April 2021 Word Around the Campfire

Welcome to Press This, the WordPress community podcast from WMR. Here host David Vogelpohl sits down with guests from around the community to talk about the biggest issues facing WordPress developers. The following is a transcription of the original recording.

David Vogelpohl: Hello everyone and welcome to Press This the WordPress community podcasts on WMR. This is your host, David Vogelpohl, I support the WordPress community through my role at WP Engine, and I love to bring the best of the community to you hear every week on press this as a reminder, you can find me on Twitter @wpdavidv, or you can subscribe to press this on iTunes, iHeartRadio, Spotify, or download the latest episodes at wmr.fm. In this episode we’re gonna be doing our word around the campfire segment, which is coming back as a quarterly segment here in 2021, joining me for this conversation today for us items around WordPress. Welcome back to press this Mr. Anthony Burchell.

Anthony Burchell: Thanks for having me.

DV: Glad to have you here Anthony. For those unfamiliar with Anthony WordPress Core committer supporting WordPress project in a wide variety of way that is part of his role here at WP Engine. And also joining us for this conversation is the mega popular Doc Popular. Welcome back, Doc. Welcome back to press this.

Doctor Popular: Thanks, it’s great, great to be on here again with you

DV: Good to have you back here talking about news around the WordPress ecosystem and we’ve had a busy few months. Really looking forward to walking through, what all has been going on for regular listeners of press this, I just, maybe if you haven’t been listening recently I wanted to call out a few of our more recent episodes that really stood out for me and I’ve actually been referencing them to others over the last few months here. I learned quite a bit from these, but one was with Jason Bahl, the creator of WP Graph QL and what Jason really brought down was kind of a nice description of the rise of headless WordPress like what is headless WordPress and what does it mean and what are the different flavors and I thought Jason had one of the best holistic views are kind of this notion of headless or extensible WordPress, Doc, y’all, y’all also interviewed him over on tour, right,

DP: Yeah, we sure did, it was, it was great to have him on he’s such an expert on such a very specific, you know Graph QL and WordPress like no one knows what he notes, it seems like he’s, he’s a really cool person to chat with.

DV: Yeah, WP Graph QL just reached 100,000 active custom sites I think is the stat. It’s really popular choice there for people doing headless WordPress, and then the other one that I’ve referenced probably about a dozen times since we recorded and broadcast it was the one with Bill Eric says, and this is where bill talks about how WordPress publishers are dealing with the existential threat of Ad blocking and in more specifically, third party cookie blocking. Bill details how sites that we’re using technologies like amp which kind of by default block this style of ad serving, we’re seeing 60% reductions in revenue on their ads. He was talking about like the techniques that these publishers are using to try to continue to deliver value for new users and privacy in a respectful way, but also not, you know ruin their business with, you know, essentially this existential threat of Ad blocking built in an incredible job of walking through like what’s changing the techniques people are using, like, what the impact is what people are seeing now so if you’re wondering about if you’re running sites that deal with AD publishing, and you’re worried about you know the revenue per rpm or revenue per 1000 impressions just read the ad revenue general check out that episode from Bill Erickson, how WordPress publishers are dealing with the existential threat of ads. All right, on to more WordPress kind of general news. We’ve had a few versions come out since our last word around the campfire episode, I wanted to kind of turn now to Anthony Burchell, Anthony, I want to start by talking about five seven. Some of the features within it, then maybe we can talk about five eight. But why don’t you kick us off with five seven what were some of the kind of the standout features for you, with request by voice.

AB: Yeah, so by about seven had a lot of great features. If it wasn’t, some of those like bigger features like we’re seeing with five not even full plate editing and all of those leads but it was a really great release because of the things like drag and drop blocks are really cool so you can actually open the inserter and grab a block, and drag it exactly where you want it, which I really liked because I always find myself putting my cursor in the wrong space and clicking the Add block and stuff so now you can actually drag and drop, put it exactly where you want it. The other big thing is the site health got an update on migrations from HTTP to HTTPS, which I know a lot of people are really excited about because you have to do database searches for any references to HTTP and all of those things

DV: Is that thethe audit redirecting capabilities that was in 5.7?

AB: yeah yeah so that’s that should just redirect you to HTTPS, you don’t have to do any crazy redirects or anything, anything, it’s a setting in WP admin, and I know like platforms like WP Engine have like these auto redirect rules when people would implement SSL search or HTTPS, like seeing that in core seems incredibly helpful.

DV: So I was glad to see that one personally.

AB: Yeah, and then also there’s the new robots API is it’s going to introduce or introduce an API that allows developers to control and update the robots meta tag on a website so there’s no new fancy hook that you can control that with. So those are some of the ones that stuck out to me oh yeah and also lazy loading iframes, that was a big one. Because iframes can be really intense on the load time of your site so lazy loading those is very ideal especially if there’s something at the bottom of your page that’s ruining the experience at the top of your page. So that was really cool. So it was mainly like quality of life improvements for WordPress in that in that release but 5.8 is the big one, where we’re looking at full site editing and all of these other great features

DV: So with 5.8 5.8 is slated for release, like roughly one month, at this point in time, it’s looking like it’s going to be probably early June mid June, somewhere around there. I think the, the optimistic view is probably mid June, early June, but it could be, it could be a little bit later, depending on what we find in testing so we’re looking at the release candidate to be ready, around mid May so not too long from now may 19 is with slated to be able to start testing it for those listening and then familiar full site editing is where the block editor will be used to power content and the header the sidebar and the footer. It’ll also come with this new notion of FRC teams. So help us understand like what parts of that are getting 5.8 Is it FSC beta and 5.8, and then support for FSC themes without the Gutenberg plugin or do I also need to Gutenberg plugin to test FSC themes like, what’s your knowledge of all that.

AB: Yeah, so for my understanding that the Gutenberg updates will be merged in around the release candidate time. And all of this is kind of think of it as like scaffolding, we’re putting all of the framework for tools like editing so that we can complete them supported in the future so there are some tweaks that you have to set in order to take advantage of full site editing, but I the way I think of this is the very same way that we had with Gutenberg right, it wasn’t like you could choose to use the classic editor or the new editor. So with this, this, this new scaffolding, both can already use the theme options to enable full site editing for their theme, so if you have a theme that’s not using full site editing and you update, you should be fine, according to the plans that I’ve seen, he should be a okay.

DV: Okay, so the I think the headline here though for folks is this is the, at least for 5.8 when it’s in full release. This is not the moment where most customer most people using WordPress are going to switch over and start running FSC right this is like the very beginning on those. And so like I think like as I think back to like five oh and the block editor Gutenberg released core, That kind of started the block editor. It was like people were like, oh my goodness my site’s gonna break and I’m not ready for FSC and I don’t even have an FSC team or even know what that is, that people are not gonna like it just for clarity there Right. People are not forced into using it, it’s kind of the initial launch and start taking advantage of playing around with it, there’ll be this adoption curve over time, as people start thinking about FSC,

AB: yeah exactly and the go no go was was held there was a project leadership got together and sort of outlined where we are in the current state and it was determined that it is okay to launch this, If it’s get this ready for a transition over the next couple of years, just like we did with Gutenberg, and I thought I did see a note from giuseppa that stated that if you were testing FSC themes in 5.8 that you would still need to use the Gutenberg plugin.

DV: Do you know if that’s true or did I believe it’s true?

AB: yeah I believe that is true to take advantage of some of the bigger changes that are required to kind of utilize, or to be utilized ahead.

DV: Okay, any other real quickly any other standout features in five eight you want to make sure we hit.

AB: I’m really excited about the gallery block refactor because that one is going to instead of having its own custom implementation of how images should be displayed in a grid, it’s actually going to use inner blocks, so that it uses a, an array of image blocks instead so that we can unify the experience of image blocks inside of the gallery experience so that was a really exciting day you manage that media component in core so I’m sure that one was particularly of interest to you

DV: That does sound Yeah, really cool. We’re gonna go, thank you Anthony for that rundown on recent and upcoming versions of WordPress. We’re going to shift to doc to talk about some other things happening in that community, but we’re going to take a quick break and we’ll be right back.

DV: Hello everyone welcome back to Press This WordPress community podcast on WMR. We’re in the middle of our quarterly episode where around the campfire about news from the WordPress ecosystem, right before the break, Anthony Burchell shared what’s happening with WordPress core. I want to shift it up a little bit now and go to Doc, Doc. It’s like that time of year where plugins battle for supremacy in a friendly and fun competition, but could you tell us about this battle, and who would.

DP: Yeah, so it is plugin madness, the famous racket style competition that happens in March, probably the most famous bracket style. March based competition, where we take WordPress plugins, and we have nominations we weed it down to 64 of the top nominations, they all have to be free, on the WordPress repository, they have to have, you know, been updated recently, things like that, but but basically we get these nominations we put the top 64 And then we read it down to one. And this year, his winner was a new competitor called fluent, CRM, which is an email marketing platform like, basically, you can use it to compose newsletters on your WordPress like in WordPress. Or you can also do really advanced automation, where two weeks after someone places an order from your site, you can follow up with an automated email all, you know, written in the Gutenberg block right all done in the WordPress dashboard, it’s a pretty cool tool, and one that we haven’t, you know, heard it before, which is actually sort of the point of plugin madness for me, which is, you know, definitely the popular plugins are going to do really well but it’s a really cool way for other people to kind of learn about new plugins that they might have missed and Yahoo and CRM just dominated that.

DV: totally out of left field for me it was like going to the Kentucky Derby and like the horse that somebody was riding around outside the track just happened to jump the fence, when the race was like where did this, this is like income is great for those fakes, being able to get that momentum and pull ahead victories and congrats to the floor and CRM, oops, um, Doc, WordCamps like the world’s kind of opening up a lot of people are getting vaccinated and like people you can go places again but I’m still like wondering about WordCamps like when can I go to WordCamps.

DP: So, at this time. All WordPress events are online only, with the exception of meetup communities, and those communities are still expected to kind of meet this minimum checklist, which is things like is the positivity rate in your community under 4% Have there been less than 50 cases per 100,000 in the past few weeks, and even just just things like that functional things, and that’s just on the meetup communities and we’re starting to talk about the future of WordPress events you know some people are thinking, maybe as early as October we could start doing, you know like a word camp. And, you know, I don’t know how everyone feels about that I’m kind of mixed on it but, but basically the discussion is happening now, on wordpress.org, where they’re just kind of saying here’s the list of checklist and we’re looking for feedback on. If you think we should kind of impose these rules or not. So, for instance, Luca Corvis who is WP Engine employee. He tried it in the comments saying, you know this checklist is fine but I think really we should be just deferring to local government, like what is the requirements of the government in your city and do you meet those requirements. If so, you can have a word camp where other people are saying, now there’s going to be people traveling. It’s going to be, you know, it’s, it’s something that we should think about, you know, a little bit more in terms of what we think is good. And then also, what is the local requirements. City requirements so we’re just in the early discussions of it and it’s interesting hearing sponsors kind of chime in with their opinions about like, Well, if we can’t give out swag or if we can’t meet with people, then we might not want to sponsor event and if we can’t sponsor an event, will it even be able to functionally happen without without funding. So this is, this is all just in the planning stages, and so I can’t say if we’re going to have something this year, or not. I think for myself, you know, even if there is something happening in October. I’m only thinking about going if it’s global, you know like, I don’t want to spread, spread anything or to another city or bring it back, but it’s, it’s an interesting spot this is obviously something, the WordPress community has never had to deal with before rolling back into meetups, which we’re all anxious to do it’s going to be, it’s going to be interesting.

DV: I’m glad to hear and they’re listening and obviously it sounds like taking all this from a responsible approach, I’ll be patient, Doc. I want us to be safe, too. I do feel pressure though because my kids are growing out of the walkthrough T shirts and so I didn’t finish that. And then you’re gonna find it online stores something I’m sure there’s one somewhere, but provided to here to be responsible with how they approach that. Speaking of saving folks. Creative Commons and wordpress.org are some interesting news recently around that tell us what’s going on there.

DP: I am a huge Creative Commons fan if you’re not familiar, it is basically a place that you can go to either create a license for your work or find work that is licensed with the idea of making it as easy as possible for people to share work. Creative Commons at its simplest form is. This is licensed in a way that anybody can share it and sell it and do whatever you want to with it, you don’t even have to give me attribution that’s sort of what they call creative commons zero, and it can go up to like, you can share it, but you can’t sell it, and you have to give me attribution so there’s like all these different things there, and the CC search is a tool on Creative Commons website that allows you to kind of type in the word yo yo or dog or whatever, and it’ll give you a list of Creative Commons featured images or images or videos or audio that you are free to use and you can kind of select which license you want to use if you want to, you know, sell it or not. It is a great search tool, it’s kind of better than flickers Creative Commons search there’s really nothing else quite like it. And Matt Mullenweg recently announced that WordPress Core is integrating CC search, I think, I think they’ve acquired it. Maybe someone correct me on there but it is basically somebody employees from Creative Commons are coming in to the wordpress.org team, to, to add Creative Commons search to wordpress.org, and I’m hoping that that means, eventually, the core will have, like in the media section when you go to pick a featured image, you know, you’ve got your, your featured images that you’ve already used you’ve got the ability to upload or you’ve got the ability to search on Creative Commons, and just bam, like, whatever your topic is find it and put it there, that’s, that’s my ultimate hope with this and so far there’s not a lot of details about what’s going to happen just that it’s going to be happening within the next few weeks, we’re gonna start seeing CC search integrated under WordPress support.

DV: Yeah I did read some specifics there around Image Search associated with poor as part of that discussion, I do believe it was an acquisition and the team’s contributions will fall under automatics five for the future contribution, if I remember the way that was worded in the torque article where I read that. But, Great to see you know automatic stepping up there to help creative comments and it just kind of repressed as a whole so good to see that, that kind of develop there in the ecosystem, Doc, I’ve got one more question for you. Before the break, The life span beyond the break, but you have this like we had this shenanigans from this company whose name I won’t mention where they were running ads kind of trash talking WordPress, and there’s this this debate about should word camps ban companies who run competitive ads against repressive maybe other arms of their business or something. What do you, what are your thoughts on that.

DP: Well, you know like like the discussion earlier this is, this is all in discussion. It’s not an official thing yet. But the idea is, should we allow someone who’s come in like misuse the WordPress logo, based on our terms to, you know, trash talk WordPress, should they also be allowed to, you know, come to a WordPress meetup. And I don’t know. You know, a because going back to the days it’s raging right now right I mean I might not have the most informed opinion there but like there’s a lot of discussion after these videos kind of surfaced in social media. Yeah, I mean the sponsorship of these events is very important, and I, I kind of personally believe you know if someone thinks they can, you know, advertise their non WordPress product at WordCamp let them. I guess the marketplace of ideas big air quotes there but yeah, it’s, it’s all kind of being discussed and I’m hearing different things and the biggest issue really seems to be the misuse of the WordPress trademark really angers, some folks up top.

DV: it’s definitely a requirement to participate in org stuff and a Christmas I’ll say your legal obligations or respecting people’s marks I never saw any like official like analysis of the legal side of that one particular video series but certainly it. I think it achieved the outcome for the company that did x A lot of people spoke about it, but it did, it’s fair these other conversations around, you know, should those kind of companies be allowed to speak in Word camps. We have more to cover, but we’re gonna take a quick break and we’ll be right back.

DV: Everyone welcome back to Press This WordPress community podcast on WMR. We’re in the middle of our quarterly weird around the campfire episode covering news from around the WordPress community. Right before the break we were talking a little bit about, you know this this debate that’s kind of happening in WordPress around, potentially, you know, banning companies, word camps who kind of misuse repress trademarks and things like that. And Doc had kind of run through a little bit about how that debate was kind of raging internally there. My next question is for you, Anthony. Did you get free headphones as part of this company’s promotion they’re on social media, to come up with their videos.

AB: While I’m talking to you from some air pods right now so no I didn’t know you did it. I’m not, I guess I fell under the radar, I don’t know. I guess they didn’t get them, I told them my price though was the Air Max, or the Apple pro earphones. So I have a high price. What did you get for this price like you’ve been tweet about their CRM or something. I’ll say whatever. But then, in the comments. I gotcha, gotcha.

DV: Yeah it’s really funny it was like this so this DIY CMS and I’m not gonna mention them by name but you’d be very familiar my dad sent headphones to quote WordPress influencers right, he became this like new like status symbol like if this company had targeted you that make you like kind of quote made it as an influencer I felt, I felt very left out, I did not get free.

AB: Yeah, I’m really bummed.

DV: It was, it was actually like, I felt like the WordPress community like reacted very negatively to the points that the video was making, but I didn’t think that was the point of the campaign, I thought the point of the campaign was to ignite this debate, get exposure for the brand. And of course, everybody instantly went out and tweeted about it tweeted the name of the company that was involved like from a, from an exposure perspective I thought it was incredibly effective, but like the WordPress community did not react well right

AB: no, I mean it was kind of like, it’s not a nice thing to do, you’re attacking what Pete some people make their entire living off of the software right so it’s like it was a little bit tone deaf in that sense.

DV: Yeah, for sure it definitely was not going to win any friends, watching this video in the WordPress community, watching this video is that I don’t think they were trying to make friends for requests at all. Maybe I got that wrong but we’ll see. But I will not mention them by names with TRS that will not work here. Alright cool, Other things happening in the WordPress community I think one thing that’s, you know, been heavy on my mind is the updating updated upcoming release of the Google algo update focused around providing weight in rankings or sites that score well on core web vitals scores. If you haven’t been keeping up CW V scores primarily encompass first Contentful paint which is basically your kind of normal PageSpeed optimization type score, You have cumulative layout shifts which is covering like how jittery the content on your site is is it moving all around as the page is loading. And then third is always forget the third one is first input delay which is around the ability of users to interact with your site. And so there’s this whole kind of effort in the WordPress ecosystem to basically update sites that might have issues with any one of the three items. We did an analysis actually sites across the WP Engine platform. In our case, first Contentful paint which is more like your normal PageSpeed metric scored very well of course considering where administration speeds kind of our thing, cumulative layout shift, it was about 20 something percent of sites that needed to make some improvements to their CSS to improve that. And then I forget the first interaction delay metric, but overall it actually looks pretty good, from our perspective, as you can imagine there’s obviously a class site, need some additional improvements so I didn’t see it that the world was the sky was falling if the request sites. And there’s more research going on around that for those paying attention that’ll happen in June, 2021 it was pushback from May. After the greater web how they Google I guess maybe one month delay helps a little bit Thanks Google. People are kind of scrambling to get their site started and this is happening of course across the web. In any case, that’s it for WordPress news, and around the campfire for this episode. Anthony thanks for joining us.

AB: Thanks for having me.

DV: Awesome Doc thank you as well.

DP: Thanks

DV: Great time you’d like to check out more about WordPress news you can check out what Doc’s up to at torquemag.io Thanks everyone for listening to press this WordPress community podcast on W Mr. Again, this is your host, David Vogelpohl I supported the WordPress community through my role at WP Engine, and I love to bring the best of the community to you here every week on press this.



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