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WPTavern: WPTracSearch: An Elasticsearch-Powered Search Interface for WordPress Trac Tickets

WPTavern: WPTracSearch: An Elasticsearch-Powered Search Interface for WordPress Trac Tickets

WordPress Trac is one of the more utilitarian and uninspiring interfaces that many contributors have to contend with in the process of giving back to the project. After growing tired of Trac’s mediocre search functionality, William Earnhardt set out to improve it with a new project called WPTracSearch that gave him an opportunity to play around with Elasticsearch and React.

WPTracSearch provides an alternative Elasticsearch-powered interface for searching WordPress Trac tickets. It performs a full text search of all of the fields, delivering more accurate results, even for basic queries, thanks to Elasticsearch’s relevance ranking. The results can be easily filtered based on milestone, component, focuses, usernames, and more criteria, making it easier to find specific tickets.

The search interface also supports fuzzy matching, adding to its ability to deliver more relevant results. Even if a term is misspelled (either in the search or the ticket) it will still yield results, as in the example below:

Earnhardt is a WordPress core contributor and a developer at Bluehost. His core team has the discretion to work on whatever they want for WordPress core and the community.

“This fit in nicely with that, but was also just something fun to tinker with,” he said. “It started as a fun experiment with Elasticsearch last fall. I built an index on my local machine and played around with it but got busy with other stuff pre-5.0 push and it sort of fell by the wayside.

“Then early this year I had a few times come up where it would have been helpful, so I threw together an interface for it and got it online.”

If you want to use WPTracSearch but are not sure how current the ticket index is, Earnhardt said it’s nearly constantly in sync:

There is a PHP script that parses all the information about a ticket in Trac using the XMLRPC api and puts it into an Elasticsearch index. There is a bash script that runs on a cron every minute to find any tickets updated since the last run and then uses the PHP script to reindex them. So it stays pretty constantly in sync.

The project uses a React interface that relies on the Reactivesearch library to query the Elasticsearch index. Earnhardt also borrowed some code from Ryan McCue’s Not Trac to help with some of the UI that deals with parsing TracLinks and code blocks.

WPTracSearch is an evolving project and Earnhardt has lots of plans for improving it. The two highest priority items on his roadmap are indexing meta Trac and making a search UI for it. He also wants to make the individual tickets have navigable URLs instead of being modal pop up windows when you click on the summary in the search results.

“I do it that way because it’s a lot faster to stay in this interface than jumping back and forth to core.trac.wordpress.org when browsing tickets, but you can’t link directly to a ticket and forward/back doesn’t work,” Earnhardt said.

“You can also query the Elasticsearch index directly without using the React interface if you know Elasticsearch Query DSL. This allows pretty complex queries to be built. I’ve thought about creating some charts using that. It could help with the core triage team effort to better understand churn and progress toward bringing that open ticket count down. There are a lot of cool possibilities.”

WPTracSearch is available on GitHub if anyone wants to contribute ideas or code to improve it.


WordPress Trac is one of the more utilitarian and uninspiring interfaces that many contributors have to contend with in the process of giving back to the project. After growing tired of Trac’s mediocre search functionality, William Earnhardt set out to improve it with a new project called WPTracSearch that gave him an opportunity to play around with Elasticsearch and React. WPTracSearch provides an alternative Elasticsearch-powered interface for searching WordPress Trac tickets. It performs a full text search of all of the fields, delivering more accurate results, even for basic queries, thanks to Elasticsearch’s relevance ranking. The results can be easily filtered based on milestone, component, focuses, usernames, and more criteria, making it easier to find specific tickets. The search interface also supports fuzzy matching, adding to its ability to deliver more relevant results. Even if a term is misspelled (either in the search or the ticket) it will still yield results, as in the example below: Earnhardt is a WordPress core contributor and a developer at Bluehost. His core team has the discretion to work on whatever they want for WordPress core and the community. “This fit in nicely with that, but was also just something fun to tinker with,”…

Source: WordPress

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WPTavern: Storefront 2.5.0 Introduces a Custom, Block-Based Homepage

WPTavern: Storefront 2.5.0 Introduces a Custom, Block-Based Homepage

Storefront, WooCommerce’s free flagship theme, has just released version 2.5.0 with updates that make it easier to setup and customize the homepage.

In 2017, WooCommerce 2.2 introduced starter content to help users set up the homepage template, menus, widgets, and add some demo products. This content has been updated to incorporate the WooCommerce blocks that were rolled into the plugin’s 3.6 release. It also adds support for the new cover block, which enables users to place headings, paragraphs, and buttons inside the block.

These changes essentially create a custom, editable homepage with all the flexibility of blocks, giving users more control than the previous custom homepage template approach. The old homepage (template-homepage.php) has now been retired.

Storefront is active on more than 200,000 stores. Many of these sites already have their homepages set, but the new block-based homepage makes it easier to set up a new store or make changes to existing homepage designs without having to use custom code or a plugin.

Version 2.5 is a minor release but still requires testing before updating, as some users have already reported a few discrepancies with how the “full width” template is displayed. Previewing the update in a staging environment will ensure there are no surprises on update.


Storefront, WooCommerce’s free flagship theme, has just released version 2.5.0 with updates that make it easier to setup and customize the homepage. In 2017, WooCommerce 2.2 introduced starter content to help users set up the homepage template, menus, widgets, and add some demo products. This content has been updated to incorporate the WooCommerce blocks that were rolled into the plugin’s 3.6 release. It also adds support for the new cover block, which enables users to place headings, paragraphs, and buttons inside the block. These changes essentially create a custom, editable homepage with all the flexibility of blocks, giving users more control than the previous custom homepage template approach. The old homepage (template-homepage.php) has now been retired. Storefront is active on more than 200,000 stores. Many of these sites already have their homepages set, but the new block-based homepage makes it easier to set up a new store or make changes to existing homepage designs without having to use custom code or a plugin. Version 2.5 is a minor release but still requires testing before updating, as some users have already reported a few discrepancies with how the “full width” template is displayed. Previewing the update in a staging environment will…

Source: WordPress

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WPTavern: Advanced Custom Fields 5.8.0 Introduces ACF Blocks: A PHP Framework for Creating Gutenberg Blocks

WPTavern: Advanced Custom Fields 5.8.0 Introduces ACF Blocks: A PHP Framework for Creating Gutenberg Blocks

After six months in development, Advanced Custom Fields 5.8.0 was released yesterday with a new PHP-based framework for developing custom Gutenberg block types. ACF Blocks was announced in October 2018, to the great relief of many developers who didn’t know how they were going to keep pace with learning the JavaScript required to use WordPress’ Block API.

ACF’s creator, Elliot Condon, was one of the more vocal critics of Gutenberg leading up to its inclusion in WordPress 5.0. Developers were concerned about whether or not their custom metaboxes generated by ACF would still be compatible. The ACF team worked to ensure the plugin was integrated into the Gutenberg UI as much as possible and surprised users by announcing an acf_register_block() function that would allow developers to use PHP to create custom blocks.

The new ACF Blocks add-on is built on top of Advanced Custom Fields Pro and does not require any JavaScript knowledge. It integrates with custom fields so developers can create custom solutions. ACF blocks are rendered using a PHP template file or a callback function that allows full control of the output HTML and live previews while editing the blocks. They also maintain native compatibility with WordPress core, meaning that all Gutenberg features like “alignment” and “re-usable blocks” work as expected.

Early feedback indicates that ACF Blocks has made custom Gutenberg development more approachable for developers who are not as well-versed in React, significantly speeding up the creation of custom blocks.

This is one example of how the WordPress product ecosystem continues to evolve to support developers in the transition to a more JavaScript-powered WordPress.

ACF Blocks also launched with a suite of nine ready-to-use bocks available as a plugin from the new acfblocks.com website. These include commonly-requested functionality for client sites, such as testimonial, team, multi-button, star-rating, pricing list, and click-to-tweet, with more on the way.


After six months in development, Advanced Custom Fields 5.8.0 was released yesterday with a new PHP-based framework for developing custom Gutenberg block types. ACF Blocks was announced in October 2018, to the great relief of many developers who didn’t know how they were going to keep pace with learning the JavaScript required to use WordPress’ Block API. ACF’s creator, Elliot Condon, was one of the more vocal critics of Gutenberg leading up to its inclusion in WordPress 5.0. Developers were concerned about whether or not their custom metaboxes generated by ACF would still be compatible. The ACF team worked to ensure the plugin was integrated into the Gutenberg UI as much as possible and surprised users by announcing an acf_register_block() function that would allow developers to use PHP to create custom blocks. The new ACF Blocks add-on is built on top of Advanced Custom Fields Pro and does not require any JavaScript knowledge. It integrates with custom fields so developers can create custom solutions. ACF blocks are rendered using a PHP template file or a callback function that allows full control of the output HTML and live previews while editing the blocks. They also maintain native compatibility with WordPress core,…

Source: WordPress

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WPTavern: WordPress Professionals: Take the Future of WordPress Careers Survey

WPTavern: WordPress Professionals: Take the Future of WordPress Careers Survey

Nevena Tomovic, a Business Developer at Human Made, is researching the most important skills for pursuing a career in WordPress. She is conducting a survey for professionals that is open to anyone working in a WordPress-related capacity, including writers, developers, marketers, UI & UX designers, illustrators, community drivers, evangelists, project managers, and creatives.

The survey takes less than five minutes to complete and the results will be shared at WordCamp Europe in Berlin and on nevena.blog. Tomovoic will be giving a presentation titled “Renaissance jobs in WordPress: Skills you need to survive the 21st-century career,” where she will elaborate on global trends related to the job landscape. She will also be speaking about how employers and managers can attract new talent through WordPress education.

In a recent post on her blog, Tomovic elaborated on the concept of “Renaissance jobs,” positions that use titles merging multiple skills into one role:

Renaissance jobs, also otherwise known as hybrid roles are a mishmash of more than one skill, a combination of expertise in more than one domain. You might have come across roles such as experience architect, user experience consultant, or even customer wrangler, all of these typically involve technical knowledge, excellent communication and management skills. All of these roles are a completely foreign concept for most of our parents. The 21st century has brought with it remote work, chief growth officers, and a globalized workforce among other things.

Tomovic’s survey data will identify what skills are most important in the WordPress job market right now. The survey does not collect any personal data and the raw data will be deleted after the results are published.

If you want to check out Tomovic’s talk in person, make sure to purchase a ticket to WordCamp Europe. The final batch of tickets has gone on sale and there are only 133 general admission tickets remaining.


Nevena Tomovic, a Business Developer at Human Made, is researching the most important skills for pursuing a career in WordPress. She is conducting a survey for professionals that is open to anyone working in a WordPress-related capacity, including writers, developers, marketers, UI & UX designers, illustrators, community drivers, evangelists, project managers, and creatives. The survey takes less than five minutes to complete and the results will be shared at WordCamp Europe in Berlin and on nevena.blog. Tomovoic will be giving a presentation titled “Renaissance jobs in WordPress: Skills you need to survive the 21st-century career,” where she will elaborate on global trends related to the job landscape. She will also be speaking about how employers and managers can attract new talent through WordPress education. In a recent post on her blog, Tomovic elaborated on the concept of “Renaissance jobs,” positions that use titles merging multiple skills into one role: Renaissance jobs, also otherwise known as hybrid roles are a mishmash of more than one skill, a combination of expertise in more than one domain. You might have come across roles such as experience architect, user experience consultant, or even customer wrangler, all of these typically involve technical knowledge, excellent communication…

Source: WordPress

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WPTavern: New Membership Block Coming to Jetpack, Site Health and Debug Info Added to Version 7.3

WPTavern: New Membership Block Coming to Jetpack, Site Health and Debug Info Added to Version 7.3

Jetpack 7.3 was released yesterday with changes that improve the “out of the box” experience. The plugin now enables fewer features on setup so users can have more control over what they activate on their sites.

The new version also integrates with WordPress 5.2’s new Site Health checks. It includes a status check and moves Jetpack’s legacy debug data to a section in the new “Site Health Info” tab. The initial status check isn’t very descriptive regarding critical errors, but these error messages can be improved in future iterations so users know how to get to a page with more information.

New Membership Block Now Available for Jetpack Beta Testers

Jetpack is getting ready to introduce a new Membership block that will essentially function like a recurring donation button using Stripe as the payment gateway.

Users will be able to set the currency, price, product name, and renewal interval directly within the block.

This release adds the new block behind the JETPACK_BETA_BLOCKS constant for users who are beta testing new blocks. Feedback from testers will be addressed in future pull requests. The PR merged into Jetpack 7.3 includes the following technical additions for the new Membership block:

  • Introduce endpoints that communicate with WP.COM
  • Whitelist certain options, CPTs and meta to store / sync data
  • Introduce Gutenberg block that uses these endpoints and provides UI to connect to Stripe, create and choose a product
  • Introduce a frontend of a block with the sole purpose of displaying a checkout window from WP.com in an iframe

In its current form, the use of the term “Membership” for the block might be a bit misleading for some users, depending on their expectations. Site owners usually expect more granular management of members, multiple membership tiers, customizable emails, various renewal options, content access, and more for managing memberships.

Unless Jetpack intends to make this the gateway to more robust membership capabilities, then “Recurring donation/payment button” might be a more accurate name for the block. However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a more full-featured Membership module turn up as a SaaS product from WordPress.com, as opposed to everything getting packed into the plugin.

No release date has been announced for the membership block as it is still under active development and in the very early stages of beta testing.

Check out the full changelog to see all the enhancements and bug fixes in Jetpack 7.3.


Jetpack 7.3 was released yesterday with changes that improve the “out of the box” experience. The plugin now enables fewer features on setup so users can have more control over what they activate on their sites. The new version also integrates with WordPress 5.2’s new Site Health checks. It includes a status check and moves Jetpack’s legacy debug data to a section in the new “Site Health Info” tab. The initial status check isn’t very descriptive regarding critical errors, but these error messages can be improved in future iterations so users know how to get to a page with more information. New Membership Block Now Available for Jetpack Beta Testers Jetpack is getting ready to introduce a new Membership block that will essentially function like a recurring donation button using Stripe as the payment gateway. Users will be able to set the currency, price, product name, and renewal interval directly within the block. This release adds the new block behind the JETPACK_BETA_BLOCKS constant for users who are beta testing new blocks. Feedback from testers will be addressed in future pull requests. The PR merged into Jetpack 7.3 includes the following technical additions for the new Membership block: Introduce endpoints that…

Source: WordPress

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WPTavern: Theme Review Team Leadership Implements Controversial Changes to Trusted Authors Program, Requiring Theme Reviews in Exchange for Making Themes Live

WPTavern: Theme Review Team Leadership Implements Controversial Changes to Trusted Authors Program, Requiring Theme Reviews in Exchange for Making Themes Live

The WordPress Theme Review team has implemented a controversial change to its Trusted Authors Program that puts a hard requirement on participants to join the theme review team and perform a minimum number of reviews in order to continue having their own themes fast tracked through the review process.

“As we can’t figure out a way to bring in new reviewers and maybe keep them on-board after the initial reviews, we decided to make a few changes to the Trusted Authors program,” Alexandru Cosmin said, on behalf of the Theme Review team leadership.

“Trusted Authors will need to review one ticket a month to be able to have their themes set live. Not doing a review doesn’t mean that you’ll lose your privileges or that you’ll have to re-apply. You’ll just not be able to have your themes set live until you finish a review.”

The Trusted Authors program was put in place a year ago with the goal of streamlining the review process for authors who consistently produce high quality code in line with the current guidelines. The idea was to relieve some of the burden for theme reviewers and reduce the queue.

Trusted Authors are required to do a full review of a parent theme (no child themes permitted). Themes that are not approved will not count. After performing the review, the author may then upload a theme and add a comment to it with a link to their latest review that meets the requirement.

The change to the program is controversial, based on the feedback from other members of the Theme Review team who commented on the announcement.

“I understand the reason behind it, but I cannot agree with it,” WordPress theme author Dumitru Brinzan said. “Reviews should be done out of professional desire, not to buy a credit for setting a theme live quicker.

“This might reduce the quality of reviews, because trusted authors are now directly interested in setting more themes live. This means that someone will have to monitor more closely the reviews done by trusted authors. This just feels unnatural somehow.”

Justin Tadlock, a long-time review team member who volunteered as a lead for many years, said he is disappointed to see this idea resurface after he and others shot it down multiple times in the past.

“I assume the team got permission from higher up the chain to run a pay-for-play system,” Tadlock said. “We’ve already established they are not allowed.

“What such systems do is provide an unfair advantage to larger theme businesses with multiple employees. They assign one of their employees to handle a review and keep pumping out themes without missing a beat. All the while, solo developers are forced into ‘volunteering’ with time they may not even have. Not that it’s fair to businesses either; it’s just worse on solo devs.”

Tadlock also said that based on his experience with past incentives, forcing Trusted Authors to join the review team in order reap the benefits of the program will likely result in a decline in the quality of the reviews.

“Making people contribute to the review system should absolutely never happen in any shape or form,” Tadlock said. “It should never be the means in which the team shows favoritism to one author/team over another.

“And, when you tie incentive programs to the review system, you tend to get shit reviews. We’ve already seen this happen.”

Tadlock referenced the Theme Review Incentive program that was implemented in 2014 which became highly controversial due to a number of underlying problems.

“Basically, that program allowed the top reviewers to select the featured themes every month,” Tadlock said. “The original idea (at least from my understanding) would be that they’d select featured themes from the list of themes that they’d reviewed. Instead, they chose their own themes, month after month.

“What ended up happening is that many of those top reviewers would just burn through reviews, focusing on number rather than quality. Bad, sometimes insecure, code would fall through the cracks. Some themes really didn’t even get anywhere near a proper review.”

In response to Tadlock referencing the past incentive program, Cosmin pointed out several differences with the new Trusted Author requirement to join the review team.

“The last time we did this it was a competition for the Featured page (which in my opinion is of higher value than having a theme on Latest),” Cosmin said. “Back then you also had to do a lot of reviews just to get the chance of selecting a featured theme.

“With TAs you don’t lose anything, you either do or not the review, you keep your TA status. One review a month is just 15-30 minutes of reviewing. Either way they are still ‘pumping out themes without missing a beat.’ Any TA author that has time to pump out 3-4 themes a month also has time to do a freaking review.”

Theme Review Team Leadership Did Not Consult the Team Before Implementing Changes to Trusted Authors Program

This change to the Trusted Authors Program seems to have blindsided other members of the Theme Review Team who only learned of it from the announcement today. The idea was not discussed publicly in the #themereview channel on Slack. It was a unilateral decision made by the leadership behind closed doors.

I asked Cosmin for background on the decision and he said it was discussed in a private meeting of Theme Review Team leads that included William Patton and Ganga Kafle. He said the decision just happened while they were discussing the current state of the queue and how things are not going well.

There are 120 themes waiting to be reviewed and Cosmin estimated that authors are waiting approximately two months in order to get their themes approved. He said the changes to the Trusted Authors program are “currently the only viable option with short term results.”

However, Tadlock is concerned that Trusted Authors who didn’t have the desire to review themes prior to the requirement might simply do the minimum possible to stay in the program. It also sets a precedent for requiring volunteer time in order to receive the benefit of a streamlined review.

This particular controversy is another milestone in the Theme Review Team’s perennial struggle with an unmanageable queue. In the past, the team has entertained suggestions about relaxing the submission guidelines and limiting reviews to security concerns, but changes in this direction never seem to materialize. So far the team has had success with limiting authors to submitting one theme at a time. It slows the growth of the directory but makes the work more manageable for the volunteers who often find themselves knee-deep in manual code review without an end in sight.

The new requirement for Trusted Authors to perform reviews in order to have their themes set live may still be up for discussion if other reviewers continue to raise concerns, but comments from the leads indicate that they want to give it a try before scrapping the idea. In response to Tadlock’s concern about the potential impact on the quality of reviews, Cosmin said the leadership will decide based on how the program goes.

“It’s expected that TAs are experienced authors that know the requirements,” Cosmin said. “We’ll monitor this and if it’s the other way around, we’ll decide then. We get shit reviews right now without having any incentives.”


The WordPress Theme Review team has implemented a controversial change to its Trusted Authors Program that puts a hard requirement on participants to join the theme review team and perform a minimum number of reviews in order to continue having their own themes fast tracked through the review process. “As we can’t figure out a way to bring in new reviewers and maybe keep them on-board after the initial reviews, we decided to make a few changes to the Trusted Authors program,” Alexandru Cosmin said, on behalf of the Theme Review team leadership. “Trusted Authors will need to review one ticket a month to be able to have their themes set live. Not doing a review doesn’t mean that you’ll lose your privileges or that you’ll have to re-apply. You’ll just not be able to have your themes set live until you finish a review.” The Trusted Authors program was put in place a year ago with the goal of streamlining the review process for authors who consistently produce high quality code in line with the current guidelines. The idea was to relieve some of the burden for theme reviewers and reduce the queue. Trusted Authors are required to do…

Source: WordPress

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