WPTavern: WordCamp US 2017 is Livestreaming All Sessions for Free
WordCamp US is kicking off this morning. If you couldn’t make the journey to Nashville, you can still follow along at home or wherever you are in the world. Livestream Tickets are free on the event’s website. Once you’ve registered for a ticket, head on over to 2017.us.wordcamp.org/live-stream/ and you’ll be able to tune in to the Fiddle Track, Banjo Track, Guitar Track, and the State of the Word (scheduled for Saturday, December 2, at 4PM CST).
WordCamp US will be running three tracks simultaneously for both days of the conference and all sessions will be livestreamed. Check out the schedule to find sessions you want to attend from home. Volunteers will also include captions, which will be embedded within the live stream video. If you have any problems with the stream, the event has a page dedicated to livestream attendees with a backup stream, as well as a troubleshooting page for livestream support.
If you’re following along on Twitter, the WCUS Twitter volunteers will be providing threaded coverage of sessions. This should keep your Twitter stream a little tidier with a kickoff tweet for each session, followed by live coverage threaded under each as replies.
Want to follow along with WCUS coverage at home? It will be easy by following our threaded coverage. Each session will start with a tweet that looks like this, All coverage of that session will be threaded to that kick-off tweet. pic.twitter.com/J0M6jo6GEi
— WordCamp US (@WordCampUS) December 1, 2017
Want to see WCUS hosted near you in 2019/2020? Applications for host cities opened today. If you want to be part of the team that makes WCUS happen in your city, talk to your local WordPress community organizers about filling out an application for the next host city.
WPTavern: Gutenberg 1.8 Adds Greater Extensibility for Plugin Developers
Gutenberg 1.8 was released this week with several notable improvements that will give plugin developers more flexibility in extending the editor. It introduces block templates, which developers can use when registering a new custom post type. The block templates define a set of pre-configured blocks that will initialize when a user creates a new post. In the example below, Gutenberg lead engineer Matias Ventura demonstrates what a block template for a book custom post type might look like.
This release also improves the design of the tools menu (toggled by the ellipses at the top of the editor) to have a more lightweight UI that will lend itself better to displaying items added by extensions in the future. The new design displays multiple menu items as a radio group where the selected item shows a checkmark, an approach that Gutenberg designers found to be more intuitive after some research.
Version 1.8 adds the ability for developers to filter allowed block types by specifying an array of type names that can be shown in the inserter component. This capability paves the way for block nesting where developers can define allowed children types. It also allows custom post types to specify which blocks are allowed or restricted, which will be useful for keeping CPTs lean as Gutenberg already has a large number of block types.
The release also improves meta box compatibility with a fallback to the classic editor if Gutenberg detects that the meta box is unsupported. Plugin authors can now explicitly declare Gutenberg incompatibility when registering meta boxes, which will trigger a warning to the end user that explains which meta boxes have caused the fallback to the classic editor.
In addition to all the improvements for extending Gutenberg, version 1.8 makes many small design tweaks, including updated color pickers with color indications and collapsible panels, updated icon and tooltip for table of contents menu, and a new contrast checker for paragraph color options. It also puts block actions back on the block level for the default, while still preserving the option to change it to a fixed toolbar at the top of the screen.
WPTavern: Distributor Plugin Now in Beta: A New WordPress Content Syndication Solution from 10up
10up published a preview of its Distributor plugin today, a new solution for syndicating content across WordPress multisite networks and the web. The plugin, which the company plans to release for free, is currently in final closed beta. It enables content managers to either “push” or “pull” content to/from sites where they have permission to publish.
image credit: 10up
Distributor includes the ability for editors to make changes to the original post and have linked copies automatically inherit the changes. This includes post content, post meta (custom fields), and taxonomy terms. It also ensures that content is SEO-friendly by providing canonical links that prevent duplicate content issues.
“The main technical advantage of the REST API is that it’s a ‘standard’ inside core for sharing information across sites,” 10up President Jake Goldman said. “Outside of multisite, we never even considered another approach. It is worth saying that you do need Distributor installed on both ‘ends’ for all of its features to work across the REST API – we need to extend the REST API a bit to get everything to pull across (plus the handling of ‘linked’ copies).”
Goldman said that although “syndication” means many different things to different people, the “classic” use case of simply pulling from a source, such as ingesting content from a newswire, is not exactly the use case for Distributor. He said the team behind the plugin is perhaps more excited about the “push” implementation. In building their own solution, 10up also incorporated its trademark lean/streamlined UI, as many existing solutions are more complicated to use.
“We’re definitely aware that there are other takes at a good content sharing workflow,” Goldman said. “We even helped Automattic refactor their solution a few years ago, which they use on VIP. We took a bit of inspiration from that project, including the modular ‘connection’ types. In earnest, when trying to help our clients find solutions that were intuitive, extensible, and engineered to an enterprise grade, we just couldn’t endorse any of the options we found. It’s more a UX problem – clunky workflows, overwhelming interfaces, feature overload (I prefer a certain simplicity) – than anything, though we also have concerns about how modular / customizable some of the other solutions are.”
10up Plans to Release Distributor on WordPress.org Following the Closed Beta
10up currently has several clients using Distributor, including large publishers with several properties/magazines/newspapers, as well as large technology businesses using it for their news and media features across a network of sites. The plugin is in final closed beta but 10up is granting early access to those with interesting use cases.
“We’re casting a pretty broad net in terms of ‘appropriate’ use cases for the beta; in fact, we’re hoping that broader beta testing will open our eyes to great use cases within the scope of its purpose that we hadn’t considered,” Goldman said. “We’ve already heard from some very large publishers, some smaller digital publishers, universities, public school systems, some enterprises with multiple properties, agencies interested in staging content, and just engineers who own multiple sites that share content – we’re excited about all of these use cases!”
Goldman said his team is most curious to see Distributor applied to use cases that aren’t simply “news and publishing,” including CRMs and product businesses with multiples sites that share content. 10up has not yet tested specific plugins for full compatibility with Distributor, but Goldman said pre-version 1.0, it should work with any plugin that adds custom post types and fields/taxonomies “the WordPress way.”
“In fact, Distributor checks to see which sites support the same post type and terms before it offers a list of sites you can ‘distribute’ content to (so you can’t ‘distribute’ a WooCommerce product to a site not running WooCommerce),” he said. Selling the same products across multiple stores, with automatically updating inventory and price changes, is just one of the many interesting use cases for Distributor.
Goldman said the team anticipates taking the plugin out of beta and putting it on WordPress.org by mid to late Q1 of 2018, in approximately 2-3 months, depending on feedback from testers. 10up does not currently have a plan to monetize the plugin.
“I never want to rule out that there are ‘eventually’ opportunities for commercialization, but I can honestly say that isn’t anywhere on our roadmap or consideration set at the moment,” Goldman said.
Those who want to get in on the Distributor beta before it is publicly available can sign up on the plugin’s website with a quick explanation of your use case. 10up will send a copy of the plugin for testing.
WPTavern: WordCamp Albuquerque Gears Up for 5th Edition in January 2018
WordCamp Albuquerque is gearing up for its 5th edition January 19-21, 2018, following events held in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2016. An all-new organizing team is ready to invigorate the Southwestern WordPress community with an exciting array of world-class speakers and educational opportunities for both new and experienced users.
Lead organizer Alonso Indacochea said the team is expecting to host 300 attendees. Many of them will be coming from New Mexico, Southern Colorado, West Texas, and Arizona.
“The southwestern community is interesting because there are a lot of developers doing really interesting tech work, but a lot of it happens in silos due to government secrecy,” speaker wrangler Sam Hotchkiss said. “New Mexico has a rich history of technology, from the Manhattan Project and the creation of the first nuclear weapons to the formation of Microsoft, which was founded in Albuquerque in 1975.
“We’re trying to pull together that community to connect with each other, and also establish Albuquerque as a WordCamp with consistently high-quality speakers of global renown.”
In pursuit of this goal, Hotchkiss has recruited a healthy crop of top quality speakers from the WordPress community. During the Saturday afternoon session, Chris Lema, Vice President of Products and Innovation at Liquid Web, will be interviewing a diverse group of speakers in the main hall, including the following:
- Ashleigh Axios, former Creative Director for the Obama White House and AIGA Board Member
- Sakin Shrestha, Founder of Catch Themes and the main drive behind the vibrant WordPress community in Nepal
- John Maeda, Global Head, Computational Design and Inclusion at Automattic
- Jon Brown, WordPress Nomad
- Alonso Indacochea, WordCamp lead organizer, who had no serious software development experience 5 years ago, went through a local boot camp, and is now CEO of the fastest growing digital agency in New Mexico
This year WordCamp Albuquerque will feature multiple tracks sorted by topic, beginning with a WordPress Fundamentals track on Friday, January 19.
“Foundation Friday is something I’ve seen be really successful at other camps,” Hotchkiss said. “It gives people who are new to WP a base of knowledge so that they can go into Saturday feeling confident and ready to learn. Each class on Friday will build on the one before it. Starting from scratch? Show up at 9. Already have a site, but need help handling the layout? Come at 10:30.”
Saturday’s program will include sessions in the Business, Design, and Development tracks throughout the day, in addition to the planned interviews. A contributor day session is planned for Sunday. The event’s organizers are still accepting speaker applications until midnight on Monday, December 4. They plan to finalize the schedule next week. Tickets are on sale now and attendees can elect to purchase one for whatever combination of days they wish to attend.
WPTavern: Gutenberg Team Is Ramping Up Usability Testing at WordCamp US
The Gutenberg Team will have a usability testing station set up at WordCamp US where attendees can participate in a round of pre-set tests that focus on the writing flow. Testers will answer a short survey that includes their prior WordPress experience level, age, and device used. Volunteers will get participants set up with a testing site and will start the screen recording app.
Testers will be asked to create a post based on the content shown in an image. There are three different images, which require the user to perform actions such as adding images, embedding media, creating unordered lists, adding quotes, and other basic content creation tasks. In order to segment results, the usability tests have been divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced level images.
After completing the test, participants will be asked to answer a few followup questions, such as “Did the task take longer or shorter than you expected?” and “Are you more or less likely to use the Gutenberg editor in the future?”
“This is the second round of usability testing scripts — we tried out the first batch of scripts at WordCamp Milano, and made some adjustments for clarity,” Gutenberg design lead Tammie Lister said. “As a result of testing, we moved the toolbar on blocks to not be fixed and back to the block. At Milano, we tested the tests.”
As the result of these tests and other prior feedback, Lister recommended the default position of the toolbar to be fixed to the block.
Anna Harrison, UX lead at Ephox (the makers of tinyMCE), has been instrumental in helping with the efforts around testing and writing scripts. She also offered feedback on the ticket, referencing comments from the previous discussion on the issue:
A fixed [docked to top] toolbar solution has several complications. Firstly, we break accessibility. I won’t reiterate the discussion, as it’s well articulated above. Secondly, we break things independent of accessibility – I ran user tests on something quite similar to this last year, and we discovered that disconnecting the toolbar from the point of action resulted in 100% user test fails.
Gutenberg version 1.8 will change the default back to displaying block actions on the block level, although the option to change it to a fixed toolbar at the top of the screen will still be available. This change is one example of how usability testing is shaping Gutenberg’s development. WordCamp US is an opportunity for the team to collect a host of new testing data in one place.
Lister said all the data that is collected will be processed by volunteers on the make/test team, but the team is still small and they could use more volunteers to work on this effort.
“The turnaround time on processing the data we collect really depends on how many volunteers are available to work on it,” Lister said. “It also depends on if it’s a bug reported – bugs are easier to get fixed right away. If the data indicates an area where we need to investigate more, we’ll do that. The results of the testing will be published on make.wordpress.org/test.”
Lister said the team is hoping to reach a wider variety of WordPress users at WCUS this year, from all backgrounds and careers. The testing booth offers an opportunity for anyone to contribute to the future of WordPress, regardless of your experience level or familiarity with the software. The team is also eager to broaden its testing field by recruiting non-WordPress users as well. If you can’t make it to WordCamp US, you can still contribute to Gutenberg by taking and administering usability tests on your own with the help of the instructions posted on the make.wordpress.org/test site.
WPTavern: Delete Me WordPress Plugin Assists Website Owners in Granting the GDPR Right to be Forgotten
With the EU GDPR compliance deadline just 178 days away, many WordPress site owners are looking for tools that will help them meet the requirements. The regulation expands existing rights of data subjects in several key ways, including (but not limited to) the right to be notified of data breaches, the right to access personal data, the right to be forgotten, and the right to data portability.
Also known as Data Erasure, the right to be forgotten entitles the data subject to have the data controller erase his/her personal data, cease further dissemination of the data, and potentially have third parties halt processing of the data. The conditions for erasure, as outlined in article 17, include the data no longer being relevant to original purposes for processing, or a data subjects withdrawing consent. It should also be noted that this right requires controllers to compare the subjects’ rights to “the public interest in the availability of the data” when considering such requests.
The Delete Me plugin takes this one step further for site owners who are comfortable allowing users to delete their own data without having to create a request for it. By default, the delete button displays on the profile.php screen in the admin, but administrators can elect to use a shortcode to display it somewhere else on the frontend.
Delete Me also supports network activation and single site activation for multisite installations. By default, users can only delete themselves and their content from a single site, while other networked sites where they are registered will not be affected. The plugin does include a “Delete From Network” checkbox that administrators can enable to allow users to delete themselves from all sites on the network.
Delete Me is available for free on WordPress.org. I tested the plugin and have confirmed that it works with WordPress 5.0-alpha. It is currently active on more than 2,000 sites. By no means does it satisfy the full requirements of the GDPR, but it provides a decent starting point for site owners who want to make this option available to their users without having to manually fulfill their requests.