculates that over the years, probably 2.5 million days have been lost installing plugins, which probably should be in core. So nice piece David. Thanks. Over on WP tavern this week we have an article entitled News Pack Opens Up Application Process for phase two. We spoke a couple of weeks ago about this news pack endeavor. Um, and the idea is that they have rolled up a collection of themes, plugins and features which are specifically geared towards newsrooms and it's things like revenue generation wizards, mobile delivery and search engine optimization. Well now they've chosen 12 publications that are going to be part of their scheme.

Nathan Wrigley: 05:51 They're looking, I think to get 50 on board. And the idea is that the, the trial of this will last from September the first through to the end of February, 2020 and I'll quote what you'll get a NewsPack websites including the migration of your existing site, free hosting security updates, backups and supports on WordPress.com through February, 2020 membership in the news pack, community of users, access to news pack developers and so on. And then in return they're expected to provide feedback, new test features, and to help shape the overall direction of the platform. Um, the next paragraph talks about the what will happen when they've finished their free trial and they're saying that organizations that have got under half a million can expect to pay $1,000 per month in any organization over half a million can expect to pay $2,000 a month. It just goes to show the scale of these things and how much revenue is involved in use.

Nathan Wrigley: 06:46 But that's news pack. They're obviously starting to roll out some serious updates in phase two. So if that fits you, if you're a news organization, you can go to this page and get yourself signed up for some well six months or so of free hosting and advice over on the hero press.com website. This week we have an article entitled history and Future of kids heroes in WordPress. What a fabulous endeavor this is. Teaching children to learn to code, giving them international friendships and teaching them about WordPress. This article simply relates to the fact that this trend is on the rise. Lots more events teaching children how to become content creators, creative thinkers, and even business owners. Um, and it charts the history of these events when they began really probably going back to 2010 in Kilkenny and island and obviously at WordCamp Europe, this was happening as well.

Nathan Wrigley: 07:39 And probably there'll be many, many more of these events. The article speaks about the fact that these kids are learning all sorts of interesting skills. They're creating international friendships in ways that they couldn't possibly imagine. And a, I just think the whole future for children in the WordPress communities is such a fabulous one on, I think everybody ought to embrace it. So just a little read the history of what's been happening and possibly what will happen in the future. Obviously if you've got kids of your own, this might be something you want to, you want to persuade them to get involved in. The next article is on WP tavern and it's entitled Gem Stacks. Growing popularity brings increase in WordPress plugins for deploying to net lift by. Um, this is all a little bit new to me in that I haven't really played with any of this stuff, so I speak from a position of somewhat ignorance, but nevertheless jamstack which is coined termed by Netlify CEO to describe the developmental architecture that includes client side, Java scripts, reusable API and prebuilt markup, which apparently are the three pillars of a modern static websites.

Nathan Wrigley: 08:44 Well, the idea of deploying things, making WordPress headless and being able to deploy a to a, a static site using projects like Jekyll Hugo next or Gatsby, they're becoming increasingly popular. And so we've got a whole load of plugins listed out here which have taken on the responsibility of making this possible. So for example, they mentioned things like tiny pixel collective who have created a plugin called netlife. I deploy jams stacks deployments, which was created by Christopher Gery. There's another one called deploy net vilify web hook. Um, there's a whole load more like WP 2 static and so on. And this seems to be a bit of a trend. You've got platforms like static shifter and hardy press, which are making it possible to have WordPress installs so that uh, it's all taken. The PHP side of things is taken offline once you click publish and it's all basically just flattened into html, raw html files.

Nathan Wrigley: 09:43 This seems like a bit of a trend. Perhaps it's not going to be for everybody because things like contact forms don't work. Commenting and things like membership sites are going to be really, really, really difficult without PHB enabled but seems to be a bit of a trend because of the speed and security benefits. And it's a nice write up by WP tavern about all of the plugins. And endeavors in that space. Over on the code in WP website, we've got an article entitled Theme Isle Redesign. Here's how it went and how much it cost. I don't think this is a really nice article just because it lays bare all of the, the myriad problems and things to be thought about when you're redesigning a very large site. In this case, they're obviously fairly expert at designing sites and so on, but they had not really looked at their own site for many, many years, five years or so.

Nathan Wrigley: 10:32 And so it breaks down all of the decisions that needed to be made, all of the problems that they were trying to solve. So the design itself wasn't all that great. The loading time wasn't all that great. The, the pages looked different depending on when they'd created them. Um, and so on. And so it goes into what they tried to do, how they achieved it, how their process went, and ultimately how much it costs. And therefore they were sort of saying, okay, if we were to do this again on a commercial basis and try to, to sell a redesign of this magnitude, what would be the, the ticket price for it? And it's quite interesting. It comes out in the region of about a hundred thousand dollars by the time they've paid for every single thing, including new redesign and new features being built. They've done it with the elemental page builder in various places, but um, they've decided to refocus what they're doing.

Nathan Wrigley: 11:22 It's a lovely article, especially if you're into the, the higher end of website projects. I imagine this is something that you'd like to read just to just sort of gather your thoughts on how this process has been done. It's, it's quite a long read but well worth it. Moving on now to the category of plugins and themes, I've only got a couple this week and the first one is over at WP tavern in titled Experimental Block Areas Plugin allow us for editing content site wide with Gutenburg. And I suppose this is the Gutenburg Dream, isn't it? The idea that you'd be able to create content in Gutenburg and build out a whole site with it. Will Felix aunts a had a chat with Morton Rand Hendrickson at WordCamp Europe and he decided that he would explore this idea and he's created the block areas plugin. It allows you to define specific areas where you want to use the block editor and the block areas functions similar to widget areas, but you can create any custom post type that you like with a familiar UI.

Nathan Wrigley: 12:20 And I'll quote, they are implemented as a post type with the key aspect that they can't be accessed in the frontend via a certain URL, but your theme has to render them via a block under score areas or render slog method that the plugin exposes aren't said. The slug you pass to the method should match to the block area slug of one of those areas that you have created in the admin. So the idea being that you could create different areas, for example, headers and footers are included as standard just to get you going. It's so far it's only going to be useful to, um, to developers really because you need to, you need to add certain hooks to the theme and so on. But interesting. You know, this seems to be where we're going. Perhaps this approach that this blogging has taken won't be what goes into core, but, um, we're talking now about getting Gutenberg into the entire website makeup, you know, build everything with little blocks.

Nathan Wrigley: 13:16 So have a head, a block, have a footer block, have a, a menu block, have a while. I don't know, I'm a copyright block and so on. And then deploy those throughout the site. So maybe this is just the beginning of that approach. Go check it out if you're interested. We have an update this week to project huddle. The article is entitled new release, automatic website screenshots, subscribed users and markdown shortcuts. And if you're using project title to get feedback about your WordPress website projects with your clients, now when a client leaves a comment, an automatic screenshot will be taken. You don't need to do anything. It will simply happen in the background and be attached, appended to the comments so that you can see exactly what your clients were looking at at the moment. They decided to write that comment. That's quite a nice feature.

Nathan Wrigley: 14:04 You also have the option now to to decide who's going to be notified about uh, about this particular comment or update. There's a little hover pop up that comes up and you can just tick, uh, notify Roger, notify Susan, but don't notify Nathan and so on. Um, also they've added, um, markdown support, so into all of their commenting areas. So for example, you know, you can have something in bold or you could have something as italic or what have you just by using the markdown. So overall some nice improvements you can go and update to now to get those lovely new features. The next section is a brief like to touch on security and we've got four things to mention this week. Um, as I've said before, I'm not going to get into the weeds of all of the machinations of these exploits and vulnerabilities. I'm just going to mention them.

Nathan Wrigley: 14:55 And if the name rings a bell and you think you might have that used on a website somewhere, you can go and check it out. So the first one is there's critical vulnerability, which has been patched in the ad insert or plugin that's over on the wordfence website. So go check that out. All in one WP migration, 7.0 patches and x s s vulnerability. And I found out about that from WP tavern. And then a couple of articles. The first one is the wordfence weekly review where they round up all the security news between the 10th of July and the 16th of July. And the second one is something very similar only it's entitled WordPress vulnerability roundup the first part of July, 2019 and that's over on the eye themes website. So there are two places to go where you can find out about exploits and you can just basically browse through and see if any of the plugin names ring any bells.

Nathan Wrigley: 15:46 And if so, maybe go and get them updated or check out what the mitigations are on WP Builds. This week we released a podcast entitled make your WordPress website load faster with the Hancock. It was very nice to chat to Yan. He um, he's spent a lot of time thinking about the, the best ways to speed up your website and we talk about that for 30 minutes or more. So if you're interested in speed and optimizing, go and listen to that podcast. It was, it was very, very nice and very, very useful to me. I learnt lots of new stuff and also just to say that this week over in the WP Builds Facebook group, we are having a something which we've never done before. Pictionary who is a UX UI person over at design for Geeks. She's going to audit some websites live in our Facebook group.

Nathan Wrigley: 16:31 It's happening on Wednesday the 24th of July at 3:00 PM UK time. And if you want to go and click on the link in the post that you're listening to now, you can go and submit you your URL and you never know. Picture might be a, might be able to review it and give you some tips from a UI and UX point of view. But you know, if you don't want to submit the URL, why don't you join us in the Facebook group live and a and enjoy the whole experience. Okay, that's it for WordPress news this week. Now we've got three things which are not necessarily to do with WordPress, but useful. Anyway. First one over at the search engine journal website in titled, Google publishes a new guide to Javascript SEO basics threaten by Matt southern. And it is exactly that. It's um, it's a very, very brief look at the sort of things that you need to do.

Nathan Wrigley: 17:19 Should you be writing Java script and you wish to get that content indexed by Google. Um, what's in the guide? Well, they talk about how Google processes, um, javascript crawling, rendering, indexing, and then it goes into some tips about how you could achieve this with your Java script. So things like unique titles and snippets, right? Compatible code, https, p status codes, and so on and so forth. It is a bit of a, a beginners article. Nevertheless, it's very, and you can download a something a little bit more complex at the bottom if you're worried about being tracked, especially by the mighty Google, there are some more options these days. And Search Engine Journal tells us that doc dot go now handles 40 million searches a day. This is up from, I think it's 34 million in January. So it's quite a quite a nice rise. It's slow but steady. And the article goes on to say, well how does that compare, you know, is, is DuckDuckGo a good alternative?

Nathan Wrigley: 18:18 Obviously. Um, it's providing decent results. You just have to go to the website and check it out and you'll see what I mean. But there are certain differentiating features. So for example, their, their mapping is less accurate because they don't track where you are in the same way because they don't keep a record of all of your exact searches. Perhaps they'll, you know, not get to know you over time. But the important thing from a business point of view is whether they're profitable and apparently for the last five years they have been turning a profit. So maybe the future is slow and steady. Rise for doc dot go as people become more privacy aware. The final piece I've got to view today comes from the post status.com website entitled preserving the Wilderness. I'm not really sure I've got my head around it. I think probably I should read it several more times before I get it, but it'd be, it can be encapsulated in the following paragraph wrote from the beginning the web is a sacred wilderness and it deserves preservation.

Nathan Wrigley: 19:14 What role can open source communities play and how does it contrast with the monopolistic tendencies of the tech giants? And it goes on to talk about the fact that we've got these enormously powerful platforms. Facebook, Google who dominate the ad space, dominate the attention space and and can, can kind of like really do what they like with the content that they present to us. And then in contrast to that, we've got open source initiatives. Obviously WordPress being one of them. And it discusses how we maybe should deal with them in the future. Should we force self regulation on them. So the platforms are forced to with some sort of algorithm, decide whether what we upload is suitable or maybe we should just sort of use some kind of monopolistic trust busting technique where we break these platforms up. Obviously WordPress stands in complete antithesis to all of this.

Nathan Wrigley: 20:05 I don't really have the answer, but it's certainly a, an interesting read. And uh, towards the end he makes a, makes a comparison with forests, which I found really captivating and he links to a book called the hidden life of trees where he talks about the, the interrelationship that trees have with each other. And maybe that's the system that we ought to have on the web. Fascinating. But I think I'm going to have to read it a few more times. Right? That's all the news that I've got for you this week. I hope you managed to get something useful out of it. The WP Builds newsletter is brought to you today by Kinsta. Kinsta take to manage 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 can access the latest software and developer tools such as PHB seven ssh and staging environments.

Nathan Wrigley: 20:56 And the best part there, expert team of WordPress engineers are available 24 seven should you need help, you can migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com okay. Maybe you'll come back next week and join us so that you can hear more news from the the forthcoming week or you could join us on Thursday when we put out our regular podcasts. Do remember that we've got the, the live events with Piccia on Wednesday and also the fact that every Monday, 2:00 PM UK time, we do a live version of this WordPress weekly news with some special guests. So I hope that we catch you on some of those things and bye bye for now. Have a nice week.

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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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