The WordPress news from the last week which commenced Monday 31st October 2022
Another week, and we’re bringing you the latest WordPress news from the last seven days, including…
- WordPress 6.1 has come out and it’s pretty huge. Check out what’s been updated and what’s new.
- Do you think that the WordPress.org plugin repository is a good place to host your plugins? Matt Cromwell from GiveWP seems to think that it is.
- How can we make WordPress websites more sustainable? There’s a new Slack channel trying to gain some momentum and come up with some ideas.
- PHP 7.4 is at the end of it’s life. Make sure that you’re on PHP 8.x from now on to the updates.
- Have you seen our Black Friday Deals page? It’s worth bookmarking before the craziness begins.
- Pokemon cards go online with some exceptional CSS.
There’s a whole lot more than this, as there is each and every week, and you can find all that by scrolling down and clicking on the links!
This Week in WordPress #229 – “There’s no clever name this week”
With Nathan Wrigley, Mark Westguard, Steve Burge and Jonathan Desrosiers.
Recorded on Monday 7th November 2022.
If you ever want to join us live you can do that every Monday at 2pm UK time on the WP Builds LIVE page.
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Transcript (if available)
These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.
[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: It's time for this week in WordPress, episode number 229 entitled, There's no Clever Name this week. It was recorded on Monday, the 7th of November, 2022. My name's Nathan Wrigley and I am joined this week by three Very nice word presses. First up, we've got Mark West Guard. I'm also joined by Steve Burge and Jonathan Desrosiers as well.
We're gonna be talking, as we always do, about WordPress, and the big item this week is all of the goodness that comes in WordPress 6.1. Jonathan was the lead for the 6.1 release, so it's the perfect episode for him. We talk about all of the bits and pieces that have landed, what we like, what we don't like, and what has been delayed.
We get down to the subject of the wordpress.org plugin repo, and an episode that I recorded of the Tavern Podcast with Mac Cromwell about whether or not the repo is still a good place to put your free plugin if you have got a paid upgrade plugin as well. We show off on the screen a new plugin, WP Codey, which uses AI to generate WordPress code for you.
You type in plain English and it gives you the code back in return. It's pretty remarkable, but it's still in alpha. Then we get into a quite a long conversation about the impact that we have as WordPress developers and just consumers of the internet on the environment. We also show you WP Rankings, which is a new service, which shows you how plugins are doing over time, and then we share some bits and pieces at the end to do with Pokemon.
It's all coming up next on this week in Word. This episode of the WP Builds podcast is brought to you by GoDaddy Pro, the home of manage WordPress hosting that includes free domain SSL, and 24 7 support. Bundle that with The Hub by GoDaddy Pro to unlock more free benefits to manage multiple sites in one place, invoice clients, and get 30% of new purchases. Find out more at go.me/WPBuilds.
Hello? Hello. Good afternoon. Good morning, good evening. Good. Good. Welcome, . That's a new phrase. Good Welcome. Hope, hope you're all right. Very nice to see you again. It's Monday. It's this week in WordPress. We the show where every week we have two, usually three panelists on talking about WordPress.
Goodness. We've we've got a show for you today. Largely dominated. I imagined by two stories. Gonna be a lot of WordPress 6.1 I think. And. This is a lovely CSS bit at the end, which you might accommodate. I dunno, we'll have to see. But I'm joined by three guests today. First stop returning one of the co-hosts.
Oh, he is just gone now. He is back. Is Mark West. How you doing, Mark? Doing good. How you doing, Nathan? Yeah, really good. Mark is the founder at WS Forum, as you can see on his little moniker there. This is of course a WordPress form plugin that allows you to create complex forms in a no code environment.
You can check it out by going to ws form.com and you can learn more. It's It's a pretty decent plugin, I'd say, and you've got a deal coming up, which we'll talk about or at least see in a moment. But thank you for joining us. Mark's one of the co-hosts, so he's back very regularly, but we're joined by two other people who've not been on before.
Let's let's see how they do over the next 90 minutes or so. First of all, Jonathan. Now Jonathan, it occurs to me that I'm not a hundred percent gonna get your surname right, but I'm gonna give it a try cause we didn't say it before the show is, it Desrosiers.
Close. I say Desrosiers.
[00:03:55] Jonathan Desrosiers: Okay. But it's really French, so it's, if you wanna be fancy, it's something like, er Yeah. I don't force people to do that. Jonathan,
[00:04:04] Nathan Wrigley: er Yeah. . Oh dear. I'm not gonna do that again either. Jonathan is a fully fulltime sponsored word press con contributor over at Blue Host. He's a WordPress core committer.
And as if you could make it up then, considering everything that's been happening this week, it was the word press 6.1, release coordinator. So definitely a points person talking about all of the bits and pieces that have been going on today. Anyway, it's an absolute pleasure to have you here.
Thanks for joining us. And finally, . Yeah, thank you. And finally, we have first timer as well, Steve Burge. I met Steve for the first time in Word Camp US not that long ago, and we got him on the show. Steve, how are you? Not too bad. Not too bad. Good. We're dominated. Look, it's like this is the first time it's been like 75% British.
This is yeah. Although the Mark and Steve are both fled Britain. I don't know if we can say that you are fully British anymore, but Steve is interested in writing and publishing. His team develops plugins for publishers and although he hasn't written it in his biography, they produce the very cool publish press plugin.
What's the URL for that, Steve? Is it just publish press.com? Yeah, it is. Okay, good. Good. Okay. Somebody says that the, what are we seeing here? We've got a few bits and pieces saying that the, Oh, the comments are disabled on the livestream. Yeah. I'll fix that in just a moment. Sorry. That's my fault.
There's a little bit of housekeeping that I have to do typically before a podcast episode starts. Mostly it's automatic and it sorts itself out, and it just occurred to me that I forgot to go and fix it. So in a moment when somebody else starts talking I'll go and update it and I'll get everybody to refresh the page and you can just start watching the video again.
Yeah, that's my fault. Totally my fault, and I'm so sorry about that. Okay. Firstly, if you are watching the show and you can't comment, then I've got your, another job for you instead. And that is to go and share it. Go and share it to WP Builds.com/live. Let people know that you're coming, but also in the tweet say, don't come for three minutes, cuz that it'll be at least that long.
before I manage to go on live. Fix the fix the comments. Another way though, if you are in the Facebook group that we've got, you can go and comment over there and the chat should pick it up, whether you're on Facebook or YouTube comments, you don't need to be a member of the group. And also, if you're over there, Facebook, don't give us your avatar or username unless you go through the little step of going to the top in the post and clicking on the link in there.
It's chat.re stream.io/fb. And yeah. And then you should be able to get in. Let's see if anybody has got in. Yeah, some people have. Oh yeah. So here's a way to get around that problem. If you're on WP Builds.com/live, just click on the YouTube video and just go over to YouTube.
Cuz all I do is I just basically embed the comments from YouTube. So just go over there. I'll still fix it anyway, but if you really do wanna comment, that would be lovely. That would be great. So let's see who we got in the chat this morning. We've got Rob Cairns. Good morning, Rob from Can. Hello Rob.
Very nice to have you. And he's saying hello to all three of you guys as well. That's nice. We've also got Elliot Sabe. How you doing Elliot? Nice to have you. Good morning. Says Peter Ingersol from Bari Connecticut. US. I'm taking, It's not that warm over there. Certainly isn't here at the moment. And we've got a Facebook user.
So this is the problem that we face. I don't know who you are unless you go through the process of clicking on that link and. Trish Murphy. Good morning from Kentucky. Yeah. Nice. Okay, let's get stuck into the word pressy. Bits and pieces, shall we? First off, couple of bits of promotional stuff for me, if you don't mind.
Here's our website, WP Builds.com. If you fancy seeing what we're up to each and every week. We produce multiple bits of content. Just go and stick your email address in this form and we'll keep you updated. We've got a Black Friday deals page going on at the minute, and ooh, look at that.
Mark. Look, there's a, the top there. Yeah, there's little chat . And it's a searchable filterable list. These spots at the top are sponsored. So first of all, big thank you to WS form Stellar WP Gravity Forms and GoDaddy, who are the wider sponsor of the podcast as well. Thanks to them for sponsoring that page.
But essentially it's a searchable, filterable list of Black Friday deals. People are just emailing them into me all the time. If you're a plug-in developer and you wanna add your deal, Press this little button and fill out the form. We'll stick it on the page. We get quite a lot of track visits there, even every year.
Anyway, it's at WP Builds.com/black and also trying to raise a bit of money for Big Orange Hearts. We've got this awards page. It's at WP Builds.com/awards. It's just a bit of fun really, if you donate 20 bucks or more to Big Orange Heart and then send me the link of your receipt or send me an image of your receipt, I will put you on the awards page and guarantee that you will win whatever category it is that you want to be in.
So far the there's only, we've only got six. Six people signed up. But the best podcaster who talks and owns a shed is Arthur Crap. . Go and ask Bob Don about that. Best form plugin, beginning with Ws is of course WS form. Best CRM named after Groundhog Day is Ground Dog crm. Best Nathan Wrigley Impersonate.
It was Michelle Ette last week. That was funny. And the most influential. WordPress podcast, of course, WP Watercolor. I do. Thank you guys. We've raised a few hubs there already for big orange charts, so a worthy course, A worthy cause. Indeed. Yeah. Yes. Okay, let's get stuck into it. WordPress 6.1. What I would describe as a pretty gigantic release, a boatload of goodness in here.
Do you know what, Jonathan, I could really rattle through this and spend 10 minutes of time just going through all the bits and pieces that I think are really good, But how about we just hand it over to you, Considering that, you were very much involved in this, do you want to just run through the bits and pieces that you are pleased with or proud of or enjoy?
[00:10:31] Jonathan Desrosiers: Unfortunately I think we're in the same boat. We'll just end up taking up the whole time, but That's fine. We're
[00:10:36] Nathan Wrigley: all good. .
[00:10:37] Jonathan Desrosiers: Yeah. This release was really great because we were able to bring. Sometimes the releases are really feature heavy. We're adding a lot of new stuff, and sometimes there's not a lot of new features that are ready or don't make the cut in time.
And we, we spend a lot of time refining things and bug fixing and that type of stuff. But this one was really, I feel struck a really great balance in the middle where, there's a lot of new features, there's a lot of bug fixes. We're hearing a lot of great things about the performance improvements that are in this release.
At Blue House we're seeing that across the board there's a big performance benefit from this release. And that's a major kudos to now there's a specific performance team. And they've, they have been doing a lot of great job laying the groundwork for future things like better WebP support and Core.
But also they're, they monitor. Week to week as changes are made in WordPress, they're doing constant testing and making sure there are no performance regressions. Which I think that we flagged at least four or five really specific changes that introduced some regressions. And so they were able to step back and flag these things and then help the people that, authored these features or these changes and worked on them and worked to find how to improve that a little bit and limit that impact that it had.
So I think that's one thing I'm proud of in this release is the performance increase in, in making that a lot better. There's a ton going on and it's just sometimes it's just really hard to tune all those moving parts at once while continuing to add things. Looking at my list of things that I had flagged one of my little favorite things in this release is you.
More easily add the featured image as the image used in a cover block. . And I think that little things like this that we add over time are gonna really further enhance that full site editing experience because that's such a common one where you have a big banner image at the top of your page.
And it wasn't exactly easy to do that until now. And this is just a great way, like I said to really hone in that editing experience. There's, as a developer, I always appreciate new filters and hooks that are added. There's a lot of filters added to the query loop, block this release.
So plugin developers, theme developers, they can have more control over what they're showing in these query loops that, that people add their blocks. And then another one that really enhances site editing in my opinion is the if you have a. A group block and you have nested blocks within that group, you can very easily lock all of those blocks within that group in one spot.
And so if you're creating these layout templates and you have, say your magazine and you have a bunch of journalists go in and construct pages from templates you can lock say, you know the mass head and maybe it's a great example. The cover image is set to show the featured image and you lock that and the header the title of that article and the byline, and then they can't edit that.
And so that way it's consistent across the board and all they have to do is worry about writing their article and publishing their piece and getting it reviewed. So these are just a few things from that list. I'll let some other people chime in with what they really are excited about in this release.
But just consistency and performance increases and a great balance across the board with features
[00:14:13] Steve Burge: And fixes.
Jonathan, can I ask, Oh, sorry.
[00:14:17] Mark Westguard: Go ahead. Go for Steve.
[00:14:19] Steve Burge: I was gonna ask Jonathan a question. You seem to have an interesting position being in Blue Host and on the WordPress team. Is there an advantage there in that you are able to quickly get massive amounts of testing feedback?
If 6.1 rolls out, you immediately have millions of sites with your employer who is able to give you feedback on what's going wrong or where things may need to be. .
[00:14:47] Jonathan Desrosiers: Sure. Yeah. Personally that's one of my items in my checklist is, after a release goes out, you let 10, 12 hours go by with the auto updates to go out.
And then as a normal checklist the guide is to check the sport forums check. Track, which is our ticket our bug tracking software GitHub, for the Gutenberg stuff and see if there's anything that's, it doesn't seem right, like we're getting a lot of reports about this.
We're getting a lot of reports about that. And, our support team internally at Blue Host is aware of the releases coming out. And if they do start to get us a volume of calls around specific topics that stand out above Norm, we always get you, the forums and support calls.
You'll always get, Hey, this theme doesn't work anymore when I update, or I'm having trouble updating my PHP version, whatever it may be. But there, there will be things from time to time that stand out and then that will help us get feedback on what needs to go into the next release.
6.1 0.1, which we're planning on happening before Thanksgiving in the us. There was a lot of little things that didn't quite make the cut in time. And we're hoping to get those in before the end of the year. And, continuing the theme, several of 'em are going to be performance improvements and just refining the features that that, that were included in six one.
[00:16:10] Nathan Wrigley: It's interesting you mentioning about things potentially not working out for the first time, I think ever. I got an email today from a theme developer saying that their theme is now in certain areas broken. I won't go into it if. Receiving emails from that theme developer, you'll get that email I'm sure very soon.
But that, that for them is a, Yeah. Is a real moment in time, isn't it? And they've, they've added a support request. It's on track now, and hopefully very soon something will get released, like you say, before Thanksgiving. But it was the first time I'd seen a developer camera like, Oh, I've really gotta get out to my audience quickly and basically tell them to not update because this is gonna, When you say first time, you mean in
[00:16:51] Jonathan Desrosiers: 6.1 specifically, or in
[00:16:53] Nathan Wrigley: general, Yeah.
First time I've received an email from a theme developer direct into my inbox to say, Actually a core update has broken stuff for us. Yeah, that was interesting. Unfortunately, there were a couple. Sorry, say that again.
[00:17:08] Steve Burge: Did they know you were having Jonathan on the
[00:17:09] Nathan Wrigley: podcast ? It would've been no. It was a generic, It went out to, it was the standard sort of template to the list.
It was a, Whoa, hold on. If you've got my theme and you're got production ready sites, just hold off. It arrived about an hour and a half ago, so clearly a few days have gone by, but yeah, it's been,
[00:17:29] Jonathan Desrosiers: Yeah I always recommend I'm aware of two or three plugins that had to do. Kind of rapid releases.
One was unrelated 6.1, but it was just happened to coincide with that release time. But yeah if you're a plugin or theme developer, I definitely recommend that you keep an eye on the make WordPress blogs because as we approach releases, especially when we get to the release candidate phase, there's a field guide that's published and the field guide contains all of the developer notes that get published for that release.
And these are all things that you need to be aware of or things that are changing, new things that are added with detailed best practices to follow. And if you keep an eye on these, even if you check in every couple weeks that will really help you avoid those instances where, hey, this is breaking.
I need to update ahead of time so that when the update goes out, my customers don't have any issues. And there's always those edge cases which at scale you need that scale to spot those issues. And people use one of the downfalls of WordPress is that people use it in many different ways, even ways that they're not supposed to or it's not intended to be used, right?
But that's also the great part of WordPress. And having that such a diverse user base and people using it in many different ways helps us find these really weird and intricate edge cases that we can fix and make it even more of a solid software for everybody.
[00:18:55] Nathan Wrigley: Thank you for that.
That was really interesting. I I dunno if Mark wanted to get in there, it sounded like you did at some point. If you have any observations on six point. Yeah,
[00:19:03] Mark Westguard: I was interested in the WP Query caching the database cashing that they've introduced, which didn't get an awful lot of noise, but I thought it was quite a powerful addition to 6.1 and I just wanted, with yourself, Jonathan, coming from Blue Host, I know a lot hosting companies have their own kind cashing mechanisms behind the scenes, which are often, other plugins rebranded or hidden away as a Annu plugin.
But is there anything you are aware of if with 6.1 introduced in that, is there any kind of overlap with performance plugins that we need to be aware of that, that may cause issues or our hosting providers disabling that cash in, in, in WordPress in favor of their owning?
[00:19:47] Jonathan Desrosiers: I think it's less. I don't think they would be disabling their specific type of caching. Yeah. It when we make these progressive improvements we always try to do it in a backwards compatible way. And so whether that means taking advantage of a core api, that's, which in this case is the caching api or some other mechanism that's in WordPress already at the, at as much as we can. And so it should just seamlessly work. We did have, one of the regressions we found in the testing was one of the changes related to caching change the keys that were used. And so what that means is that all the cash is related to that object type or that type of data is invalidated on update.
And so you could have some cash stampeding and all that stuff. . So it's better to make the. Continue to follow the same pattern, even if you change the underlying methodology of how that cash is determined or used. And that way you can avoid issues like that. So we ended up ripping that one out for the time being just to be safe.
But that's an example of that there. Most of the changes were in the cash API itself, so these were in the forms of functions that were doing their own thing to do something that's now possible elsewhere in Core. , usually that means using WP Query or something like that to get a list of certain type of pages.
Yeah. And so we really worked hard and Johnny Harris did a lot of work on that. There were a bunch of people on the performance team that helped with that as well. And yeah just really getting that the dry, do not repeat yourself aspect of things in there. There was just a lot of easy wins in that sense for this release.
[00:21:31] Mark Westguard: Yeah, I think that's a great update.
[00:21:33] Nathan Wrigley: The the performance team really do seem to have made an incredible impact in, what is it nine months or something? Probably 12 months getting on for now. So yeah, Q DDoS for all of the hard work
[00:21:43] Jonathan Desrosiers: Helps. We have a bunch of Google friends that Yeah, that's right.
Have long time contributors to the project that are interested in that, so
[00:21:49] Nathan Wrigley: yeah, indeed. Yeah. Couple of questions around just specifically for Jonathan, because I've got really no insight into how all this works. So if you are the sort of release lead, if you like how long ago did you need to commit to this?
How long ago did you need to go I don't know how, what the relationship is at Blue Host or whether they approached you and said, Look, we would love for you to step forward and do this. You've obviously committed a hundred percent of your time to the project anyway, but when do you have to commit?
How much time do you have to commit? Does it take over absolutely everything that you do? In other words, for the last 4, 5, 3 months, whatever, is this a hundred percent of your work schedule? Yeah, so
[00:22:31] Jonathan Desrosiers: I'm never really told what to do to contribute by Blue Host. It's really great. I get a lot of autonomy and it's just really, we're, me and my other team members that are contributors, we're just trusted to go out and do have a positive impact out in the community.
And that could be, I don't know, maybe one day I go take photos and submit it to the photo directory or whatever it is to help the community and help WordPresses. We're trusted to do that. The day to day core stuff, that's something that I'm into. So I usually gravitate towards, ticketing triage ticketing.
And I've been a part of a few WordPress releases in the past as well. But typically what happens is after a release goes out, there'll be a call for volunteers. And really anybody can be on a release squad. It does take a good amount of time. For example it depends on your role. Maybe you're a triage lead, which makes, basically means you're gonna go through all the tickets and help make sure they move forward towards resolutions or they get kicked out of the release if they're not gonna be ready.
Maybe you spend two hours a day doing that. And so some of those roles you might be able to do with less time. But the release coordinator role, I would say probably about 80% of my week was was helping to make sure things were not blocked make sure we were consistently communicating things that were going on as the release progressed making sure we were going to meet our goals of what we wanted to include and what was not going to be included.
We were clear why and how to move that forward for the next release. And then at the end, it obviously jacks up to about a hundred percent of my time. 120%, depending for yeah. There's always a crunch time rush. Especially before beta and release candidate. But yeah it's basically you can throw your name in the hat your hat in the ring, and based on qualifications and what you'd like to do the project leadership will just round everybody up.
Say, Hey, would you like to do this? Would you like to do that? This is what we have a spot for, or, How about you shadow this release? We have a lot of people this release and the next release you can do something of this nature. So yeah, if you're interested in that, I definitely recommend that even if you want to follow along or you wanna shadow someone take an eye out the make again, the make core blog.
That's a great place to follow and that, that would be going up there and you can throw your hat in the ring and try to become a part of the release
[00:25:02] Nathan Wrigley: team. Nice.
[00:25:03] Steve Burge: So Jonathan, this is the first time we've talked. What If you don't mind me asking, what skillsets are you bringing to your role? Are you primarily a developer, a project manager?
Both of those. What what's
[00:25:15] Jonathan Desrosiers: your background? Yeah, so I'm a developer. I I learned development in college and stuff, and I gravitated towards the php, WordPress community and stuck my teeth in there. So I've been working with WordPress since about 2007. And I've worked at agencies, I've worked at large universities in all just like building WordPress plugins and products and infrastructure around that.
And, I got contributing, started contributing at around 2012. And I just really like the idea of making. The software better for whoever might stumble across it and want to use it for whatever their needs are. Whether it's,
[00:26:00] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, go
[00:26:01] Steve Burge: ahead. So you knew exactly what you were getting into.
You've been doing this for 10 years. You had a very clear idea of exactly what being, taking this role would involve.
[00:26:12] Jonathan Desrosiers: Yeah I heavily contributed probably starting 2017. I would help run developer chats. I would help, contribute to tickets very regularly. When I was at Boston University I would work with tickets.
We would discover issues. We would discover in our day to day, I would work to fix them in court itself. And so I was very familiar with the day to day and the how the community worked, how the community functions, how things got done. And I I specifically signed up for this job as a full-time contributor job, and I was fortunate enough to get that opportunity.
[00:26:48] Nathan Wrigley: That's so good. Would you do it again?
[00:26:49] Jonathan Desrosiers: Yes I would some, you probably think I'm crazy, some people, but
[00:26:55] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, I imagine certainly over the last few weeks, particularly leading up to the deadline, I imagine that that there is a certain level of stress that's involved and, staying up and burning the candle at both ends a little bit.
[00:27:10] Jonathan Desrosiers: I'd love to call out something that Michelle just said is that you don't have to be a developer. I'm speaking specifically from my background as a as a developer, I have a developed background. As a release coordinator, I'm serving more as a almost like a project manager, more like a community manager.
I'm managing this group of people that are trying to work towards a common goal. But even if you're a designer, you could help design the default theme. You can documentation. If you enjoy technical writing, you can help with the documentation for the release. There's so many ways that you can get involved.
So if you're not a developer, I'm speaking from that background, but that's not a specific background. You have to be able to get involved with WordPress or the release squad.
[00:27:57] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Thank you. And a good point, Michelle. I think there's loads of different things that you can do to push the project forward just so that if if you are at wp builder.com/live and you refresh the page, the comments should now be active, so that's helpful.
But okay, a couple of things on that release. I think it might be good to just go through a few high level items. I probably looked at about six or seven articles about WordPress 6.1, and what was curious is that every single one of them had a different selection of best bits. So I just picked two.
And I'll go through some of the bits that, that these particular authors have highlighted as being really great. So we're over at WP Tavern, of course, that means Sarah Gooding at the moment. She emphasizes, you can see with the pictures the new arrangements for things, the new UI if you like, for doing things like borders and border radius and margin and padding and so on.
Jonathan, I think yeah, mentioned earlier about the ability to have the inner block locking so you can kind. Click a box, check a check mark if you like, and lock everything. Child, sorry, parent, right through to children. So that's a really nice addition as well. There's a whole kind of like different arrangement of doing the menus, but there's no images there.
But this is probably the thing which has got me most interested in this release. And this is just this really unusual default theme that we've now got. Unusual in the sense that it's essentially the old theme that we had, 2022. But with full sight editing, it's now been how to describe it. I'm gonna use the word skinned.
Let's go first skinned. If you install the WordPress 6.1, you'll get the 2023 theme, and along for the ride come 10 different Oh, style variations. There we go. And so they're using exactly the same content, but you can go through all 10 of them and whilst they broadly look the same, there's. Real large difference in the way that they present.
They might have different fonts or different font sizes or different margins and padding and spacing. And so it's really nice just to flick through and see how the content can be done differently. There was a website, I can't remember what it was called, and you could. You could, this is going back like 15 years.
You could go, it was something like CSS Zen Garden or something. Do you remember that? Does that ring any bells? And you could go there and you could flick through, you could click buttons and essentially it would show you how the website would be modified by just altering the css and it has that sort of feel to it.
You can really modify things just by clicking buttons. So that's really nice. There is an awful lot about this fluid typography, which is to like as well. This is the idea that rather than just assign certain break points and then the font size changes, there's a little video here which I may as well play it actually, cuz it really does show it beautifully.
You can see right there as the video starts when it's collapsed, heading up towards a kind of like tablet. Ratio. Then the typography just reduces fluidly. It doesn't suddenly break at different points. It gets bigger and bigger. Pixel by pixel, if you like, until it hits a certain point.
Then it goes no further on mobile. So that's all been added in. There's the ability now to, and I'll, I will make use of this every single week, multiple times. So nested items in things like list and quote blocks are now individual, like first relations now. So rather than having a list item that you can't move up and down, like you paragraph, you can now move those items around and you can style them differently and so on and so forth.
So that was Sarah Goodings take on it. And then just very quickly we had the Yost take on it as well. They talk about global styling being an important thing. I think everybody probably understands who's watching this show, what that means. But it's the ability to basically set things in one place and forget about them.
And if you need to tweak something, you can just go to this one source of authority and change them there. They talk about this 2023 theme as well, and the margins and the padding and the spacing. They also talked about, as Jonathan said, the ability now with just a click of a button, if you've got a cover block, you can use the featured image as the background for the cover block, which is really helpful.
Fluid typography comes in as well. Oh, and a whole bunch of new options with templates. So you can now set templates for posts, post types and individual post pages individual pages, as well as a whole load of archives. Things like categories. You can do a single categor or the whole, all categories and so on and so forth.
And then that's what I was mentioning. That, I think is the stuff that, that I would take away from there. Basically, in other words, it's a giant release. And Jonathan Bravo
[00:32:44] Jonathan Desrosiers: for, I only deserve a small portion of the credit there. Yeah. There were like two others. A few other small things that I thought of while you went through there is one of the great things about this release was that 2023 is marked accessibility ready, which means it meets the accessibility requirements of the of the theme directory.
So that's great. Obviously for anybody that may have some type of disability that needs to get started with site. The default theme that comes with WordPress actually get started with. And the great part about that is 2023 is a paired down version of 2022, I believe. Yeah. And 2022 also has it, and then we've also been able to add it to 2021.
So this is a great example of my next point where we're building we've had these. Hundred, 200 separate things that have been getting worked on that all work together, but now we're standardizing all of this and so these themes are taking advantage of that foundation in the block editor, and we're able to build off of that and bring more consistency with the padding and the margin to all those small parts.
As well as the accessibility aspects and all these great features and improvements that everybody's been working on. We can now more easily bring it everywhere in the theme in, in, on the site through
[00:34:07] Nathan Wrigley: these changes. Yeah. Yeah. It does feel like a release where loads and loads of little changes.
We, we literally could have done an hour and a half going through just all of the bits and pieces, but there were some of the high level items, so it's massive. It's really big and feels to me, I don't mean this to come out the way it might come out. So forgive me if this comes out in a negative way, cuz that's not my intention.
It feels as if we are now approaching a point where really non-technical people can begin to customize things effectively and not really have to go through boatloads of documentation and end up in support forums for how do I do this. I think a lot of it from here on in is available to basically anybody who's got a mouse and the ability to sit there and try things out.
Great. I think that's
[00:34:58] Jonathan Desrosiers: a great thing. I don't think that's negative at all because as technical people and building products, that's really our goal, right? Is to make our product easy enough that anybody can use. And so while it might put certain parts of our jobs out of use or out of need there's new areas that come up that we can.
Focus on and get our products to spend, places to spend our time. There's new places to spend our time for things that, we might have found boring or not really that, that exciting. I think back to making lots of custom meta meta boxees and to control how things look right.
And now we can just have a style that json file and we can focus on other things and bringing more to our customers or whatever our backgrounds might be. Whatever we work.
[00:35:47] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Thank you. Quick comment from Peter. Thanks. Peter says it's important to remind folks that many of the design improvements are theme dependent.
Yeah, good point. Especially if you are not using a block theme, which I think is probably fair to say, is 99% of the people at the moment this includes the margin padding, et cetera. So yes, that is a really good point. You to make the best use of this, you would need to be using a block based theme, so obviously 2023.
Of them templates.
[00:36:17] Jonathan Desrosiers: Sorry, , I told you I could go on forever. Yeah. Yes. But there are some block templates now that can be used in classic themes. Classic style themes as well. Yes. So we've been able to bring blocks to these classic themes through the editor, but more and more we're finding these one off things that we're able to bring to classic theme users so that they can ease that transition almost to a block-based theme in the
[00:36:39] Nathan Wrigley: future.
How does that look in the UI then? So if you've got a classic theme, do you have a new menu, IEM or something? I think
[00:36:47] Jonathan Desrosiers: it's cuz. Classic themes will still use the block editors. So I think it's the same interface. That's honestly one of the, one of the features I didn't get a lot of time to play around with, so I don't wanna speak for sure.
[00:36:59] Nathan Wrigley: I just wonder where you'd find the ui. Yeah, because now you, it's a sort of all hijacked, isn't it? The whole well site editor is the menu item. And obviously that's not there if you've got a classic theme. So anyway, maybe somebody, maybe Peter, if you've played with that, you can you can look for.
Yeah. Thank you. All right, let's let's move on a little bit. Let's talk about some other bits and pieces. I did a podcast episode this week with Matt Cromwell, who is the he is one of the founders, I'm gonna say one of the co-founders, cuz I think it was with Devin Walker as well. I'm not a hundred percent on that, but I think that's true of give Wp did a podcast episode with him all about the fact that several weeks ago there were some statistics removed from the WordPress repo in terms of the statistics about whether your plugin had gone up or down in install numbers.
That was all removed. I still quite haven't, in my own mind, got to the bottom of why all that was removed. First of all, it sounded like security and then it sounded like the, they just weren't fit for purpose or they were, I don't know, maybe the API endpoints were getting plundered. I'm not entirely sure.
But they've gone. And so that led Alex Denning to write an episode sorry. Write a blog post, basically saying, Look, can we just all say now that the WordPress repository for an upsell plug if you've got a paid for plugin, his contention is don't bother using the repo. Just put all of your efforts into the commercial plugin.
Have it wherever you have it, and the time and effort that you would spend on.org supporting it and all of that kind of stuff. Put it into the paid version and do it that way. Matt Cromwell, within a day or so had written his own blog post, countering all of that and saying, Look, it really works for us over at Give, We convert a lot of free users over to the paid tier.
And whilst there are, bits of it that are not so great, and the removal is. The statistics and so on and so forth. It's still a great channel for us. We like having a free version. That's a lovely thing to be able to offer. It might not be the full moni, but it's still entirely usable. And also they were saying that their conversion rates are pretty good.
They convert into into double digits or like more into the 20 and 25% kind of area. So it's a really good marketing channel for them. And because I know that we've got two plugin developers on the show today, I thought this would be an interesting piece to talk about both of you.
I think I'm right in saying I've got a free version on the repo. And so yeah, let's just have that conversation. What's your thoughts on this? Mark Ws form Steve has got published press. Do you see this as do you wake up here every morning and think is it a bit of a grind, the WordPress repo?
Is it a good channel? What do you think? Sometimes
[00:39:59] Mark Westguard: sometimes it can be a bit of a grind. It's as a recent WordPress plugin, we've been in the repro probably three, four years now. It is a challenge to get any kind of exposure there initially because you are naturally gonna be at the bottom of the list because you've got no review.
You've got very few installs, et cetera, et cetera. I had a actually had a call last week with Matt Wick and Jo from WordPress, and discussed briefly and Matt made a good point that, it's not necessarily total installs that can get you a good ranking. There's a lot more in the algorithm that goes into the ranking there.
And and that's evident with us. We've managed to. Bring our ranking up and we have people below us that maybe have a hundred thousand, 200,000 installs, but we're still above them because we've got some great reviews we keep on top of the support requests and everything else. That being said, it is a struggle.
And it's basically for us it's, we are the new kids on the block. And one of the things I said to Matt was he asked me, he said, what can I do for you? And I said, One of the things I would love to see in the repo is or, on WordPress do org is given these smaller plugins, these newer plugins, a voice the we tend to hear about all the big boys all the time, understandably.
But there are some fantastic other plugins out there that do some really great things and also do things in new innovative ways. And I'd love to be, I'd love to see a bit more. Ability for the, for those people to be heard. Maybe through the WordPress org, the org.com blog perhaps.
But yeah, the active installs thing, going back to that point, that was. For us was a little bit difficult because now we obviously, when we push a release, we can't see increases or decreases, although I'm told that there are gonna be they're working on some new metrics for that, which I think will be fantastic.
I used to love sites like active installs that would, show me that I'm going in the right direction, I'm not going south, which is good. So those sites are effectively not working right now because of that, but hopefully they'll come back online when those new metrics are available.
And I guess I'm excited to see what they're gonna do with that. And I believe there was a down on your list.
[00:42:36] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah we can just push into that one. Yeah. We'll push into that one very quickly before we go to to what Steve thinks. This is a new site, a new place that you can visit, which is hoping to bridge the gap.
I dunno if this project's gonna be attempting to stay around for forever, but again, it's in the tavern, It's Sarah Gooding. There's a new service that you can go and look at. It's called WP Rankings. And it was put together. Because of this removal of these statistics they built this tool and I'm not entirely sure where it's gathering the data from.
I read this piece very briefly just because I knew that it would fit in with what we were talking about. But you can see it does show certain types of data. It shows things moving up, things going down. You can categorize and, you can search and filter and so on and so forth. I dunno if this is a destination for the likes of you, Mark and you, Steve, in the future, but it's called WP Rankings.
And you can find the article in the tavern on that. So maybe there's an alternative place to go, but I guess the issue may be it's yet another place to go and it would be nice to, have these updated statistics all in the one place. Yeah. Yeah. And
[00:43:54] Mark Westguard: one, one thing we've mentioned in the past is, maybe if this, if, I dunno, if one of the concerns was that the data was public even just as a contributor to one of those reposts to be able to see those stats would be awesome.
I'm not quite sure how WP rankings work. I had a quick look at it. It seems to rank them by maybe total installs or something. It's obviously mining data that it can mine right now and then keeping that data historical. But it's quite cool. It's nice to be able to see I think, it gives you a ranking of overall across the tens of thousands of plugins that are there where you're currently ranked.
And it'll give you a graph showing if you're growing or. Declining. So it gives you another kind of indicator in terms of, what your active install count
[00:44:38] Nathan Wrigley: is. One of the, one of the things that Matt mentioned, Matt, that is to say Matt Cromwell on the podcast, not Matt Mullen work that you obviously have a chat with is he said that exactly like you, that depending on how there's a whole bunch of metrics and obviously your historical.
Install count is one of the metrics and it likely is quite a big one. Companies like Yost who have got 5 million plus they're gonna, they're gonna do well on the search for SEO because they're Yost and they've got 5 million installs. Yeah. But it was exactly like you said, the metrics.
You can, and Matt said he'd actually looked at the algorithm, which makes up that search in WordPress dot orgs repository and it's a blunt instrument. It's not Google, it's not looking for synonyms and things like that and trying to work out what were you really trying to look for there.
No, it's just whatever you look for is it's gonna give you that information back. Yeah. But things like the speed at which you get through your support tickets is one of the metrics. Your meta descriptions is one of the metrics. If you are a good custodian of your plugin and you do update the support tickets, that is a metric which is firing in.
The other point that he made was that it's just a jolly good place to, to actually get Google rankings, because if you've got a fresh new plugin, the wordpress.org repo page is very likely to get picked up with Google and send Google based traffic to your plugin probably before the repost starts to do its work.
But again, Matt made the point that you made Mark, which was, it would be nice to have like a Rising Stars thing, a bit of the UI somewhere in the plugin repository where things which had got talked about. I don't even know what that means, but, something which had a, last week it was on three installs.
This week it's on 30. That's a thousand percent growth or something, It's just, that's good for them. Let's give some traction. Yeah, let's make that obvious and those kind of things. So it might be rising stars, it might be stuff that's been featured in the news. I don. . Yeah. And
[00:46:42] Mark Westguard: that was, one of the things I mentioned was who do they pick?
Who would they call out? So yeah maybe plugins that are starting to get some traction somewhere, either in the WordPress media or through install counts that jumping through the roof or something like that. But yeah, it was interesting. I was also looking at Matt's, like Glen, that plugin that he does.
Yeah. And he gives some really good advice on that about how to improve your plugin and improve your ranking. There are things that you can do over and above getting those installs to get yourself a little bit more exposure. Things like, just what tags you are choosing, and things like that. Yeah. I, going back to the very original question about is it worthwhile being in the plug-in directory? That
[00:47:30] Nathan Wrigley: was my next question. Yeah. What do you reckon? I absolutely
[00:47:32] Mark Westguard: think it is. Okay. I think it. I think it also depends on the model that you've got.
So some of these plugins you will install the free plugin and buy premium things around that, right? In which case your free install count is gonna just naturally grow. Ours, for example, we have a completely separate pro plugin. And you uninstall
[00:47:56] Nathan Wrigley: the free, you uninstall, right? That's different.
[00:47:58] Mark Westguard: Yeah. Yeah. So I lose a free install every time somebody purchases our product effectively. But the reason we do that is that we didn't really wanna have two plugins necessarily need to be installed, cuz there's a lot of overlap there. So yeah, I just, it depends on who. What your model is.
But we for sure get conversions through the free directory and it's something that we'll continue to do and I like having a light version available for people in the community that just need a, basic contact us for. Yeah. So it's a nice way to give back to the
[00:48:35] Nathan Wrigley: community.
Yeah. That's nice. And I know that Steve does things for free cuz I use one of them. I, us I forget Steve, what it's called the unpublish plugin that you create, which takes a published prop plugin and then you feed a date into it and then at that particular point it returns it to being a draft or what have you.
I use make use of that pretty much all the time. And so anyway, the wider point about the repository what's your thoughts? It's
[00:49:05] Steve Burge: absolutely valuable to be on there. I guess everyone hates everyone who's involved in one of these directory businesses, probably has a love hate relationship with the one they're on.
If you're an Amazon seller, you ha have a love hate relationship with the Amazon rankings, Shopify WordPress, you both love and hate it at the same time. We get the original question was debating between Matt and Alex, and they're both right, of course. That the best strategy is to have a good content strategy plus a good repo strategy.
We write a lot of content. We work really hard on our repo rankings, and the two actually link together because a lot of the best tutorials and documentation improvements we write come from the people who stumble across the plugin on the repo. Run into a problem, find a bug, have a question. And our entire content strategy is basically built around people's questions.
We're not banging out articles. The top 10 forms plugins that start with Ws
[00:50:23] Mark Westguard: or
[00:50:24] Nathan Wrigley: the top. What's the, with you? What's
[00:50:29] Steve Burge: the perfect, We're not doing like the top 10 blue host contributors to WordPress or anything. None of that kind of blog spam, the top 10 WordPress podcasts, , there's a lot of people that have that content strategy, right?
Our content strategy is very focused on people's questions and the best source of new questions, of new feature ideas. Just people who have things you hadn't thought about before. Those people are often coming from the repo. But yeah, Alex is right and Matt is right. I think they're both, and they both know it too.
I think they're both trying to get a little attention for their own
[00:51:13] Nathan Wrigley: services. So certainly worked . Yeah. When it comes
[00:51:18] Steve Burge: to the advanced installs the to, when it comes to the data that was removed, I always find, found it useful because every time we screwed up, somehow it would appear on those rankings that I would look at one of our plugins.
And we've got about do probably about 15 on the repo. Now, anytime I would look at the weekly increases for one of our plugins and it had suddenly turned negative, I could guarantee 100% that I'd mess something up, that we'd added a bug and a new release and I would spend the next two, three hours trying to figure out what it was.
Cuz every time that active in-store chart went south, We'd
[00:52:04] Nathan Wrigley: messed up. That's fascinating. It's so I missed it for that reason. It's like a support request, but with nobody at the other end actually telling you just like click rage, click on install . Yes. You're
[00:52:17] Mark Westguard: incredibly thankful when somebody actually sends you a support ticket and says, This is not working, because that's worth.
Its waiting goal. Cuz there's a lot of people that will just go deactivate. Get rid of Yeah. Get rid. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, it's great to get that feedback from people
[00:52:33] Nathan Wrigley: there.
[00:52:33] Jonathan Desrosiers: There's also lot people that will just go right to Twitter and be like, Oh, this piece of crap doesn't work. That's right.
And so to have that, those people with that mindset of, Hey, let me help them fix this, is a really great thing to have. Yeah.
[00:52:46] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Not, yeah. Even the angry
[00:52:48] Steve Burge: people on Twitter are useful.
[00:52:50] Jonathan Desrosiers: Yes. not as productive sometimes, but,
[00:52:53] Nathan Wrigley: Useful. That's a bit of a time suck, but. How
[00:52:57] Steve Burge: is some of the most, some of the angriest people we've ever come across in support have also been some of the most useful,
[00:53:03] Nathan Wrigley: Interesting.
That's not to say
[00:53:05] Steve Burge: this is not a green light to get angry with
[00:53:07] Nathan Wrigley: us, but , Yeah. Yeah. They're, you're not encouraging that the so I think the verdict, certainly from the two panelists here who've got the plugins in the repo, that's a very valuable strategy and they're gonna continue using it. So anyway, go and check that podcast out.
It was on WP Tavern it was episode number 49 of the Jukebox podcast, so you can check that out.
[00:53:28] Steve Burge: Interesting. Also that you said that Matt was converting from, give WP 25%.
[00:53:35] Nathan Wrigley: He, I can't remember the exact number, but I'm pretty sure it was 27.
[00:53:41] Steve Burge: If I was converting at 27%, I. Not be on this podcast. I would be on the beach.
[00:53:47] Nathan Wrigley: With my feet. What are you doing? . And also he like he's getting something. I'm pretty sure that's the number. So if anybody is actually listening to this and has heard the podcast and can remember the number I'm pretty sure that's what he was saying. But also he's I think they're, their install base is 100,000 plus.
So it, it's a big, it's a big footprint that they've created. He would be in the category of, elite plugin I suppose, if there was such a thing. But yeah. Anyway, that
[00:54:16] Mark Westguard: may well be down to their model as well. , you'd still give WP then if you wanna do certain types of payments and stuff like that, then you'll buy a small add-on for it.
They've done it the right way for sure. .
[00:54:30] Nathan Wrigley: I think they did quite a lot of due diligence to make that work. And of course, whoever this Facebook user is has remained anonymous. Ew. Look, Mark West hanging out with Martin. Just, it was a quick call. Just drop that little bomb in. And just kinda all casual Yeah, I was having a chat with and er, Yeah.
How nice. They they want to bend your ear about that kinda stuff, or maybe it was the other way around. You want to bend their ear? Let's let's move on. So I, couple of things that I wanted to mention on behalf of other people. This first one I'm afraid to say you can't actually see this unless you already own the plugin, but I do just want to give.
Of I, who is the developer of WP Code Box have any of you ever come across WP Code Box? It's a cracking plugin that he's made, and it essentially allows you to, let's say, take PHP snippets or CSS snippets and you put them in with conditional logic in, into various different parts of your website.
So it's just a really nice UI insider WordPress to do all that kind of stuff. So he is been helping people to create snippets rather than install a plugin. If you just wanna do a simple little thing and there's a snippet out there somewhere, why not deploy the snippet? And the intention is that people will become more reliant on snippets and less plugins.
I was talking to him the other day and he said to me, Yeah, I'm doing the whole thing in reverse. I've I've decided to , I don't even know how to describe this. I've decided that I'm gonna create an AI. Which will make snippets by typing in sentences. And I thought Blum neck. Alright, let's see if you can do it.
And here's an example of it. So the intention here is, first of all, you have to have a WP Code box account to make this work. But the only reason for that is cuz it's in like super alpha stage. So it doesn't wanna get people out there creating all these snippets, putting them into their websites, and then obviously discovering the AI broke.
And now my website is just a white screen of death. The but check it out. You go to create a code snippet. Come on, somebody give me something reasonable that we could ask this AI to generate something within the bounds of like normal. That might be possible. And we'll see if it pushes anything out in our direction.
[00:56:47] Steve Burge: Mark Steve how about
someone in a subscriber role who joined in
[00:56:53] Nathan Wrigley: the last week? So show subscribers from the last week. Is that what you're. Sure, let's go with that. Let's see if it can do that. I don't know. I have absolutely no way if this is gonna work or not. So there we are. It's created a bit of code.
You guys are gonna be far more able to tell me whether or not this is legit or not. So it says subscribers array. Subscribers start, end date, obviously minus one week. Is that what we said? Did we say in the last week? It gets
[00:57:24] Jonathan Desrosiers: negative points for using gravity forms there instead of Ws form?
[00:57:31] Nathan Wrigley: Ok. I suppose that's fine, the little filter there. But it's had, I guess it had to jump one way or the other, maybe in the future. But look what we did . You just had to write in English the
[00:57:44] Mark Westguard: example you did earlier, Nathan. Was really
[00:57:47] Nathan Wrigley: impressive. Let me go for that one then. Let me just refresh that again.
That one seems to have pulled
[00:57:52] Mark Westguard: a wrong piece of code,
[00:57:53] Nathan Wrigley: but the one, Yeah, I think, yeah. So let's be very clear. He's just wanting people to check this out at a minute. So I said Yeah it's show posts and I just made it up in there. What did I say? Show posts the category. Category.
[00:58:08] Steve Burge: Let's could have using the GitHub co-pilot.
[00:58:10] Nathan Wrigley: Oh, let's do the category. Oh, I don't know West Guard. Cuz obviously all websites have a category. West Guard from the category West Guard. You, it skip first or something? Yeah I'll put skip, skip the first and I'm gonna use one st. First. Post. Let's see what that does. We're hoping that this is gonna work because something similar worked a little while ago, so it's trying to generate something.
It's having a bit of a think, Oh, there it is. Let's go back. So what's it showing? Show the post. So there you go. Rename West Guard. The offset is minus one. Sorry, is one post per page. Okay. And then it's done. The query, da, the post, the title. So it's showing, a limited range of different things, but what, That's essentially correct.
The robot doesn't
[00:59:02] Jonathan Desrosiers: scale though. It's gonna break eventually. But
[00:59:06] Nathan Wrigley: my point is, if you want to learn this kind of stuff, that is a really nice little tool to do this. And he is very clear. This is the first run at it. So he is trying to build out the AI in the background now where. Is really impressive I think as well is if you have a piece of code and I haven't got anything to hand, so I won't bother, but the idea is that it does it in reverse as well.
You paste in a bit of code that you are confused by. And the intention is that it would show you in just in plain English text what the code is trying to do. And he did actually send me a screenshot of something and it would, there was quite a, I don't know, a dozen lines of code and then it just explained it in English sentences complete with punctuation and full stops and commas.
And I just thought, how. How amazing is this? So this is called WP Code D WP C O P E y.com. My understanding is that you can't log in unless you've got a WP Code Box account. So if you have one of those, go and play and give a video to some necessary feedback, which would be amazing.
Somebody says creative popup. No, I refuse to create popup. I'm not doing it. But just go and check it out. I just think it's pretty remarkable. You can see some other things here, modify WordPress code snippet and explain an error in a code snippet as well. That'll be quite useful. Yeah. Yeah,
[01:00:30] Mark Westguard: that's a really, I think this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt like any other system.
It's, like the people that produce Bert. I always say to use it as a tool to a company, what you're doing, don't
[01:00:43] Nathan Wrigley: use it to spit stuff out. What their product is trying to do is they're trying to make it so that you've got like a cloud of all your snippets. So you install his plugin and then you take that plug into the different websites that you're using, and you then just suck the snippets out of the cloud and put them where you want them with whatever logic you want to apply there.
And his intention is to get a list of bonafide working snippets into not just your, the, your own individual cloud, but his cloud, his plugins, cloud. The idea being that you could say oh, I don't know I have a need for a particular kind of snippet. Is it in that repository there? Yeah, I'll download it, have a look at it, check if it's suitable, and then this would bolt alongside of that if this does put out some decent stuff.
But Brilliant. One thing that'd be
[01:01:29] Jonathan Desrosiers: really cool is this, but for creating style json file, so you could say a theme that's like red based with green highlights and it would maybe use some design trends, analyze design trends or something, and spit out a style that json file that has your theme.
[01:01:47] Nathan Wrigley: It'd be cool to experiment with. Yeah he's definitely I think somebody to watch cuz he's, I think his his approach to all of this is very cool. So interesting. Very clever. Yeah, very clever. And obviously he's building out the ai, he knows it's imperfect. He just wanted people to just have a little go and see if it threw up any errors and I just thought it was well worth looking at.
Okay. A couldn't be, sorry,
[01:02:11] Steve Burge: somebody was, I stumbled across the guy's Facebook group a while ago and I thought it was just a regular plugin. I think maybe someone said, there was a published press question in there and they said, Hey Steve, join this Facebook group. And I joined and answered.
I've been a member since then and it's amazing how busy and interactive it is. Just for a plugin with some little coach snippets essentially is how I saw it. The guy has really built a, you. An interactive sharing community around his plugin, which I think was a free version until very recently.
[01:02:48] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. He had a, Yeah, it was on a, it was on a really, I think it was a lifetime pricing and it was a very small amount of money. I forget, but there, I, maybe you guys don't see this because your developers and your full-time honor it all of that. I see this little undercurrent of community members who really want to get into this whole snippet thing.
They wanna dabble in the code, but they don't wanna make it their full-time thing. Their designers, by definition they enjoy using, I don't know, their page builder to speed up that process and so on. Maybe they're gonna start getting into things like full site editing, but they do realize that it's probably a bit heavyweight to install.
I don't know. Great big plug. To do one tiny little thing. You check one box and you've got 12 things, which are unchecked. Why not just find something that scratches that itch and go and figure out how WordPress does things. And by looking at the query that it generates or the little function that it's added in, you start to get an idea.
Oh, okay. That's called that. And that's how that works. Okay. Then I just think there's this little tinkerer community, which he seems to be fostering really well, which is really nice.
[01:03:56] Jonathan Desrosiers: You gave me another interesting idea is there's a site called the Developer Hub on WordPress, if you're not familiar with it.
. And every time there's a release, there's a documentation par that's run. And every function, every action hook, all the inline documentation associated with that code is displayed on that website. And at the bottom there are comment forms where you could add call outs to specific ways that works or add specific examples.
And so I wonder if. Generating that, using that software to to generate examples, contextual examples based on the documentation, the inline documentation, and then it, someone maybe like approves or disapproves them and it finds itself and using that to add examples for people to learn when they look up certain functions or certain
[01:04:51] Nathan Wrigley: action hooks.
Yeah. Cuz I'm imagining for his own product, at least anyway, he's gonna want some kind of moderation, which presumably will feed into the ai, this worked, tick. Okay, that's helpful. This didn't Okay. Cross that wasn't something that was a blind alley or what have you. Yeah. Yeah. That's really interesting.
It's just a a, just like a little subset of WordPress users, which is just, Yeah. Fascinating. Anyway, let's push on. That's WP Code D. This is totally changing the subject and in a really interesting way. I think actually this is an article which is written on wordpress.org. It's hand. Hannah op can.
And this is Hannah. I've met Hannah at, I think it was WordPress London. I met her, or no, it was WordPress, Manchester as well. I think I've met her. She's started up a thread here, which came out on the 1st of November, and it's called, Now we have a sustainability channel in making WordPress Slack.
What should we do? And this may have crossed your crossed your path, or it may not have done in the WordPress making slack. There is now this sustainability channel, it seems to have got a hundred people in it, which I think is a pretty cracking start. So we all know what sustainability means, to some extent.
But I think Hannah's really just asking the question, What does that mean in terms of WordPress? How do we as WordPress users, customers, developers, and what have you, how do we make WordPress a more sustainable thing? And then she drew my attention to a particular comment. Now I hope I can find it.
Yeah, here we go. Da. She says, I'm going to post a comment I've seen from somebody else called Meritor in a Slack post. She's talking about the idea of listing sustainable WordPress themes and indicating it might be something she might be interested to contribute in. We were talking a minute ago about raising the profile of plugins based upon certain new criteria that haven't been imagined yet.
What if we did the same for themes? If in the theme repository we were able to say, this comes in at only a certain amount of Let's say kilobytes. That might be a useful metric. I don't really know. But obviously with WordPress powering a gigantic proportion of the web WordPress, silly thing to say, but WordPress is responsible for quite a lot of pollutants.
I would've thought going into the environment. Fossil fuels are being burned to power. The machines which are powering the servers, powering the computer that I'm using each and every day and so on and so forth. And if people are browsing your websites and it's got less in, then that could only be a good thing.
So really I'm just opening a discussion amongst the four of us. Have you got any thoughts on this? Does this even matter to you? Does this concern you in the slightest? It obviously does Hannah and I think she's making a strong point.
[01:07:41] Steve Burge: We did a whole series of podcasts last year with Hannah and others about environmental issues in WordPress.
And I gave up in the end cause it was really hard to find anyone that cared. Or at least openly cared about it. And I'm glad that Hannah has finally found a place to connect those people together. Cuz when we started getting interested in talking with people about environmental issues, I found Hannah and interviewed her.
And then is there anyone else who has any interest in this? And she's I think there's a guy, Danny, who does the Mail Chimp for WordPress plugin. And there's actually some information about Danny's plugin in the comments thread that you shared. You shared there, Nathan. And she said there's Danny, but I think he's on vacation for three months.
And then there's, and yeah, it was a, it was really hard to find anyone that was parti interested in this topic, so I'm glad it's finally bubbling up. I think from, we ended up doing six or seven podcasts and the two. Actionable items that came up time and time again were plugin developers or core developers trying to make their code as lightweight as possible, and also hosting companies trying to move to green hosting.
Yeah. To one of the videos we have is with a automatic employee who
[01:09:15] Nathan Wrigley: had started, Was it Jack Lennox by any chance?
[01:09:17] Steve Burge: No. It was Yair, an Israeli guy working for Automatic, and he was helping automatic move entirely towards hosting, powered by by Green Energy. So that was really the key takeaway was if you're on the hosting side, you can really make an impact.
And if you're a developer, a plugin or theme developer, you can make an impact by making your code as
[01:09:42] Nathan Wrigley: lightweight as possible. Here's my thought on your initial comments, Steve and it's this, right? Every time I get in my car, and I turn the ignition, I'm to, Okay. I might be aware, but I'm not particularly aware, but I am keenly aware of the pollution my car is putting out.
I can see it if I went round the back and somebody said, Just put your mouth there and breathe for five minutes. I'm gonna say no every time, cuz I know I can totally draw a line between my car, environmental damage, this thing I don't connect it. I just see it as it's fun.
[01:10:24] Jonathan Desrosiers: You're really two or three degrees removed, right?
You have to plug it in the wall, which goes,
[01:10:29] Nathan Wrigley: I plug it in the wall, electricity, it stays there overnight and I unplug it from the wall. And that is such a clean experience, it's like hermetically sealed. There's no weirdness, there's no dust or mess or goo or pollutants. It's just plug in.
Here it is. And it's the same with my setup here. It's all just not. Polluting. Of course it is. But we don't make the connection. So that, I imagine Steve is, I'm gonna guess that's the reason we are so insulated from the effects of it. The only effect that I see is my electricity bill.
[01:11:04] Steve Burge: So if your phone was blowing out black, dirty smoke
[01:11:09] Nathan Wrigley: every time, Yeah it'd be like, it'd be switched off for every opportunity.
You'd turn it on for the tiniest amount of time, use it probably, like over here, just, or get a big pipe and put it. But I know it's a stupid thing to say, but there is a connection, right? This thing is consuming stuff, which presumably at some point has either got burned or maybe increasingly is consuming some sort of renewable energy.
I don't really know, but I think. Difficult thing. You are
And then it's installed on 2 million sites, which load, and this particular plugin loads every single time those 2 million sites load suddenly the work that someone like Jonathan does on the performance team, for example that scales to half the web real.
[01:12:28] Nathan Wrigley: So I'm gonna just quote from something that maybe gives some sort of context this.
Wow, the numbers just are by mind boggling. Thanks so much for this crucial impulse. As WordPress is used on so many websites, the impact of it is to make it cleaner would be huge. I think many of you know the story. By the way, this is a chat called Michael Volt, or vo, v o i T. Then this I think is the MailChimp plugin.
They made a reduction of 20 kilobytes in the plugin. And because of the install base, we estimate that there's a saving of 700 tons. I'm gonna say that again. 700 tons of carbon. Now what wow is that true for a start? And if it is true, I think Hannah's onto something that we all need to be onto, frankly.
[01:13:23] Mark Westguard: I think one of the issues is gonna be how do you. How do you police that? If you're gonna give somebody a badge to say, yes, that's an eco-friendly plugin or theme who determines that?
[01:13:38] Nathan Wrigley: We're constantly is, Yeah. Is it, And I have, forgive me, because of my ignorance I don't know if this could even be pulled off, but, in the same way that in on I have a Nest thermostat and it congratulates me with icons if I'm doing well, compared to the UK as a whole, I get like these leaves, and the leaves accumulate and every time a leaf pops in there, I know it's nothing.
But I feel actually, do you know what? Compared to some other people I'm making more of an effort. Something in the dashboard of WordPress, which gives you a visual impact, compared. The top million other WordPress websites you are doing really well. And this plugin in particular, we've noticed a drop and do you know what I mean?
Some sort of system inside a WordPress to give users, end users like me some kind of indication that things have improved. I think
[01:14:24] Jonathan Desrosiers: it's really difficult. Yeah. It's, I'm trying to think of how to collect my thoughts here, but it's really difficult at this level to assess impact, right? You could have a two kilobyte theme that's like eco-friendly, right?
But then you have users that run it on a site in a data center that they shovel coal into the front. Or you could and so I think that what we really need to think about what are the software principles that we can use that can lead to better less carbon, right?
Only running code when you need to having thin, shipping thin thin zip files, right? If something's old and isn't really used and WordPress is guilty of this, but something's old and deprecated are you able to remove that from your plugin plugins and themes will probably be much easier for them to remove that than WordPress itself.
One thing that WordPress does is we only ship the last three default themes in a new install of WordPress, right? We're not shipping 2010 through 2023. So that's one thing that scales eventually but at that base level of, I have a plugin, I have a theme, and it's eco-friendly. It's really difficult to really say that with any definition because it's, it is just such a wide.
Picture, like it's really the 10 foot view of the
[01:15:51] Nathan Wrigley: 30,000 foot view is what you, going back to my car analogy, you could buy a really clean petrol car and use it all day, every day and thrash it, and whereas somebody else might buy the exact same car and it stays in a garage for 900 days after, or it's like buying a fuse,
[01:16:12] Jonathan Desrosiers: right?
A fresh of the fuse box in the car that runs on either a diesel or like a 10 mile per gallon car. It's just really difficult at that level of the scale to, to definitively say that you're equal friendly. Not to say that these things are bad, but that's why I lean towards let's establish some eco-friendly principles that if you follow these principles, and again, that's really difficult to say without someone reviewing all this stuff all the time in a lot of man hours people hours there.
It's just if we all as a community pledge to be better about these, about following these principles, then I think that we would notice a difference over time in, in
[01:16:55] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Okay. So really what this piece was about, we, we got stuck into the weeds of it a little bit, but really the promotion here is that there is now a sustain, I can't say the word there, is a sustainability channel.
It's a hundred strong at the moment. Maybe it's gone up a little bit by now. But I will link to this piece in the show notes and if this is something that you are interested in, then you can go and make your voice heard. And really, I suppose what they're trying to do is just thrash out the conversation that we've just had and get some solid ideas for things that could be done because it is clear that at the scale that WordPress is at it, it definitely is.
A material impact, And it would be nice if a bit like the, what was the team that we were mentioning earlier, the, Oh goodness, the speed. I won't say speed team, but performance, not what, sorry? Performance team. Yeah, of course. Thank you. That's the word. Yeah. The performance team, it didn't exist a little while ago and they got together and came up with some ideas and had a big impact.
Maybe the same could be true here. We've got the sustainability team and see what they can do. We can learn a lot from other projects. Sorry. Let's go Jonathan. And then Steve. I was gonna say we could
[01:18:11] Jonathan Desrosiers: probably learn from some other tech projects. Like I know Bitcoin, one of their hu the blockchain is incre.
If you are infuriated by, hosting at scale with problems with the environment, don't look at that. But that's, they more urgently need to solve that problem on that technology. And so I think that by looking at how other projects and how other technologies solved certain problems, we can really extract a lot of that work into our results.
So maybe the team that's something for them to do is to analyze how others solve problems and what applies to us
[01:18:47] Nathan Wrigley: as an ecosystem and pull those things. The this is an ar about a year ago we talked about that exact thing, the whole Bitcoin thing. It was one of the bits that we just threw in at the end of the show.
And at that time I would, Ima I don't know, but I'm guessing maybe Bitcoin mining has gone down a little bit. Cuz I think Ethereum especially has gone to a different proof of work now. But at the time, a year ago, Bitcoin miners used more of the world's energy than wait for it Argentina,
Concept. Wasn't it just a ridiculous statistic. Aaron or Aaron, thanks for joining us. A hundred percent agree. He's agreeing with you Jonathan about that. Yeah. Yeah. So anyway, low hanging fruit. I can't affect the Bitcoin community so much. But maybe the word press community, I can, So let's maybe see if we can get stuck into that right.
Change of, Oh sorry Steve, you were gonna say something? I apologize. Oh,
[01:19:48] Steve Burge: I think my comment was that these teams bubble up over time. The accessibility team realized there was a problem and said about tackling it. The performance team. And now Hannah with her sustainability team, and I do suspect there's an awful lot of overlap with the performance team.
Yeah. That they have maybe 50, 60% of their concerns in common. That I think maybe Hannah would tell you that a lot of what makes a sustainable project is what make is just very good, solid, normal web design, web coding practices. .
[01:20:28] Mark Westguard: Yeah. It's much like accessibility. If you make a site accessible, you're making a site easier to use for everybody.
If you improve the performance on your product, you are gonna make your product more sustainable. So I think. Yeah, it would be nice to see a wordpress.org maybe in conjunction with the performance stuff around sustainability and how you can improve on sustainability by following certain practices.
Nathan said, very simply, don't in queue your style sheets or don't in queue things for your plugin unless your plugin is being used presently on the page that you're on. Things like that.
[01:21:06] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Okay. So we need to definitely over the next few years, we need to hard wire our heads into, I'm using my phone.
I'm in some way damaging the environment. I'm just gonna have
[01:21:17] Steve Burge: this smoke impression.
[01:21:19] Nathan Wrigley: Yes, that's it. Yeah. No, but it's, and it's this Google and apple, and I'm not pointing a finger cause we're talking about WordPress, but it does strike me that Google and Apple, they really could change my opinion about the phone.
Of course, they're not going to, cause it's not in their interest to, to have you, be told your phone has consumed so many units of carbon over the last 24 hours or what have you. But something like that'll add on, that you could add to your phone might be something that might turn my direction.
I think sometimes I just need to be slapped in the face to be shocked into the reality of it. Like that statistic about Bitcoin mining in Argentina that was so raw. That it, it was yeah, it like any cigarettes
[01:22:04] Jonathan Desrosiers: have on the picture on the back of your phone. Yeah.
[01:22:07] Nathan Wrigley: That's interesting.
[01:22:09] Mark Westguard: In that Slack channel as well they're going down that route, but some of the early conversations in that sustainability Slack channel are talking about what is the actual number of websites that are running on WordPress. And they, they're trying to determine that now that we've lost, some of the stats around that.
But we boast that we power 45% of the internet or whatever the current figure is. But, on the flip side, that means we've got a lot of responsibility there.
[01:22:35] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. I've got a suggestion, Mark. You just, get on the blower to your good mates. Matt and . I wish it was like that when fixed it the morning.
[01:22:46] Steve Burge: Okay. Matt and Joseph, they're all happy. They got a call with Mark
I was lucky enough to speak with Mark.
[01:22:56] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. Couple of bits just just that I said I'd mentioned to a couple of people. The first one is Visual Composer along with veto peg. They're doing a webinar, I believe it's happening on the 10th of November. Yes, it is. It's called Growing Your Agency Through Better Client Collaboration.
The idea is they're gonna tackle these three things, streamlining your content delivery process to save time, increasing the quality of feedback through visual collaboration and learn how to keep your referral fly. Wheel rolling. Veto, of course, been on the show lots and lots of times and he is the guy who founded.
At Ari so he knows a thing or two. The other thing that I said I'd mention is Todd Jones, he's put a survey together. He does this every year and it's all about what web care consultants are doing with their clients. What the kind of things that you are doing in terms of charging your clients, what kind of work you carrying out for them.
And he just wants a little bit of data, really, obviously in this case it's for main WP here. He does work for, to give them some sort of guidance. And I will link to both of those things in the show notes, which will come out as an email tomorrow or on the website. A bit of news that you probably knew about, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.
PHP 7.4 is at the end of life. It's not like it'll stop working or anything, it'll continue to work after the end of November. But it, that'd be hysterical if that's how it worked. It just suddenly stopped working, gives up . That's why all these websites gone. It's no longer gonna be maintained or updated.
If there is some sort of horrific zero day that somebody somewhere knows about and isn't, cuz apparently that's what they do, they wait for the end of life and then start to exploit them. What we're basically trying to say is, go to your hosting provider and just double check that you are on something.
Beginning with an eight is probably the way to go. Apparently 60% of all websites written in PHP are still using a PHP seven branch, which strikes me as quite. A lot. This is coming from I themes. I don't know where they're, Yeah, I think
[01:25:05] Jonathan Desrosiers: that's high. But I think, so the new major version is always a lot and eight seem to be a little bit more than usual.
8.2 actually comes out, I believe at the end of the month, and you can more run WordPress 6.1 on that. Okay. Okay. But. Depends on a lot of the changes in PHP X depend on plugins and themes. Also adopting and having compatibility. So WordPress's core might be WordPress core's code might be compatible, but the extension of that needs to also be compatible.
And so that's what's taken a little bit of time for plugins and things to catch up and have a little bit more confidence. We call it beta compatibility right now because we're still assessing how to best fully be compatible with some of these changes in WordPress itself.
[01:25:59] Nathan Wrigley: Slightly tangential.
Going back to the last piece, do PHP upgrade, so 8.1, 8.2, do they typically mean that less resources are used because obviously new features and things come in, I just wonder what the usually,
[01:26:16] Jonathan Desrosiers: Yeah. Interesting. And especially seven to eight there, there's usually at least a magnitude of performance
[01:26:26] Nathan Wrigley: Aaron says, many methods change from warnings to fatals in eight point x. Yeah.
[01:26:32] Mark Westguard: Yes. Yeah. But it's up to the developers and things to, to update and get these things. Compat. It's been, what, two years since eight came out? . There's, and usually, I don't know if you run your plugin through host in running on eight point x, you can identify these things pretty easily.
Just, enable debar on, on WordPress and do your test testing and work out where those issues are. But it's obviously there's tools out there to help you that as well. But Jonathan said most of this is, it's more on the plugin side. And that's where I've seen issues has been enabling, and then there's just no.
No end of warnings shooting up on my screen. A lot of people don't see those warnings cause they don't have debug enabled on WordPress, but they're happening behind the scenes and running up your locks behind the scenes with umpteen different warnings. So yeah,
[01:27:29] Steve Burge: I don't think the problem is so much that 60% of sites are on PHP seven, but probably that the other 40 are still on php.
Oh Lord , you wouldn't believe how many people are still stuck there?
[01:27:41] Jonathan Desrosiers: Yeah, I've seen the statistics and there's more, I think it's sub 5% are on P 5.6, but more on 5.6 than 7.0 and 7.1 combined, I believe. Wow. So it's, people are updating the 7.2 at least, but there's still, they still have that long trail of stragglers that we need to get upgraded.
[01:28:01] Nathan Wrigley: We have site health in the admin, which most people, I think just immediately disable and make it, get screen options, make that go. But it might tell you things like that. We're getting to
[01:28:12] Jonathan Desrosiers: the point where it's mostly just self-managed boxes. That's right. Yeah. Just we get to that point where there's just not.
Nothing we can do eventually unless we get to those people that
[01:28:23] Nathan Wrigley: make them informed. Yeah. Okay. Just very quickly, cause I know we're running out of time and I don't wanna keep you. The first one is to mention that WP all import, They I can't remember who reached out to me, but somebody reached out to me via.
I think Twitter, it was to say that they've changed their pricing model. They haven't yet. They're currently on a lifetime deal, and they will be for the next period. They don't exactly say how long it is, but if this was a plugin that had ever crossed your radar and you wish to be involved in it, then now might be a good time to consider buying it.
If you want to go that route, if you want to go for the the subscription model, which will obviously make them more revenue, then wait a while. Maybe by the new year you'll be paying in that way. But if you wanna go and leap before it flips over to that, so be it. Speaking of unnecessary use of the Earth's resources, , what can I say?
So this is probably a great example of not to have a lean website, but it also speaks beautifully to the fact that sh it's shiny. I want shiny. This is just lovely. I'll put the link in the show notes. This is ess to the max. So this, you've gotta see this, I can't explain it, but basically, if you've ever seen Pokemon cards, they've got this kind of like thin layer of, I dunno what it is, but it's like this reflective layer.
And as you twist them in the song, you've seen these things before. I'm sure as you twist them in the song, all these beautiful, I think they call him
Holographics, but I'm not speaking
Holographics or anything. Yeah, no, I'll go with that. . The holographic dis, the card seems to have holograms in it.
And so somebody, whoever has set this website up looks like simon.me. Simon go, Goner has decided that he wanted to implement this on in CSS and Man Alive, has he done a beautiful job? Look at, Oh, I don't wanna like it as much as I do , but it's so nice. Look at that. It's lovely. Those of you that are listening to the audio, I do apologize.
Go and check the show. Look at that one. He's got all these little. Starry things going on in the background. It's just a beautiful implementation. It's it's
[01:30:38] Mark Westguard: relatively lean code
[01:30:40] Nathan Wrigley: behind the scenes as well. Have you, This is the one that I like this one. Look at that, Isn't that clever? Sublime cool.
And just on with a bit of css. And there is other easy to understand technology. So really nice job. And speaking of the environment, last one. Nothing to do with WordPress
What we need, right? What we need is circular buildings, 800 feet off the ground. That's what we need. This is something stupid from Dubai. This is an architect's desire to have a circular ring about 600 meters off the ground surrounding the world's tallest building because you. That looks like it would use the
[01:31:25] Mark Westguard: power of Argentina
[01:31:27] Nathan Wrigley: That's true, right? Imagine that. I wanted to say more about that, but I can't cuz we've run outta time. So we'll just wrap it up there. Thank you guys. I really appreciate it. I hope that hope that Jonathan and Steve particularly weren't too put off by it cuz they've not been here before.
Hopefully you'll come back and join us another day. Mark, I know will be I don't need to be quite so nice to him, , but Jonathan really appreciate it, Steve, really appreciate it. And of course Mark really appreciate it as well. Thanks for you. To anybody who posted comments that was really helpful kept the conversation going.
Now Jonathan and Steve, I do apologize in advance, but we do this bit at the end of every show where we raise our hands like this and we wave them all in unison. So look, Mark's got the idea. So if you wouldn't mind raising your hands and then that's all it takes. And then I use that for the little album Mark.
That's brilliant. Thank you very much. We'll be back next week. Cheers. Take it easy guys. Thanks,
[01:32:22] Jonathan Desrosiers: Nathan. All right. Thank you.
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