April 2018 was an exciting month for the WordPress community. We were busily testing Gutenberg, worrying a lot about GDPR, and preparing for WordPress’ 15th anniversary.
The best of us shared useful insights, tips, and surveys on topics like release workflows, security problems, developer salaries, compatibility issues, and more.
In April, it also became easier and faster to submit new WordPress themes. The super-cool WordPress Incubator Program was relaunched for the 2018-2019 season as well.
WordPress 4.9.5, released on Apr 3, restricted how we could use localhost in URLs and made sure that all version strings would be escaped correctly. It also introduced safe redirects for login pages in case SSL is forced. Besides, it got easier to edit posts on the go, as WordPress 4.9.5 made it possible to crop images on touch devices, too.
If you’ve ever wondered how security releases are made no need to go further. Daniel James and Jb Audras, the two leads of WordPress 4.9.5 shared some interesting insights about the release process. We got to know, for instance, that we don’t need to be a core committer to lead a minor WordPress release.
April was the month of preparations for the EU’s new privacy regulations as well. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to any website that handles personal data of EU individuals. The law became enforceable in May, so it’s not surprising that the WordPress team was quite busy in April with creating new privacy tools for the platform.
Web encryption firm “The SSL Store” conducted an in-depth security analysis of Quantcast Top 10,000 websites. They mainly wanted to know how responsible popular websites were with software updates. To perform the analysis, they even created their own crawling tool. They found that 33% of the top WordPress sites were at least two versions behind. Probably not the most encouraging news of April.
WordPress plugin & theme news
The theme review process had been simply too complicated for a long time. The queue time was around three months, partly because of the small number of reviewers, partly because of the high standards. The changes introduced in April placed more responsibility on theme authors so that reviewers need to check fewer things to pass a theme.
Besides simplifying the review process, the Theme Review Team put together a Trusted Authors Program as well. The program offers a streamlined process for theme authors who “are consistently able to show they can produce high-quality code”. Trusted Authors can submit a theme once a week and must follow a couple of other rules, too.
In April, it was still largely unknown how many plugins would be compatible with the new Gutenberg editor. In his article, John Hughes showed us how we could check our plugins’ compatibility with Gutenberg. He recommended either using the Gutenberg Plugin Compatibility Database or testing compatibility issues with the help of a staging site.
It seems Yoast really wants us to switch from All In One SEO to their plugin. In fact, the 7.2 release wasn’t as significant as previous releases. However, it further enhanced the capabilities of the All In One SEO data importer. From version 7.2, we can import noindex, nofollow, and OpenGraph tags from All In One SEO—besides other data that was already available in the plugin.
Automattic, Google’s AMP team, and XWP published the 0.7 release candidate of the AMP for WordPress plugin. The new version came with several significant changes. It added support for all default widgets, embeds, and comments, as well as notifications for invalid AMP markup. Better still, from 0.7 on, AMP for WordPress displays content in exactly the same way as the site’s theme.
May 27, 2018 will be the 15th anniversary of the first WordPress release. As you would expect, WordPress fans couldn’t wait for throwing parties all over the world to celebrate the anniversary. April was a busy month for everyone who was planning meetups, talks, celebrations, and other events in their local community.
The WordCamp Incubator Program helps organize first WordCamps in areas where there’s no active WordPress community. It started in 2016 when the community chose three Incubator Cities: Denpasar (Indonesia), Harare (Zimbabwe), and Medellín (Colombia). Due to its success, the Incubator Program has been continued in 2018-2019 as well. Rocio Valdivia published a roadmap in April to set up the milestones of the program.
Accessibility has been a hot topic in the community for a while. The idea for the handbook came up when the Accessibility Team “repeatedly noticed the same accessibility issues cropping up and not having a central place to send people to learn about them”. Handbook Contributors are supposed to create summaries, articles, and reference materials to educate users.
The Code of Conduct Team put together a short survey to assess how they could expand the code of conduct used in WordPress events to other spaces. They aimed to include all spaces “where WordPress contributors collaborate”, such as forums, websites, meetups, and official chat channels.
The WordPress Community has been using PayPal “as the default payment gateway for WordCamp ticket sales” for a while. However, PayPal does come with a couple of shortcomings such as limited currency options. So, Dion Hulse decided to build a Stripe integration solution for the CampTix plugin. From April on, WordCamp organizers can use Stripe instead of PayPal to sell tickets.
WordPress business news
Post Status made an interesting interview with Scott Rollo of The Theme Foundry. He shared a couple of interesting insights about industry trends, Gutenberg preparations, business strategy, strengths and weaknesses, company culture, and other hot topics.
WPBeginner published an easy-to-understand but thorough explanation on WordPress’ business model. They covered subjects such as the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, who owns which, how each makes money, licenses, and other important topics.
Whether you are a designer or a developer, you will surely encounter most of these questions in your career. So, it’s better to prepare. In her article, Suzanne Scacca provided 17 questions all of us should think about, such as “how long have you been in business”, “why WordPress”, “do you offer ongoing support”, and so on.
In accordance with the community’s Gutenberg preparations, Emily Esposito examined what the new editor would mean for the design industry. She offered some positive insights for designers who were “worried about how the changes may affect current websites” or feeling “uncomfortable to relearn a completely new process”.
The Codementor Blog published an in-depth hiring guide for WordPress developers. They found that in April, the average US salary for WordPress developers was $69,565 per year while WordPress freelance developers made $117,120 annually. They also examined WordPress developer job descriptions, common job interview questions, and other related topics.
From around the web
GitHub introduced Learning Lab, an interactive training app that teaches developers how to collaborate. In fact, it’s a friendly bot who guides us through projects, reviews our pull requests, provides us with feedback, and so on. Learning Lab started with five courses covering the most popular topics of collaboration, from the introduction to GitHub to managing merge conflicts.
Tokyo-based designer Kosuke Takahashi decided to make braille more accessible for the visually impaired. Fonts in the Braille Neue typeface “feature characters overlaid with their braille equivalents (with the dotted symbols embossed)”. Braille Neue helps designers include braille in more spaces and media than ever before. Not to mention that the new typeface looks truly awesome as well.
DNS resolvers have had a privacy problem for a long time. Usually, they are operated by ISPs who can see the identity of all the sites we visit—even in the case of encrypted websites. Cloudflare decided to provide a solution for this problem. They released a privacy-first public DNS resolver on the https://126.96.36.199 IP address, available for every internet user.