Category Archives: News


New WordProof Plugin Timestamps WordPress Content on the Blockchain

WordProof Timestamp is a new free plugin that bridges the WordPress and blockchain communities in an approachable, user-friendly way. It gives users the ability to timestamp their posts and pages to demonstrate transparency and claim ownership of content.

WordProof works with any EOSIO blockchain to create the timestamp and provides a custom certificate link with a frontend pop-up to display it.

The plugin adds a “View the blockchain certificate” link under each post or page, which pops up the URL, title, content, timestamp information, and will soon also display revisions. Users will be able to browse through different timestamps to view the changes.

WordProof Timestamp was created by Van Ons, a WordPress agency based in Amsterdam. This is the same company that recently open sourced Laraberg, a package that allows developers building applications with Laravel to integrate the Gutenberg editor.

“I have been working and investing with blockchain as a hobby since 2013,” Van Ons founder Sebastiaan van der Lans said. “After we built the WP GDPR Compliance plugin and started working Laraberg, I am trying to work more and more on open source projects. From my point of view, WordPress + blockchain could not only democratize publishing but also doing business as a whole.”

Van der Lans said he expects that any type of publishing website or any site with “Terms & Conditions” pages can benefit from timestamping. It’s especially useful in mediating claims of plagiarism and content theft. WordProof has no transaction costs and is almost instant (0.5s). Van der Lans said it was important for this solution to have no transaction fees, since it is fundamental to proving the author’s identity and the integrity of the content.

Right now the plugin offers the ability to timestamp an entire article, including the title and content. Block level time-stamping is not on the roadmap, but the team is open to adding it in the future. They are currently looking into time-stamping media files and legal documents.

After launching the plugin in beta, a team of 60 testers, from both the WordPress and EOS.IO blockchain communities, gave feedback that led to the creation of a WordProof Wizard to make it easier for users to set up the required accounts.

“Our testers’ main concern: it was too difficult to create an account on the blockchain and download and set-up a blockchain wallet afterwards,” Van Ons head of product Jelle van der Schoot said. “Therefore, we invested a lot of time into improving the UI/UX of the entire process (downloading the plugin, creating a blockchain account, downloading and setting up a wallet, timestamping).”

The wizard supports both Telos and EOS and guides users through the process of setting up an account directly inside the WordPress dashboard. The process takes approximately five minutes.

“We believe the WordProof Wizard can have a massive impact on the onboarding of new users to the blockchain in general, but more specifically to the Telos and EOS blockchains,” van der Schoot said.

Timestamping posts is by no means a new idea. There are already several free WordPress plugins that have similar functionality and work with various blockchain technology, such as WP Blockchain, STAMPD.IO,, and Mingrana WP to Blockchain. WordProof is different from many of them in that it doesn’t use a centralized middle layer.

Van Ons is working on more tools that bring blockchain features to WordPress and will soon be adding a Payment Gateway for WooCommerce to the WordProof lineup. van der Lans will also be speaking about more of the benefits of timestamping content with the blockchain at WordCamp Europe in his presentation titled “From WordPress to blockchain: the future is 100% open source.”

If you’re interested in the project, you can follow WordProof on Twitter or join the WordProof Telegram channel where users can also find support for the plugin.

Source: WP Tavern

FreeCodeCamp Moves Off of Medium after being Pressured to Put Articles Behind Paywalls

After four years of publishing on Medium, FreeCodeCamp is migrating all of its articles to its own open source publishing platform, a modified version of Ghost. The platform allows approved authors to cross-post their blog articles on the new FreeCodeCamp News site for free, without any ads.

“Medium was a great place to publish because it helped a lot of people discover your articles. But the community has outgrown Medium,” FreeCodeCamp founder Quincy Larson said.

“Medium has shifted to a paywall model where they mainly recommend paywalled articles, then encourage visitors to pay to get around their paywall.

“At the same time, not much of the traffic to Medium articles comes from Medium itself. Most of it comes from Google and social media.”

In the detailed public announcement on the FreeCodeCamp forums, Larson said he noticed his articles started to get less distribution after he decided that putting them behind a paywall would not be compatible with the mission of his organization.

“As of 2019, Medium won’t give you much ‘distribution’ within their platform unless you’re willing to put your articles to be behind their paywall,” Larson said. “At the same time, if you do put your article behind their paywall, you’re limiting your readership to just the people who have the resources to pay. This is at odds with the goals of the freeCodeCamp community. We want to make these learning resources as widely available as possible.”

In an email to blog authors who had published on FreeCodeCamp’s Medium publication, Larson elaborated on more serious concerns that he had with the platform’s approach to his organization. Oleg Isonen, one of the blog authors, published the contents of the email, which was later deleted at Larson’s request.

“But over the past year Medium had become more aggressive toward us,” Larson said. “They have pressured us to put our articles behind their paywalls. We refused. So they tried to buy us. (Which makes no sense. We’re a public charity.) We refused. Then they started threatening us with a lawyer.”

Many of those who read the email encouraged Larson to write a follow-up article, as Medium’s tactics towards publishers are a matter of legitimate public concern, both to those who use the platform and readers who support the company through subscriptions.

Larson responded, confirming that he sent the email but that he wanted to move on from the situation.

The new freeCodeCamp News site has migrated the organization’s 5,000 articles that were previously posted on Medium. The articles will still be available on Medium, but from now on freeCodeCamp plans to publish on its own platform. The site promises users full control, better analytics, AMP support, and a better reader experience that doesn’t require people to sign in or pay to read articles.

“I’m optimistic that all of us in the developer community can start our own blogs on the open web, then use community tools like freeCodeCamp News to raise awareness of them,” Larson said.

Medium abruptly changed course in 2017 to become a publisher of subscription-based content, scrapping the ad-driven revenue model without notifying publishers ahead of time. Many publications that had invested heavily in building a following on Medium were forced to leave after discovering that the company did not have their best interests in mind. Medium’s new paywalled content model, which CEO Ev Williams claims is “a different, bolder approach” targeted at fixing what is broken with media, could not sustain publishers who were convinced to join the platform in its earlier days.

FreeCodeCamp joins a wave of other publications that are moving back to WordPress and other open source platforms. This trend is set to continue as Medium’s obtrusive popups and poor reader experience drive readers away from the content hosted there. Publishers who are in it for the long haul, those who value stability and full control of their content, will return to the open web.

Source: WP Tavern

WPWeekly Episode 354 – Pantheon Acquires StagingPilot

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I discuss Panethon’s acquisition of StagingPilot and why regression visual testing will likely become a standard feature across managed WordPress hosts if it’s not already. I rant about the size of text on so many sites being too large and having to shrink the site down to 80-90% in order for it to be manageable. We celebrate WordPress’ 16th birthday, discuss what happens to unloved patches, and GitHub’s Sponsors tool.

Stories Discussed:

Robots, Autopilot, and The Holy Grail of WebOps

WordPress Turns 16

Unloved Patches

New GitHub Sponsors Tool Draws Concerns from Open Source Community

Automattic Acquires Prospress, the company behind WooCommerce Subscriptions


EPISODE 354 – Pantheon Acquires StagingPilot Transcript

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, June 5th 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Itunes

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via RSS

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Stitcher Radio

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Google Play

Listen To Episode #354:

Source: WP Tavern

Automattic is Testing an Experimental Full Site Editing Plugin

Automattic is working on a new experimental Full Site Editing plugin aimed at enhancing the page creation workflow in the block editor. Starting a new page from scratch may be overwhelming for those who don’t have a vision for how to tastefully put blocks together to lay out the page. This is a problem that this experimental plugin may be able to solve.

Full Site Editing currently provides three custom blocks for post content, templates, and a blog posts listing. The Blog Posts Listing block expands upon core’s Latest Posts block to include an excerpt and meta information.

The plugin is available in the WordPress Plugin Directory, although it is somewhat difficult to find when searching in the admin plugin installer. The most recent 0.1.1 version of the plugin seems to be broken, but if you roll back to the initial release, you can see some of the page template experiments. After activating the plugin, navigate to Pages » Add New and a new modal with a template selector should pop up.

The templates come pre-filled with demo content and images, so the user doesn’t have to think about how to configure the blocks to match the demo.

The functionality in Full Site Editing is being developed for use on It makes sense for a network that regularly onboards new bloggers and site owners. It is in the company’s best interest to deliver the fastest possible site creation experience, rather than have new users get frustrated and confused about how to get started.

A template selector for creating new pages could also be useful for the broader WordPress community. Plugin developer Jeffrey Carandang tested Full Site Editing and suggested that it might be useful to add this functionality to Gutenberg with custom hooks so that developers can add their own custom templates. This would make guiding users through the new theme setup process much easier for theme shops.

Automattic has a label on the Calypso repository dedicated to categorizing issues in the full site editing project. The plugin is going to be enabled on a small set of sites for initial testing. There are quite a few issues that still need to be ironed out, including things like preventing users from deleting the header and footer and finalizing the theme used with the plugin. At the moment, the plugin seems to be tailored specifically to the Twenty Nineteen theme and the pre-filled templates do not look as good when used with other themes.

The functionality included in the Full Site Editing plugin may also be coming to Jetpack. Automattic’s developers are currently researching the best way to include it, since so far it has been developed as a separate plugin and not geared towards becoming a Jetpack module.

Full Site Editing is not recommended for use in production, as it’s still under active development. The plugin’s details explicitly state that it is “only designed to work on the environment and could break after an update.” Check it out if you want to explore some exciting new possibilities for how the block editor can work together with themes to make page creation more approachable for users.

Source: WP Tavern

Pantheon Acquires Visual Regression Testing Platform StagingPilot

Panethon, a managed host geared towards Drupal and WordPress sites, has acquired StagingPilot. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Nathan Tyler, founder of StagingPilot, and his brother Phil Tyler will be brought into the company.

StagingPilot is a four year old company that runs a barrage of visual regression tests on WordPress sites before they’re automatically updated.

StagingPilot creates a copy of the site and places it into a staging environment. The service then conducts a number of tests that include, checking for visual errors, a white screen of death, and elements on a page disappearing. A number of snapshots are created along with a detailed report on the errors that are discovered.

Josh Koenig, Co-Founder and Head of Product at Pantheon, says the acquisition puts the company within reach of the ‘Holy Grail’ of WebOps.

“Once you have a hundred sites (or heck, even twenty), the grind of keeping up with routine updates can be daunting,” Koenig said. “Our existing WebOps tools let our customers automate a lot of that maintenance, but building and managing that automation is on them. We want our users to automate their operations, not operate their automation.”

Pantheon plans to integrate StagingPilot into its offerings in three phases. First, it will migrate StagingPilot’s technology into its existing managed updates feature and extend it beyond WordPress to support Drupal.

Then, the company plans to fully integrate the service with its organizational features providing substantial benefits to agency partners or those who manage many sites.

The third phase looks to take advantage of services such as Google’s applied learning machines to create AI-driven testing.

Out-of-the box, WordPress only updates minor versions automatically and leaves major updates, plugins, and themes up to the user. One of the most common fears of enabling auto-updates is having something on the site break.

Often, the process of testing updates is left up to the consultant or whoever manages the site. Depending on the size or number of sites being managed, it can become a major time suck.

Hosting companies like Pantheon with StagingPilot, LiquidWeb, and others are easing the fear of auto updates in general and saving people a lot of time by using automatic visual regression testing.

To learn more about StagingPilot and to see Nathan demo the service in-person, check out this episode of WPshowandtell hosted by Jason Tucker.

Source: WP Tavern

Gutenberg 5.8 Released with Prototype of New Block-based Widgets Screen

Gutenberg 5.8 was released today with three new features and more than three dozen enhancements, documentation improvements, and bug fixes.

This release gives users the ability to change the text color in the Heading block. The same color options available in the paragraph and button blocks are now available in the heading block.

A recent release of the EditorsKit plugin (version 1.5) added this feature and the plugin’s author had tracked nearly two dozen issues and discussions where users have asked for text highlighting or similar features.

“We really need this for all block controls (lists, paragraphs etc),” Ben Gillbanks commented on the relevant GitHub issue. “Anything that can be used on a group block with a colored background could cause readability issues and so the text color will need to be changeable.” Gutenberg designer Mark Uraine said that adding text color options to all the text blocks is the next step following this update.

Gutenberg 5.8 adds support for reordering gallery images using a simple arrow control to move selections forwards or backwards. This isn’t an ideal interaction but Gutenberg phase 2 lead Riad Benguella said the team is exploring adding drag and drop support.

Benguella shared a video that demonstrates these two new features:

This release introduces an initial version of the new widgets screen. You can check it out in the admin under the Gutenberg » Widgets (beta) menu. It’s currently just a proof of concept and has quite a few bugs but gives a preview of how the the widget management screen is shaping up. Benguella said users can currently edit/update widget areas using any available block. The proof of concept implementation in the plugin allows the team to continue polishing the UI and fix bugs in future releases.

The editor is also making progress on mobile, adding quotes and video to the available blocks, rich captions for the image block, and fixes for several critical bugs.

The editor has also recaptured some of its performance gains that were lost in version 5.7, according to recent performance benchmarks.

We’ve had some commenters on previous posts who said they are confused about the difference between WordPress’ core editor and the Gutenberg plugin. The plugin is where active development gets committed. All the new features are put into the plugin first so they can be tested before being rolled into an official WordPress release later down the road. If you want to get access to all the latest features Gutenberg has to offer, install the plugin and you will be able to try it before it lands in core.

Source: WP Tavern

Google’s Mobile-First Indexing is Now Default for New Domains

Google is enabling mobile-first indexing (crawling sites with a mobile user-agent) by default for new domains as of July 1, 2019. These are sites Google defines as “previously unknown to Google Search.”

Mobile searches are the primary way that users engage with the search engine for the past few years, which caused Google to begin prodding website owners to make their content more mobile friendly. Google’s indexing and ranking systems originally used the desktop version of a page’s content, but this can cause problems when desktop and mobile sites contain different versions of content.

Mobile-indexing is not default for all websites yet, but Google started rolling it out more widely in 2018. Google evaluates older websites for readiness based on a variety of factors:

For existing websites we determine their readiness for mobile-first indexing based on parity of content (including text, images, videos, links), structured data, and other meta-data (for example, titles and descriptions, robots meta tags). We recommend double-checking these factors when a website is launched or significantly redesigned.

It’s important to note that there is no separate “mobile-first index.” Google still references a unified index for serving search results. The difference is in whether a page is crawled by a desktop or mobile user-agent.

Prior to responsive web design becoming the industry standard, having a separate mobile site was a common practice. Google is actively discouraging this approach now (although still supporting it), as it often causes confusion for users and search engines alike.

WordPress sites using a responsive theme shouldn’t have any issues with mobile indexing as long as they are not farming out their mobile sites to a separate domain. A responsive theme is usually enough to make a site compatible with this method of crawling.

Website owners can check to see how their sites are being crawled by clicking on the “URL Inspection” tab inside the Google Search Console.

Webmasters of older sites will get a notification from the Search Console when their sites are moved over to mobile-first indexing.

After successfully ramping up mobile-first indexing from a small-scale experiment a few years ago, making it the default for new domains should be a good test for evaluating how aggressively it can be rolled out in the future.

Source: WP Tavern

Happy Sweet 16, WordPress

Over the weekend, the WordPress community celebrated 16 years since Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little forked the B2/cafelog blogging platform to create the first official release of WordPress on May 27, 2003. It launched with a new admin interface, manual excerpts, intelligent line breaks, a link manager, and was compliant with XHTML 1.1 standards.

image credit: Web Design Museum

The first two months of posts on the WordPress development blog read like selections from a time capsule, capturing the early history of the software. Mullenweg shared his journey in a “thinking out loud” style throughout the process of selecting the best route for templating and other decisions that laid the groundwork for the first release. Since those early days, WordPress has outpaced all its early competitors to become the most popular CMS by a wide margin.

Sixteen years later, the software is available in more than 200 languages and is now used by 33.9% of the top ten million websites. WordPress’ uncommon growth can be attributed to its unique combination of leadership, stability, and a community of thousands of contributors and entrepreneurs that are empowered by its open source licensing.

Many WordPress product businesses, part of a commercial ecosystem that Mullenweg estimates at $10 billion/year, hosted sales, giveaways, and promotions in honor of the anniversary. Friends of WordPress all over the world celebrated the software’s birthday with cakes and tributes.

“We are proud to be a part of the WordPress community! Through thick and thin, WordPress has brought great innovation and inspiration to the online world,” WordPress Dhaka meetup organizer Lincoln Islam said.

The WordPress community in Ahmedabad gathered together to celebrate with dinner, a custom Wapuu cake, and games. Ahmedabad, which is located in western India, is the largest city in the state of Gujarat. WordPress 4.6 was the first release to ship with a full Gujarati translation in August 2016, making the software more accessible to approximately 65.5 million Gujarati speakers worldwide. A year later, Ahmedabad hosted its first WordCamp and another followed in 2018.

The team at Bluehost published a video with a few short greetings they recorded for WordPress’ 16th birthday. When asked why they love WordPress, several said they are grateful for the opportunities and the friendships the community has brought them. Check out the #WP16 and #WordPress16thAnniversary hashtags for more WordPress cake pictures and celebrations.

Source: WP Tavern

In Case You Missed It – Issue 24

In Case You Missed It Featured Image
photo credit: Night Moves(license)

There’s a lot of great WordPress content published in the community but not all of it is featured on the Tavern. This post is an assortment of items related to WordPress that caught my eye but didn’t make it into a full post.

Marcel Bootsman Is on His Way to WordCamp EU

Earlier this week, Marcel Bootsman began walking his way to Berlin, Germany, the host city for WordCamp EU. The journey is more than 700 kilometers and Bootsman estimates it will take him about 30 days to reach his destination. Along the way, Bootsman has been publishing blog posts to keep readers informed of his progress.

So far, he’s published a post a day with stories that include a run-in with a bull in an open field, angry cyclists, and amazing photos of the scenery. You can follow along via the WalkToWordCamp.EU website. Donations raised from the event will go to DonateWC.

WPSiteSync v1.5.2 Released

The folks over at ServerPress have released a new version of WPSiteSync. This plugin enables users to migrate specific content from one site to another without the need to update target URLs for media files. This version fixes a couple of UI related bugs and interactions with Gutenberg.

CannaBiz 2.4 Released

Robert DeVore has released CannaBiz 2.4, a WordPress theme that’s specifically tailored for the Cannabis industry. This release includes two new action hooks, a Yelp social media link, CSS style updates, new customizer controls for button colors, and third-party plugin style updates.

Alternative Gutenberg Block Styles Library

Carolina Nymark has created a website and GitHub repository dedicated to creating and sharing alternative styles for Gutenberg blocks. The website contains tutorials on how to create new block styles, add them to child themes, and how to contribute to the library.

Patches That Get Lost in the Void

Daniel Jalkut describes what he experienced when trying to contribute a patch to WordPress to fix an issue he and his clients were having. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good one.

When somebody comes to your project with a well-thought-out, unit-tested fix, and is met by radio silence? The chances are high that they will never come back again. I have submitted WordPress patches in the past, but after this experience I don’t know if I will bother submitting them again. That’s a big change in my perspective on how the WordPress team works, and on how it should work.

Jalkut isn’t the first nor will he be the last to have an experience like this. WordPress is a large project that encompasses many areas and if a particular ticket is not in line with higher priorities, the chances of it slipping through the cracks are pretty high.

Human Made Launches A New Product but Some People Have No Idea What It Is

Human Made has launched a new product called Altis which is a DXP or Digital Experience Platform for WordPress. After reading the press release and the associated blog post, I found it difficult to understand what the product is and who it’s for and I’m not the only one.

Noel Tock, Chief Growth Officer, and Partner at Human Made chimed in and admits that the language used to describe the product is geared towards the enterprise market. He explains that Altis is an evolution beyond WordPress that supports personalization, artificial intelligence, experimentation, and faster developer experience.

In a nutshell, Altis is a highly specialized version of WordPress with a UI and features that are geared towards specific clients. If you think you can explain what Altis is in a simpler way, please give it a shot in the comments.

Tips for Speaking at Your First WordCamp

Justin Foell of WebDevStudios explains what you need to know if you’re speaking at your first WordCamp. If you’re looking for tips on applying to speak at WordCamps, Jennifer Bourn has you covered.

Speaking at Your First WordCamp? Here’s What You Need to Know!

After the Deadline Alternatives

In light of After the Deadline being removed from Jetpack, users have been searching for alternatives. This post on highlights a few of them.

WPCampus Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

That’s it for issue twenty-four. If you recently discovered a helpful resource or post related to WordPress, please share it with us in the comments.

Source: WP Tavern

New GitHub Sponsors Tool Draws Concerns from Open Source Community

GitHub has launched a new Sponsors tool that allows open source developer to receive financial support. The program is rolling out slowly and currently has a waitlist for open source contributors or maintainers who want to join.

For the first year developers are in the program, GitHub will cover all the payment processing fees and has pledged to match all contributions up to $5,000.

Individual developers participating in the program can customize the funding options displayed when potential supporters click on the Sponsor button. They can add links to other popular funding services, such as Open Collective, Community Bridge, Tidelift, Ko-fi, and Patreon. Open source projects an also specify funding models for contributors by adding a .github/FUNDING.yml file to the project’s master branch.

GitHub has an advantage over other competing funding services by having its Sponsorship model embbeded in the GitHub workflow where much of the work actually takes place. However, this also raises concerns about how sponsor expectations may influence a project’s development.

“You can now sponsor developers as a seamless part of your familiar workflow,” GitHub open source project manager Devon Zuegel said in the announcement. “When a contributor answers your question, triages your issue, or merges your code, you can head to their profile—or simply hover over their username—to sponsor their work.”

Sponsorship is a somewhat subjective term and GitHub isn’t defining what it means here in the context of marrying it to a contributor’s workflow. For some, it may mean a no-strings-attached donation. For others, the idea of sponsorship always comes the expectation of a return on an investment.

Ruby on Rails creator and Basecamp founder David Heinemeier Hansson was one of the most prominent to raise concerns about GitHub’s Sponsors program on Twitter. He sees it as “a grave risk to open source.”

“’Why haven’t you fixed my issue yet!? I sent you $10! I demand you honor your obligations here. I paid you,’ welcome to small-donation open source 2019,” Hansson said.

“I’m sure GitHub had all the right intentions here. And I’m sure this will work out well for a select few developers who will amass enough donations to ignore individual claims to their time. But I think it’s a grave risk to the culture of open source.”

Hansson referenced a recent keynote he delivered at RailsConf 2019 titled “Open source beyond the market,” challenging those whose initial reactions are simply that “donations are a good thing.” Bringing the concept of sponsorship a into the workflow introduces a transactional nature to the work, with unavoidable marketplace expectations that can complicate a project’s development.

“The marketplace norms are hard to escape,” Hansson said in his keynote. “They seep into our unconsciousness. There are plenty of open source users who think themselves less as a recipient of a gift and more like customers with warranty claims, that they’ve done the makers of said open source software a great honor by merely choosing to use their thing.

“In fact, it’s kind of a natural extension of a society that worships consumerism above little less. A natural extension of ‘the customer is always right,’ of the adversarial relationship between buyer and seller.”

Others have expressed more specific concerns, such as Microsoft’s GitHub becoming the dominant payment platform for open source developers, sponsors receiving priority consideration in issues and PRs over user and project needs, and developers deliberately introducing bugs in order to solicit donations.

Pia Mancini, co-founder of Open Collective, wrote a response to the concerns that people were sending her way on Twitter.

“I am really happy to see such an important player in the ecosystem helping out with the problem of sustaining open source,” Mancini said. “Sustaining our commons is an effort that requires everyone to contribute. I am glad to see Github come on board.”

This idea of the sustainability of open source and the “tragedy of the commons” is one that Hansson and many others reject, but it is one that is commonly embraced by copyleft advocates. It works for Open Collective’s business model, but comes with its own flavor of reciprocity. Open Collective is distinct in that its funding service is removed from the direct workflow of software development, instead of deeply integrated like GitHub’s Sponsors tool.

Mancini said that her company can “happily coexist with GitHub Sponsors” because of Open Collective’s chief differentiators. It was built for projects, not individuals. It offers full transparency about where funds come from and how they are spent. The company also manages the paperwork and tax forms required for fiscal sponsorship.

“Open Collective is for funding projects as opposed to individual maintainers,” Mancini said. “We strongly believe in supporting communities as a whole, as well as the individuals that make up that community. This helps with ensuring more diversity, and less concentration of power and decisions on one maintainer.”

She also cautioned against GitHub trying to swallow up too many aspects of the open source community and injecting its own corporate interests. She hints at a line that the company has not yet crossed but many are still wary of what Microsoft plans to do with GitHub.

“Of course, there’s risk: centralization and lock-in are very risky for communities,” Mancini said. “GitHub is Microsoft, which has its own metrics in mind, and it will be difficult for them to be independent, regardless of the good faith of the folks involved.

“Attempting to own all aspects of the open source community is a harmful strategy. So far, I don’t think GitHub is trying to do this. They are in a position to help, and they are open to collaborating with existing players.

“Does it compete with Open Collective? To some extent. But our growth has never been primarily driven by individuals giving to individuals, but by companies giving to projects. GitHub Sponsors does not solve the need sponsor companies have for invoices and a legal entity to engage with for their vendor systems and documentation requirements.”

GitHub’s intentions may simply be a recognition of what open source software has matured to become – a driving force of innovation in all industries and an effort worthy of financial support. Giving developers an easy way to receive some reward for their contributions seems rather innocuous, but the concern is that Microsoft cannot foresee the long term consequences of its sponsorship implementation inside GitHub’s workflow. Open source project maintainers who pressed GitHub for more consideration of open source workflows may get more than they bargained for.

Source: WP Tavern

Automattic Acquires Prospress, the company behind WooCommerce Subscriptions

Automattic has acquired Prospress and its flagship WooCommerce Subscriptions product, along with the company’s entire suite of e-commerce plugins and automation tools. Prospress’ 20 employees will be joining Automattic to continue developing and supporting their products.

There are no immediate changes planned for current WooCommerce Subscriptions customers. Automattic will begin working on a roadmap for the product after integrating the Prospress team into the company.

In the announcement Q&A, Prospress founder Brent Shepherd said he is excited to see how Subscriptions will integrate with Automattic’s existing products and offered a glimpse at what they may be working on in the near future:

In more specific terms, that could mean looking at closer relationships with how payments are handled, or integrations with other platforms such as There are also a couple of things to solve both in WooCommerce and subscriptions to help them scale better. Interestingly, these challenges are almost identical for the two codebases. By working more closely to solve them than we ever could apart, I hope we can do a better job of implementing solutions and in a shorter time frame.

WooCommerce Subscriptions can already be purchased a la carte and used on stores, so nothing will change in this department. I asked Paul Maiorana, head of partnerships for WooCommerce, if there are any plans to integrate Subscription functionality with Jetpack sites, as the plugin’s team is currently pursuing a Membership feature that is essentially recurring payments.

“We’re excited to learn from the Prospress team as they’re experts in this space, and could see Memberships potentially leveraging some of the Subscriptions code to avoid duplicating efforts — but we have no plans to integrate the products,” Maiorana said.

The Prospress acquisition also includes AutomateWoo, a marketing automation tool, and Robot Ninja, which offers automated checkout testing for WooCommerce stores. Prospress acquired AutomateWoo in June 2018 as a complementary product to Subscriptions. There are no immediate changes planned for these products that would affect customers.

Prospress has been deeply invested in the WooCoommerce open source project for many years. WooCommerce has 834 contributors and Shepherd is currently among the top 10. His company committed to the five for the future initiative last year by sponsoring one of its employees to contribute full time to WooCommerce core. For the past five years Shepherd has also co-organized the WooCommerce San Francisco meet-up.

Cornering the market on Subscriptions and being able to ensure a tight integration for customers gives WooCommerce a more competitive edge in the broader e-commerce space. Prospress’ smaller products are also strategic additions to WooCommerce’s offerings. If Automattic can integrate the marketing automation and automated checkout testing tools in one hosted package, these tools have the potential to greatly increase customer’s success and confidence in their WooCommerce powered stores.

Source: WP Tavern

Take the 2019 WP&UP Mental Health and Well-Being Survey

WP&UP is a mental health and well-being charitable organization founded by Dan Maby in 2018, whose mission is to promote positive mental health throughout the WordPress ecosystem.

The organization is currently hosting a survey to better understand the needs of the community.

The questions cover the general work environment, general mental health and well-being, and specific work-related mental health and well-being. The survey will close next week and the results will be anonymized, open-sourced, and shared with the community.

Source: WP Tavern