WP Mainline Episode 4 – What’s New in WordPress 5.8

In this episode, Malcolm Peralty and I describe what’s new in WordPress 5.8 such as improvements to Media, block-based widget management screen, and WebP image support. I also share what solutions I’ve discovered to problems people have been having with the new block-based widget management screen and the forty image limit for gallery pages.

Later in this episode, we talk about WordCamps and when we can expect to be going back to them or whether we’ll attend them at all. Last but not least, we discuss some of the proposed requirements for the theme directory.


Click to View Transcript:

Speaker 1 00:00:20 Welcome everybody to episode four of WP mainline for Friday, July 23rd, 2021. I’m your host, Jeff Chandler and joined, uh, by Malcolm Peralta. And it’s a big week this week because we’re pressed 5.8. Tatum has dropped Tatum.
Speaker 2 00:00:34 I don’t know that the name of that is always going to get me
Speaker 1 00:00:37 Tatum, Tatum, Tatum. So this, uh, this release was named in honor of art Tatum, the legendary jazz pianist, uh, according to the, uh, release bod post his formidable technique and willingness to push boundaries, inspired musicians and changed what people thought could be done. Uh, so this was a big release depending on how you look at it. I mean, uh, you’ve got new, uh, you can now manage widgets with blocks. In fact, uh, I guess we’ll stop right there at that first one, because that’s, that’s probably going to be the feature that users maybe recognize at first or it’s one of the most user-facing features in a WordPress 5.8 and it turns out it’s also causing, uh, some issues for, for quite a few users. Um, I’ve been watching the wordpress.org support forums since the release of 5.8 and there are users reporting that their widgets are now, uh, generating, uh, plugin warnings.
Speaker 1 00:01:37 Uh, the widgets have disappeared. The widget screen has disappeared. Things have gone very wonky. And then when you start getting into themes and plugins that mess with widgets of widget interface, uh, then things really start to get crazy. Uh, thankfully there is a plugin. You can go look for it on the plugin directory, it’s called classic widgets. And when you install it, it, uh, pretty much puts back the widget management interface, uh, prior to WordPress 5.8. And in most cases that I have seen this has fixed the problem or problems that people have been experiencing. And, uh, and I was actually writing a post about this last night, uh, because there are some things I wanted to cover and, um, you know, uh, I accidentally, I don’t even know the shortcut, the keyboard shortcut to close a browser window. And last night I figured it out at the worst time.
Speaker 1 00:02:31 Uh, so those of you who have been listening to the show, remember how I talked about the Jason air and how I figured out that because of WordPress auto saves and the post editor, it kept pinging a URL which kept increasing the score to the CloudFare CloudFlare, uh, firewall, which then caused an error to where I could not save posts. So what happened was, uh, the web hosting installed this plug-in that disables Gutenberg auto save. I I’m usually good about clicking save draft when I’m writing the post. But last night I was just working on a post there’s was about two or three hours. I was adding things, adding things, and for whatever reason, my hands made a certain configuration and the keyboard. In fact, I still don’t know what the shortcut is. I think it’s like control left shift and or something to close a browser window.
Speaker 1 00:03:24 I use Firefox and, uh, the screen, the window disappeared. I saw probably a prompt that says, are you sure? And I must have hit enter by instinct and boom, three hours of work disappeared. I felt very deflated and you know, the post is gone. I want to try and get it back up. But, but speaking of what was in the post, I was going to cover the fact that it seems like this, I can’t help, but think back to the rollout of Gutenberg, the block-based editor, granted, granted it’s the post editor, that’s the thing everybody uses. That’s the thing everybody interfaces with. And for that, it was, there was this like long transitional period where there was actually notices in the, in the dashboard, the resuming, uh, try Gutenberg call-out I believe where you could try it out if you wanted to and letting users know that, Hey, this is going to be the default experience, but if you’re not ready for it, or you don’t like what Gutenberg has to offer, here’s a plugin.
Speaker 1 00:04:28 You can install the classic editor plugin. And I’m wondering why this sort of transitional period didn’t really take place with replacing the block editor or the widget manager with the block-based widget manager. Because now we ended up with a lot of users who were upset, or because guess what? The updated WordPress, you have the expectation that nothing’s going to break, but you go into the widget screen, which was completely revamped, and now things are broken and not for everybody, you know, but, but for enough people to where kind of scratch your head and wonder if the rollout could have been better. Safeguards could have pruned, could have been installed to prevent these things from happening. I mean, the black, the black base where’s your manager has been worked on. I mean, they tried to get into WordPress 5.6, you know, a year or year or two ago, and it just wasn’t ready at the time.
Speaker 1 00:05:25 And I was trying to look through the official ticket on track to see if there is any discussion on a transitional period, or should we warn users and how are we going to do that? And I didn’t see or come across anything like that. Now there was back in about March of this year, there was a post on the make blog that said, Hey, uh, we really want you to, to try out this, uh, black widget manager screen that we’ve been working on because it’s going to be coming out later this year. And, and there is a, quite a few issues that were reported and bugs and what have you. And there are some people that participated in that. Um, but you know, come here, we are at the release point of WordPress 5.8. And, uh, for, for some people out there, their websites just ended up breaking or the widget screen disappeared or widgets don’t work. And, uh, now they’re having to go through that, but thankfully the classic widgets plugin has been the solution to most of those problems. I just wonder if there could have been a better way to transition users from the classic widget management screen to the new block-based widget manner. Sure.
Speaker 2 00:06:34 Yeah. I think this is one of those why I wait kind of experiences. Um, I often don’t like roll out new WordPress updates right away to client sites or even to my own site, unless it’s security related. I do have to point out though, like, this is, this was not a smaller, easy release. And I think it has like one of the largest contributors lists that I’ve ever seen. Um, people were posting screenshots of it and they needed to post it and like to no,
Speaker 1 00:07:01 No, no, this is what you said, screenshots. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:07:05 Uh, it was, it’s pretty huge. It’s over 500 volunteer contributors for this release. And so you, you would think with all of that kind of brain power and all that kind of effort, that it would be a fairly quiet release, fairly easy release. Um, they had a fair bit of time for release candidates and for beta tests. Um, as you mentioned, this is a lot of this functionality is stuff that they’ve been looking at for the last two major releases that hasn’t been able to kind of get mature enough to be released. Um, it kind of feels a little bit like they just didn’t want to delay it one more time. It was kind of the key focus of this release and, um, kind of come hell or high water. It was it’s now out there in the world and that’s really not an ideal way to develop software. And, and I get it. You can’t necessarily foresee how it’s going to interact with every plugin or every theme or every option that exists out there in the WordPress ecosystem. But, um, it’s, it’s a fair number of people that are struggling with this. And they knew that it was going to be enough of an issue that they did release this kind of backwards compatibility, um, you know, classic experience.
Speaker 1 00:08:12 I just wonder if they could have did something similar to like what they did with Gutenberg, where they say, Hey, you know, if there’s a, there’s a call-out, uh, the screen is going to be changing. Widgets are not going to be any more. We’re going to river transitioning this to blocks. We’re going to have this black base, a widget screen, try it out. And if, uh, you experienced issues or you’re not ready to make that transition here is a plugin that you can install maybe even right now, even because if people had to classic would just plug in installed prior to we’re priests, 5.8 drop-in, they would not have seen those issues. In fact, they probably wouldn’t have seen those issues until, you know, maybe they made the transition to, from the classic widgets plug to, uh, the, the new manager or maybe things would be fixed by then. I don’t know, however, the classic would just plug in and we’ll say they plan on maintaining it to, uh, 20, 20, 21 or 2022 and, or they’ll keep going. They’ll keep maintaining it as long as they deem it.
Speaker 2 00:09:17 Yeah. And I think that’s a big reason about why they’re not doing what you’re recommending. Um, like we mentioned in the last episode, there’s a lot of people out there still using the classic editor plugin to try to avoid Gutenberg. So how long would they keep this new, you know, classic widgets plugin installed to avoid that Gutenberg experience. And I, and again, if, if WordPress 5.8 had come out without this being kind of one of the Keystone things, I think the release overall would have been fairly minor, uh, in terms of what it allowed you to do, because a lot of it was relating to, um, Gutenberg’s integration into other parts of WordPress. And, uh, you know, there’s not really any other features that like stand out to me as like the thing to hang your hat on as this is the feature of the release.
Speaker 1 00:10:06 And speaking of other features, you can in word press 5.8, it comes with a query loop block. So what this does is it kind of makes it possible to display posts based on specified parameters. It’s like a PHP loop, but without the code. So I guess you can finally create a recent posts, widget or block, and kind of display it anywhere you want on your site. You don’t have to use complex plugins or complex widgets. I’ve seen some, uh, some hype around that. Uh, in fact, I think the developers are probably going to have fun with that because maybe they probably know a little bit more of what the heck all that query loop stuff is can compare to users. But I look forward to checking out the block and, and seeing what, uh, how I can mess around with it, how I can use it.
Speaker 1 00:10:51 Uh, you can now edit the templates around post. Uh, there’s also some workflow helpers. So as you’re working through a post or you’re doing some things, you’ll see little helpers pop up, uh, let’s see, there, it is suggested patterns for blocks. And we don’t, we’re not going to go in depth into this this week probably next week, but I will say that this week, the official black pattern directory has been pushed out. It’s not live and I still have to go through and figure out what the heck of block pattern is, what the heck a reasonable blacks are. In fact, I, um, I think is, uh, Jason KA Casabona, he recently did a podcast or a post kind of going over the differences between reusable blacks and black patterns. So I’m looking forward to getting into that and figuring out what this is, uh, you could do, you could style and colorized images.
Speaker 1 00:11:42 Now there’s, duotone duo tone filters. So if you want, you can have these cool looking images or whatnot and posts to have two different colors going on. The big thing for themes now is that, uh, there’s a global style and global settings API. It’s called theme that J side. So what Dean developers can do is use this to control the editor settings, available customization tools and style blacks, uh, using this file within the active theme, uh, support for IE 11 has gone by the wayside. There’s now support for web P, which is supposed to improve loss lists. And lastly, lossy compression for images on the web. And apparently what P images are around 30% smaller on average than their JPEG or PNG equivalent. Uh, however, I think your web host tests has to support a, turn, something on and turn on a switch for web P. Do you know anything about that David on if Jesus, Malcolm, man, I called you David, what a throwback
Speaker 2 00:12:41 I know, right. Um, port at the hosting level is not a big deal. Most, most web hosts supported at this point. Um,
Speaker 1 00:12:50 Image magic. I get, well, maybe not like it, but I mean, it’s like, it’s, it’s like that for hosts. It’s just a switch you’d probably have to turn on. Right. And there’s also, uh, additional block supports new flake for blocks. There was a, quite a few changes dealing with the media and WordPress 5.8. Justin taillight kind of wrote about these a while back earlier this month, um, a really great article, by the way, we’re press 5.8 media library changes you should know about on, uh, WP tavern.com. And one of the things he mentioned that I saw people running into one of the issues is that the, uh, WordPress five point has dropped infinite scrolling in the media library in favor of an Abe Jack’s powered load, more button, uh, the Edmund screen and editor editors, media overlay will cap the initial and subsequent pages, two 40 at media items each.
Speaker 1 00:13:48 Um, now this change was doing part a, it was an effort from the WordPress accessibility team to improve the experience for Android users. Uh, they said that there was two initial accessibility problems with infinite scrolling. The first is that, uh, it’s nearly impossible for keyboard users to reach content appended to the screen. And the second there was no audible feedback or instructions about how infinite scrolling works for screen readers. And of course there is the usability and performance issues. Now what I’ve seen in the WordPress support forums is that people were adding a hundred images or more to their media galleries and they can’t see them all. And they’re like, why is this little more button here? Why is this thing covering up a button, your text in whatever media manager plugin they’re using. Uh, so this has actually caused a few issues, uh, for people.
Speaker 1 00:14:38 And you can get around those by, I guess you can install a infinite scrolling plugin to reenable infinite scrolling. If you want to do that personally, I think if an it scrolling sucks, I was a proponent of it or advocate of it back in the, but the more I use it and the more sites that come across with infinite scrolling, I just think it sucks. I agree. I don’t mind the little more button and I think it makes complete sense to work. You don’t want to load all of the media items a hundred or more images all at once because it makes them a larger memory footprint. It’s a performance impact kind of, you know, yeah, you might have high bandwidth, but I mean, images that are megabytes in size these days, you know, especially as they’re taking it from a phone or the very larger high end resolution, you don’t want a hundred, 200, 300 of those things all on one page or all in one gallery. So I think this change makes sense, but, uh, there’s, there’s going to be people out there who say, no, I want infinite scrolling or I want to see everything, give it to me, why’d you change this and Hey, that’s why there are plugins. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:15:41 I, I’m not a fan of infinite scrolling either everywhere. I see it, whether it’s on the front end of reading someone’s posts or in the backend doing something, it just drives me nuts. I actually recently had a client who their, um, image library is, is super large it’s, uh, in the neighborhood of about half a million different images. And so whenever it’s querying the database at all, to just get the information for these images, it can sometimes take a bit, especially if you’re querying like a hundred or 200 at a time to get all those images, um, to display them in the media library. And so, as you’re scrolling down, there’s a lot of latency of like waiting for the database to get the response and build out that like list of images to show him. And, uh, yeah, I think, I think this could be, or should be, or hopefully might be a positive change in terms of, um, that performance. And I mean, how often really do you need an image that’s, you know, older than, uh, 40 images ago. And if you do, you’re probably, you know, not necessarily going to be visually searching for it, but maybe actually typing in some kind of word to be able to find it faster and more precisely. So I think, I think this is a good change. I don’t, I don’t think it’s a bad change in any way, shape or form.
Speaker 1 00:16:52 Speaking of a WordPress 5.8, this release, uh, is the reflection. Uh, it has over 530 generous volunteer contributors and collaboration occurred on over 320 tickets on track with over 1500 pool requests, full request on get hub. So, and there’s a looking at the release post long list of names right there. And my name’s not on there. I haven’t actually ever been part of release of you. Uh, yes I have. I’ve been part of at least one release and that’s because I fixed a typo, fixed a typo, actually had a Constantine. Oberlin helped me out. He walked me through the contributing process. It was just a typo, but he says, man, you did it. You went through the whole process. I was like, yeah, you know, it’s just the title, but I got my name on there. I got the badge that I was a WordPress core contributor and I’m like, all right, now my work here is done.
Speaker 1 00:17:48 That’s awesome. But, uh, yeah, so they have it. Um, if you, if you, uh, folks out there listening, if you hit me up at WP mainline and Twitter, let me know what you think of WordPress 5.8. If you’re running into any issues, if you like what you’ve seen, if you liked the changes, make a shout out to me, let me know. Um, so as, as we do this show right now, there’s about four, maybe four hours. And about 20 minutes left 4, 4 20. How about that? I don’t, this is weird how that worked out, but, uh, we don’t condone drug use on this show, by the way, it’s just a number, but, uh, we got four hours and 20 minutes left for WordPress word festival live, which is this really cool conference that’s being put on by a big orange heart. It’s spans the globe and they’re doing 24 hours of WordPress sessions.
Speaker 1 00:18:45 There’s I think 48 different sessions going on. And you could click and choose between a stage one stage two. They’ve got these community tends to sponsor tents that you can go in. And there are people in representatives from those companies hanging out in there that you can talk to and chat with. Um, I thought it was kind of neat the games tent, where you go inside this virtual area and each sponsor has like their own, uh, spinning wheel. And if you give them your email address, cause that’s like a hot commodity, uh, you can spin the wheel and, uh, attempt to win a prize. Whether that’s a commercial license. I tell you what the name of the prize is, or maybe what most in the account anyways, it was, it’s been put together. It’s really well done. I’ve checked out three or four different sessions. I like the format. I like how it’s the chat? Is there a really, really good job and really a job well done to everybody involved in putting this word Fest live conference together? It’s pretty cool.
Speaker 2 00:19:42 Yeah. Yeah. I just want to give a quick shout out to, uh, uh, Tofor who is working, uh, on this as well through, uh, Cambra creative and uh, I think it’s really great that he’s been able to kind of focus on that on company time. I love when companies are able to donate time and effort towards these different, uh, uh, conferences and events.
Speaker 1 00:20:02 Yeah. Speaking of toll-free, I actually watched his lightened talk right before we, uh, recorded the show. You saw the story of hero press, and I know that story, but I wanted to hear it again because it’s a good
Speaker 2 00:20:12 Story. That’s great. And if
Speaker 1 00:20:15 Nobody has checked it out yet, please, please, please go over to hero, press.com, read some of the essays that are there. It’s fantastic stuff. And who knows there might be a nugget or two in there that will inspire you and motivate you because that’s the kind of content that’s over there. So next up request for feedback and requirement changes to the theme directory and theme review process. Now you brought this up and I was doing a bit of reading and you actually have to go back to, and I like how they link a link to the different conversations that they’ve been having, but they went on a phone call earlier this year. In fact, a lot of the discussion that was, uh, started on changing the theme directory and putting more focus on it was because of a couple of posts written by and published by Justin Taylor slack and the Tavern earlier this year about the end of free themes. Uh, and some of the other topics he was talking about. Now, there there’s a lot of focus going on towards the word pressing director. In fact, uh, there was a stat that was published back in February, February or March where 47% of active themes that they’re able to track are not hosted in the WordPress Dean directory. Uh, that number does not surprise me. Does this surprise you? It’s a
Speaker 2 00:21:36 Little higher than I would expect for sure. Um, you know, I still, and I don’t know about you, but I still, when I’m looking for a new theme for WordPress, I start with the WordPress theme directory. Um, okay. Let’s start with Google,
Speaker 1 00:21:49 Which is probably terrible.
Speaker 2 00:21:51 Couldn’t be, I mean, you’re, you’re potentially going to end up as part of that 47% if you start from that direction, because most of the themes that are going to show up high on a, on a search are probably going to be the ones that are more commercial focused and thus maybe are not necessarily following or involved with, uh, the WordPress theme library. So
Speaker 1 00:22:12 Yeah, well, I, I know firsthand what happens when you search for a WordPress theme on Google, you get something that comes with things that it comes with baggage that you don’t really find out about until the crap hits the fan. And you’re like, oh, I thought this was just the theme. What is his base? 64 encoded crap. He said, well, what is this? And what is that? Oh, I guess I shouldn’t have got that thing from Google, but I mean, it’s not all bad. You have to know what you’re doing and you have to have some know-how know what you’re looking for and know what is in the base of most WordPress themes. And there’s just a crap ton of reputable WordPress team companies out there to choose from. But the thing I found out this week that I never even realized didn’t even consider is that there are a bunch of WordPress teams that you can buy and use that you can get from Etsy. Did you realize that?
Speaker 2 00:23:08 No. Why Etsy? Etsy’s the place where you get the like, you know, crocheted, whatever.
Speaker 1 00:23:15 That’s what I thought. Oh my goodness. I thought it was arts crafts. So I’m on Etsy right now. And I’m going to type in WordPress themes just to see, you know, what it shows up and boom, right there, there are 2,540 results for WordPress themes on Etsy. And my goodness, they pretty much all have like the same colors and the same are these from the same. These aren’t even from the same people, but a lot of white space, a lot of beige, a lot of, a lot of boy, they look, uh, the very minimal minimal that looks like
Speaker 2 00:23:50 Typically a cursive script. Yeah. I mean, it looks like they’re trying to market a theme for people who want to make their own like Etsy, like store or something like that. Like have their own website with kind of this like crafty artistics.
Speaker 1 00:24:08 Wow. And some folks and some, some agency, I guess, if you want to call them agencies, design studios are selling whole packages on Etsy for three thousand five thousand eight. Here’s the one for $9,000 when it comes with business branding, website design development, oh, it’s 50% off. Goodness. But none of these themes have had review. I just, I just never realized that C of all places, you know, that’s where, that’s where some people are, are getting your themes. Like
Speaker 2 00:24:39 You have no idea what kind of data these themes are, are, are like grabbing from you. Right. They could have tracking script in them to learn about like how you’re monetizing your site, where your traffic’s coming from and being, and send that back to whoever created this theme. They could be the most inaccessible theme out there. And people with any kind of accessibility issues probably won’t be able to use that theme. They could have all kinds of code and security issues. You have no idea what you’re getting. If you’re going to Etsy to get a WordPress theme,
Speaker 1 00:25:07 Thus the WordPress theme directory and its requirements. So kind of go through what, what you’ve seen in the requirement changes and new. Is there anything that kind of sticks out at yet that you could see as being like a red flag or a blocker towards a theme developer theme author who wants to have their theme hosted on the directory?
Speaker 2 00:25:28 Um, I think one of the, one of the things that stands out to me is, uh, you know, the separation of themes and plugins, a lot of stuff that I’ve previously purchased on, um, theme forest, which is an Enbato website.
Speaker 1 00:25:43 Hi, you know, you’re going to have to install some sort of plugins with ThemeForest names. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:25:47 And, or, or they’re trying to bundle it to try to convince you of like the high value, right? Like, you know, purchase this and you also get like WP bakery and you get like all these other plugins for free. And then you, of course you can’t update those plugins cause you don’t have a license for any of them, but um, those kinds of bundles or that bundled action wouldn’t be allowed on the theme directory. So a lot of those themes that you would see on ThemeForest you probably would be able to find on the theme directory and for good reason,
Speaker 1 00:26:13 However, with the caveat and one of the changes that have been proposed@themesmayonlyrecommendpluginsthatarehostedonwordpress.org. Plugins may only be installed by user ashen, not automatically. Uh, so that’s one of the requirements that’s one of the proposed changes. So in effect you could have bundles or I guess it would be, I guess it would be a bundled suggestion or, sorry, I guess you, I guess as a theme author, you could suggest that, Hey, we have built in support for this plugging and then you could link to it as long as it’s hosted on a WordPress plugin directory. Yeah. But
Speaker 2 00:26:50 What about something like gravity forms, which is like, can’t do it, but it’s arguably one of the best like form plugins for WordPress, but because it doesn’t have a version of the plugin on the wordpress.org plugin directory, my theme could be excluded for mentioning that we have support for it. I don’t know. It just seems, it seems kind of weird to put that in as a, has a requirement that has to be hosted on WordPress.
Speaker 1 00:27:14 I was, I was looking through the requirements. I don’t see anything. That’s. I mean, when I look through these and if I was a theme author, I could see myself being, feeling like I’m inundated or boy, this is a lot of things, a lot of boxes I have to check, but there are automated tools and most of this stuff is common sense. Uh, oh, that’s smokey here. Smokey is he barking? Yeah, that’s cool. So smokey made his appearance on episode four of WP mainline and my wife just came home. So, and he’s doing his job as a guard dog. But if we look at, you know, the requirements, I don’t see anything that’s controversial through here. Uh, credits linked spam, black teams. The stuff they’re talking about is just all basically common sense. Nods to me. It’s just, I, I will say that the requirements, what I w uh, most of them are clear and concise, which is what you want. You want
Speaker 2 00:28:12 It, it doesn’t really deal with one of the major problems in the theme directory right now though, does it, which is what selling the pro versions of the themes.
Speaker 1 00:28:21 Oh, the upsells, uh, yeah, the upsells. So here here’s, here’s one of the requirement changes. It says number 12, selling credits links in spam. Deans can include one single FA facing credit link, which is restricted to the theme. Your eye or author URL define installed@cssthemescanalsohaveanadditionaladditionalfrontfacingcreditlinkpointingtowordpress.org. Themes must not display an intrusive upselling themes must not display upselling on the front, which I’m guessing the front end, maybe. Yeah. And themes must disclose all affiliates. Well, I, I guess what it comes down to is if you’re going to host a theme and wordpress.org theme directory, you’re doing so as a means of good faith as a contribution to the open source community as, uh, this is just something cool that you’ve done, that you’ve had. You’re not going to be able to use it as a platform to draw people into the business. You might have. That’s kind of going by the wayside. And there’s been many companies over the years that have been pretty successful. Third, they, their free themes have picked up a lot of traffic. They’ve done upselling and Dave they’ve made a substantial amount of revenue from the wordpress.org team director. And I think, uh, this particular requirement change will go a long way towards putting the kibosh on yet.
Speaker 2 00:30:00 I mean, we’ll see. I mean, anything that makes the theme directory more useful and more user-friendly and more high quality gets a thumbs up from me.
Speaker 1 00:30:10 Yeah. Maybe. Yeah. I haven’t been there for a while, but maybe, uh, if I click on theme preview, I hope it doesn’t know they need some cool sample data. That’s been a problem, always previewing themes, but they’re working on that along with a lot of other things dealing with the thing directory, but me and 40, almost half of the themes that are active out there just are, it’s not hosted on WordPress are working directories so many. Yeah. But Etsy Etsy. That was a surprise to me. Um, about just Chris Wagman, dude.
Speaker 2 00:30:48 Yeah. I thought it would be interesting to talk about this as well. He’s a, you know, a well-respected well-known developer
Speaker 1 00:30:54 And he’s going to love it, that I’m featuring him on the show.
Speaker 2 00:30:56 Oh, good. And I’m a big fan of his as well. I love the fact that he’s really kind of covering his transition back into using WordPress. And not only that he, for a while had a custom WordPress theme that he developed himself and was maintaining himself. And it was like all about performance and it kind of looked a little dull in my opinion, but that’s neither here nor there. I think one of the cool things is he’s decided to move over to kind of one of my favorite themes of the day, a Blocksi and really kind of separate himself from the act of, you know, developing on the website and focus more on being able to use his website. And I think that’s a really good change that a lot of people in the WordPress space kind of, you know, ebb and flow in and out of, right. I mean, I’ve at one point created my own custom theme for my personal website. I don’t do that anymore because guess what? I would rather spend my time writing content or, or interacting with WordPress in a different way than that.
Speaker 1 00:31:57 You, you don’t, you don’t want to be trapped in tinkering hell where you’re always tinkering. Yeah,
Speaker 2 00:32:03 No, I think, I think his quote really sums it up nicely. Right. In the end for me, changing to a commercial theme is a big reversal from the idea of a minimal theme that I’ve been after for years, while the theme I build might have been minimal on data, it was never minimal on my time. And that’s what we all really kind of need to think about. Right? Like the goal of WordPress for me, when I first came into this project was I was developing my own little custom PHP CMS at the time. And I said, this is taking up so much of my time. There’s gotta be someone that’s already done this and done it well. And that’s how I kind of into WordPress. And I think that, you know, while we see more and more competitors in the CMS space, um, while we see people rolling their own, like no JS, whatever to try to make their own CMS, I think sometimes we also have to take a step back and remember like, you know, it’s just a publishing system. Like there’s all kinds of them out there find the one that kind of best fits your needs and then get back to what you really want.
Speaker 1 00:33:05 Yeah. And in fact, you know, that’s, that’s like what the sites I’m actually using January press and he switched from January press to black sea. And I can only imagine, you know, what I’m I was, I was knee deep in January press trying to create WP mainline last year. And I bet if I went into the back end into the theme iTunes and the elements, I would probably have to retrain my, so I have no idea where some of these things, either they could figure for my site design in generate press, I, I need like a roadmap just to, just to mess around with what I’ve got going on. And one of the reasons why Chris switched from January press to black, see, as it says, it allowed him to get to where his destination quicker in terms of his website and his website designed. So, Hey, you know, it’s all about saving time. Now. It’s all about, look, I want to focus on, like you said, writing content, not toying around and tinkering with it and getting it, getting everything to look right. The pixel perfect here, a black year widgets there. But, uh, just, just give me something that works so I can write content, which man, I love that because that’s what I’m trying to do with WP mean like just get the damn site work. And so I can generate content
Speaker 2 00:34:20 When I read it. I thought of you right away. Cause I was like, I could see you writing a very similar article at some point like, oh my goodness.
Speaker 1 00:34:28 Yeah. All I want to do is write content, but it’s hurdle after hurdle after hurdle. That’s it. I’m just going with straight up static HTML website. Oh yeah. I could see that happening. Talk about tinkering. Yeah. Uh, so let’s see. Um, oh, something that was well, it’s funny. It was funny to me, but in the reality of the way the web is going, it’s unfortunate and kind of a stark reality of what you call a link rat. But, uh, the story on motherboard, uh, yesterday, uh, mentioned that a, they, they found out a defunct video hosting site has been, uh, flooding, uh, normal websites with hardcore porn. And, and what’s been going on is that, uh, there there’s a domain vid me, which was a brief YouTube competitor that was founded in 2014. It showed it at stores in 2017. Um, its Twitter account is still up, but the domain that lapsed and you know, who purchased that domain a little company called five-star porn HD.
Speaker 1 00:35:30 So now if you look at a website, major websites like the Huffington post, the New York magazine, the Washington post that have embedded videos from back in the day, uh, there were actually people who ended up on those articles were watching porn and looking at different it’s it’s, it’s kind of crazy. Um, by the way, anybody out there, if you have, if you remember, VNB actually, you should probably go back and do a archive search of the text, even me to see if you have embedded any other videos and to your site and remove them. But this is kind of, this is what happens. I mean, at the state of the web, the longer you’re around the links that you have, and there is nowadays, everything is so embeddable, you’ve got Owen bed built into WordPress, or all you got to do is post a link and things show up, you know, YouTube, Twitter, all these things are embeddable and all it takes is for the domain, the laps and somebody else to come in.
Speaker 1 00:36:33 And you know, these, these links could go defunct for awhile. But then a few years later, a new company comes in the flip, a switch and they turn on the focus of their site is all different. And now all those links that were once dead or showing content from that was related back to whenever it was, is now showing something completely different, which kind of throws the web on its head. And it goes deeper into it, like link rat the state of the web in how things are like a hallucination. And it’s pretty intriguing to me and, you know, thank God for sites like the Wayback machine and the internet archives. And it’s, it’s, it’s just kind of crazy, but, uh, I just wanted to point this out. Like if you have any vid me embeds, you know, you should do a deep search throughout your content, either on your WordPress site or any other word pre-site if it’s been around since 2014 and get rid of all those, get rid of all those ambits cause you probably don’t want to be showing people porn. I mean,
Speaker 2 00:37:37 One of the things that could happen very easily is, uh, I’m sure someone in the community for the WordPress community could make a plugin that could, you know, help you scan your content to make sure you don’t have any of these embeds. One of the funny thing though for me is, um, you know, we have tools to be able to figure out if we have a broken link, right? There’s actually a whole bunch of plugins and WordPress ecosystem. That’ll scan your content for broken links and let you know and make it easy for you to remove those broken links. But off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything that does the same for like potentially broken embeds. Um, and I’d be super interested if anyone in the community out there has some insight into how this could’ve been avoided one or two, if there is a tool that a plugin for WordPress that would have provided people with insight into, Hey, you know, all your vid me embeds are broken. Do you want to remove
Speaker 1 00:38:29 Them now after reading about link rot, where over time, just kind of break or links to documents, those documents have changed. So those links not really relevant and the context everything has been changed. And it just, you end up with this crazy tangled mess. And I started thinking about, you know, WordPress powers, nearly 50% of the web. You know, it’s a very high percentage number, you know, does WordPress, or can WordPress do anything or provide anything built in to slow down the process of link rot? And I think broken link checkers is maybe one of the first steps, maybe the easiest steps going towards that. But it just got me thinking of what can WordPress do to slow down link rot and preserve the integrity of the web when it comes to linking,
Speaker 2 00:39:24 You know, you say that, but my first thought is, do you know how many emails a month I get? Hey, I saw that you have this article and you’re linking to this other place. That’s no good anymore. You should link to our article.
Speaker 1 00:39:34 Yes, yes. Yeah. I have. I’ve received many of those. Yes, yes. Or, or, yeah, we’ll pay you money if you switch the link in this article to this article, because they found out that article’s doing well or it rings well on Google. Yeah. And look, not, not everything has to be saved. Not everything needs to be archive. And you know, there’s that argument as well. You know, I don’t know. I don’t know what you do. The state of the web, you know, everything these days is just, context-based in beds. It’s just here today, gone tomorrow or so it seems, and you could, you know, there’s even like on social media, you can make a, make a YouTube comment or a comment on someone’s blog and it sticks around forever and you can make a comment somewhere else and it’s gone, you know, you don’t have to worry about it. So some things are here, some things are gone. I don’t know. I don’t know what you do about it. Who knows? Uh, but link, right. You never want to get debt or gut rot. Yeah. It’s even, it’s probably even worse. Uh let’s see. So you wanted to talk about the future of work camps.
Speaker 2 00:40:47 Yeah. I mean, I have not been to very many of them. I’ve been a bad community member in that
Speaker 1 00:40:52 Way. Did you go to any last year? Okay. Trick question. All of them. No,
Speaker 2 00:41:00 I watched a few. I mean, the ones that did some live streaming, I definitely, um, checked some of that. It definitely was not the same as attending, uh, a word camp. And I think I’m kind of burnt out with live streaming. I hate to say it, like, I feel bad. Like I was super interested in some of the topics for word, for word Fest live. I didn’t, I didn’t go to any of them because guess what? They’re streaming. And I want to be like, if I’m going to do these kinds of events, I kind of want to be in the space. It’s like the difference between, you know, listening to a song on YouTube and going to the concert live. Right. Um, well,
Speaker 1 00:41:31 It’s unfortunate in that, in that context, that perspective it’s unfortunate for, for word fast, because what they’re, what they’re accomplishing that format makes complete sense. They’re having people from all across the world doing their live streams. I mean, for that format, it makes sense. But it just so happens that you’ve gone through a year of that format and all those WordCamps and all those live streams that, that kind of put the damper on, know what WordPress is doing.
Speaker 2 00:41:58 Yeah. And I mean, I guess my suggestion would be like maybe when the world opens up even more and they want to do this again, maybe have like, you know, three or four locations where there’s like a in-person event happening in tandem with the live events. Or maybe we do like the good old fashioned viewing parties where friends or community members get together. And they’re local like, uh, you know, WordPress community and watch these events live. Um, cause there’s a lot of WordPress meetups out there that I’ve been kind of pretty much dead in the last year as well. Um, and I miss those two. I, I, again, I’ve been a really bad community member in this respect, but I kinda want in person events to come back for the things that I’m passionate about because I miss them. I hope they happening. And I’m super anxious about the idea of attending them and being around hundreds of other people. But I kinda really hope that it happens again soon.
Speaker 1 00:42:50 Well, we know that word camps aren’t going to happen this year. We know that. So the, the, the closest, closest time you’ve got is next year, man. So you gotta wait.
Speaker 2 00:42:58 So we’re, we’re already in July of this year. So next year is going to come up before you know it.
Speaker 1 00:43:03 And I, and I think meetups actually, I think meetups are gonna have the go ahead to start up a lot sooner than the new ma didn’t, you’re a regional work camps and, and I’m, I’m I’m vaccinated. So I’m not really concerned as to whether the people who attend these things are vaccinated or not. I mean, I’m, I’ve done the best I can to protect myself and I’m vaccinated. But no, there was a time where I felt like if we’re going to hold these events, that you should use your vaccination card and he could show the proof that you’ve been vaccinated and only vaccinated people could attend the event. But now I don’t know how I feel about that. I don’t know how it’s, how it’s going to transition to how it will play out. I guess. We’ll see what the Delta variant in the other variants that are crapping up. I mean, they’re there, the Delta variant could, could possibly get us back into pandemic mode where we’re back to wearing mask and we’re back to doing what we gotta do is social distancing, because, you know, it’s, that’s how contagious and it granted the vaccinations protect you. And hopefully, you know, it is to protect you in that you’re not supposed to get as ill from the Delta Varian and whatnot. It’s just, but still, I think complicated, but I think that, yeah, it’s complicated.
Speaker 2 00:44:19 Do you go back to one, if one was being held in your local area next month or the month after,
Speaker 1 00:44:24 Do you wow. Next month and the month after? Yeah. Hmm. How
Speaker 2 00:44:29 Soon would, or how, like how out would really have to be before you’d consider it?
Speaker 1 00:44:34 Uh, no, if there was one happening, like it’s September in the fall, I would, I’d probably consider it. I’d probably definitely do it. And, uh, or, you know, definitely in September, you know, hopefully the weather was great. Cause then he could just social distance outside. You could talk to people outside, you know, it’d be nice. Uh, but I I’ve been, I’ve been out of the WordPress loop for like two years now. I haven’t been any word camps like three or four years. Uh, but yeah, I, I think it’s time. I wouldn’t mind going to a WordPress meetup or an actual WordCamp event and just being like, man, I forgot about that. I forgot how nice it is. Oh, oh, now sponsored dinner does food. Oh, that’s good too. That’s free meal. I like a free meal or camps are always good about free meals, you know? Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:45:22 So I think, I think I’m looking forward to them coming back.
Speaker 1 00:45:26 My lanyard connection or my, my lanyard collection behind me from other work camps I’ve been to is collecting a lot of dust that I haven’t added anything to it in like four years.
Speaker 2 00:45:36 So it sounds like you’d be willing to go. I can’t wait for them to come back. I’d be interested to hear what the community thinks. Um, if, if you’re listening to this and you have an opinion, one way or another on when word camps should start up, what they should look like, how they might work. Um, go ahead and let us know about that. We’d be, we’d be super interested to keep that dialogue going.
Speaker 1 00:45:55 Yeah. Hit us up at WP mainline on Twitter. You know, what’s your thoughts and opinions, or you can email me if you want to do that WP main line@gmail.com and I’ll forward the feedback if I feel like it to David. So, you know, defense depends on how good of a mood I get David again, man, what’s up with me, Malcolm, Malcolm, man. I don’t know why I’ve got David on the brain. Oh, I hope listeners to having a good time with this. This, this is great. And I also messed around with the, uh, with their microphone today. So hopefully I’m not popping anybody’s ears out there. Uh, in terms of WP mainline, I made a little bit of progress this week. I was man. I still deflated last night when I lost all my work app, the first thing I got to do is I’m going to look and see if I can change your edit shortcuts and firefights because I never want to accidentally close a window again.
Speaker 1 00:46:48 I turn the auto-save plugin off. I have it to save every five minutes. I don’t care if it breaks the website and if it does, and I’m going to complain to the host and said, look, I can’t have it not auto saving because this is what happened. It made me lose work. Anytime you lose work and weight and WordPress has a bunch of fail-safes built in to where it’s things have had to break pretty bad or something catastrophic has to happen for you to lose work in WordPress. This was a freak accident, you know, to be honest. Uh, so I’m going to work on that. Uh, I’m a little bit closer to turning memberships on, on to the site and start generating some revenue to start making some Moola some money so I can pay the bills out of all over my kitchen table. And then, uh, other than that, just working on a few things and getting me deep back into the WordPress and the WordPress community, which has been kind of refreshing this past week. And, uh, we’ll see what happens.
Speaker 2 00:47:47 How long until you have some swag. When can I buy the mug?
Speaker 1 00:47:53 I don’t know, man, but with WP mainline, I mean the sky is the limit, the train, the train stuff. I can have the WordPress like train references and little stuff I have. I mean, I could get really creative with swag ideas, please do. And that’s something that I’ll be working on and then, oh God, you know what will happen? I’ll end up having a bolt-on boot commerce to WP mainline. So my own swag, there’s nothing wrong with that. I can help you with that. That’d be great. Oh man, I like it. A little WP main line, like a railroad crossing sign, but it’s a paperweight. You put it right on your desk, linked to stuff like that. I could do easy. That’d be cool. Um, so that’s going to do it for this episode of WP mainline. You can find show notes for this episode and all other episodes on WP mainline that calm, just click the podcast link.
Speaker 1 00:48:45 You can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. I went through the process last weekend. I thought I did that. I didn’t do it, but now I’ve gone through the entire process. And if you go to I’ve used the podcast app. It’s not iTunes now, but it’s podcast apple podcast. If you go on there and you look for WP mainline, you can subscribe to the show there. And over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to add other distribution channels as well in case you use those services. But oh, I was very happy to hear from, uh, from listeners out there that were very happy to hear that we’re back. They’re happy to hear I was back in your back and we’re all back. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:49:23 It’s it’s you that they love. It’s all good.
Speaker 1 00:49:27 Oh man. But, but I can, I can tell from Twitter, I got to get John on the show. He looks like he needs to vent. He needs to talk to someone and I’m the guy for him to talk to you. I can, I, I can cheer him up. I can give him back to, to what we need. Happy John, instead of whatever we got going on, John and Twitter. All right. Uh, so you could follow WP main line at WP mainline on Twitter, or you could follow my personal kind of Twitter. Jeff Rowe, J E F F R zero. And, uh, Malcolm. They
Speaker 2 00:49:58 Can find me at, at find purpose on Twitter and uh, I’m continuing to run my business, press titan.com and helping out at Canberra creative.
Speaker 1 00:50:10 Excellent. So, and so next Friday afternoon, everybody enjoy have a safe weekend and we’ll talk to you again next week. So long everybody

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