WPTavern: WordPress.org to Add New Page Educating Users on Benefits of Upgrading PHP

WPTavern: WordPress.org to Add New Page Educating Users on Benefits of Upgrading PHP

WordPress’ Core PHP team has created a new GitHub organization for initiatives focused on improving the use of PHP in the project. The first one they are tackling is a new page on WordPress.org dedicated to educating users about the benefits of upgrading PHP. Contributors are collecting third-party articles and tutorials on PHP upgrades to find inspiration for the project, which is temporarily codenamed “servehappy.”

WordPress’ stats page shows that 14.2% of the all the sites it is tracking are running on PHP 7.0+. 40.6% of sites are on PHP 5.6, which is no longer actively supported but will receive security fixes until January 2019. This leaves 45.2% of all WordPress sites running on older, insecure PHP versions that have already reached end of life and are no longer receiving security updates.

WordPress PHP Versions – 8.18.2017

Contributors are using the issues queue of the servehappy repository to collect benefits and statistical data they can use to sell the “update PHP” proposition to users. The project is currently in the brainstorming phase, but the team will eventually whittle the ideas down to present the most effective benefits.

“The primary task for the ‘servehappy’ repository will be to open issues for the benefits we’ve come up with over the past few weeks, and discuss them one by one, whether they qualify for the page and how they can be framed in the most convincing way,” Felix Arntz said.

In addition to proposing the benefits of upgrading PHP, the page will also include a call to action and information about how to upgrade or how to approach your host for an upgrade. Contributors are discussing the page’s outline and are aiming to tackle the project in a friendly and sensitive way that doesn’t put stress on users.

“The section ‘What should you need to know before doing an update?‘ must not unnecessarily make the user worry,” Arntz said, recapping the thoughts contributors expressed during the team’s most recent meeting. “Let’s highlight possible issues, but not overestimate them. People should see upgrading as a good thing, and we should point them to how they can determine whether their sites are ready.”

The Core PHP Team will be getting in touch with WordPress’ marketing team to request their expertise on refining the page’s approach. Anyone is welcome to contribute third-party resources or ideas to the servehappy project on GitHub. Check out the most recent meeting notes for a full summary of the project and its needs.

Source: WordPress


WPTavern: Chrome Version 62 to Show Security Warnings on HTTP Pages Starting in October 2017

WPTavern: Chrome Version 62 to Show Security Warnings on HTTP Pages Starting in October 2017

Google Search Console has started sending out notices to sites that have not yet migrated to HTTPS. Chrome 61 is now in beta and version 62 is on track to begin marking HTTP pages as “NOT SECURE” beginning in October. It will show the warning if it detects any forms on the page that transmit passwords, credit cards, or any text input fields that the browser deems are in need of HTTPS protection. All HTTP pages in incognito mode will trigger the warning.

In January 2017, Chrome version 56 began marking sites that transmit passwords or credit cards as non-secure as part of its long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure. The warning will become more prominent as time goes on.

“Eventually, we plan to label all HTTP pages as non-secure, and change the HTTP security indicator to the red triangle that we use for broken HTTPS,” Chrome Security Team Emily Schechter said.

The email sent out from the Google Search Console urges site owners to fix the problem by migrating to HTTPS. Hosting companies that specialize in WordPress are making it easier than ever to make the switch. Many of them have added Let’s Encrypt integration to offer free certificates to customers. As of 2017, WordPress now only recommends hosting partners that provide SSL certificates by default.

Thanks to the push towards HTTPS from Google, web browsers, hosting companies, and the 100+ million certificates issued by Let’s Encrypt, the percentage of pageloads over HTTPS is now approaching 60%, according to Firefox Telemetry.

Source: WordPress


Lorelle on WP: WordPress School: Shortcodes

Lorelle on WP: WordPress School: Shortcodes

WordPress shortcodes are abbreviated code placed into the WordPress Visual or Text Editors that expands into a larger code structure. As we continue with Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course, it’s time to explore the basics of WordPress shortcodes.

The following is the embed code for a Google Map, pointing to one of my favorite local museums, The Rice Northwest Rocks and Minerals Museum in Hillsboro, Oregon:

<a href="https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d2792.809130780463!2d-122.94987648443889!3d45.57427677910247!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x54950456e76e254b%3A0xdfad5d11bde5b6cc!2s26385+NW+Groveland+Dr%2C+Hillsboro%2C+OR+97124!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1502560000052">https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d2792.809130780463!2d-122.94987648443889!3d45.57427677910247!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x54950456e76e254b%3A0xdfad5d11bde5b6cc!2s26385+NW+Groveland+Dr%2C+Hillsboro%2C+OR+97124!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1502560000052</a>

When the post or Page is saved, WordPress.com automatically converts it to the embed code for Google Maps like this:

[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d2792.809130780463!2d-122.94987648443889!3d45.57427677910247!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x54950456e76e254b%3A0xdfad5d11bde5b6cc!2s26385+NW+Groveland+Dr%2C+Hillsboro%2C+OR+97124!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1502560000052&w=600&h=450]

This is what you see in your Visual or Text/HTML editors. Doesn’t look like a map, yet, does it?

When the post is previewed or published, you will see the map like this:

The map is not a screenshot. It is interactive. Zoom in and out and move around on the map. The Google Maps shortcode taps into the Google Maps API allowing a live section of the map to be embedded on your site to help people find locations and directions.

Google Maps are a great way of providing instructions to the location of a store or company on a Contact web page. They are also fun to embed in a post about a favorite park, hike, fishing hole, vacation spot, or even create a custom map that charts your travels, hikes, or a specific route for shopping or exploring.

NOTE: Google Map embeds are tricky. You need to search for the exact address and use that embed code. If you search for a business name, you may get an invalid server request from Google Maps. Also note that WordPress.com has made it easier to use shortcodes by skipping the extra code and converting links and embed codes automatically to shortcodes. This may require saving your post as a draft twice before you can see the results on the front end preview of the post or Page.

Shortcodes allow the user to add content and functionality to a WordPress site without knowing extensive code or digging into the programming of a WordPress Theme or Plugin. With the shortcut of a shortcode, WordPress users may add all sorts of customization features to their site.

There are a variety of shortcodes in the core of WordPress. WordPress Themes have the ability to enable or disable these, and add more, as do WordPress Plugins.

Let’s experiment with the Archives Shortcode.

  1. Add a New Page to your site. Title it “Site Map” or “Archives.”
  2. Type in [archives].
  3. Preview, then publish the post when ready to see a listing of all of the published posts on your site in a list.

Check out my site map as an example of what’s possible.

What You Need to Know About WordPress Shortcodes

Shortcodes come with WordPress out of the box, and also with WordPress Themes and Plugins. These snippets of code allow the user to add functionality to their site without touching the code.

The PHP code that enables the functionality, and adds the ability to use the abbreviated code to generate that functionality on the site, is called a function.

At its core, this is the function found to generate all WordPress Shortcodes:

function foobar_func( $atts ){
	return "foo and bar";
add_shortcode( 'foobar', 'foobar_func' );

The attributes, represented in this abbreviated version by $atts, are the instructions as to what the shortcode is to do.

In the expanded form with functionality, I’ve called the shortcode “elephant” and set up two attribute values, “trumpet loudly” and “stomp.”

// [elephant foo="foo-value"]
function elephant_func( $atts ) {
    $a = shortcode_atts( array(
        'foo' => 'trumpet loudly',
        'bar' => 'stomp',
    ), $atts );

    return "foo = {$a['foo']}";
add_shortcode( 'elephant', 'elephant_func' );

Depending upon what “foo” and “bar” represent, the results would be “trumpet loudly” and “stomp.” What these represent are HTML code, modifications to HTML code, and initiates the programming such as generating a list of all the posts you’ve published as an archive list.

Right now, you aren’t at the stage where you can program shortcodes and add them to WordPress Themes or create WordPress Plugins, so I’m not going to dive into these much deeper. You need to learn how these work and how to use them on your site, and the more you use them, the better feel you will have for what a shortcode can do on your site.

WordPress.com offers a wide range of shortcodes to add functionality to your site. To learn about how to use these, see Shortcodes — Support.

Here are some examples of shortcodes to experiment with on WordPress.com.

More Information on WordPress Shortcodes


Your assignment in these WordPress School exercises is to experiment with WordPress shortcodes, specifically the ones available on WordPress.com.

I’ve listed some examples of shortcodes on WordPress.com above, and you may find more in the WordPress.com list of Shortcodes.

Your assignment is to use shortcodes to add features to your site.

  • Create a Page called “Site Map” or “Archives” and add an archive list shortcode.
  • Add a Google Map to a post or Page using the Google Maps shortcode.
  • Add a gallery to a post or Page with the gallery shortcode, testing the various options (parameters) to get the look and feel you like best.
  • Add a recipe to a post using the recipe shortcode.
  • Find another shortcode with a variety of features to experiment with. See how many ways you can change the look and feel of the content. If you wish, blog about your discoveries with screenshots or examples in the post. Let us know about it in the comments below so we can come inspect your work.

This is a tutorial from Lorelle’s WordPress School. For more information, and to join this free, year-long, online WordPress School, see:

Filed under: WordPress, WordPress School Tagged: learn wordpress, shortcodes, wordpress, wordpress guide, wordpress help, WordPress News, wordpress school, wordpress shortcodes, WordPress Tips, wordpress tutorials

Source: WordPress


WPTavern: New Merlin WP Onboarding Wizard Makes WordPress Theme Installation and Setup Effortless

WPTavern: New Merlin WP Onboarding Wizard Makes WordPress Theme Installation and Setup Effortless

ThemeBeans founder Rich Tabor released Merlin WP on GitHub in public beta this week. The project provides a beautiful experience for installing and setting up WordPress themes with all of their plugin dependencies, Customizer settings, widgets, demo content, and more.

“I was inspired by David Baker’s Envato Theme Setup Wizard and was working to add it to my own themes but pivoted after realizing I was just putting a band-aid on the onboarding issues surrounding themes in particular,” Tabor said. “It wasn’t a particularly grand experience and didn’t take care of the essentials the way I was looking for.”

Tabor said he wanted to make the onboarding experience much friendlier than what WordPress products are typically known for and needed a way to get his customers started on the right foot.

“Over the years I’ve had countless ‘how do I get this page like your demo’ and ‘where do I even start’ questions — and my themes aren’t even particularly confusing/difficult to use.” Tabor said.

Ordinarily, users have to hop from screen to screen to install a theme, recommended plugins, and apply Customizer settings. Even an experienced WordPress user often has to refer to documentation to get a theme set up with the right customizations to match the demo. The video below shows an example of Merlin WP in action as it guides a user through setting up York Pro, a fork of one of ThemeBeans’ commercial themes that is included in Merlin WP’s GitHub repo.

Merlin WP makes the process of setting up a theme nearly effortless for users. It also leaves less room for error or confusion.

Developers can add Merlin WP directly to their theme files. It includes a configuration file that allows for customization of any text string in the wizard. Theme developers add the Merlin class (merlin/merlin.php) and the merlin-config.php file, along with any demo content (included in the demo directory location specified in the merlin-config.php file):

  • content.xml — Exported demo content using the WordPress Exporter
  • widgets.wie — Exported widgets using Widget Importer and Exporter
  • customizer.dat — Exported Customizer settings using Customizer Export/Import

Merlin WP was also developed to work seamlessly with TGMPA, a PHP library that many WordPress developers use to require or recommend plugins for their themes and plugins. It will automatically pull the recommended plugins into the wizard.

Tabor said his targeted distribution channel is commercial themes, though he believes Merlin WP could also be useful for themes hosted on WordPress.org.

“I’m honestly not sure if it would be allowed,” Tabor said. “I guess that’s where getting more eyes on the project and more input from the Theme Review team comes in handy. I have had a lot of feedback from authors who are eventually considering adding Merlin WP as an ‘up-sell feature’ for their lite offerings currently on .org.”

Tabor estimates that Merlin WP will be in beta for another two weeks. There are a few issues he wants to resolve before bringing it out of beta. He is testing the wizard in his own products at ThemeBeans, which is what he built it for originally. The shop has more than 40,000 customers and Tabor plans to push the wizard live across his entire theme collection once the last few issues are resolved.

Merlin WP is GPL-licensed and available on GitHub for any developer to use in open source projects. Tabor said he is considering creating a pro version but is not currently interested in pursuing an add-on model.

“I’m considering having an advanced version, with different developer-level capabilities, such as EDD Software Licensing support (where theme users can enter their license key issued from the developer in the onboarding process),” Tabor said.

Tabor anticipates one of the main benefits for theme shops using Merlin WP will be a decreased support load where questions about initial setup and “how do I do this like the demo” become less common.

“Customers will have what they’ve purchased right off the bat (instead of installing plugins, installing a child theme, importing content, setting menus, widgets, etc),” Tabor said. “They will likely appreciate the ease-of-use and share that experience with others.”

Source: WordPress


Post Status: Building a healthy remote company, with Tom Willmot — Draft podcast

Post Status: Building a healthy remote company, with Tom Willmot — Draft podcast

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Brian Krogsgard.

In this episode, Brian is joined by Tom Willmot, the CEO of Human Made. Human Made recently released an employee handbook as an open source document for anyone to use, copy, or learn from. Tom and Brian discuss several elements of the handbook, and how they approach these things at Human Made:

  • Employee onboarding
  • Remote work processes
  • Communication
  • Employee feedback and mentorship
  • HR policies
  • And more!

This was a fun episode. Human Made has some of the lowest turnover in our industry and it was educational to hear from Tom.


Direct Download

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Source: WordPress


WPTavern: User Experience Tests Show Gutenberg’s UI Elements Can Benefit From Better Timing

WPTavern: User Experience Tests Show Gutenberg’s UI Elements Can Benefit From Better Timing

Over the past few months, reviews for Gutenberg have trended towards a love/hate relationship without much in between. To figure out why this is, Millie Macdonald and Anna Harrison of Ephox, the company behind TinyMCE, analyzed the feedback and concluded that many of the issues likely stem from timing.

“In short, the nuances in the micro-interactions and timing of UI elements in Gutenberg are a little out of sync with what the user is doing at a point in time,” Harrison said. “For example, a user typing in a new paragraph is distracted when the decoration of the previous paragraph turns on.”

A common piece of feedback is that Gutenberg’s UI is clean but also cluttered. Harrison recorded a video of users copying and pasting paragraphs into Gutenberg and Medium.

In the video, toolbars and UI elements are displayed in Gutenberg during the writing process creating a cluttered look and disrupting the writing flow. In Medium, the formatting toolbar doesn’t display until text is highlighted and the + symbol disappears if it’s not interacted with.

Based on user testing, Harrison suggests refining the timing of when visual elements pop up in Gutenberg. “Right now, menus pop up when we are trying to type,” Harrison said. “They ought to pop up when we are trying to do something to words that have already been typed.”

Harrison presented their findings and suggestions to Gutenberg’s development team. Tammie Lister, design lead for Gutenberg, agreed that getting micro-transactions right is important. “I see this as the type of refinement post version 0.9/1 can bring,” Lister said.

“A few things I am slightly obsessed with is having an animation pace, story and consistency to interactions. Just something to throw in when looking at micro-interactions. I’ve also been doing some self thinking about what the ‘feel’ of emotion of Gutenberg should be. The one I keep coming back to is ‘calm’ and ‘supporting’. Just another thing to throw in when looking at these smaller details.”

Developers thanked Harrison and Macdonald for collecting, analyzing, and sharing data with the team. Does Gutenberg feel heavy to you? Let us know what your experience is like writing content in Gutenberg.

Source: WordPress