It’s that time of the year again (and I’m not talking about Christmas). May is the month when WordPress was born. To be exact, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little launched the first version of WordPress on May 27, 2003. 15 years later, this fork of b2/cafelog has grown into a behemoth that powers more than 30% of the entire Internet (and is supported by a strong community of people from all around the world).
But more on that later.
Besides the birthday celebration, WordPress received a big new “minor” release, Gutenberg keeps growing, and the WordPress.org core developers are working hard on keeping things smooth and fair at the WordPress.org plugin and theme directories.
And beyond the news, we’ve also collected the best articles from the past month, so that you won’t leave our post without learning something new about WordPress.
As you read in the intro, WordPress turned 15 this month. To celebrate this milestone, communities from all around the world gathered together at their local meetups to throw a big party dedicated to this event.
Here in Bucharest was no exception – we even ordered a big cake wishing Happy Birthday to our teenager (as seen in the picture). Our fellow pirates Rodica, Claudiu, and Radu went to the meetup and had a slice of this tasty sweet in the name of WordPress.
Moreover, aside from the birthday cakes, cupcakes, special swag, gatherings, and hundreds of #wp15 tweets, don’t forget to check out our summary of the evolution of WordPress UI here.
As another part of the birthday festivities, WordPress got a facelift to help it cope with the GDPR. WordPress 4.9.6, labeled as a “privacy and maintenance release”, came out on May 17th. Unlike the other releases of this kind that usually fix bugs and vulnerabilities, this one is a special edition dedicated to the GDPR (obviously) and includes privacy-related changes such as:
- User data request handling.
- Cookie opt-in for comments.
- User data export and removal tools.
- Other smaller features eyeing the GDPR rules.
Since last month, the WordPress Theme Review Team is working on streamlining the process of reviewing and accepting new themes on WordPress.org. After weeks of brainstorming and thinking about various ideas and formulas that might help, the guys decided on launching the Trusted Authors Program. This program puts together those authors who always submit themes that follow the rules almost entirely (i.e. three or fewer issues during the review process).
If you are one of these names and consistently have smooth encounters with the Theme Review Team, you can apply for the program by commenting here with a ticket link for the team to take into consideration (the ticket can be a recently approved theme or a new one that is still pending review). Since the announcement went live, several submissions were added daily, so the review team will have a lot of authors to look into in the upcoming months.
In another step towards making the review processes more efficient; the WordPress core team made the decision to remove unused plugins from the WordPress.org repo.
The “unused” term raised questions among developers since it is pretty vague. Mika Epstein, who wrote the announcement, updated the post later by adding “Unused means LITERALLY unused. No one uploaded code. Ever.”
According to Epstein, there are 9100 approved and unused plugins in the directory. So, if you don’t add any code to your plugin six months tops after it was published, it gets removed. The silver lining is that, once a plugin is closed, its slug will be free to use by other authors in the future.
Gutenberg is taking one step ahead too. Two steps, actually. Because two versions of the plugin are released each month. So now we’re skipping straight to 2.9 and are having a look at the new features that it brings:
- Support for pinning plugin items in the main editor header.
- Shortcut tooltips for the main toolbar.
- Automatic handling of focus for RichText component.
- New reusable component: FontSizePicker.
But this is just an excerpt from the long list of improvements and fixes that came out in Gutenberg 2.9. Check the link above for more.
Great Articles From Around The Web
After skipping 2017, WordSesh is back with the fifth edition, which will take place on July 25th. For those who are not aware, WordSesh is an online conference that puts together a mixture of sessions and live podcasts. The schedule can be found via the link above, most of the talks being addressed to developers and consultants. Sign up if you want to join!
The WordPress.org repo is full of outdated and vulnerable plugins because not all authors maintain plugins over time. So, if you do not do your research before installing one, you’re exposing yourself to unnecessary risks. What plugins deserve your trust? Here’s the answer to this question.
If you are a Reddit (and WordPress) fan, you can merge your two hobbies into one: you can spend time on Reddit while reading stuff about WordPress. Elegant Themes looked for the most active and interesting subreddits that you can follow and use as a source of information for your projects.
You probably know by now how WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads work when you want to sell products online. But what if you plan to sell documents instead of clothes, for example? Well, you can do that too with the two aforementioned plugins. Barn2 Media shows you how.
Which method is more efficient when it comes to paying your freelancers? Here are the fixed-price and time-tracking methods explained, together with their pros and cons. Have a read and pick the one that’s more convenient to your budget.
As an online store owner, you need to keep up with the latest marketing strategies. Believe it or not, email marketing is still a thing since it hit the internet back in the ’90s. But it evolved in so many ways, of course. Based on what you intend to deliver through your business, emails can take multiple forms. See which ones work when it comes to activating in the e-commerce market.
In the previous posts, we talked about both writers’ and developers’ duty to keep their content and sites SEO-friendly. But what about designers? What do they need to do to make sure their practices meet the current SEO requirements? Here’s a detailed article from Smashing Magazine covering all these concerns.
Currently, you don’t have the option to categorize the items in your WordPress media library. I mean, by default; because with plugins you can do that, yes. So if you want to arrange your images in categories and not keep them all clustered in one single place, WPLift has a suggestion for you.
As WordPress professionals, we tend to specialize in one or two fields at most. I mean, you can be a developer and writer, or marketer and writer, or you can be a designer and the organizer of your local meetup etc. Only a few people can have all these professions at once. But if want to test waters and experiment with new stuff to spice up your career a bit, here’s a list of the best activities you can try while still sticking around WordPress.
Is .com the king when it comes to site domains? It’s true that it is the most popular, but your site will still be successful even if you’re using a different suffix. See what the SEO implications are of not using .com and what the alternatives are.
That’s it for June 2018. Anything we missed?