People of WordPress: Juan Aldasoro

Posted by download in Software on 31-03-2022

In this series, we share some of the inspiring stories of how WordPress and its global network of contributors can change people’s lives for the better. This month we feature a website developer and project manager from Argentina, who found in the software a way to live his life in the way he dreamed.

Juanfra standing in front of a mural

WordPress offers something to everyone. For Juan Aldasoro, a developer and project manager for a large distributed company, it provides an opportunity to combine his different interests and skills to live the type of life he wanted. 

“I like visual, creative and technical things. The joy of WordPress is that you can do all of these things, you don’t have to limit yourself to any one aspect . You can also do this from almost anywhere in the world!”

From working in products since 2012, Juan sees WordPress as a major part of his skillset and toolbox. He said: “It gives you an opportunity to be part of building a product which could potentially be used by thousands of people and more on your site. It encourages you to think about different languages and how you can make it accessible. It allows you to work on different platforms. Working in WordPress gives you this broad approach. Working this way on products ended up pushing me into learning about all these different things. Only in open source can you really do this and use your creative side to find solutions.”

Learning about being part of a community


Born in a mid-sized city in Argentina, Juan was raised in a family in which music, arts and sports were always an essential part of everyday life.

“These activities encourage human beings to be creative and participative, and at the same time they are highly formative when it comes to mould people in order to become part of a group, a team, a community.”

The youngest of five siblings, Juan became highly motivated, trying to follow the steps of his siblings. Having a computer at home, he started to make connections that laid the foundation for his career as a developer. His interest in computers grew through that access to a machine running MS-DOS – the one with the black screen command line! Mastering this became a challenge to him and something to share with others. Through doing this, he found a way to more social interaction and new friendships. 

Without being conscious of it, my friends and I were sharing pieces of code.

He said: “I started learning some super easy stuff that made me feel like Houdini at that time. I could save a game play, something intangible, on a floppy disk and carry that piece of plastic and magnetic material back home. I was saving the play or game in a square object and then loading that back at home. I now realize, those were my first interactions with computer commands. Without being conscious of it, my friends and I were sharing pieces of code in a unique way.”

This interest grew further through computer magazines and experimenting as “there was always something new to learn.” Although sport became a big part of Juan’s life in his teens, he kept up his computer learning. Taking a new direction, he found online tutorials enabling him to learn how to play the guitar. This led to setting up a punk rock band with his friends. 

“Education has always been important in my family, and thanks to my parent’s efforts, I attended a school where I learned to express myself in another language.” The school had hired a satellite internet connection in the mid-nineties and had HTML on the computer studies program. These facilities were not that common in Argentina or many other countries either at that time. Also, his parents had the foresight to secure a rare internet connection at the house in 1997.

Juan recalled: “Browsing around the Internet opened a new universe in my mind. This new universe was extremely fantastic but also extremely expensive. I needed to make the most of every second online.”

“It was a whole new world and one thing led to the other. I started learning a bit of everything, editing graphics, scripting and so on. I still remember my first website in the fantastic sunset strip, Geocities.”

Trying to go pro

After high school, Juan moved to the city along with his brother and began to study IT at University. When he was asked by a friend to work at a software company, he decided to try that whilst continuing his studies. Through his job he had the chance to explore web-related projects, and with a friend from university, they started managing teams and projects across Latin America and Spain.

Juan describes this experience as one of the most fulfilling in his life. He was able to travel abroad for work, experience remote working, manage teams, present projects and speak formally in front of senior people. As the company grew at a fast pace, they learned how to set up and run a large organization. Eventually, he decided to drop out of his university program and focus on the opportunity of learning first hand.

Juanfra on his travels

One of the key early learning from working internationally was that business and web development could be just as fast-moving and successful in Argentina as in other places. “I realized there’s no such thing as a secret sauce for success. Projects are backed by people’s talent and time, and you can find that in any latitude.”

By his mid-20s, Juan decided he wanted to try building something from scratch. He created a social network for photo sharing in Latin America, which was used by more than 30,000 people across Latin America and Spain in its time. Through this, he discovered that other people had a blog and he did not want to be left behind. The discovery of WordPress was to change the focus of his life.

Hello to WordPress

Spending some time traveling around Europe, Juan found himself ‘surrounded by uncertainty’ and worried about what the future could bring. “I had some clues, but under uncertainty, the more you ask the less you answer. I started thinking about embracing the following philosophy: I didn’t want to be part of a large company, I didn’t want to continue studying and I wanted to travel as much as I could.” He did not realize at that time how this vision for his life was to mirror what he would find in WordPress.

He started using WordPress for a few sites in 2005. By 2007 he was using it for almost everything. He was struck by the magnitude and range of what the software could do, from a simple tool used to create a blog in the blink of an eye through to complex projects.

His first problem-solving project was simple and saved data received through a contact form plugin. “To complete this project I discovered the Codex and I learned how easy and intuitive it is to create a plugin. I had fallen in love with WordPress.”

I was truly amazed by how I could learn from others.

As he explored the options with the software, Juan was unsure of how intellectual property worked and wanted to be respectful of other people’s work. “I didn’t understand open source yet, and I wasn’t sure if I was stealing from others. That was my first interaction with GPL and open source. I was truly amazed by how I could learn from others and improve things created by others or by myself.”

He realized: “WordPress was the way to go if I wanted to pursue a dream of traveling, skipping winter, and working at the same time; what we now call a digital nomad. I already knew how to work remotely, I could work for companies located anywhere, as long as they could communicate in English or Spanish.”

Juan started his own web agency, where he provided services to small and medium-sized companies abroad in the USA, UK, and Australia. He built his reputation and developed strong relationships in WordPress. “The experience couldn’t be better. I was learning, having fun, making a living out of it, and at the same time exploring the world.”

In mid-2012, he discovered the full power of the WordPress community firsthand. In his spare time he started developing themes and from all he heard, wanted to attend a major event with lots of others in WordPress, a WordCamp. He took the plunge and booked for WordCamp in Edinburgh, in the UK. He said: “I got to meet many super talented people, and the atmosphere of the event was awesome. A place where competitors were also colleagues. Seeing the humility of somebody like Mike Little, the co-founder of WordPress, was amazing.”

He added: “While there, unconsciously, I started dreaming of holding something like that in Argentina – the joy of hosting the WordPress community in my home country.”

Back home, while browsing the Codex, he happened to see that WordPress was turning 10. A lot of meetups were going to be organized worldwide to celebrate the birthday. But there was nothing organized in Argentina. This was a catalyst for starting a local meetup. Together with a colleague, he  organized an Argentinian 10th birthday meetup.

More than 20 people showed up. “There was a common denominator. We all loved WordPress, it was part of our day-to-day life. We wanted to share experiences, make new friends and continue growing from what we could learn from others. That day we were a group of people with shared interests. That’s the simplest way to define a community, isn’t it?” This early meetup led to the formation of what is now called WordPress Argentina.

In his desire to skip winters and do more traveling, his next adventure was to take him to visit family working in the US and attend one of the biggest WordCamps in the world in San Francisco. His interest kept growing and he traveled across Europe to be part of the first edition of WordCamp Europe in the Netherlands in 2013.

He said: “There’s almost nothing I could write to fully express what you experience in such events. They are the main WordPress events worldwide. The best part: I made a lot of good friends from many different places. I’m glad I have more excuses to continue traveling.”

Once again in Argentina, our organization started growing thanks to the energy of the whole group, we started hosting formal meetups. In May 2015, we crowned all these efforts with a new WordCamp in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Juanfra speaking at WordCamp Buenos Aires

“Organizing such an event in my home country with many of the contributors I had met from the very first meetup was an experience I will always keep with me.”

Juan believes one of his biggest contributions to open source was as part of being able to expand the community in Argentina and to share this with other Latin American and Spanish speaking countries. He also contributes as a volunteer translator in the Polyglots Team, to the Make WordPress Support team, and contributes to code blocks and Gutenberg. “I am really excited about seeing the future of Gutenberg as it is the future of WordPress.”

Throughout his time contributing, Juan believes in helping to set the foundations and encouraging others to give their time and talents. He is keen to share that contributing does not have to be the same all the time and that you can have breaks and focus on one area in a particular period too. He gives the example of how in his spare time he watches Trac, where tickets about the software are logged, and looks where he might be able to help or think of solutions.

He said: “Anytime I find I can contribute to or make improvements in code-related areas, I will do as it is important to keep giving to the community. I enjoy crawling over meta, trac, GitHub and the different places that are requesting help. There is always somewhere you can help. At the moment, my focus is code and translations. I always try to save time to help these two areas. It is like you give and you get, you learn things. You meet amazing people and opportunities arrive.”

Finding your path in WordPress


“Life is about experiences, it is about the people you surround yourself with and trying to do what you love. What you can find in an open source project like WordPress is an environment full of people who work with a tool they love. An environment that is ready to help and to give advice. Follow what makes you happy, try to be surrounded by people who make you better, try to empower others, try to give back. Try. Make your own path.”

Share the stories

Help share these stories of open source contributors and continue to grow the community. Meet more WordPressers in the People of WordPress series.

Contributors to this feature

Thank you to Juan Aldasoro (@juanfra) for sharing his story. 

Interviews and feature by Abha Thakor (@webcommsat) and Surendra Thakor (@sthakor). Reviewed by Mary Baum (@marybaum), Chloe Bringmann (@cbringmann), Meher Bala (@meher), Anjana Vasan (@anjanavasan) and Yvette Sonneveld (@yvettesonneveld).

Thanks to Josepha Haden Chomphosy (@chanthaboune) and Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe) and others for their support of this initiative.

HeroPress logo

This People of WordPress feature is inspired by an essay originally published on, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. It highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories might otherwise go unheard. #HeroPress

Get Creative with the All-New Pattern Creator

Posted by download in Software on 25-03-2022

It’s been less than a year since the WordPress Pattern Directory was launched, and we already have more exciting news to share. The Pattern Creator is live! You can now build, edit, and submit your best block patterns to the Pattern Directory—submissions are open to all with a user account!

The WordPress Pattern Directory includes attractive, handy patterns created by designers that can make your experience building a stunning site much easier. Patterns can save you a significant amount of time and also give you greater freedom when you’re building your site. With patterns, you can make or replicate complex layouts with just a few clicks, and using them is as simple as copy and paste.

Create Your Own Bold, Beautiful Patterns Built Entirely with Blocks

Pattern submission screen, successfully submitted pattern with a "Thank you" modal.

As the name implies, the Pattern Creator allows anyone, from designers to content creators, to make custom patterns: a collection of blocks arranged in any way, for any purpose intended by the creator. Like most things in WordPress, these are available for public use once it’s submitted to the WordPress Pattern Directory. Have a look at these guidelines to learn more about what makes a pattern suitable for listing in the directory.

So what are you waiting for? Check out all the patterns already available or better yet, make your own!

WP Briefing: Episode 27: Is WordPress Made for Me?

Posted by download in Software on 21-03-2022

Who is WordPress actually made for? Join our host, WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy, as she explores this controversial question and three things that can help find the answer.

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

Hosts: Josepha Haden Chomphosy
Editor: Dustin Hartzler
Logo: Beatriz Fialho
Production: Santana Inniss



Read more

Episode 27

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!

Today, we’re talking about who WordPress is built for. I was talking to a group of contributors last week and we encountered some questions around just who WordPress is built for. And it’s a question that you’ll find any time that you’re working on user testing or on triaging tickets, and especially when that comes up when you look at the big picture, roadmap sorts of things. The easiest answer for this question is, of course, everyone because WordPress’ mission is to democratize publishing and that should be available to everyone.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:01:11]

However, everyone is a really big target and certainly doesn’t help get your mind around the people that you’re wanting to actually build it for, the people that you actually want to be able to use your product, your software on a day-to-day basis. So let’s take a look at the one question that can help us figure out who it’s built for today and how we get it to being something that’s built forever.

Firstly, there’s a basic premise of open source that informs this thought. And that premise is that we are citizens of a community of contributors therefore the decisions are made by the people who show up. In general, I believe that to be true, though, I also believe that some basic qualifications are needed.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:01:50] 

So with that in mind, the one question that can help us figure out who a software is built for is this: how do your active contributors see themselves? I would bet that most contributors to open source software projects, like WordPress, are developers of some sort, it is sort of written right into the definition of the project. 

If you work on software, then you need developers. And what I love about WordPress, in particular, is that we do work to include contributors who are not developers. Yet it still remains true that there is a fairly high level of technical knowledge required to actively contribute. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:2:25] 

Which kind of brings us to the second half of the original question of how can we make sure that WordPress can be something that’s built for everyone? The answer to this one is easy to say, hard to do, and that is to make sure to include them as co-creators in the development process. 

We’ve talked about co-creators in open source before. It’s this idea that people who use the software every day are likely to know the biggest pain points. So if you want your software to be used by people who don’t know HTML, talk to a bunch of people who don’t know HTML about how it is to use your software. 

If you want your software to be mostly used by enterprise agencies, talk to enterprise agencies, but also ask them what their clients hate, because everyone has more than one stakeholder. And I know that I said this already, but it bears repeating that, obviously, this is all very easy to say and hard to do. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:3:20] 

So what is my best guess for the how-to-do part for WordPress? There are three things. 

The first is testing. This not only helps bring in new contributors and helps train future contributors, which I’ve talked about on the podcast before. But testing also gives us a higher chance of actionable feedback from folks who don’t necessarily spend time directly in the WordPress project. 

Frequently the feedback that we do get that is just kind of undirected and ad hoc is exactly that– it is undirected and ad hoc and is then hard to follow up on and make sure that we understand what was wrong and how we can help fix it. And so testing is important for that. And testing it turns out is important for a bunch of things. When you’re working in open source. 

The next thing is support. So checking in with support teams at hosts, as well as the hardworking support teams in the project. And that can really help us to get early indications of what difficulties exist now. They have routinely seen problems and issues that are raised in support forums, and from their everyday users that they are providing support to. 

That probably could be fixed in WordPress if we had a good understanding of just what was not going right, how many people really needed it to go better, and what our targets were to fix that particular problem. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:4:45] 

And the third thing is communication. I know that I’ve gone on record in many places as saying that most of our problems at the end of the day are communication problems. And I’m going on record about it again here in this podcast, establishing better communication patterns with users is key. 

That can be a multi-year project in itself. And even after that, it’s going to be an ongoing journey. But it is one of the many things that WordCamps and other WordPress events have given to us over the years, an opportunity to really hear from and see the struggles that people who are not building with WordPress every day, or literally building WordPress every day are actually having.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:5:34] 

So now that you’ve heard my small list of way too big things, that brings us to our regular small list of big things. The first thing is that WordCamp Europe is still looking for volunteers. If you’ve never done that before, I think it’s quite fun. You get to meet a lot of people and the team of organizers is super fun, but I’ll leave a link for you in the show notes.

We also have a new code-free way to contribute through the photo directory. That team is just getting started and still is working toward building out its programs. So now’s a good time to drop in and just kind of see what they are up to. And finally, a reminder that we do have contributors who are affected by the war in Ukraine right now. I will reshare the list of humanitarian organizations in case you missed them a couple of weeks ago as well. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy [00:6:21] 

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

Posted by download in Software on 14-03-2022

Welcome back to our “ Favorites” series! In these interviews, we’ll be highlighting bloggers about their passion project. Caution: contents guaranteed to be inspiring. This interview has been lightly edited.    

Shortly after Empish Thomas earned her journalism degree in the mid-’90s, she began experiencing severe headaches and sensitivity to light. After a visit to the eye doctor, she was diagnosed with uveitis, a generalized eye inflammation that can quickly escalate to permanent damage. Unfortunately, Empish fell into that category, losing her sight fully within a few years. 

Since then, she’s been a writer, journalist, and advocate for blindness and disability rights, telling stories and championing awareness along the way. 

Empish generously took the time to answer a few of my questions and share some ideas on how we can all be better advocates for disability rights.  

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you write about and why? How long have you been blogging?

I am a freelance writer and blogger. I started off as a writer many years ago and later started blogging in 2013. Although I have a journalism degree, I love writing for the pure pleasure of it. I launched my own blog about two years ago as a safe place to write my own thoughts and ideas about things that concerned me. I write especially about my life as a blind person because when I became disabled 20+ years ago, I rarely saw positive and interesting stories about the disabled.

2. What are some of the most common negative portrayals you see about folks with disabilities in the news or in pop culture?

Well, there are actually two things I notice. One is the “superhero crip” image. That is a disabled person overcoming these incredible challenges and doing amazing things that everyone is impressed by. It sends a message that all disabled people are supposed to or want to be that way. It communicates a false expectation. At the end of the day, we are all human beings and live lives like everyone else.

The second one is that we are not visible at all. Many times, I will read a story or watch a news segment and wonder, “Where are the blind people? What is happening to those with disabilities?” This is not necessarily a negative thing, but more [shows our] exclusion from the storyline.

3. Let’s move to the workplace. How can employers become better allies and advocates for disability rights?

First, making sure that disabled employees get their accommodations to perform their jobs. 

Then, providing the support, encouragement, and motivation to help them move upward in the company the way you would an abled-bodied person. Sometimes I think that people with disabilities are not encouraged to move up into management or higher-level positions. It is like people can’t imagine a blind person as a supervisor or director. But with the right support, they could do the job like anyone else.

A Few of Empish’s Favorite Posts:

4. You’ve mentioned podcasts in a number of blog posts. Do you have any favorite listening experiences to recommend?

Yes, some of my favorite podcasts are HISTORY This Week, LeVar Burton Reads, The Stacking Benjamins, Code Switch, and Grammar Girl

5. What can someone do today to be a better advocate for disability rights, especially in the online space?

For me, being a better advocate is learning as much as you can about blindness and visual impairment. Reading things written by disabled people in their own voices. Through my years of writing about the disabled, I have had people reach out to me to learn more and that is a good thing. 

Also, helping those of us with visual disabilities get access to the internet. I can’t begin to tell you the number of websites I go to with accessibility issues. It is a regular challenge. Reaching out to web developers is hard and exhausting sometimes. But having allies to help in this process would be wonderful. It could be a simple thing like bringing awareness, because people don’t think that blind people are online.

6. Do have any tips for aspiring bloggers or freelance writers? 

Depending on the type of blog you are writing, it is so important to be organized. I use an editorial calendar where I jot down blog ideas for each month. I think about things coming up, current events, trending topics, etc., and add them to the calendar. This helps me to keep a good flow of blog posts.

Once people start subscribing they expect to see posts on a regular basis, and having an editorial calendar helps me stay on track.

Want to learn more about being organized and consistent with your writing? Sign up for our free, self-guided Intro to Blogging course today: 

WordPress 5.9.2 Security & Maintenance Release

Posted by download in Software on 11-03-2022

WordPress 5.9.2 is now available!

This security and maintenance release features 1 bug fix in addition to 3 security fixes. Because this is a security release, it is recommended that you update your sites immediately. All versions since WordPress 3.7 have also been updated.

WordPress 5.9.2 is a security and maintenance release. The next major release will be version 6.0.

You can download WordPress 5.9.2 from, 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 changes on Trac, or check out the version 5.9.2 HelpHub documentation page.

Thanks and props!

The 5.9.2 release was led by Jb Audras, with the help of Jorge Costa on package updates, Sergey Biryukov on mission control, and David Baumwald on backport commits.

In addition to the release squad members mentioned above, thank you to everyone who helped make WordPress 5.9.2 happen:

Alan Jacob Mathew, Alex Concha, André, Anton Vlasenko, David Baumwald, ehtis, Jb Audras, Jorge Costa, Peter Wilson, Sergey Biryukov, Tonya Mork, and ironprogrammer.

Props @davidbaumwald and @sergeybiryukov for peer review.

Customize Your Entire Site With New Block Themes

Posted by download in Software on 09-03-2022

In case you missed it, we’ve been rolling out a new set of powerful site design tools called Full Site Editing (or “FSE”) and it’s now available for all users!

Don’t worry if you’re just hearing about Full Site Editing for the first time. We’ve been releasing these new tools in a way that doesn’t actually require you to do anything with your existing site(s). If you are up for a change though, we’re happy to announce the launch of a brand new family of themes made specifically with Full Site Editing features in mind. As of this writing we have over two dozen themes available that support Full Site Editing.

These new themes have been designed with a wide variety of sites cases in mind. But their potential stretches well beyond their screenshots and demo sites. Because each theme is fully editable in the Site Editor, every one of these themes can be heavily customized to fit your site’s needs. You can start with theme that features single minimalist homepage, and then add as many menus and sidebars as you wish. Or, you can start with a complex business theme and strip it down to something minimal to suit your vision.

The Site Editor also includes a new feature called “Global Styles,” which allows you to edit site-wide settings for color, typography, and more. You’re free to change your theme’s default color scheme to whatever fits your mood, or even make all site text larger or smaller in a couple of clicks. To kick off this new feature, we’re also providing a few pre-built variations on some of these new themes.

All the new themes and variations can be found in the Theme Showcase. Or, if you’re starting a fresh site, they’ll be offered to you automatically in the site creation flow. This collection of themes is just the beginning, and we’re excited to continue launching a variety of diverse theme options for you. What would you like to see in the next set of themes on

The Future of Plugin, Themes, and Services Purchases on

Posted by download in Software on 08-03-2022

Recently we shared that you can now purchase six popular Automattic plugins right from your dashboard. We’re intentionally testing this out with our own products before opening it up to the broader community. This is the first step in our plan to make taking your site to the next level faster, easier, and more flexible than ever before.

But it’s really just the beginning.

What’s coming soon

Today, we’d like to share a vision of what’s coming for instant purchases of plugins, themes, and even services – all from right within your dashboard. This will help you level up your site and make any goal you bring to a reality – with increased ease and convenience. 

Everything you need, one click away already comes with a suite of powerful, adaptable tools to bring your site, blog, or store to life. On top of those tools, our Business and eCommerce customers have the option of making use of thousands of free and paid themes and plugins from across the wider WordPress ecosystem. In the near future, this will be available for all customers.

The new integrated experience will take that one step further, making getting up and running one-click simple and providing customers with:

  • A curated selection of the best plugins for every need, saving you the hassle of searching for and comparing from the hundreds of options available.
  • Premium themes that are designed to look beautiful the second they’re activated.
  • Professional help to make your vision a reality – even when you don’t have time to do it yourself.
  • Managed Plugins and Themes, giving you the peace of mind that any plugin or theme you purchase is fully managed by the team at No security patches. No update nags. It just works. Leaving you to focus on the things that matter most.
  • The knowledge that you’re supporting the ecosystem of WordPress community developers and service providers as they support you in turn with your personal or business goals.

Powered by the WordPress community

WordPress isn’t the world’s most popular website builder by accident. Our roots in a huge, and hugely creative, open source community make the platform everything it is and can be.

Giving customers the very best tools and support to achieve their goals will take a village. We’ll be partnering with developers and service providers from across the WordPress ecosystem (and across every part of the world) to make that happen.

As Matt Mullenweg, our CEO and co-founder of the WordPress open source project said recently:

“We’ve got about 2 million people with saved payment details that we can make it one-click easy [for folks] to upgrade, so hopefully this represents a big new potential audience and customer base for people selling things in the WP ecosystem. And of course, we will prioritize working with developers and companies who participate in Five for the Future and contribute back to the WP community.”

Get on the early access list

If you’re a WordPress plugin or theme developer, or you provide professional services for WordPress users, we’d love to hear from you, today.

Drop your details in the form below, and as we work to expand the products and services we’ll bring to customers, you’ll be first on the list when we start reaching out to form new partnerships.

We can’t wait to work with you!

WP Briefing: Episode 26: Matt Mullenweg on Ukraine, Community, and WordPress

Posted by download in Software on 04-03-2022

Matt Mullenweg speaks to WordPress contributors worldwide on this special edition of the WP Briefing podcast with Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Join us to hear Matt’s thoughts on Ukraine.

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


How You Can Help


Médecins Sans Frontieres 

International Committee of the Red Cross 

International Rescue Committee

UN Refugee Agency 

World Central Kitchen

Tech For Ukraine



Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:00

Hello, everyone, and welcome to a special edition of the WordPress Briefing. I have Matt here with me today because we want to acknowledge that we are once again at the start of a very difficult time. Neither of us would presume to know what it’s like to be at the heart of such massive disruption in our lives. But who would we be if we didn’t stop and check in with you all, the project that we hold so dear? And with that, I’ll hand it right over to you, Matt.

Matt Mullenweg  00:27

Hello everyone. First, I want to thank Josepha for inviting me to join the WordPress Briefing to share what’s been on my mind in light of recent global events. 

Matt Mullenweg  00:37

I’ve been listening and watching events escalate in Ukraine, often in a state of shock. The scale alone is hard to take in. I mean, in the last 7 days, more than 500,000 people have fled their homes, more refugees are expected every day. The downstream humanitarian crises of the invasion are unimaginable.  

Matt Mullenweg  00:56

And seeing destruction in the world we live in is confusing, disconcerting, and difficult. In my experience, open source and WordPress bring people together; people from other countries and cultures, people that we know as friends and colleagues. Technology connects us, regardless of where we are. Nothing can negate the bad things happening in the world, but when I see how this community of contributors collaborates, regardless of borders, you all remind me of the good in the world every day.

Matt Mullenweg  01:30

I firmly believe that the web can be an equalizer and a force for good in the world. To me, the WordPress project is the epitome of goodness—everyone has a voice, a platform, and a community. You have the power to make your corner of the world, and the web, a sanctuary for those who need it—especially now.

Matt Mullenweg  01:45

If you or someone you know is affected by this war, I encourage you to be present as the ramifications unfold. While we may all feel fatigued and have a sense of languishing from the past two years of the Covid pandemic, the gift of time and support for one another cannot be overstated. I’m confident that every single person in the WordPress community will approach the situation in Ukraine with sensitivity and understanding. 

Matt Mullenweg  02:07

I invite you to join me in standing with those in the world working to end conflict and working toward a world of peace, promise, and opportunity. If you’re looking for a way to help support the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, I will offer some suggested NGOs, or Non-Governmental Organizations, that provide assistance to local peacebuilders in the region. 

Matt Mullenweg  02:26

In closing, please know that my thoughts are with everyone in our community. I know that my words here can’t change anything there, but I hope that we all remember that words of support are never unwelcome. And we can never know when a little human kindness can help someone share the invisible heaviness in their heart. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  02:44

Thanks for that, Matt. My friends, there are links in the show notes to some of the groups that Matt referenced. And that is it for this special edition of the WordPress Briefing. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Be safe, be kind to yourself and others, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.

The Month in WordPress – February 2022

Posted by download in Software on 04-03-2022

There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and safety is top of mind for everyone in the WordPress community. If you don’t know where to begin, or how to support your peers, Executive Director Josepha Chomphosy’s advice to the global community is to start small. 

Overall, February has been a busy month for WordPress. To begin with, it was thrilling to see the enthusiasm for the release of WordPress 5.9 Joséphine from January continue last month, and that’s not all. 

We have many exciting updates to share, so keep reading to learn about the latest achievements from the WordPress community.

WordPress 6.0: May 24, 2022 is the proposed release date

Gutenberg releases: Versions 12.5, 12.6, and 12.7 were released

The Core Team launched three new versions of Gutenberg last month. All come with new features, code quality improvements, and bug fixes.

  • Gutenberg 12.7 is available to download. This version improves the Patterns experience, allows you to add border styles to column blocks, and includes other new features.
  • Gutenberg 12.6 was launched on February 16, 2022. This release includes a new color panel, updated color controls, a new Post Author Biography block, Read More block, and plenty of other exciting updates!
  • Gutenberg 12.5 was released on February 2, 2022. This version allows switching theme styles variations, custom taxonomies filtering, and more.

WordPress News gets a new look

The redesign of WordPress News, which was first announced by Matt Mullenweg, Co-Founder of WordPress, in State of the Word 2021, went live on February 16, 2022.

Team updates: #WP Diversity, a new blog for developers, and more

  • The #WPDiversity working group, which is part of the Community Team, hosted an open Zoom meeting with volunteers on February 23, 2022. If you’re interested in contributing, read the recap of the meeting to view available roles. 
  • The Core Team shared a proposal to start a blog on to share news and updates relevant to developers. 
  • The first Gutenberg Developer Hours session hosted on February 8th by the Core Team was successful. Head over to this page to learn more about the participants’ feedback.
  • The Core Team published “Feature Project: Plugin Dependencies,” where they identified the problems with plugin dependencies and suggested potential solutions to improve the plugin experience.
  • The WordPress Photo Directory has a new Make team. There is currently an open call for team reps and collaboration is happening at the new #photos channel of the Make WordPress Slack.
  • The Polyglots Team shared a proposal for a milestone template for the Polyglots Locale Teams.
  • The Community Team published a proposal for refurbishing camera kits.
  • The Global Community Sponsors for 2022 have been announced.
  • The February 2022 edition of the monthly Meetup Organizer Newsletter has been published.
  • The latest edition of People of WordPress highlighting Tonya Mork was published on February 28, 2022. Read Tonya’s story to learn more about how WordPress helped her find herself again after a health crisis. 
  • The February 2022 edition of the Polyglots Monthly Newsletter has been published.

Feedback/Testing requests: WordPress iOS 19.3 and Android 19.3

WordCamp Europe 2022 announces steps to ensure a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming event

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 December 2021’s Month in WordPress: @anjanavasan @harishanker @rmartinezduque @mysweetcate

People of WordPress: Tonya Mork

Posted by download in Software on 01-03-2022

In this series, we share some of the inspiring stories of how WordPress and its global network of contributors can change people’s lives for the better. This month we feature a website developer and engineer from the US, who found the software and its community provide the impetus to keep her going forward.

WordPress gave Tonya Mork a new lease of energy after a health crisis from which she nearly died. She had spent two decades as an electrical and software engineer in high tech automated manufacturing. But when she discovered the WordPress software, teaching it to others became her new purpose. Through this discovery, she has gone on to help thousands of developers understand and build code in great depth.

As part of her WordPress journey, she has shared her skills in the roles of Release Coordinator and the Core Tech Editor for the most recent major WordPress release, 5.9 Joséphine. 

Tonya pictured in her work room

Life takes an unexpected turn

For the first 22 years of Tonya’s life, she rose through the ranks from enlisted personnel in the US Navy to a highly sought after chief engineer with a multi million-dollar industrial automation engineering firm.  

However, while she was working in engineering, her life was to change dramatically. In 2007, Tonya started to face health challenges that had an impact on all that she had known.

“My career defined me. It was my canvas and my art. When it was gone, I did not recognize myself.

Tonya Mork

One day, she woke up at home ready to visit a client’s facility where her firm was building a robotic system. She said: “As I headed for the door, I fell to my knees, as this wave of pain crushed down on my chest.”

Doctors diagnosed her with a very rare heart disease that caused her blood vessels to spasm, cutting off blood to whatever was downstream of the blockage. 

A few months later, she was diagnosed with a second rare and more serious condition, related to the migraines from which she had been suffering. Combined with her heart condition, this made every migraine attack life-threatening.

For nearly seven years, the unexpected changes to her health left her mostly homebound and constantly monitored. This meant she had to close her engineering firm and say goodbye to staff and clients. 

“My career defined me. It was my canvas and my art. When it was gone, I was lost. I didn’t recognize myself.”

But in her darkest hour, she found her strength. Tonya made a choice to move forward, and make the most of her life.

“When you are at rock bottom, you have to make a decision or else it will consume you. My decision was that I chose to be happy,” said Tonya.

One of Tonya’s first steps was to start writing a blog using WordPress. In this she shared insights on how to find peace and joy in any situation. She wrote about kindness and helping one another. 

The joy of making solutions through WordPress became a way for Tonya to accept her new life and not feel as limited by her health. She wanted purpose, and in WordPress, she found just that.

Tonya felt she could do something worthwhile in the virtual world. 

A ray of hope for Tonya

In 2013, Tonya’s health deteriorated further. She was admitted into intensive care and was diagnosed with a third rare disease, this time related to her autoimmunity. She was not expected to survive this time. 

Following what she describes as a ‘miraculous recovery,’ she became stronger and was able to stop relying on a wheelchair. She used the energy from working on websites to keep going. “WordPress kept my mind alive,” said Tonya.

She had first used WordPress for her engineering firm’s intranet. But when she discovered the software’s full potential and the collaborative opportunities of open source, it opened a new world. 

“Finding WordPress helped me to find myself again”

Tonya Mork

During the years which followed, she donated her time to build some WordPress websites and plugins. She said: “Through giving my time, I was able to do something other than sit in isolation.” 

Tonya was amazed by the sharing in open source in general and in WordPress in particular. She said: “I was amazed to see people sharing so much information freely with one another. In my former engineering world, information was proprietary. Throughout my career, I had worked to break down those silos and help anyone to understand complex systems. I was drawn to this open community.” 

She also became aware that WordPress developers were hungry to learn more about development. She wanted to be part of the solution with her passion for teaching and the knowledge she had gained in industry.

She said: “Finding WordPress helped me to find myself again. Here in this community, I was able to feel like a person again, not a sick one, but a professional with something to give.”

As her interest in the software grew, Tonya decided to start a non-profit where she turned to WordPress to build the websites. This re-sparked her interest in programming. She said: “I wanted to really know the code and understand what made it tick.”

The realization led Tonya to start the WP Developers’ Club, which in turn spawned Know the Code, to help educate individual developers, and is still used today.

From helping WordPress companies to working on WordPress Core

Tonya pictured with her dog

Tonya went on to work with big and medium size WordPress companies helping their developers and supporting them in raising their firms’ leverage with WordPress.

By late 2020, she knew she wanted to do even more with WordPress.

In February 2021, Tonya joined an international firm in the ecosystem and began working closely on WordPress Core.

At that time, WordPress Core was pulling together a new Triage team. Tonya started volunteering on that team to find collaborative solutions, and help others do so. In 2020 for WordPress 5.6 Simone, she became the release’s Triage lead, and again for WordPress 5.7 Esperanza

In 2021, she became a Test Team Rep and helped to expand the team and is an advocate for the value of testing and feedback in the release development process.

A new, successful chapter with WordPress 5.9

Tonya was one of the notable contributors to the WordPress 5.9 release featured in this picture.

Tonya’s passion for the software and getting people involved in its growth continued. For the WordPress 5.9 release in 2021, she took on the role of both the Core Tech Lead and the Release Coordinator. As this was a big release and included the first major implementation of Full Site Editing, it had many moving parts and hundreds of contributors. She was able to share the skills she had learned in communication and project management from her days streamlining and documenting engineering software and processes. 

In the first 24 hours of WordPress 5.9 landing, it had more than 10 million downloads—and 17 formally reported bugs.

Giving back to open source

Now in what Tonya describes as her third chapter. She said: “I’m a very different person from the engineer I used to know. What really matters in this world is when you reach out and make a difference in someone’s life.”

She feels she has found her purpose in this life. “I’m on a mission to give back and make a difference. Teaching is how I will do it. And in WordPress I have found my professional home, and I have all this software knowledge that I just want to share.”

Share the stories

Help share these stories of open source contributors and continue to grow the community. Meet more WordPressers in the People of WordPress series. #ContributorStory.

Contributors to this feature

Thank you to Tonya Mork (@hellofromtonya) for sharing her story. 

Interviews and feature by Abha Thakor (@webcommsat) and Mary Baum (@marybaum). Reviewed by Chloe Bringmann (@cbringmann), Nalini Thakor (@nalininonstopnewsuk), Meher Bala (@meher), and Anjana Vasan (@anjanavasan). Photo editing Reyez Martínez (@rmartinezduque) and Jean Baptiste Audras (@audrasjb).

Thanks to Josepha Haden Chomphosy (@chanthaboune) and Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe) and others for their support of this initiative.

HeroPress logo

This People of WordPress feature is inspired by an essay originally published on, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. It highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories might otherwise go unheard. #HeroPress