This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 12th August 2019:
Automattic — the maker of WordPress.com — has purchased Tumblr
Matt Mullenweg’s reaction – Tumblr the Day After
Plugins / Themes
Not WordPress, but useful anyway…
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Transcript (if available)
These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.
Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Hello, good morning and welcome to this. The WP Builds weekly WordPress newsletter. This is number 76 it covers the weekly WordPress news for the week, commencing the 12th of August, 2019 and it was published on Monday the 19th of August, 2019 a few things before we begin head over to WP build.com that is to say the homepage of the website and right at the very, very top you'll notice next to the big words WP Builds and podcast. We've got a whole bunch of blue buttons. They're labeled things like apple, Youtube, slack, Spotify, and this is just a very quick way of enabling you to be notified of anything that we're doing. So for example, you could subscribe on our podcast player or get our newsletter, look at the RSS feed if your podcast player only accepts those and so on and so forth. So go and check that out. Just makes it a little bit easier for you to follow what we're doing.
Nathan Wrigley: 00:52 Another way of following what we're doing is to go over to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. Couple of newsletters, one to alert you about this, the WordPress weekly news plus the podcast on Thursday, and also there's a deals newsletter which we send out as soon as we know about a WordPress deal. It just saves you the hassle of subscribing to all those, all those email lists because I do it and then send the details out to you as soon as I hear about them. Also join our Facebook group on that page. 2,100 word pressers all talking about WordPress. It's a very nice group and it's so far been very polite and entertaining to be involved in it. The other link I suppose is WP Builds.com forward slash deals. Over on that page, you'll find just heaps and heaps of WordPress products with percentage coupons off.
Nathan Wrigley: 01:37 You can click on the links and go and apply the coupons. It's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week. So if you're in the market for buying something this week, go check that out. And lastly, WP Builds.com forward slash advertise if you would like your product or service mentioning and putting in front of a wider audience. A bit like Kinsta have done, the WP Builds podcast is brought to you today by Kinsta. 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 do thank all of our sponsors because they really do help keep the WP Builds podcast going. Okay, that's it for me.
Nathan Wrigley: 02:29 Just before we begin, actually one more thing, join us if you get this on a Monday, join us at 2:00 PM UK time where we'll be doing a live version. We go through like have some, some notable people from the WordPress community joining me live. If you go to our Facebook group or youtube channel, you should be able to see it there. I've also tried to put it live on the WP Builds website [email protected] forward slash live so you might want to try that as well, but there's links in case it doesn't work over to the youtube channel and the Facebook group where it definitely will be. Oh okay. Let's get stuck into the new show. Our news is always lumped into different sections and the first one is always word press core and I found one piece this week to do with that and it's over on the WP Tavern website entitled Gutenberg's 6.3 improves accessibility with new navigation and edit modes.
Nathan Wrigley: 03:24 Sarah Gooding over there is writing about how 6.3 has improved and it says version 6.3 introduces new navigation and editor modes to address longstanding problems navigating the block UI with a screen reader. And the idea is that you would enter, well the the builder, the Gothenburg editor will enter navigation mode by default from now on and then by pressing the tab key or using the arrows on your keyboard, you'll be able to move up and down through the blocks that you've got on a page. And then if you wish to escape from that mode, you simply hit the escape key. Apparently prior to this it was an absolute disaster trying to navigate things with a screen reader. So hopefully this has improved things. The, the other notable updates in 6.3 are support for text alignments in the table, block columns, border color support for the separator block and improvements to the block preview component.
Nathan Wrigley: 04:22 So there you go. Nice little improvements, especially if you are an advocate or in need of accessibility support. The next few pieces come under the banner of community, so we try to lump things like WordCamps and so on into this. And the first one is entitled on the WP Builds.com website at least anyway, foolish English folk, right? 3000 kilometers for a great WordPress cause. WP and UP. And if you click on that link, you're taken over to a domain called head to.org and it says cycling 3000 kilometers from Germany to Portugal to raise awareness of positive mental and physical health. So the idea is that some very foolish people I would say are going to be writing from the WordCamp Europe venue, which was the Estral in Berlin. That was to say the WordCamp Europe this year, 2019 and they're going to be writing to the 2020 venue, which is the super box arena, which is in Porto, Portugal. And apparently it's 3000 kilometers. And the little list of the riders tells me it's a chap called Dan maybe, and another chap called Nathan Wrigley. Oh goodness me. I mean what, Whoa, what are they thinking? Anyway, it's for a good cause. Um, I've got myself an exercise bike and I'm starting to take this a little bit more seriously, but head over to that website, have a look at it. It's head to dot org and maybe if you're feeling generous, you could click on the donate button and add a few dollars to the calls. Next article comes
Nathan Wrigley: 05:58 on the Jeff C Dot Me website is entitled my final goodbye to the tavern. Jeff Chandler has been producing WP Tavern, which is just the most fantastic website for WordPress news for 12 years apparently. And this week he's decided finally that he's going to step away in the article it says that he's tried to step away on various occasions, but this time he's actually managed to do it. He's rescinded his capability to log into the website and so on and so forth. And so it's really happening. Um, he points out that he's had a lot of support from Automattic because Matt decided to buy WP Tavern, I think it was about five years ago and it's just sort of saying his final farewell. And I would like to echo lots and lots of tweets and things that I read this week just to say thank you Jeff. I think you've done an amazing job and although what you do might be nothing to do with WordPress, maybe it will be, I hope, wish boss certainly would wish you every success.
Nathan Wrigley: 06:55 There's also linked in the show notes for this podcast, his tweet announcing that as well. So you might want to go and click on that and you could perhaps reply to that tweet. But anyway, Good Luck Jeff. A couple of things about WordCamp us this week. The first one, they're all at 2019. Dot. U S wordcamp.org. And the first one is called community track. Round three, announcing community track presenters focusing on the next generation, um, at WordCamp us this year. Apart from the regular WordPress presenters, there's also going to be attract focused on the community and it's going to be called the community track and it's going to focus on meetups. WordCamps diversity inclusion and kids slash youth of don't forget that you can bring your kids to kids camp. Um, and there's also freely free childcare, but there's a couple of talks that have already been organized called the first one is how to organize events for youths and it explains how you're going to be setting up WordCamp style events for, for the younger generation.
Nathan Wrigley: 07:59 And there's another one called how the WordPress community can embrace the next generation. What are the specific things that parents or teachers can do with WordPress to incorporate it into the curriculum? So that's very, very nice indeed. And the other one, again on 20 nineteen.us dot WordCamp.org is the shed jewel for WordCamp us 2019. It's coming up now, not long away, Cup a few months and a, there's a whole great list on this page. If you click on the links within that page, it'll take you to all of the things that are happening and the possibilities are still buy some tickets as well as a huge array of talks on as you would expect, including right at the very end, the state of the word from Matt. So go and check it out and you can start to get excited about it and possibly put things in your calendar for what you would like to attend.
Speaker 2: 08:49 Okay.
Nathan Wrigley: 08:50 Now I'm a little late to the party on this one because it's already started by the time you read this, but over on the WP Tavern, we have a piece entitled attend the great WP virtual summit for free August the 19th to the 23rd so this is a bit like a WordCamp, but it's online. It's a virtual thing. It's taking place. Well, it's already started by the time that you're listening to this, although I'm not entirely sure what the time zones are and so on, but I'm anxious. Anchen le Roux began this and she's got this idea that she would like people to be able to access things irrelevant, irrespective of where they live on the planet. And so there is a link in there that you can go and sign up for it. Interestingly, some Nice, nice speakers, including Paul Lacey, who's very, very often on the WP Builds live that we do on a Monday.
Nathan Wrigley: 09:41 Other people like Simon Kelly, Matthew Rodella, Jonathan Boston, and Mike Killen or all people who've been on the WP Builds podcasts. Very nice indeed. So go check it out. Um, I'm not entirely sure what the process is, but it looks like you just click some buttons and sign up and you'll be able to get access to all of that amazing content. Very nice indeed. An interesting piece of news over on the post status.com website entitled Automattic, the maker of WordPress.com has purchased Tumblr have to confess, I've never been a big user of Tumblr, but apparently Automattic has acquired Tumblr in the for some, somewhere in the region of $3 million. And considering it was purchased, uh, just a few years ago for one point $1 billion, that's quite a sizable reduction. Apparently a lot of the content that's on that site is of an adult nature. And Matt, although he says that, uh, on a personal level, he's got fairly liberal views about this.
Nathan Wrigley: 10:41 There are things that he's possibly going to change. His four bullet points are to move infrastructure off Verizon, who was the owner until recently support the same API's on both WordPress.com and Tumblr switch the backend to be WordPress and open source Tumblr.com client a to to have something that's similar to WordPress is calypso. Now this is interesting, the very largest purchase that a Automattic have done until now was $30 million for woo commerce several years ago. This is probably going to cost them that each year just in salaries because they're bringing over about 200 employees. We'll have to see how all of this works out. I've got a second post over on, um, Matt m a. Dot. T t so that Matt Mullenweg's blog called Tumblr the day after he talks about all of the things that had been talked about. He talks about the fact that, uh, Verizon have been really good about it. They could have flipped this for an awful lot more money, but they decided to, if you like, do the right thing and give it to to WordPress, which has obviously a vested interest in publishing online, but it's just a really interesting acquisition. I just, I just have no idea where this is going to go, so, so watch this space, especially if you're a Tumblr user, but hopefully over the next few years we'll get a whole new, a whole load of new people joining onto what press.
Speaker 2: 12:06 Okay,
Nathan Wrigley: 12:07 well it would appear that Automattic. I've got their wallet open this week because we have something else on WP Tavern entitled Automattic Acquires Zero Bs CRM considers rebranding it as jetpack CRM never used this, but a Automattic has acquired a plugin called zero bs CRM. It's got over 30 commercial extensions and apparently, although it's not very widely used with over just over a thousand active installs on WordPress.org apparently the Automattic team had used it themselves because they were in inverted commerce, a happy customer and decided that this was something that they needed within their suite of products. So they bought it. Got No idea how much that was four but they're going to rebrand it. Um, and potentially it's going to be called jet pack CRM and although it's got close integrations with WooCommerce with lots of extensions for WooCommerce, that may or may not be the future. Anyway, the point is we now have a CRM under the Automattic banner so more watch this space to see what's going to be going on with this.
Nathan Wrigley: 13:14 Back again on WP Tavern this time for a piece called WordPress theme review, team scraps, trusted authors program due to gaming and its inconsistent reviews. It was about a year ago, just over a year, maybe something like 18 months that the theme review team decided to implement the trusted authors program and the idea was to speed up the the process of reviewing themes and if you were able to submit a theme that had fewer than three issues, you were going to be included in this trusted author program and then you would be fast tracked and your themes from then on would be reviewed much more quickly. While, apparently this didn't really work and the whole system started to be gained. Um, people were kind of duplicating themes and so on and so forth. So nefarious things were going on. So the review team apparently behind closed doors decided to implement a change so that if you wanted to be a part of the, the trusted authors program, you would have to yourself be reviewing themes.
Nathan Wrigley: 14:17 And apparently they were blindsided by this because there was no consultation anyway. It's all ended up as a bit of a mess and it would appear that now this whole program has gone away. So we'll have to wait and see, have to wait and see what happens. Whether there's something else, because really I think this cue system is extremely long. There's thousands and thousands of themes being submitted every month and there's simply not the staff to handle it. So something's got to be done. And this, apparently it wasn't it a little bit of a self promotional piece here from WP, they have an article entitled WP engine platform becomes 40% faster making it the unequivocal performance leader in WordPress wealth. I guess if you understand hosting, you'll know whether this claim is true or not, but they say today they've announced that they have become the first WordPress digital experience platform to adopt Google cloud platforms, newest infrastructure, the compute optimized virtual machines, VMC to with these enhancements, WP engine's platform offers performance that is 40% faster than anyone else in WordPress.
Nathan Wrigley: 17:42 And the article explains the technicalities of what they did, how they did their benchmarking and testing, and what their final results were. And I won't spoil it for you, but if you're into databases and you're using Amazon's infrastructure, this would certainly be worth looking at. WP Tavern. Again, this time for new my camp dot. Rox newsletter launches with tips for conference organizers, speakers, and attendees. And whilst we've got loads of WordPress news, for example, this, we don't have anything particularly focused on those areas. So [email protected], which is a domain you can now sign up and it's going to offer conference organizers, speakers and attendees at WordPress newsletter, which is designed to drill down into community event topics and it will be sent out every Tuesday. So there you go. It's all from David Bisset. So go and get yourself signed up if you are organizing things or would like to be organizing things.
Nathan Wrigley: 18:38 Right. Let's change gears a little bit now we're going to move on to our plugins and themes section and the first one we've got is on the element or.com website entitled celebrating 3 million active installations. Well it just goes to show, doesn't it? What you can do, elemental now have 3 million active installations and it took only six months to go from the previous milestone of 2 million. Absolutely astonishing growth. They have a fun fact. It says, this actually means that every 10 seconds a new website is set up with element or so the article doesn't say much more than this. It is simply just saying, wow, this is quite amazing. Look what we've done and so yeah, plaudits to them. Bravo two element or for getting to 3 million installs, WooCommerce has been updated to version 3.7 you can find this out on WooCommerce.WordPress.com and I've also linked in the show notes to WP Taverns article about the same thing, but essentially we've got a an update.
Nathan Wrigley: 19:39 It's been worked on since April, 2019 over 1,290 commits from 22 contributors. It's called a minor release, so it should be back compatible with absolutely everything that you've got installed so far. The key points are those a product block which has got a new focal point picker on the featured product block, a new product categories, list block and new featured categories block and a new products by tag block. You've also got updates to the minimum PHP requirements as with the rest of WordPress and there's been significant performance improvements as well as content, emails, setting options have changed and auto coupon code generation has also been added. So quite a nice update. Go and check it out if you're using WooCommerce. I would definitely read all this stuff before you go and update if you haven't done already. It's just nice to, to be aware. Um, so yeah, brilliant subscribers to wpm UDEV will like to read that.
Nathan Wrigley: 20:39 They've got a new article this week called WPMU Dev have 2019 Q three roadmap. It's getting better all the time and they list all of the things that have improved in the last period. So defender, smart crawl and hustle or got new features. Brand new white labeling. Hummingbird includes a mobile first performance report and there's various other things as well in there. And then they've got articles looking at the future. They've gonna update their hosting in the near term. Hummingbird, 2.1 will be coming out branda 3.2 and smart girl 2.4 and changes to the WPMU Dev. Dashboard will also be coming out as well, so some nice changes and good to know if you're using wpm, you'd have good to have all of that recent information and updates all in one place. Any users have the breezy page builder might be interested in this article, which is over on translate to press.
Nathan Wrigley: 21:31 It's actually called translate to breezy page builder sites using translate press. I have to confess that I have not used to translate press, but I must say I'm beguiled by what I'm seeing of the capabilities of it. It's a bit like a page builder for translating web websites into multiple different languages and so obviously this article explains how you can use the breezy page builder and translate press in tandem to translate your pages into a variety of different languages. I can't explain how that's done because it's all with screenshots and so on, but yeah, go, go check it out. If you're using either of those things or you've never heard of translate press, you might want to go to their main page to see just how different their take is on translating things in WordPress. If you're creating websites for clients, a nice stream of income is to have them on maintenance plans.
Nathan Wrigley: 22:25 And one of the nice things to be able to do with those maintenance plans is offer your clients support and plugins like project huddle, enable that to happen very, very easily. So project huddle, have a new update, it says goodbye log-ins, hello easy and Andre Gagnon goes on to explain that from now on. Getting the, getting the clients to be able to log in will be as simple as them logging into their own website. Presumably in the past this was not the case and you needed them to log into your sort of central project huddle dashboard. Um, there's also the capability to have WordPress admin commenting so you can put comments into the WordPress Admin, which is a nice feature. As soon as they log in, there'll be, there'll be in the WordPress admin. Um, guest commenting is also added now so that they don't need to be logged in.
Nathan Wrigley: 23:12 You can select that as an option and there's a centralized task dashboard. It's completely white labeled and so s some very nice updates from project huddle and a, yeah, well done Andre. So the last piece in the plugin section is over at I themes, it's called Plugin Roundup August, 2019 and although I've have done my best to update you about all sorts of plugins and themes this month, I've left a lot on the table because I can't do them all. And so I themes have done this job for me. So go and check that it's got a list of little thumbnail so you can quickly search for the the plugins that you may or may not be using. And they talk about what has been updated during this previous month. We're about to change section. And so now we're going over to talk about security, but oddly we're staying with our themes because I themes also, not only they produce updates about themes and plugins and so on, but they also have a security update.
Nathan Wrigley: 24:11 And this is the August part one 2019 and again, set out in exactly the same way because I'm doing a light touch on security these days in our WordPress weekly news. Go and scroll through this and very quickly you'll be able to see the thumbnail images for further different plugins. So for example, I can see there's ultimate member, those give WP and so on. Just go and check that out to see if any of the plugins that you're using have had vulnerabilities that I themes know about this week. Zed d net or z d net. I suppose if you're in North America, tell us this week about new windows malware and also brute force WordPress websites. There's a strain of malware called Clipsal, which you know, usually malware on a windows computer is after things like um, encrypting your files or getting at your cryptocurrency wallet. But there's been a discovery that it's also trying to launch brute force attacks against WordPress websites.
Nathan Wrigley: 25:08 And whilst this behavior is very, very unusual, it's not entirely without precedent. Anyway, the point is this is happening. Obviously WordPress is a big attack surface and so people are now targeting windows computers so that they can attack your WordPress website. Over on the WP sec website this week we have an article entitled cracking WordPress passwords with Hash cat and explains how you can crack complex passwords with a tool called hash cat. It's just fascinating using the command line, how you can do this stuff and how trivially easy it is and then they've left a little Easter egg at the end. They've left you with a hash of a password with the idea that you would try this out for yourself in order to discover that you can hack your own set of passwords but amazing that this stuff can be done at all by somebody just following a blog article.
Nathan Wrigley: 26:01 The self-promotional section this week from WP Builds is that we released episode number 141 of the podcast. It was a followup to last week's number 140 believe in or not that was entitled feeling insecure about security part one and this is part two and in this episode we go on to explain about all of the different tools that we've used in the past. We're no experts on this, but David and I talk about plugins such as wordfence, I themes, webARX, Secu press and so on and how we've used them in the past and what are experiences we've had. Perhaps you could go to the WP builders.com website and add your own opinions. Well, that's all the WordPress news I've got for you this week, but we always finish off with a few pieces of, not WordPress, but useful anyway, and so the first one is [email protected] entitled Google just revealed a brilliantly simple trick to totally destroy tele marketers.
Nathan Wrigley: 26:58 I'm sure that you've received all sorts of robocalls in the past and it seems to me there's no way of stopping it because you pick up the phone and obviously you're going to be listening to whatever is at the other end. We'll Google have come up with are really ingenious and yet straightforward and simple solution which they're building into their android pixel three phone. The idea is that android will, or the Google Assistant I should say, will actually answer the call on your behalf when you click a button called call screen and it will then say, hi, the person you're calling is using a screening service from Google and we'll get a copy of this conversation. Go ahead and say your name and while you're calling, the idea is that obviously somebody that you know will say something meaningful, Google will immediately transcribe what they say and print it onto your android screen.
Nathan Wrigley: 27:46 You can then read that in real time and then click answer call. Obviously, if it's something that you think, no, this is a bit bogus, you can then just dismiss the call. So obviously adds a little bit of an impediment to people calling. You might get irritated by this extra step, but it's certainly, it would stop it where it to be widely adopted. The final piece that I've got for you this week is over on the Mozilla website foundation dot. mozilla.org and titled how to opt out of Human v review of your voice assistant recordings. So if you've got an apple, I think they're called apple home pods or Siri or you're using Google home or Amazon's Alexa, did you know that in many cases you are being listened to by humans because as the Guardian reported at the end of July, this kind of stuff is being reviewed by human beings as a sort of quality control measure.
Nathan Wrigley: 28:36 They say that apple has temporarily suspended this program. Google has been forced to pause it in the EU only and Amazon is now giving the ability to opt out. Well, Mozilla has said no, we want the ability to figure this out for ourselves. And so this article is doing exactly that. It explains how if you've got an Amazon or a Google or an apple device, how it is that you might go in and amend the settings so that this option is no longer available. I do find it a bit spooky because apparently it says that I'm deeply personal events such as conversations with doctors, sexual encounters and other moments have been reviewed by human beings, so a little bit strange, especially if you've got them in parts of your house where you would like privacy to be. Have a premium. There we go. That's all I've got for you this week.
Nathan Wrigley: 29:23 I hope you managed to find something useful in there. I really, really do. We put this out every single Monday at 7:00 AM UK time but also at 2:00 PM this very same day. We'll be doing our live version of this in the Facebook group or you can go to wpbuilds dot com forward slash live and hopefully see it there and if not, click on the links too to watch it live on either youtube or in the Facebook group. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today 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 can access to the latest software and developer tools such as PHP seven ssh and staging environments, and the best part, they are expert team of WordPress engineers are available 24 seven if you need help. So you can migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com okay. Maybe see you back here next Monday. If not, maybe for the podcast on a Thursday. And if I don't see you for any of those things, maybe drop into the Facebook group or leave a comment somewhere on the website and we'll see you next week. Bye Bye for now.
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