Celebrating Black History Month

Posted by download in Software on 28-02-2022

For much of Black history in the US, a lot of stories have gone untold. As we wrap up Black History Month, our team at Automattic — the company behind WordPress.com — wanted to share how we celebrated with our fellow colleagues. Throughout February, our Black/African Descent employee resource group, Cocoamattic, shined a light on some of these untold stories.

Each week this month, we shared infographics highlighting notable Black/African Descent people from around the world, from inventors and pioneers to Black-first and culture influencers. 

Join us in celebrating 21 heroes.

Learn more about Cocoamattic and our other resource groups or read more about diversity and inclusion at Automattic.

10 Ways to Avoid Unnecessary Meetings with Asynchronous P2s

Posted by download in Software on 23-02-2022

“Are all your meetings so effective that you look forward to them?” Our CEO, Matt Mullenweg, recently asked us to reflect on this question. Live meetings have their place, and there are conversations that are better done in real-time, whether in person or through video chat. But they can be costly in terms of time and energy.

At Automattic, we are often asked how we manage remote work and how we avoid excessive meetings, and internal email chains. We use P2, a product powered by WordPress.com, to collaborate with colleagues across time zones. My team, for example, lives everywhere from the Philippines to Romania — there is very little time for us to meet live. P2 is a platform for us to brainstorm ideas, share project updates, and communicate asynchronously. It’s a place where we all start our workdays, no matter where we are in the world, and catch up on what we’re all working on, what tasks need to be done, and what decisions need to be made. Think of it as an internal journal. A bulletin board. A virtual watercooler.

For me, it’s kind of like reading the morning news. P2 can work for different kinds of teams or groups — people who work together within a distributed company, a virtual classroom or workshop cohort, an online business interacting with clients or partners, and more. Wondering how P2 can streamline your work, foster asynchronous collaboration, and eliminate unnecessary meetings? Here are 10 ways: 

1. Offer courses that participants can take at their own pace 

We offer courses to help you make the most of your WordPress.com site. For this curriculum, we use P2 as a community hub where students read lessons, ask questions, get tips, and interact with other participants. This can be done asynchronously — students do not need to join Zoom calls at times that don’t fit their schedule, which makes it accessible for everyone, from wherever they are. 

2. Automate requests across teams and departments

You can use P2 to streamline processes in your organization, such as making requests. Need to send a contract to a new employee? Submit a request on your legal team’s P2. Looking for a designer to make a graphic for an upcoming blog announcement? Fill out a request on your design team’s P2. Hoping to parse stats on a recent campaign? Post a request on your data team’s P2. With these workflows in place, there’s no need to set up meetings to make these requests. Further discussions can happen in the post’s comments as needed.

3. Share status updates from across your company

At Automattic, we have a P2 called Thursday Updates where every team is required to post a biweekly status update, which might include project highlights and high-level summaries. At many organizations, these types of updates are often delivered in PowerPoint or Google Slides at live meetings, often to full rooms with people who don’t need to be there. With P2, you can present information and updates with an array of blocks, including media embeds and project tracking tools.

4. Set up a space to introduce new colleagues

The pandemic has changed the way we work, but traditionally, in many environments, new employees are often taken around and introduced to other staff. Automattic is a fully distributed company, and our teammates live around the world. One company tradition requires every new employee to write a welcome post on a designated P2, where they embed a short intro video about themselves. Other posts as part of the onboarding process include new employee interviews. These are all effective ways of getting to know people and to welcome them to your team — without needing to schedule a bunch of in-person meetings.

5. Create a private site to conduct trials with job candidates

The process of hiring a new employee, from start to finish, can be time-consuming. The entire interview timeline can take weeks, sometimes months, often facilitated through an exhausting combination of phone calls, Slack chats, Zoom calls, and in-person meetings. All roles at WordPress.com and the rest of Automattic involve a trial: a period when candidates work with us on a short-term project, and when both sides can assess whether it’s a good fit. We create P2s for candidates on trial, and at this stage are able to learn a lot about them, particularly the way they think, communicate, and collaborate.  And this is important: we believe a culture of strong written communication is essential for remote organizations.

6. Set up a virtual notepad for meetings and brainstorms

Details of live meetings can be lost, especially when no one takes notes! At Automattic, we document external calls with clients and partners, sharing call notes in P2. And because P2s are searchable, employees — past, present, and future — can access important information discussed in meetings, even ones in which they were not present, to understand why decisions were made or to get the context they need to do their work. If you record video calls, you can also embed recordings on P2 with a number of video blocks, including Loom, Vimeo, and more, to supplement call notes. 

7. Collaborate with partners and clients in a dedicated space

If you run a business, you might find that partners and clients often want to schedule a recurring meeting, even if there are no major updates to discuss. P2 is a great platform to complement — and eliminate unnecessary — live meetings. You can create a P2 for your partner or client and brand it visually with custom colors and their company logo, and tweak the sidebar with relevant links and resources. On this dedicated P2, partners and clients can share written updates, ask quick questions, set up future calls, and correspond with your team throughout the week. You can then schedule meetings only when needed.

8. Celebrate wins, publish retrospectives, and more

As you browse this list, you can see the power and versatility of P2. Powered by WordPress.com, P2 is, at its core, an internal journal — a space where your teammates, students, or group members can make announcements and share recaps. In some offices and work environments, people might schedule an after-work outing to commemorate a successful year, or plan an in-person retreat to discuss the long-term vision of a company. But these days, since it’s become harder to throw in-person events and to get together in person, we also use P2 to celebrate wins, post “state of the business” missives and share other essential longer-form content.  

9. Share meetup guides and event summaries

Teams at WordPress.com and across Automattic periodically meet up in person, giving teammates scattered across the globe a chance to see one another in real life. Planning a meetup can take up a lot of time, from researching locations and booking lodging to ensuring flight and other travel costs are within budget. Meetup planners must also wrangle or be aware of accessibility issues, visa procedures of all attendees, internet speed tests, and other logistics. P2 is a great way to compile details and publish post-trip recaps, and archive travel resources for teams who visit these locations in the future. Folks interested in a particular destination can refer to these guides while planning, which cuts down meetings to essential ones only. (Fun fact: historically Lisbon, Portugal, and Hawaii have been the most popular meetup locations at Automattic.)

10. Publish self-guided resources and internal documentation

Teams across WordPress.com have access to a number of documentation P2s that we call Universities — such as Domain University and Scheduling University — that allow employees to self-train in new areas or brush up on skills. These P2s are quite comprehensive — learning this content might require a full-day live training session — but with these online “universities,” staff can work through resources and tutorials in their own time.

P2 is free for everyone. Ready to get started? Create your own P2 today.

Help us define the next stage of Professional Email

Posted by download in Software on 23-02-2022

If you’ve been a WordPress user in any capacity, you’re probably aware that we believe in democratizing publishing and e-commerce. We believe in designing products for everyone, emphasizing accessibility, performance, security, and ease of use. We believe great software should focus on you, so you can share your story, product, or services, and achieve your dreams. We believe you have a say in this product and how it can make your life easier every day you use it.

Since last year, we’ve been working hard to enable more features for Professional Email and our other email products. One of the things we heard from you is that you want annual payment options, so you don’t have to worry about monthly payouts and pricing. Now, we’re happy to announce that annual plans are officially available for Professional Email. Don’t worry: our 3-month free trial is still available, so that you can try out the best-in-class email product with either payment method — without committing up front.

And we haven’t stopped there. WordPress.com now offers one-click webmail access, making it easier than ever to access and manage your emails directly within your site admin panel. That’s better for you, your community, and your customers. We’re also working on integrating webmail into the admin panel to make it easier to manage Professional Email and save you more time to focus on things important to you.

We want to make sure we continue building a product that makes your everyday life a bit better. If you have any ideas for features you’d want us to add, or any cool Professional Email experiences to share with us, drop us a line. We’re in this together!

Not sure where to get Professional Email?

WordPress.com Favorites: The Travel Architect 

Posted by download in Software on 22-02-2022

Welcome to our brand new series, “WordPress.com Favorites”! In these interviews, we’ll be highlighting bloggers about their passion project. Caution: contents guaranteed to be inspiring.    

First up, The Travel Architect. A teacher from the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, The Travel Architect has been documenting her world-wide travels (usually alongside “the husband”) since 2018. It’s easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of her writing; she’s always funny and entertaining, provides great tips, and is quite obviously a natural storyteller. Let’s learn more! 

1. When did you realize that you loved to travel, and when did you start making it a priority in your life?

It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact moment in time when I recognized travel as this thing I had to have in my life on a regular basis. Travel was a frequent part of my childhood and youth — cross-country road trips, ski vacations in the Rockies, Jamaica twice before first grade, a class trip to Spain, a month in Belgium as an exchange student, among other adventures — so my love almost certainly stems from those experiences.  

I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to know what’s just beyond the hill in front of me or what’s just around that bend in the river. While I’m not a danger junkie at all (my husband jokingly calls me “Head Safety”), I am attracted to adventure, whether that adventure is trying via ferrata or exploring a new culture. 

There were some lean travel years when I was in college, but after that I went on a two-and-a-half-month Colorado Outward Bound course that involved mountaineering, rock climbing, river rafting, and canyoneering. Shortly thereafter I moved to the mountains of Montana for a new adventure. Those were lean travel years, too, but living in the mountains in a new state felt a bit like travel. There I met my husband and eventually we relocated back to the Midwest, where I did all the mundane things like get a career and buy a house, but I always had to have travel on the horizon.  

That’s the funny thing — I’m actually quite a homebody. I love my home and being at home, but there’s a restlessness there that can only be relieved by travel. Thankfully, I’m married to someone who is a lot like me in that regard. Nearly indistinguishable from my love of travel is my love of travel planning. I know lots of people would sooner take a trans-Pacific flight in the baggage hold of an airliner than plan and book their own travels, but for me it’s pure bliss (except for international COVID travel, when it’s pure hell).

2. Obviously, COVID has totally disrupted “normal” travel. I’m sure some of your plans were set aside — what did you decide to do in place of some of those plans? Was there anything you learned about your passion in the midst of the pandemic?

Yes, aside from a few colleagues at work who tell me they don’t like to travel (huh?!), I hardly know anyone who didn’t have plans ruined. I personally had a solo spring break trip to Sedona that went up in flames, and my husband and I had to cancel our trip to Spain, Andorra, and France. 

Instead, we enacted “Plan B.” We have a little 12-foot travel trailer that we took on a three-week Colorado-Utah-Colorado socially-distanced road trip. 

Once we were vaccinated we felt comfortable flying domestically, so we took a couple of trips out to different parts of California and one to Arizona. That Arizona trip was for my 50th birthday.  I had long planned to do a much bigger trip to mark the occasion, possibly Japan, but that just wasn’t going to work with all the travel restrictions. 

As for lessons learned, I guess it would be about money. When you’re good about saving for travel as I am, and then you don’t have any travel to spend your money on, your travel account can start to get wonderfully plump. That was our state of affairs partway into the pandemic. When we finally started flying domestically to travel, we really splashed out on some nice accommodations in some beautiful spots. I learned that this form of travel, while lovely, can quickly deplete the account that once seemed bottomless. Now that we’re back to traveling a bit more regularly, I’m trying to rein in some of my luxury impulses.

3. Do you have a favorite locale that you find yourself recommending all the time? Maybe you could share one stateside and one international?

Though I was born and raised in Wisconsin, I’m a mountain girl at heart. I will shout from the rooftops my love for Colorado — hands down my favorite state. I’m just transfixed by mountains. I’ve been to Colorado so many times I’ve lost count I and can’t seem to stop going back. Then there’s southern Utah, a close second, followed by the entire Four Corners region, and heck, the entire Mountain West all the way to the Pacific. This is why we haven’t seen much of the eastern seaboard and vast swaths of the southern US — the western United States just keeps calling to us. 

Internationally, for Americans who’ve never traveled abroad before, we often recommend England, which is where my husband is from. It’s a foreign country, but the lack of a language barrier makes it a great first-timer destination. However, our true favorite is France. We love the food, culture, and history. We love practicing our French with the locals. And no, we’ve never found French people rude or unkind. That’s a stereotype I get asked about often. Frankly, I’ve had people be outwardly rude to me only twice on my travels, and those incidents were in England and Italy.

A Few of The Travel Architect’s Favorite Posts:

4. Any favorite travel tips that you can share with our readers? Whether about saving money, or the best apps, or some suitcase/backpack hack — we’re all ears! 

I’m more of a “travel stories” than a “travel tips” kind of blogger, but I do have one or two things I’ve learned from experiences that may help others. First, if you’re renting a car, as soon as you take possession of it, take a photo that includes the license plate, make, and model.  Accommodations usually ask for this information when checking travelers in, and this way you don’t have to run out to the car. 

Second: always, always, always scrutinize your travel documents for accuracy. I failed to do this once and the airline nearly succeeded in denying me boarding on my flight to Jamaica. Another time I didn’t scan a hotel website as thoroughly as I should have and ended up booking a nonrefundable room. That was for the canceled trip to Spain and I’m still on the hook for it. (So far, they keep letting me kick the can down the road.) 

5. When and why did you decide to start documenting your travels in a blog? What have you gained from blogging? 

For me, blogging is the perfect marriage of my two favorite things: writing and travel. For two decades my only writing outlet was my annual Christmas letter. Every year I got compliments on it and people suggested I start a blog, but I always thought, “What on earth would I write about?” My husband, too, often urged me to start blogging. 

One evening, fresh off an afternoon of travel planning and still experiencing some residual giddiness, our dinner conversation gave birth to the idea of a blog based around travel. I had long noticed that, despite being introverted, I could talk at length to anyone as long as travel was the topic. My husband had tried to start a blog once but it didn’t take, so the framework was there. We just transferred ownership of his blog to my name and the rest is history.  

In addition to honing my writing skills, I have gained friends (or what I like to call “blog buddies”) around the world. I’ve even met up with some of them — one in Laos, one in Thailand, and one here in Minnesota.

6. What are your travel plans this year?

After a calamitous trip to England this past Christmas when Omicron was at its peak, we’ve sworn off international travel until the US removes its testing requirement to return home (I check weekly for news of its demise). 

Still, there’s plenty to see and do in this massive country, so we’re taking advantage of that. I have my long-awaited solo spring break trip to Sedona coming up, two years after it was originally scheduled. Then we’re spending a few weeks in June with our travel trailer in Colorado where we’ll be cycling, hiking a pair of 14ers, and soaking in lots of hot springs. My 85-year-old mom and I might head out to (yet another part of) California for a few days mid-summer, an idea that’s just come about and that will provide me with many hours of glorious travel planning. 

Finally, we just booked a week in Death Valley over Christmas. We’ve been there twice before, but always in summer when it’s 125 degrees with overnight lows in the 90s. It’ll be nice to have cooler temperatures so we can finally do some hiking and not have to force-feed ourselves a diet of Gatorade and ice cubes.

Are you inspired to revamp your own blog or bring it back from the dead? Take 10 minutes right now to visit your site and do some writing.

Or maybe you never really got the hang of the basics when it comes to blogging. If that’s the case, our “Intro to Blogging” course will be perfect for you. This free, self-paced course provides not only concrete tips for your site and blog, but also the goal-setting mindset needed to keep a blog going. Register for free today: 

WordPress 5.9.1 Maintenance Release

Posted by download in Software on 22-02-2022

WordPress 5.9.1 is now available!

This maintenance release features 82 bug fixes in both Core and the block editor.

WordPress 5.9.1 is a short-cycle maintenance release. The next major release will be version 6.0.

You can download WordPress 5.9.1 from WordPress.org, or visit your Dashboard → Updates and click “Update Now”.

If you have sites that support automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process.

For more information, browse the full list of both Trac and GitHub changes in the release candidate post, or check out the version 5.9.1 HelpHub documentation page.

Thanks and props!

The 5.9.1 release was led by Jb Audras and George Mamadashvili.

Special props to @sergeybiryukov for running mission control.

Thank you to everyone who helped make WordPress 5.9.1 happen:

Albert Juhé Lluveras, Alex Lende, alexstine, André, Anton Vlasenko, Ari Stathopoulos, ArteMa, Ben Dwyer, BlogAid, Carolina Nymark, Channing Ritter, Chris Van Patten, Colin Stewart, Daniel Richards, David Biňovec, David Smith, Dion Hulse, Dominik Schilling, Eddy, Ella van Durpe, Erik, Fabian Kägy, Flinim Asso, gadhiyaravi, George Hotelling, George Mamadashvili, glendaviesnz, Greg Ziółkowski, ianatkins, Ian Belanger, ironprogrammer, itsamoreh, Jb Audras, Jeff Ong, Jeremy Herve, Joe Dolson, Joen A., John Blackbourn, Jonathan Desrosiers, Jorge Costa, Juliette Reinders Folmer, KafleG, Kapil Paul, Kjell Reigstad, linux4me2, Lukman Nakib, manfcarlo, Marius L. J., mgol, nidhidhandhukiya, Nik Tsekouras, Omar Alshaker, Paolo L. Scala, Pascal Birchler, Paul Bearne, Pavlo, Petar Ratković, Peter Wilson, Petter Walbø Johnsgård, Phil Johnston, Piotrek Boniu, ravipatel, Riad Benguella, Robert Anderson, Rolf Siebers, Sergey Biryukov, stacimc, Stephen Bernhardt, Sven Wagener, Team Staatic, Tim Nolte, Tonya Mork, webcommsat AbhaNonStopNewsUK, WebMan Design | Oliver Juhas, wpcharged, wpsoul, Yunus Ertuğrul, and Rafi Ahmed.

Thanks to @estelaris, @pbiron, @ironprogrammer, @bph, @abhanonstopnewsuk and @threadi for their help to test the release package.

WP Briefing: Episode 25: Five Cents on Five for the Future

Posted by download in Software on 21-02-2022

In this twenty-fifth episode of the WordPress Briefing, Executive Director, Josepha Haden Chomphosy discusses future-proofing the WordPress project with the Five for the Future pledge.

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.




Episode 25

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:00:00] 

Hello everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing. The podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project. Some insight into the community that supports it and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy – here we go!

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:00:42] 

I have a non-mailbag mailbag question that I would like to answer for y’all today. Non-mailbag because no one actually emailed me about it and mailbag because Twitter is basically like a giant mailbag. And I do get a lot of DMS about this particular topic. If you want to send something to my actual WP Briefing mailbag, you can send it to wpbriefing@worpress.org

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:01:06] 

But the question that I frequently get asked in my DMS on Twitter is: what is Five for the Future? It’s not always that tidy the question, but that still is the question we’re answering today. So if you take a casual survey of active contributors to the WordPress project, the high-level answer that you’re likely to get to that question is “a way to remind people to give back to the project.” Or, if you run in more business-y circles, you might hear that it is an initiative that encourages companies to give back 5% of their resources. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:01:40] 

And both of those answers are true. So a quick mini-history lesson; the original concept of Five for the Future came from Matt Mullenweg in 2014. There’s a lovely blog post on it that I will link in the notes below, but it was essentially a call to any companies experiencing success with WordPress to contribute back to the project and make sure that the project was a success.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:02:07] 

The initial program then included outreach recognition, et cetera, proposed in 2017 by Tracy Levesque and Ian Dunn. Then that was defined and formalized with the help of the WordPress community in 2018. And then, in 2019, we had our first trial run with entire dedicated teams sponsored by companies inside the WordPress ecosystem.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:02:36] 

So that’s the mini-history lesson chronology of this program. The intentions that informed the work of building the program in 2017 have become a bit lost to the ages. So I’m here to share it with you. The basic heart and soul of the Five for the Future program is to make sure that there is a way to refresh the commons of the WordPress community and ecosystem.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:03:00] 

And as a result, ensure that the common resources of WordPress are available long after we have stopped being available to care for them. If you are familiar with the concept of the tragedy of the commons, Five for the Future was created to help avoid that tragedy. There were two original goals for formalizing the program.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:03:22] 

The first one was to acknowledge companies that participated in Five for the Future by sponsoring contributors to work on the WordPress project. And the second was to motivate more companies to sponsor more volunteers. Either by hiring them and paying them to contribute or by assigning their existing employees to contribute to the WordPress project.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:03:46] 

Of course, it’s hard to quantify participation and hard to qualify what should be seen as an impactful contribution, which is why when the program was originally created, it was in partnership with team reps and community members who were active at the time. There are many posts around that discuss the next steps for this program.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:04:07] 

And as I’m looking through them, the next steps revolve around some of the hardest and most important questions that we have to answer as a project and as stewards of open source. Those questions are things like:

  •  How do we remain true to these gloriously subversive values of WordPress and open source while also finding a way to thoughtfully secure our organization’s future?
  • Does contributing without the expectation of reciprocity hold up when we are looking at how to acknowledge contributors who sustain us?

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:04:40] 

And if you’re familiar with Elinor Ostrom’s award-winning work, Governing the Commons, you may also be wondering how this particular program aligns with her eight principles designed to sustain organizations like ours.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:04:57] 

As an aside to that last question, this particular program does not have all eight principles accounted for, but among WordPress’s many programs, we do account for most of them. Although imperfectly, as is the way with human beings, that’s probably a whole episode unto itself, I did want to quickly answer that particular question.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:05:16] 

So to get back to my non-mailbag, mailbag question, if I had to tell you in the span of an elevator ride what Five for the Future was, this would be my answer. It is a v1 program with a dual goal of boldly declaring the need to refresh the shared resources of WordPress and offering the ways and means for communities and individuals alike to participate in refreshing those resources.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:05:45] 

If you want to learn more about the Five for the Future initiative, you can check out wordpress.org/5. Like literally just the number five. Or, if you want to learn more about the program that has grown from the Five for the Future initiative, you can check out the white paper that’s linked in the notes below.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:06:11] 

And that brings us now to our small list of big things. Number one on my small list, the planning post for WordPress 6.0 is out. I’ve included a link in my massive list of links below. But it includes our best guess at timing, features that we intend to include, and a call for volunteers as well. So if you are looking for ways to give back, that is a clear and immediate option.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:06:38] 

The second thing on the list is if you are a team rep, don’t forget that we have daylight saving time ending and starting depending on your hemisphere within the month. If you move meetings, if you’re in a team that moves your meetings, discuss it now so that folks have time to adjust their calendars. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:06:55] 

And the third thing on my small list of big things is that there’s a suite of Full Site Editing courses that are now available on learn.wordpress.org. I will add that to my giant list of links below, but I encourage you to wander on over and see what all the fuss is about. I think the courses are excellent. They’re great for folks who don’t quite know what Full Site Editing is yet, but then also they give you a few intermediate tips and tricks as you’re getting your legs underneath you.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:07:27] 

So, that my friends, is your small list of big things. Thank you for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.

A New WordPress News

Posted by download in Software on 16-02-2022

In June 2021, @beafialho in collaboration with @pablohoney floated the idea of giving WordPress News a new look. Today, those ideas become a reality—we’re excited to share that redesign of WordPress News is live!

The new design leans on the aesthetics of jazz, intrinsically connected to WordPress and which ultimately translates its uniqueness, historic significance and future potential. Among other improvements, the new design leaves more space for content and includes new typefaces for better readability. It also uses a color palette intended to reflect the evolving Gutenberg language.

The revamp of the WordPress News page includes the header and footer of the page. We also shipped those two global elements to all pages of WordPress.org. However, there’s more work to do within the header to improve the information architecture. This new design is just the first, small step to modernize and improve the site iteratively. Any further discussion on future redesigns will occur in the #design channel on Slack.

Take a look around and subscribe to WordPress News if you haven’t already. If you see something in the design that doesn’t look right, please submit an issue on GitHub.

WP Briefing: Episode 24: Three Goals in 2022

Posted by download in Software on 07-02-2022

In episode 24 of the WordPress Briefing, the Project’s Executive Director reviews three big-picture goals for the year: Increased Gutenberg adoption, support of all open source alternatives, and stewarding the open source ethos.

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.




Episode 24

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:00

Hello everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project. Some insight into the community that supports it and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go!

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:07

A couple of weeks ago, I published a post about the big picture goals for the WordPress project in 2022. As I was thinking through our planned releases for the year and looking out toward what would spell success for WordPress over the next three years, three things really lined up in both sets of answers for me.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:23

I provided some detail on how we can work toward these goals in the post, which I will link for you in the show notes, but I also wanted to take some time to explain why I feel we have to work toward these goals this year. So these all build on one another. To refresh your memory of the three big focuses, they are one to drive adoption of the new editor in WordPress, support open source alternatives for site building necessities, and three, open source stewardship. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:52

So the first one; is driving the adoption of the new WordPress editor. Early on in the start of the Gutenberg Project, folks could not go two days without hearing me talk about the phases of adoption and how those line up with the phases of Gutenberg, and who would need our support the most in each of those phases.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  02:09

I have always believed that what we would be shipping at this point in our project would prove the plausible promise of what we were doing in phase one. That’s definitely what I’m seeing from what was shipped in 5.9, as well as what we plan to ship in May with 6.0. And the people who need the most support right now are absolutely our users, your clients, no matter whether they were not keeping up with WordPress developments or simply were waiting to see what all the fuss was about. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  02:37

There will be people who look to you as someone who has been here a while to help them make sense of what they’re seeing. And what I find so exciting about this adoption, sort of, work in the WordPress project is that this is the time when we as practitioners of WordPress, no matter whether you are a designer or a developer or builder, business coach. This is the time when we get to guide others through the hardest parts of our learning processes. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  03:07

The process of helping people to learn new technologies relies not only on your hard-won expertise but also on the belief that the future is worth fighting for. Enabling someone’s success is an investment in the future and investment for that person or for WordPress or your community. All investments are welcome here. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  03:28

Fortunately, table stakes are just that you care. And speaking of future investments, the second focus is open source alternatives for site building necessities. So things like images, forms, stores, themes, etc. It literally just things you need to build a site. I would like to start by saying that I am completely aware of the fact that 99% of WordPress users will never care about open source freedoms and philosophies in the same way that WordPress maintainers and contributors care about open source freedoms and philosophies. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  04:04

You could substitute the name of any other open source project right there, and the statement would still be true. And yet, I will always believe that people should have the rights and freedoms that open source brings to them even if they do not know they are there. And so it makes all the sense in the world to me that as a project and open source community, we should strive to make choosing Open Source as easy as possible. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  04:33

And finally, open source stewardship is one of the focuses for this year. This one is obviously about supporting open source as a concept and maintaining WordPress as a project. But I also think that it is relevant to our current global circumstances. Open Source suddenly became very visible to the public eye last year following the Log4J vulnerability, and ever since then, I’ve been hearing consistent concern over how We make sure that WordPress is sustainable moving into the future. Fortunately, this is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. And I have been delighted to see so many community members bringing that conversation to the forefront. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:14

There is a lot that is done in the WordPress project to keep us from the tragedy of the commons. But that work honestly never ends. Not only does it not end, but as we get bigger, there is more and more that we can and should be doing to keep us around for the long term. And, of course, for the keen readers of my posts, there’s a bonus focus. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:39

The bonus focus is, of course, that WordPress turns 20 years old next year. This year, we will also be seeing some preparatory work for that major milestone as well.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:56

So that brings us today to our small list of big things. There is a redesign of the News Page coming. We’ve been talking about this over on make.wordpress.org/design for a bit since like June of last year or something. But it’s coming in the next few weeks. I’ll share a link to the GitHub repo in case anyone has any specific things that they see as they are reading through all of our many news stories that come out on that particular page. I think it’s beautiful, and I’m very excited to take a look at it. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  06:30

The second thing is that planning is underway for WordPress 6.0; that release that we’re doing in May. I’ll add the project page link to the show notes. I’ve had a few raised hands for that release squad. But if you’re interested in participating in the release, I encourage you to keep an eye out on make.wordpress.org/core for updates and any news about how to get involved. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  06:53

And my third thing is actually that, in general, there are a lot of opportunities to contribute right now. There are discussions about projects, goals, and dreams happening all over the place. I’ll link in the show notes below the unofficial project “firehose” where you can see all the headlines and quickly find discussions that might be interesting to you. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  07:18

And that, my friends, is your small list of big things. Thank you for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing. I’m your host Josepha Haden Chomphosy, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.

The Month in WordPress – January 2022

Posted by download in Software on 04-02-2022

There are a few significant moments in the history of the WordPress project. January 2022 is one of them, with the release of WordPress 5.9! But that’s not all. Read on to learn more about the latest updates and achievements from the community.

WordPress 5.9 Joséphine is here

Meet WordPress 5.9 Joséphine. Named in honor of the acclaimed jazz singer, Joséphine Baker, this is one of the much-awaited releases. Version 5.9 brings full site editing to WordPress, among other exciting updates! Download WordPress 5.9 and try the new features!

Check out the WordPress 5.9 Field Guide to learn more. Lastly, everyone’s invited to participate in a retrospective of the WordPress 5.9 Joséphine release!

Are you interested in contributing to WordPress core? Join the #core channel, follow the Core Team blog, and check out the team handbook. Also, don’t miss the Core Team’s weekly developer chat on Wednesdays at 8 PM UTC.

Gutenberg releases: Versions 12.3, 12.4, and 12.5 are here

The Core Team launched three new versions of Gutenberg since last month’s edition of the Month in WordPress.

  • Gutenberg 12.5 brings global styles variations and Query Loop block enhancements, along with the Code Editor view to the Side Editor. Moreover, inserting new buttons is now easier than ever!
  • Gutenberg 12.4 was released on January 19, 2022. This version includes accessibility improvements, suggestions for assigning categories, keyboard shortcuts for the Site Editor, and more. 
  • Gutenberg 12.3 was released on January 5, 2022. This release brings new blocks, like the Author Name, Comments Next Page, and Comments Previous Page blocks, and many other cool updates!

Want to get involved in developing Gutenberg? Follow the Core Team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Make WordPress Slack. Follow the #gutenberg-new tag for details on the latest updates.

Team updates: Proposals, announcements, and more for 2022

Take the course on Learn WordPress to learn about the full site editing features in WordPress 5.9!  Also, help spread the word about social learning spaces on Twitter!

Feedback/Testing requests: Share your thoughts on WordPress 5.9 Joséphine

Share your feedback on the release of WordPress 5.9 Joséphine.

WordCamp Europe 2022 wants volunteers, photographers and media partners

  • WordCamp Birmingham, Alabama has been postponed until spring. 
  • The WordPress Foundation published a post explaining more about the nonprofit’s mission and why it exists.
  • Don’t miss the following upcoming WordCamps: 

WordCamp Europe 2022 opened a new call for volunteers, photographers, and media partners!

Have a story that we could include in the next ‘Month in WordPress’ post? Let us know by filling out this form.

The following folks contributed to January 2022’s Month in WordPress: @anjanavasan @harishanker @rmartinezduque @lmurillom

Full Site Editing on WordPress.com

Posted by download in Software on 04-02-2022

Earlier this month we announced that we were giving some customers early access to Full Site Editing, a new set of powerful tools to give you more control over every aspect of your site’s design. Now, we’re excited to let you know Full Site Editing will be rolling out to all customers, starting today and continuing over the next few weeks.

Why we’re excited (and you should be too!)

With Full Site Editing, controlling the appearance of your website is easier than ever:

  • You can now use the same tools you use to create your content to edit every part of your site. This new release lets you edit your header and footer with blocks and simply by dragging and dropping the different pieces where you want them. No coding required.
  • This release also comes with the ability to edit specific page templates from your home page to a single post, to your 404 page, and even your archive pages. What’s even cooler is that you can drill down into specific template parts to edit them with more focus. 

Here’s another look at Full Site Editing in action:

  • It’s easier than ever to change the entire look and feel of your site with subtle changes in the Styles Editor. Set global colors and fine-tune your typography to give your entire site a consistent look and feel. 

What you need to know:

  • There is no action needed from you. Your current site(s) will not be changed and you can continue managing your site and creating your content in exactly the same way. 
  • We’ve been rolling this feature out to some new sites and will be switching over to all new sites in the coming days. When you start a new site, you will have a chance to choose a theme that leverages the new Full Site Editing experience. We’re actively working to put together resources to help make learning those new features easier, and maybe even fun. 
  • Over the next few weeks we will be rolling out the ability to switch your existing site over to a theme that will give you access to these features. It will not be something that we do for you so watch out for that announcement and the details on how to access these new tools. 

Again, we want to make sure you know that there’s no action needed from you. That’s one of the major benefits of WordPress.com managed hosting after all 😉 

What you need to know about versioning and WordPress

All changes to WordPress come in what is called a release. We keep track of these changes with a numbering system called versioning. These new tools were released in the WordPress 5.9 release, which went out on January 25th

As with all major releases, the WordPress.com team takes a little extra time to integrate them into our platform to help ensure that all of our users have a great first experience with these exciting new features. We’re excited to share these details of our rollout plan with you today so you know what to expect in the coming weeks. As always, please reach out if you have any questions!

Hungry for more?

  • Check out some of the full feature demos in the official WordPress 5.9 intro video 
  • Check out some of the detailed deep-dive content in our support docs.
  • Looking for more help with the new Full Site Editor (FSE)? Join our WordPress experts for a webinar and be among the first to learn how to use the new tools, which allow you to edit all parts of your site without the need for code! Register for free today!