Leading up to what was to be the biggest online WordPress event so far, May turned to be a huge month for the open-source project and its community, with the CMS also celebrating its 17th birthday. Read on for an overview of some of the top WordPress blog posts written in May.
We begin with the aforementioned 17th birthday, and Matt Mullenweg’s corresponding post. Despite it being a very short post, we felt it definitely deserved inclusion as the commemoration of the long existence of the tool (and community) we all take for granted.
May 27th marked 17 years since Matt, along with Mike Little, first released the initial version of WordPress - without most of the features which have since become a baseline for using the CMS.
There are a few things, however, that WordPress has retained since its early days: its slogan, “Code is poetry”, and its commitment to community, which is growing stronger every day. Happy 17 years, WordPress!
WCEU Contributor stories
Last week, we witnessed the biggest virtual WordPress event to date with record numbers: almost 9000 attendees, and over 700 contributors working during the Contributor Day. To generate excitement and promote the event, two members of the WCEU organizing team, Abha Thakor and Helen Odia, prepared six posts containing first-hand contributor stories.
“It is so wonderful to be able to feature how people started their contributing journey and to inspire and encourage others to get started.” - Abha Thakor, WCEU 2020 Contributing team
The first of these posts focuses on the initial experience of contribution - becoming part of the community - and features the stories of 3 contributors: Estela Rueda, Milana Cap and Matthias Bathke (I actually had a chance to meet Matthias during the event, and we ended up chatting about guitar strings!).
17 things we’ve learned from building and selling WordPress plugins (good and bad)
We continue with a post that’s less community-focused and probably much more relevant to plugin developers. In it, Brian Jackson shares some key lessons learned from building and selling premium WordPress plugins together with his brother.
Seeing as there are 17 tips, we won’t mention all of them here (check out Brian’s whole post for the comprehensive list), but will just list some of our favorite ones.
The first of these is doing market research (which many still fail to do); then there’s leaving enough time for thorough testing; leveraging existing contacts; thinking through your refund policy in order to not be taken advantage of; and, finally, thinking outside the box.
Improving Enterprise Agility with WordPress
Because of the way WordPress operates, fixes or improvements can be made without interfering with the business logic, which helps avoid tech debt and an over-reliance on legacy applications.
The great hosting options for WordPress websites also play an important role in its enterprise agility. Pantheon, for instance, provides customizable development workflows, as well as the ability to create “multi-dev” environments, both of which streamline development. In this way, a good hosting provider supports agile development rather than making it harder.
Where Gutenberg Went Wrong: Theme Developer Edition
Moving on with our recap, this next post concerns one of the latest major additions to the WordPress ecosystem, the Gutenberg block editor. The editor has a mixed reception within the community, and this is what Justin Tadlock of WordPress Tavern addresses in this post.
He points out the lack of full block-editor support in the majority of existing themes. The reason for this is the complexity theme developers have to deal with, now having to create plugins that are compatible with blocks in addition to the classic editor.
To tackle this, Justin suggests taking a holistic approach to theme and website design, which starts at the project management level. If you’re interested in further discussion, make sure to also check out the comments under the blog post!
How the WordPress community contributes to human development
We always enjoy reading the inspiring posts on HeroPress, and we definitely had to include this one written by Maja Loncar, Noah Plumb and Predrag Zdravkovic of GoDaddy. The post shows how contributing to WordPress actually contributes to the broader community, with open-source contribution having strong similarities to the African philosophy of “ubuntu”.
And WordPress definitely reflects that philosophy: a community working together, producing something greater than just the sum of its parts, and due to the software’s widespread popularity providing a platform for people to reach their audiences with their messages. In this sense, contributing to WordPress in any way whatsoever truly does benefit humanity as a whole.
The Complete Guide to Accessibility for WordPress Websites
This post serves as a comprehensive accessibility resource for anyone working with WordPress, from developers to content creators. Its author, Ross Johnson, starts off with a brief overview of accessibility in WordPress, also mentioning the accessibility issues of Gutenberg, then continues with the main part of making sure WordPress websites are accessible.
He provides tips for selecting and building accessible themes, as well as considerations for plugins which are very often the cause of accessibility issues. He then concludes the post with a section dedicated to content creators and how they can ensure their content is accessible, which includes some great tips for thorough manual testing.
The Block Editor and the Future of WordPress Themes
Rounding off our list for May, we have a post by Aaron Gilbreath on WordPress.com taking a look at the state of the Gutenberg Block Editor and what future promises it holds for users. It is partially an interview with Automattic’s Design Director Kjell Reigstad who gives some interesting insights into the initial ideas for the new editor.
The block editor opens up a new outlook on themes in WordPress, offering a true WYSIWYG solution for editors and a lot more control over the layout. As Kjell states, once he experienced live editing, he never wanted to go back to traditional way of managing content. Still, Gutenberg is a relatively new addition to WordPress, so we’re likely to see its features only improving.
That’s it for this month’s recap of the top WordPress posts. Don’t forget to tune in early next month when we’ll be doing a similar recap for June. Until then - enjoy!