HeroPress: From Teaching Toddlers to Teaching the World

HeroPress: From Teaching Toddlers to Teaching the World
Pull Quote: My goal was to learn as much as I could about WordPress so I too, can teach.

I did not pick the computer life. It picked me. I can remember the summer between kindergarten and first grade; I had a computer summer class that introduced me to my passion. The first day when my mother picked me up I exclaimed “mommy I want a computer for Christmas!” I was five and had no realization that in 1986 they would cost more than about everything I owned. I remember being upset that Santa did not bring me the computer that I had been wishing for since June. Growing up, any time I got the chance to sit in front of a computer, I took it for as long as I could. In high school, I even designed the website of one of the groups I was in. It was still online up until last year when CCHS did a website redesign. However, I never actively pursued a career with computers or even took a class for them since that summer. It was not until after I got into WordPress that I actually took a computer class, and now I have an associate’s in Information Technology.

My first career was as a preschool teacher. I loved teaching, loved the joy that it gave me, but it was a very under-valued career.

Most teachers, who go to college to become teachers, make anywhere between minimum wage to a dollar over that with no insurance and maybe a week’s paid vacation.

While spending 45 plus hours every week, I was dedicated to teaching our future, I was barely getting bills paid. So many times I would have to pay bills late, worry how I was going to make sure the next bill gets paid, and have enough gas in my car to make it to work the rest of the week. I devoted twelve years to teaching colors, shapes, letters, numbers, and how to get along with others. While I loved to teach, I needed more. Plus, if I wanted to be able to take care of my daughter, I needed to make a change or I would never even be able to have a savings.

And Then There Was WordPress

Around 2011, I got the idea that I wanted to write a blog. I had heard my friend Chris talk about blogging so I knew he would point me in the right direction. At that time he was working on a security plugin to help the sites he managed for work. He told me “if you want me to help you build a blog, I’m going to teach you so you can do it on your own later.” We bought a domain, set up hosting, and ran the install. I instantly became hooked. The more I built, the more I wanted to learn about WordPress, and the more I wanted to do.

Almost every night, after my daughter would go to bed, I would spend working on my blog, reading about what one can do with WordPress, and trying everything I learned.

Sometimes things would go great, and other times I would accidentally delete out my entire site on FileZilla without a backup and would start from scratch again. Most of my learning came from my failed attempts and what not to do. That is what was my first clue that I would like to be a “fixer” instead of a “builder”.

The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. By 2013 I decided that “I could actually do this. I could make money from WordPress” but I still had about zero clue of how to go about it. I decided to leave preschool for good. I took a full time job working for a local IT agency that also built sites on WordPress. I spent a year there but during that time Chris introduced me to Regina at WP Security Lock. We hit it off and I quickly became a part time employee in April of 2014 helping her with the sites she managed and then learning how to clean hacked websites.

I spent almost two years working for WPSL. The first part of them I was working for the local agency. Regina showed me another option for working in WordPress. It was the idea of working remotely. My daughter was still at the age where she needed after school care, and it is expensive. So with the support of my then fiance, I took the leap to work remotely in September of 2014.

Fast forward from working in with various plugin support teams and security support roles, to jumping into agency support that I did for almost a year, I am now at home with WP Media on their WP Rocket support team. While most do not feel that it is the most glamorous of career choices, I love fixing problems, finding solutions, and helping people. Most of all, WordPress and working with support, gives me many teaching opportunities to help out every person who asks.

The Want to Teach

My first ever WordPress Community event was WP Engine’s 10 year birthday party they threw for WordPress in Austin. The feeling the Austin WP community gave me led me to feel like this was really a place I wanted to be. After Chris saw how excited I was about the community, he asked if I would like to go to WordCamp Chicago. Coincidentally, four years ago today, I was attending my first ever WordCamp. How the speakers taught the attendees, my goal was to learn as much as I could about WordPress so I too, can teach.

Even though I no longer had the official title of a teacher, I still loved to teach. WordCamp Austin 2014 gave me the first opportunity to teach others about Jetpack. I was a nervous wreck! Not only was my best friend there who I looked up to in the WordPress community, but also one of the wonderful Happiness Engineers for the Jetpack team. I had Kraft go over my slides for me to make sure there was not anything I was sticking my foot in my mouth for and away we went. Afterwards I had people coming up and thanking me for explaining Jetpack in a way they could understand.

After that WordCamp, I wanted to speak at all WordCamps.

One of the many advantages of working for companies that have roots in the WordPress Community is that they allow me to attend, speak, and volunteer at WordCamps. I now have over 20 speaking opportunities under my belt, and have no want to stop for the unforeseeable future. I love having any opportunity to teach. I have now grown from only speaking at WordCamps to teaching beginner’s WordPress at our local community college, writing a book on beginner’s WordPress, and starting WP Kids Slack group to be a resource for KidsCamps and teaching our youth on the value and joys of WordPress. Now I am proud to say that I have taught WordPress to all ages from children to the baby boomers and it feels great! I have even had the opportunity to teach my own daughter WordPress and she loves going to the WordCamps. She has even helped others at Camps which for me is what it is all about. It is such a delight teaching Kids Camps and seeing their creativity blossom while building a site of their own. Plus, getting youth and teenagers interested in WordPress, coding, design, and more ensures that what we are building now, will only become better in the future.

The post From Teaching Toddlers to Teaching the World appeared first on HeroPress.

Source: WordPress


WPTavern: Catalina Alvarez is Conducting the First Occupational Psychology Study on Autonomous Motivation and Burnout in the WordPress Community

WPTavern: Catalina Alvarez is Conducting the First Occupational Psychology Study on Autonomous Motivation and Burnout in the WordPress Community
photo credit: WDnet Studio

While attending WordCamp Europe I met Catalina Alvarez, a Master’s degree student at Paris 8 University, who is studying Occupational Psychology and Human Resources. She is in the process of writing her thesis about WordPress community health, with a focus on “autonomous motivation as a moderator in the Demands-Burnout relationship.”

Alvarez is conducting a survey as part of her research and is inviting anyone in the WordPress community who has contributed, whether to code or community projects, to participate. One of the theories she is testing is that burnout is not the consequence of the demands of one’s work but rather the consequence of long periods of stress. She is also testing to see if autonomous motivation (when you do things because you are passionate about them) can reduce burnout and if external motivation contributes to burnout.

The survey takes approximately 5-10 minutes and will close on July 5, 2017. Alvarez plans to share her results with the community and will need at least 250 respondents to make any meaningful conclusions.

Check out our video interview below to find out more details and background on the study.

Source: WordPress


WPTavern: Matt Mullenweg Discusses Core Focuses, Downsides of a Consensus-Driven Model, and More on Apply Filters Podcast

WPTavern: Matt Mullenweg Discusses Core Focuses, Downsides of a Consensus-Driven Model, and More on Apply Filters Podcast

Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of the WordPress open source project and CEO of Automattic, joined Pippin Williamson and Brad Touesnard on episode 81 of the Apply Filters podcast. Apply Filters is a podcast dedicated to WordPress development.

During the interview, Mullenweg touched on a number of topics including, a progress report on the three core focus areas, why he stepped back into the project lead role, and what’s not being talked about enough in the WordPress world.

There are quite a few things in this episode that piqued my interest. Near the beginning of the interview, Mullenweg is asked if there was a tipping point that made him decide to take on the role of project lead again.

“I’ve been personally frustrated by how long it has taken to do some things that I think should be relatively simple,” Mullenweg said. “Hearing that from other release leads over the past few years, and seeing some of the frustration because we have this rotating release lead philosophy.

“So hearing them voice some of the same frustrations, I was like, okay, maybe this is something more with how the project is organized versus something that I personally am having trouble with.

“We had a couple of years of releases that were a little uninspiring from the point of view of moving the needle forward for its adoption, even though they did a lot of great things and people worked really hard on them, and we closed 700 tickets, and had 130 or 150 contributors.

“We were beating or we were doing a good job on a lot of metrics that we were tracking, but, on the whole, I think it really started to feel like WordPress was falling behind the state of the art in the world.”

It was interesting to hear Mullenweg admit that WordPress releases in the last couple of years have been a bit uninspiring. This is a sentiment I and others in the community have shared in recent years. Development of Gutenberg, WordPress’ new editor, has created a buzz around the project that I haven’t felt in a long time. It’s not surprising considering it is going to be the largest fundamental change to WordPress since its creation.

Disagree and Commit

During the discussions on whether or not to merge the REST API into core, Mullenweg argued that it shouldn’t be integrated until it was 100% complete. The core development team ultimately decided to merge it into core and iterate improvements. In the show, Mullenweg describes the disagree and commit principle.

“This idea that even though I disagreed with some of the things going in, the moment it was committed, I was advocating for it as strongly as anything else,” Mullenweg said.

“The historical thoughts or ideas or whatever I had don’t really matter at this point. It’s in, so I want to work to make it as widely adopted and successful as possible. That’s the commit part of it, which is funny because, in an open source world, commit obviously has a double meaning.

“But if you think about it, you can apply this to all parts of your life. Debate vigorously and have lots of arguments. Bring up all your worries or thoughts or concerns and hash it out. But once a decision has been made and the decision was made to bring the content endpoints in, don’t re-litigate it. That’s not really helpful to anyone.

“Most of all, don’t sabotage it. It’s in, so let’s make it successful.”

Downsides of a Consensus-Driven Model

Near the end of the interview, Mullenweg is asked what philosophy, feature, or topic in the WordPress world is not talked about enough. “The downsides of a consensus-driven model creating products,” he responded.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I think that almost everyone at some point in their career has had a bad manager. And sometimes our reaction to that is to say that no one should be making decisions. There should be no managers, sort of like a more reactionary approach to it because that is true that it does solve the problem of the bad manager.

“I think what we miss is the only thing worse than a bad manager is 100 bad managers, which is sometimes what we get when we just try to make decisions or drive development of something like WordPress–which is, at the end of the day, a user product based on who shows up to a dev meeting that day, or what the loudest voices in the room might advocate for.

“Even policies that we’ve adopted in the past with WordPress, let’s say the 80/20 rule, which is on our principles page, can be misused and, I think, probably have been misused more the past few years than it has been used in the way it was intended.

“Just that kind of getting back to the question of how does this change a user’s life or not, and that reflects itself in an open marketplace through adoption. That is, I think, good to just remind ourselves of regularly because everyone, myself included, can get kind of down in the weeds of a particular ticket or idea we have or idea someone else has that might not be productive.”

To hear Mullenweg discuss these topics and more, I highly encourage you to listen to the full interview which includes a transcript of the show.

Source: WordPress


Matt: Heroin or Aspirin

Matt: Heroin or Aspirin

The company Bayer is famous for inventing aspirin in 1898, which is arguably one of the world’s most beloved brands, and for good reason. But I was surprised to learn that just two weeks earlier, the same three guys who gave the world aspirin also created Bayer’s other big brand, heroin, which was marketed for about eight years as the world’s best cough medicine.

From Andrew Essex on his book about the End of Advertising. Hat tip: John Maeda.

Source: WordPress


BuddyPress: BuddyPress 2.9.0 Beta 2

BuddyPress: BuddyPress 2.9.0 Beta 2

Today sees BP 2.9 move to Beta 2 ( Beta 1 skipped for technical reasons ) testing phase and we would request all plugin authors, theme developers and other interested parties test out this release and feedback any issues found to our trac ticket home , or raise on the support forum.

Amongst other improvements and fixes to look out for are:

  • Fixing display of older activity comments.
  • Correction of message when removing friends that are not friends.
  • Group invites – omit sending to previously invited members.
  • Profile image upload fix for IE Edge breaksIOS fix.
  • Correct issue with hidden group & CSS specificity.
  • URL compatibility for LightSpeed.
  • Fix inability resizing of member avatar for cyrillic character filenames.

For a full list of commits see 2.9 tickets A full changelog will be available when we release the final version.

You can download the plugin to test from the WP repo BP 2.9.0-beta2 or grab a copy from our SVN repo.

Template changes

In this release there are a number of improvements to templates that add a level of improved a11y performance and markup changes for better semantics & Standards.

Theme authors may want to pay particular attention to changes to profile field visibility links and the profile field descriptions where significant markup changes are made that effect positioning of these elements – changesets for these are r11617 & r11618

Nouveau – new template pack

While we were definitely aiming for release of this feature for 2.9, the necessary final fixes and feature enhancements along with the necessary code reviews were going to prove very tight to get finished in time and would have likely meant a degree of rushing. We have decided that as this is such a major new feature, the first new theme in many years and that expectations will be high for it that we should not rush to put out a product that might be even slightly sub optimal.

However fear not we are very concerned that the project is focussed on through the last stages of 2.9 and has primary focus during the next release cycle to ensure an early completion.

It is further proposed that we’ll actually release Nouveau in a much shorter release cycle as 3.0, this way we can get an early release and not have the project just sitting in trunk until the end of the year.

Source: WordPress


WPTavern: Gutenberg 0.2.0 Released, Adds New Custom HTML and Cover Image Blocks

WPTavern: Gutenberg 0.2.0 Released, Adds New Custom HTML and Cover Image Blocks

The Gutenberg plugin is moving fast with version 0.2.0 now available. This is the first release since the plugin was added to the directory last week. It includes two new block types, along with other new features, improvements, and fixes for many bugs that previously severely impaired the editor’s usability.

A new Custom HTML block allows users to add HTML and click to see a fast preview within the editor.

The new Cover Image block lets users place an image in the content with the background image fixed by default. Users can also specify text to have overlaid. Gutenberg developers emphasized that this feature should not be confused with the “Featured Image” panel which is already working in a similar way to how it has in the past.

While testing the Cover Image block with Twenty Seventeen and Twenty Fifteen, I was unable to get it working correctly on the frontend. Within the editor it works beautifully but once I launched the preview I found that, regardless of which positioning option I chose, I could not get the full image to display. The size of the image’s output was only as tall as the overlay text. If there was a right way to position it, I was unable to discover it. Bugs like these are likely to be quickly ironed out as more users begin testing.

A few of the notable fixes and improvements include the following:

  • Added button to delete a block
  • Added button to open block settings in the inspector
  • Rename “Freeform” block to “Classic Text”
  • Added support for pages and custom post types
  • Added ability to select all blocks with ctrl/command+A
  • Automatically generate wrapper class for styling blocks
  • Avoid triggering multi-select on right click
  • Avoid being keyboard trapped on editor content

As of today, Gutenberg has more than 500 active installs. The development team is planning on shipping weekly releases to the WordPress.org plugin. If you want to keep up with the releases, subscribe to the make.wordpress.org/core blog. Feedback is welcome on Gutenberg’s GitHub repository as well as in the #core-editor channel on WordPress Slack.

Source: WordPress