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SMF WP Digest #9

Welcome to the ninth installment of the SMF WP Digest. This is the blog version of our internal bi-weekly email which we use to inform, enlighten, and titillate our minds on some of the latest happenings in WordPress-land.

Release News

  • As I’ve mentioned before, responsive images are coming in WP 4.4. A comprehensive run down on how to implement and customize, including the new functions and hooks associated was posted up in Make WP Core.
  • Speaking of WP 4.4…its release is imminent (TODAY!). Check out the Field Guide for an overview of the major features (REST API Infrastructure, Term Taxonomy, etc).
  • CALYPSO. What is it? It’s a completely reimagining of what WordPress can (and should) be. Rolled out into WordPress.com, Calypso is a new, completely JS based admin powered by APIs. WP co-founder Matt Mullenweg posted a better overview than I could write. This is huge and should be viewed as a herald for things to come. You can download the desktop App for Mac here. WP Tavern posted their analysis of Calypso as well. The Post Status podcast interviewed Mullenweg about the project and you can listen here.
  • With all of these major announcements, it’s easy to forget about the little guys. A “menu_id” argument has been added to the “wp_page_menu” function allowing theme authors to use a unique id with the containing menu div. This comes in WP 4.4. More here.

SMF & WP: A Match Made in Heaven

WordCamp US happened last week and Sanborn’s very own Steve Morton was in attendance. I asked him to provide his analysis and he didn’t even tell me to piss off!

From Steve:
WordCamp US was this past weekend in Philadelphia. As the new premier annual WordPress event it has displaced San Francisco as the largest WordCamp. Here are some quick takeaways from what ended up being a great event!

  • Over 1800 people were in attendance with another 600+ viewing the stream online
  • Next year’s WordCamp US is already scheduled for December of 2016 at the same location
  • There were a ton of great panels – all of which were recorded and will soon be up on WordCamp TV at http://wordpress.tv/event/wordcamp-us-2015/
    • Highly recommend catching Andrew Nacin’s “Advanced Topics in WordPress Development” and Helen Hou-Sandi’s “Intent in Software Design” when they become available
  • The annual “State of the Word” keynote by Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg is already up at http://wordpress.tv/2015/12/07/matt-mullenweg-state-of-the-word-2015/ – highly recommend viewing
    • He covers several examples of WordPress being used as a REST API
    • The features of the newly released “Calypso” admin for WordPress.com and the upcoming WordPress 4.4 are covered
    • He goes over the push for more accessibility in WordPress – both for those with disabilities and in getting core and popular plugins translated into more languages
    • He ends with “homework” for WordPress developers to begin to learn JavaScript deeply
  • There were a few repeated themes throughout the talks
    • WordPress will slowly be transitioning to a more modern architecture where the data and presentation layers will be decoupled
    • The most likely new architecture will keep PHP powering the backend with nearly 100% JavaScript powering the front end

Extending WordPress

  • Ad Blocking Advisor is a plugin that detects when users have ad blockers running and asks the user to whitelist your site. I mean, the point of an ad blocker is to disable ads, probably not going to be super effective to just be like “PRETTY PLEASE LOOK AT OUR ADS??” but hey, why not.
  • REST API plugin v1.2.4 is available for compatibility with the upcoming WP 4.4. This overrides the REST API infrastructure that comes packaged with WP 4.4 core.
  • Torque threw together a how-to on setting up a multisite. If you are interested, give it a read. Or just install WP and try it out yourself. I always learn better by trying it and screwing up everything then fixing it.
  • I had it on the brain recently, so here are a few e-learning plugins that look pretty cool: CoursePress, Educator, and StudyPress.
  • The WordPress Importer plugin is getting some new love finally! Less memory usage, faster parsing, and partial imports are just some of the new features. Still a ways away from release, you can grab the latest from the GitHub. Read the overview here. Accolades here.

WP Drama

The dirty side of dev.

  • The WordPress Theme Review process is broken. Theme authors are left waiting 2 months or more to receive their first review and many are just releasing them on their own to save all the headaches.
  • “If you pick a free plugin that is released today, there’s a 80-90% chance that in three years time you won’t have any more updates.” That’s a major takeaway of a post by Luca Fracassi, founder of Addendio, an alternative search engine for the WordPress plugin and theme directories. How dare those developers who are giving stuff away for free stop providing free updates and support?! LAZY.

Misc

I don’t know where to file this crap.

That’s all for now. Check back in two weeks for another rundown.