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People of WordPress: Mario Peshev

You’ve probably heard that WordPress is open source software, and may know that it’s created and run by volunteers. Enthusiasts share many examples of how WordPress has changed people’s lives for the better. In this monthly series, we share some of those lesser-known, amazing stories. Computer science in the nineties Mario Peshev Mario has been hooked on computers ever since he got his first one in 1996. He started with digging into MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 first and learned tons by trial and error. Following that adventure, Mario built his first HTML site in 1999. He found development so exciting that he spent day and night learning QBasic and started working at the local PC game club. Mario got involved with several other things related to website administration (translating security bulletins, setting up simple sites, etc) and soon found the technology field was full of activities he really enjoyed. The Corporate Lifestyle Mario started studying programming including an intensive high-level course for C#, Java development, and software engineering, and eventually got a job in a corporate environment. He soon became a team lead there, managing all the planning and paperwork for their projects. But he continued freelancing on the side. He grew his own network of technical experts through attending, volunteering at, and organizing conferences. He also ran a technical forum and regularly spoke at universities and enterprise companies. Remote Working and Business Opportunity The combination of a high workload and a daily three-hour-long commute made Mario’s life difficult. Many of his friends were still studying, traveling or unemployed. The blissful and calm lives they lived seemed like a fairy tale to him. And even while both his managers and his clients were abroad, he was unable to obtain permission to work remotely.  So Mario decided to leave his job and start freelancing full time. But he found he faced a massive challenge.  He discovered Java projects were pretty large and required an established team of people working together in an office. All job opportunities were on-site, and some even required relocation abroad. Certified Java programmers weren’t being hired on a remote basis.  As Mario had some PHP experience from previous jobs, he used this to start his freelance career. For his projects, he used both plain PHP and PHP frameworks like CakePHP and CodeIgniter.  For a while, Mario accepted work using commonly known platforms including Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress. In addition, he worked on PHP, Java, Python and some C# projects for a couple of years, after which he decided to switch to WordPress completely. Building products One of his projects involved a technically challenging charity backed by several international organizations. Unexpected shortages in the team put him in the technical lead position. As a result, Mario found himself planning the next phases, meeting with the client regularly, and renegotiating the terms. The team completed the project successfully, and after the launch, a TV campaign led millions of visitors to the website. As a result of the successful launch, this client invited Mario to participate in more WordPress projects, including building a custom framework. “I wasn’t that acquainted with WordPress back then. For me, a conventional person trained in architectural design patterns and best practices, WordPress seemed like an eccentric young hipster somewhere on the line between insane and genius at the same time. I had to spend a couple of months learning WordPress from the inside out.”Mario Peshev As his interest in WordPress grew, Mario stopped delivering other custom platforms, and converted clients to WordPress.  European Community Mario presenting at a WordCamp For Mario, one of the key selling points of WordPress was the international openness. He had previously been involved with other open source communities, some of which were US-focused. He felt they were more reliant on meeting people in person. With events only taking place in the US, this made building relationships much harder for people living in other countries. While the WordPress project started out in the US, the WordPress community quickly globalized. Dozens of WordCamps and hundreds of Meetup events take place around the globe every year.  All of these events bring a wide variety of people sharing their enthusiasm for WordPress together. For Mario, the birth of WordCamp Europe was something magical. The fact that hundreds, and later on thousands, of people from all over the world gathered around the topic of WordPress speaks for itself. Mario has been involved with organizing WordCamp Europe twice (in 2014 and 2015).  “There’s nothing like meeting WordPress enthusiasts and professionals from more than 50 countries brainstorming and working together at a WordCamp. You simply have to be there to understand how powerful it all is.”Mario Peshev Growing businesses and teams A key WordPress benefit is its popularity – an ever growing project currently powering more than 35% of the Internet [2020]. It’s popular enough to be a de facto standard for websites, platforms, e-commerce and blogs.  WordPress has a low barrier to entry. You can achieve a lot without being an expert, meaning most people can start gaining experience without having to spend years learning how to code. That also makes it easier to build businesses and teams. “Being able to use a tool that is user-friendly, not overly complicated and easily extensible makes introducing it to team members faster and easier. It requires less time for adjustment, and as a result makes a team stronger and faster. The fact that this tool is cost-effective also allows more startups to enter the market. It requires  less time and investments to launch an MVP. This boosts the entire ecosystem.”Mario Peshev Helping Others Mario also introduced WordPress to children and young people. He taught them how to use WordPress as a tool for homework and class assignments. By using WordPress, they were able to learn the basics of designing themes, developing plugins, marketing statistics, social media, copywriting, and so much more. This approachable introduction to the software meant technical skills were not needed. He was also part of a team of volunteers who helped a group of young people living at a foster home struggling to provide for themselves. The team taught the basic digital literacy skills necessary in the modern workplace and potentially pay for their rent and basic needs. This included working with Microsoft Word, Excel and WordPress, as well as some basic design and marketing skills.  “When you look at that from another perspective, a platform that could save lives – literally – and change the world for better is worth contributing to, in any possible manner.”Mario Peshev Contributing to the WordPress community From the core team to supporting and organizing WordCamps, Mario has long been an active contributor to the global WordPress project. He is passionate about the connections fostered by people who are involved in building both the WordPress software and the community around it. “The WordPress community consists of people of all race and color, living all around the world, working as teachers, developers, bloggers, designers, business owners. Let’s work together to help each other. Let’s stick together and show  the world WordPress can help make it a better place.”Mario Peshev Contributors Thanks to Alison Rothwell (@wpfiddlybits), Yvette Sonneveld (@yvettesonneveld), Abha Thakor (@webcommsat), Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune) and Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe). Thank you to Mario Peshev (@nofearinc) for sharing his #ContributorStory. This post is based on an article originally published on HeroPress.com, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. HeroPress highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories would otherwise go unheard. Meet more WordPress community members over at HeroPress.com!

The Month in WordPress: March 2020

The month of March was both a tough and exciting time for the WordPress open-source project. With COVID-19 declared a pandemic, in-person events have had to adapt quickly – a challenge for any community. March culminated with the release of WordPress 5.4, an exhilarating milestone only made possible by dedicated contributors. For all the latest, read on.  WordPress 5.4 “Adderley” WordPress 5.4 “Adderley” was released on March 31 and includes a robust list of new blocks, enhancements, and new features for both users and developers. The primary focus areas of this release included the block editor, privacy, accessibility, and developer improvements, with the full list of enhancements covered in the 5.4 field guide. Want to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. Releases of Gutenberg 7.7 and 7.8 It’s been another busy month for Gutenberg, this time with the release of Gutenberg 7.7 and 7.8. Gutenberg 7.7 introduced block patterns – predefined block layouts that are ready to use and tweak. This is an important step towards Full Site Editing, which is currently targeted for inclusion in WordPress 5.6. As a first iteration, you can pick and insert patterns from the Block Patterns UI, which has been added as a sidebar plugin. Gutenberg 7.7 also includes a refresh of the Block UI, which better responds to the ways users interact with the editor. For more information on the User UI and Block Patterns, read this summary of the most recent Block-Based Themes meeting. Gutenberg 7.8, introduced on March 25, further enhanced this Block UI redesign. Both releases also included a suite of improvements, bug fixes, new APIs, documentation, and more! Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. WordCamp cancellations and shift to online events In early March, the Community team issued new recommendations for event organizers in light of growing concerns around COVID-19. Following this guidance, and with COVID-19 declared a pandemic, WordPress community organizers reluctantly but responsibly postponed or canceled their upcoming WordCamps and meetups. As community events are an important part of the WordPress open-source project, the Community team made suggestions for taking charity hackathons online, proposed interim adjustments to existing community event guidelines, and provided training for online conference organizing with Crowdcast. The team is currently working on building a Virtual Events Handbook that will continue to support WordPress community organizers at this time.  Want to get involved with the WordPress Community team, host your own virtual WordPress event, or help improve the documentation for all of this? Follow the Community team blog, learn more about virtual events, and join the #community-events channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. Link your GitHub profile to WordPress.org Last month, an experimental feature was added to Trac, WordPress Core’s bug-tracking system, to improve collaboration between Trac and GitHub. This month, to help make tracking contributions to the WordPress project across multiple locations easier, there is a new option to connect your GitHub account to your WordPress.org profile. This connection allows for more accurate acknowledgement and recognition of contributors. You can connect your GitHub account to your WordPress.org account by editing your WordPress.org profile. For more information and instructions on how to connect your accounts, read the announcement post. Modernizing WordPress coding standards Defined coding standards is an important step in creating the consistent codebase needed to prepare for requiring PHP 7.x for WordPress Core. As such, coding standards have been proposed for implementation in WordPress Coding Standards 3.0.0. This includes new proposed standards for namespace declarations, import use statements, fully qualified names in inline code, traits and interfaces, type declarations, declare statements/strict typing, the ::class constant, operators, and more.  Want to get involved or view the full list of currently proposed new coding standards? Visit and add your feedback to the post on updating the Coding standards for modern PHP and follow the Core team blog. Further Reading: On March 16, Version 0.3 of the auto-updates feature was released, including fixes to a number of issues and the introduction of email notifications. WordCamp US announced that the 2020 event will happen, one way or another. But the team need your help to make sure that it’s another fantastic event. Consider applying to be a speaker!Speaking of WordCamp US, the Call for Cities for WCUS 2021/2022 is now open. If your community is interested in being a future WCUS host, apply today!With COVID-19 preventing in-person community events, the Diverse Speaker Training (#wpdiversity) Group encourages you to host a virtual Diverse Speaker Workshop to prepare speakers for when we are able to meet in person again. To get started, visit this page. An update for progress on 2020 goals has been posted, sharing some more defined targets and schedule. Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

WordPress 5.4 “Adderley”

Here it is! Named “Adderley” in honor of Nat Adderley, the latest and greatest version of WordPress is available for download or update in your dashboard. Say hello to more and better. More ways to make your pages come alive. With easier ways to get it all done and looking better than ever—and boosts in speed you can feel. Welcome to WordPress 5.4 Every major release adds more to the block editor. More ways to make posts and pages come alive with your best images. More ways to bring your visitors in, and keep them engaged, with the richness of embedded media from the web’s top services. More ways to make your vision real, and put blocks in the perfect place—even if a particular kind of block is new to you. More efficient processes. And more speed everywhere, so as you build sections or galleries, or just type in a line of prose, you can feel how much faster your work flows. Two new blocks. And better blocks overall. Two brand-new blocks: Social Icons and Buttons make adding interactive features fast and easy.New ways with color: Gradients in the Buttons and Cover block, toolbar access to color options in Rich Text blocks, and for the first time, color options in the Group and Columns blocks.Guess a whole lot less! Version 5.4 streamlines the whole process for placing and replacing multimedia in every block. Now it works the same way in almost every block!And if you’ve ever thought your image in the Media+Text block should link to something else—perhaps a picture of a brochure should download that brochure as a document? Well, now it can. Cleaner UI, clearer navigation—and easier tabbing! Clearer block navigation with block breadcrumbs. And easier selection once you get there.For when you need to navigate with the keyboard, better tabbing and focus. Plus, you can tab over to the sidebar of nearly any block.Speed! 14% faster loading of the editor, 51% faster time-to-type!Tips are gone. In their place, a Welcome Guide window you can bring up when you need it—and only when you need it—again and again.Know at a glance whether you’re in a block’s Edit or Navigation mode. Or, if you have restricted vision, your screen reader will tell you which mode you’re in. Of course, if you want to work with the very latest tools and features, install the Gutenberg plugin. You’ll get to be the first to use new and exciting features in the block editor before anyone else has seen them! Your fundamental right: privacy 5.4 helps with a variety of privacy issues around the world. So when users and stakeholders ask about regulatory compliance, or how your team handles user data, the answers should be a lot easier to get right. Take a look: Now personal data exports include users session information and users location data from the community events widget. Plus, a table of contents!See progress as you process export and erasure requests through the privacy tools.Plus, little enhancements throughout give the privacy tools a little cleaner look. Your eyes will thank you! Just for developers Add custom fields to menu items—natively Two new actions let you add custom fields to menu items—without a plugin and without writing custom walkers. On the Menus admin screen, wp_nav_menu_item_custom_fields fires just before the move buttons of a nav menu item in the menu editor. In the Customizer, wp_nav_menu_item_custom_fields_customize_template fires at the end of the menu-items form-fields template. Check your code and see where these new actions can replace your custom code, and if you’re concerned about duplication, add a check for the WordPress version. Blocks! Simpler styling, new APIs and embeds Radically simpler block styling. Negative margins and default padding are gone! Now you can style blocks the way you need them. And, a refactor got rid of four redundant wrapper divs.If you build plugins, now you can register collections of your blocks by namespace across categories—a great way to get more brand visibility.Let users do more with two new APIs: block variations and gradients.In embeds, now the block editor supports TikTok—and CollegeHumor is gone. There’s lots more for developers to love in WordPress 5.4. To discover more and learn how to make these changes shine on your sites, themes, plugins and more, check the WordPress 5.4 Field Guide. The Squad This release was led by Matt Mullenweg, Francesca Marano, and David Baumwald. They were enthusiastically supported by a release squad: Editor Tech: Jorge Filipe Costa (@jorgefelipecosta)Editor Design: Mark Uraine (@mapk)Core Tech: Sergey Biryukov (@sergeybiryukov)Design: Tammie Lister (@karmatosed)Docs Coordinator: JB Audras (@audrasjb)Docs & Comms Wrangler: Mary Baum (@marybaum) The squad was joined throughout the release cycle by 552 generous volunteer contributors who collectively worked on 361 tickets on Trac and 1226 pull requests on GitHub. Put on a Nat Adderley playlist, click that update button (or download it directly), and check the profiles of the fine folks that helped: 0v3rth3d4wn, 123host, 1naveengiri, @dd32, Aaron Jorbin, Abhijit Rakas, abrightclearweb, acosmin, Adam Silverstein, adamboro, Addie, adnan.limdi, Aezaz Shaikh, Aftab Ali Muni, Aki Björklund, Akib, Akira Tachibana, akshayar, Alain Schlesser, Albert Juhé Lluveras, Alex Concha, Alex Mills, AlexHolsgrove, alexischenal, alextran, alishankhan, allancole, Allen Snook, alpipego, Amir Seljubac, Amit Dudhat, Amol Vhankalas, Amr Gawish, Amy Kamala, Anantajit JG, Anders Norén, Andrés, Andrea Fercia, Andrea Tarantini, andreaitm, Andrei Draganescu, Andrew Dixon, Andrew Duthie, Andrew Nacin, Andrew Ozz, Andrew Serong, Andrew Wilder, Andrey Savchenko, Andy Fragen, Andy Meerwaldt, Andy Peatling, Angelika Reisiger, Ankit Panchal, Anthony Burchell, Anthony Ledesma, apedog, Apermo, apieschel, Aravind Ajith, archon810, arenddeboer, Ari Stathopoulos, Arslan Ahmed, ashokrd2013, Ataur R, Ate Up With Motor, autotutorial, Ayesh Karunaratne, BackuPs, bahia0019, Bappi, Bart Czyz, Ben Greeley, benedictsinger, Benjamin Intal, bibliofille, bilgilabs, Birgir Erlendsson, Birgit Pauli-Haack, BMO, Boga86, Boone Gorges, Brad Markle, Brandon Kraft, Brent Swisher, Cameron Voell, Carolina Nymark, ceyhun0, Chetan Prajapati, Chetan Satasiya, Chintesh Prajapati, Chip Snyder, Chris Klosowski, Chris Trynkiewicz (Sukces Strony), Chris Van Patten, Christian Sabo, Christiana Mohr, clayisland, Copons, Corey McKrill, crdunst, Csaba (LittleBigThings), Dademaru, Damián Suárez, Daniel Bachhuber, Daniel James, Daniel Llewellyn, Daniel Richards, Daniele Scasciafratte, daniloercoli, Darren Ethier (nerrad), darrenlambert, Dave Mackey, Dave Smith, daveslaughter, DaveWP196, David Artiss, David Binovec, David Herrera, David Ryan, David Shanske, David Stone, Debabrata Karfa, dekervit, Delowar Hossain, Denis Yanchevskiy, Dhaval kasavala, dhurlburtusa, Dilip Bheda, dingo-d, dipeshkakadiya, djp424, dominic_ks, Dominik Schilling, Dotan Cohen, dphiffer, dragosh635, Drew Jaynes, eclev91, ecotechie, eden159, Edi Amin, edmundcwm, Eduardo Toledo, Ella van Durpe, Ellen Bauer, Emil E, Enrique Piqueras, Enrique Sánchez, equin0x80, erikkroes, Estela Rueda, Fabian, Fabian Kägy, Fahim Murshed, Faisal Alvi, Felipe Elia, Felipe Santos, Felix Arntz, Fernando Souza, fervillz, fgiannar, flaviozavan, Florian TIAR, Fotis Pastrakis, Frank Martin, Gal Baras, Garrett Hyder, Gary Jones, Gary Pendergast, Gaurang Dabhi, George Stephanis, geriux, Girish Panchal, Gleb Kemarsky, Glenn, Goto Hayato, grafruessel, Greg Rickaby, Grzegorz Ziółkowski, Grzegorz.Janoszka, Gustavo Bordoni, gwwar, hamedmoodi, hAmpzter, happiryu, Hareesh Pillai, Harry Milatz, Haz, helgatheviking, Henry Holtgeerts, Himani Lotia, Hubert Kubiak, i3anaan, Ian Belanger, Ian Dunn, ianatkins, ianmjones, IdeaBox Creations, Ihtisham Zahoor, intimez, Ipstenu (Mika Epstein), Isabel Brison, ispreview, Jake Spurlock, Jakub Binda, James Huff, James Koster, James Nylen, jameslnewell, Janki Moradiya, Jarret, Jasper van der Meer, jaydeep23290, jdy68, Jean-Baptiste Audras, Jean-David Daviet, Jeff Bowen, Jeff Ong, Jeff Paul, Jeffrey Carandang, jeichorn, Jenil Kanani, Jenny Wong, jepperask, Jer Clarke, Jeremy Felt, Jeremy Herve, Jeroen Rotty, Jerry Jones, Jessica Lyschik, Jip Moors, Joe Dolson, Joe Hoyle, Joe McGill, Joen Asmussen, John Blackbourn, John James Jacoby, johnwatkins0, Jon, Jon Quach, Jon Surrell, Jonathan Desrosiers, Jonathan Goldford, Jonny Harris, Jono Alderson, Joonas Vanhatapio, Joost de Valk, Jorge Bernal, Jorge Costa, Josepha Haden, JoshuaWold, Joy, jqz, jsnajdr, Juanfra Aldasoro, Julian Weiland, julian.kimmig, Juliette Reinders Folmer, Julio Potier, Junko Nukaga, jurgen, justdaiv, Justin Ahinon, K. Adam White, kaggdesign, KalpShit Akabari, Kantari Samy, Kaspars, Kelly Dwan, Kennith Nichol, Kevin Hagerty, Kharis Sulistiyono, Khushbu Modi, killerbishop, kinjaldalwadi, kitchin, Kite, Kjell Reigstad, kkarpieszuk, Knut Sparhell, KokkieH, Konstantin Obenland, Konstantinos Xenos, Krystyna, kubiq, kuflievskiy, Kukhyeon Heo, kyliesabra, Laken Hafner, leandroalonso, leogermani, lgrev01, linuxologos, lisota, Lorenzo Fracassi, luisherranz, luisrivera, lukaswaudentio, Lukasz Jasinski, Luke Cavanagh, Lydia Wodarek, M A Vinoth Kumar, maciejmackowiak, Mahesh Waghmare, Manzoor Wani, marcelo2605, Marcio Zebedeu, MarcoZ, Marcus Kazmierczak, Marek Dědič, Marius Jensen, Marius84, Mark Jaquith, Mark Marzeotti, Mark Uraine, Martin Stehle, Marty Helmick, Mary Baum, Mat Gargano, Mat Lipe, Mathieu Viet, Matt Keys, Matt van Andel, mattchowning, Matthew Kevins, mattnyeus, maxme, mayanksonawat, mbrailer, Mehidi Hassan, Mel Choyce-Dwan, mensmaximus, Michael Arestad, Michael Ecklund, Michael Panaga, Michelle Schulp, miette49, Miguel Fonseca, Miguel Torres, mihdan, Miina Sikk, Mikael Korpela, Mike Auteri, Mike Hansen, Mike Schinkel [WPLib Box project lead], Mike Schroder, mikejdent, Mikko Saari, Milan Patel, Milan Petrovic, mimi, mircoraffinetti, mjnewman, mlbrgl, Morgan Estes, Morteza Geransayeh, mppfeiffer, mryoga, mtias, Muhammad Usama Masood, mujuonly, Mukesh Panchal, Nadir Seghir, nagoke, Nahid Ferdous Mohit, Nate Finch, Nazmul Ahsan, nekomajin, NextScripts, Nick Daugherty, Nick Halsey, Nicklas Sundberg, Nicky Lim, nicolad, Nicolas Juen, nicole2292, Niels Lange, nikhilgupte, nilamacharya, noahtallen, noyle, nsubugak, oakesjosh, oldenburg, Omar Alshaker, Otto Kekäläinen, Ov3rfly, page-carbajal, pagewidth, Paragon Initiative Enterprises, Pascal Birchler, Pascal Casier, Paul Bearne, Paul Biron, Paul Kevin, Paul Schreiber, pcarvalho, Pedro Mendonça, perrywagle, Peter Wilson, Philip Jackson, Pierre Gordon, Pierre Lannoy, pikamander2, Prashant Singh, Pratik Jain, Presskopp, Priyanka Behera, Raam Dev, Rachel Cherry, Rachel Peter, ragnarokatz, Rami Yushuvaev, raoulunger, razamalik, Remco Tolsma, rephotsirch, rheinardkorf, Riad Benguella, Ricard Torres, Rich Tabor, rimadoshi, Rinku Y, Rob Cutmore, rob006, Robert Anderson, Roi Conde, Roland Murg, Rostislav Wolný, Roy Tanck, Russell Heimlich, Ryan, Ryan Fredlund, Ryan McCue, Ryan Welcher, Ryo, Sébastien SERRE, sablednah, Sampat Viral, Samuel Wood (Otto), SamuelFernandez, Sander, santilinwp, Sathiyamoorthy V, Schuhwerk, Scott Reilly, Scott Taylor, scruffian, scvleon, Sebastian Pisula, Sergey Biryukov, Sergio de Falco, sergiomdgomes, sgastard, sgoen, Shaharia Azam, Shannon Smith, shariqkhan2012, Shawntelle Coker, sheparddw, Shital Marakana, Shizumi Yoshiaki, simonjanin, sinatrateam, sirreal, skorasaurus, smerriman, socalchristina, Soren Wrede, spenserhale, sproutchris, squarecandy, starvoters1, SteelWagstaff, steevithak, Stefano Minoia, Stefanos Togoulidis, steffanhalv, Stephen Bernhardt, Stephen Edgar, Steve Dufresne, Steve Grunwell, stevenlinx, Stiofan, straightvisions GmbH, stroona.com, Subrata Mal, Subrata Sarkar, Sultan Nasir Uddin, swapnild, Sybre Waaijer, Sérgio Estêvão, Takayuki Miyauchi, Takeshi Furusato, Tammie Lister, Tanvirul Haque, TBschen, tdlewis77, Tellyworth, Thamaraiselvam, thefarlilacfield, ThemeZee, Tim Havinga, Tim Hengeveld, timon33, Timothée Brosille, Timothy Jacobs, Tkama, tmanoilov, tmatsuur, tobifjellner (Tor-Bjorn Fjellner), Tom Greer, Tom J Nowell, tommix, Toni Viemerö, Toro_Unit (Hiroshi Urabe), torres126, Torsten Landsiedel, Towhidul Islam, tristangemus, tristanleboss, tsuyoring, Tung Du, Udit Desai, Ulrich, upadalavipul, Utsav tilava, Vaishali Panchal, Valentin Bora, varunshanbhag, Veminom, Vinita Tandulkar, virgodesign, Vlad. S., vortfu, waleedt93, WebMan Design | Oliver Juhas, websupporter, Weston Ruter, William Earnhardt, William Patton, wpgurudev, WPMarmite, wptoolsdev, xedinunknown-1, yale01, Yannicki, Yordan Soares, Yui, zachflauaus, Zack Tollman, Zebulan Stanphill, Zee, and zsusag. Many thanks to all of the community volunteers who contribute in the support forums. They answer questions from people across the world, whether they are using WordPress for the first time or since the first release. These releases are more successful for their efforts! Finally, thanks to all the community translators who worked on WordPress 5.4. Their efforts bring WordPress fully translated to 46 languages at release time, with more on the way. If you want to learn more about volunteering with WordPress, check out Make WordPress or the core development blog.

WordPress 5.4 RC5

The fifth release candidate for WordPress 5.4 is live! WordPress 5.4 is currently scheduled to land on March 31 2020, and we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.4 yet, now is the time! You can test the WordPress 5.4 release candidate in two ways: Try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (choose the “bleeding edge nightlies” option)Or download the release candidate here (zip). For details about what to expect in WordPress 5.4, please see the first release candidate post. Plugin and Theme Developers Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.4 and update the Tested up to version in the readme to 5.4. The priority in testing is compatibility. If you find issues, please be sure to post to the support forums so we can figure them out before the final release. The WordPress 5.4 Field Guide is also out! It’s your source for details on all the major changes. How to Help Do you speak a language besides English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

WordPress 5.4 RC4

The fourth release candidate for WordPress 5.4 is live! WordPress 5.4 is currently scheduled to land on March 31 2020, and we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.4 yet, now is the time! You can test the WordPress 5.4 release candidate in two ways: Try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (choose the “bleeding edge nightlies” option)Or download the release candidate here (zip). For details about what to expect in WordPress 5.4, please see the first release candidate post. RC4 commits the new About page and updates the editor packages. Plugin and Theme Developers Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.4 and update the Tested up to version in the readme to 5.4. The priority in testing is compatibility. If you find issues, please be sure to post to the support forums so we can figure them out before the final release. The WordPress 5.4 Field Guide is also out! It’s your source for details on all the major changes. How to Help Do you speak a language besides English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

WordPress 5.4 RC3

The third release candidate for WordPress 5.4 is now available! WordPress 5.4 is currently scheduled to be released on March 31 2020, and we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.4 yet, now is the time! There are two ways to test the WordPress 5.4 release candidate: Try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (choose the “bleeding edge nightlies” option)Or download the release candidate here (zip). For details about what to expect in WordPress 5.4, please see the first release candidate post. RC3 addresses improvements to the new About page and 8 fixes for the following bugs and regressions: 49657 – Block Editor: Update WordPress Packages WordPress 5.4 RC 349621 – Travis: Download Chromium for E2E Tests Only48164 – media_sideload_image Should Store Original URL and Optionally Check for Dupes49577 – Site Health Status Dashboard Provides Incorrect Items Count on Initial Load47053 – Accessibility: Need to set proper ‘tabindex’ in ‘Skip To Toolbar’ HTML48303 – Docblock Improvements for 5.449374 – Use get_post_states to Denote Special Pages on the Added Menu Item Accordions49619 – Use <hr /> Instead of Margin on Freedoms Page Plugin and Theme Developers Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.4 and update the Tested up to version in the readme to 5.4. If you find compatibility problems, please be sure to post to the support forums so we can figure those out before the final release. The WordPress 5.4 Field Guide has also been published, which details the major changes. How to Help Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

WordPress 5.4 RC2

The second release candidate for WordPress 5.4 is now available! WordPress 5.4 is currently scheduled to be released on March 31 2020, and we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.4 yet, now is the time! There are two ways to test the WordPress 5.4 release candidate: Try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (choose the “bleeding edge nightlies” option)Or download the release candidate here (zip). For details about what to expect in WordPress 5.4, please see the first release candidate post. RC2 addresses improvements to the new About page and 5 fixes for the following bugs and regressions: 49611 – Block Editor: Update WordPress Packages WordPress 5.4 RC 249318 – Bundled Themes: Twenty Twenty content font CSS selector is too important49585 – REST API: Fix typo in disable-custom-gradients theme feature description49568 – Block Editor: Fix visual regression in editor’s color picker49549 – Bundled Themes: Calendar widget CSS fixes on various Bundled themes Plugin and Theme Developers Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.4 and update the Tested up to version in the readme to 5.4. If you find compatibility problems, please be sure to post to the support forums so we can figure those out before the final release. The WordPress 5.4 Field Guide has also been published, which details the major changes. How to Help Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

People of WordPress: Mary Job

You’ve probably heard that WordPress is open-source software, and may know that it’s created and run by volunteers. WordPress enthusiasts share many examples of how WordPress changed people’s lives for the better. This monthly series shares some of those lesser-known, amazing stories.  How it all began Mary Job at WordCamp Kampala 2020 Mary remembers when cybercafés started trending in Nigeria. She had just finished high school and was awaiting her results for admission to university. She spent all of her time (10 hours a day) and all of her pocket money buying bulk time online at cafes. All the way through university that was true, until in 2008 she graduated with a degree in philosophy and bought her own computer and modem. She started blogging in 2009. Initially, she tried out Blogger, Hubpages, and WordPress—but found WordPress too complicated.  Growing up as a timid but curious cat Mary is one of four kids, and the only girl among her siblings. Throughout her childhood she felt shy, even though others didn’t always see her that way. When she first started her personal blog, it was mostly an opportunity for her to speak her mind where she was comfortable. Blogging gave her a medium to express her thoughts and with every new post she became a better writer. Rediscovering WordPress After completing a postgraduate diploma in mass communication, Mary started a Masters degree in Information Management. This required a three month internship. She decided to volunteer in Ghana in 2015 at the headquarters of the Salesians of Don Bosco in West Africa (SDBAFW) where her uncle was based. While she was there, her uncle asked Mary why she was not blogging on WordPress, which also happened to be the software the organisation used. She explained how difficult and complicated it was so he shared a group of beginner-level tutorial videos with her. After two weeks of watching those videos, she started to realize she could have a full-time career doing this. So she immediately joined a number of online training groups so she could learn everything. I saw a lot of people earning an income from things I knew and did for the fun of it. I found myself asking why I had not turned my passion into a business.Mary Job Not long after that, she was contacted by a website editor who was impressed by her blog. With the information available online for WordPress, she was able to learn everything she needed to improve and redesign a site for what turned into her first client. Mary’s home office in 2016 I visited the WordPress.org showcase and was wowed with all the good things I could do with WordPress.Mary Job In 2016 after a year of deep WordPress learning, she had fallen in love with the CMS and wanted to give back to the WordPress open source project.  She volunteered to help the Community team. And when she moved to Lagos later that year, she discovered there was an active WordPress Meetup community. This started her journey toward becoming a WordPress Meetup Co-organizer and a Global Community Team Deputy. Today the Nigerian WordPress community continues to grow, as has the Lagos WordPress Meetup group. The first Nigerian WordCamp took place in Lagos in 2018 and a 2020 event is being planned. A local WordPress community also developed in Mary’s hometown in Ijebu. I have made great friends and met co-organizers in the community who are dedicated to building and sharing their WordPress knowledge with the community like I am.Mary Job What did Mary gain from using and contributing to WordPress? She overcame her stage fright by getting up in front of an audience at her local Meetup to introduce speakers and to talk about the WordPress community. She attended her first of many African WordCamps in Cape Town, South Africa. Coincidentally this was also her first time outside West Africa. Before that, she had not been in an aircraft for more than one hour.She earned money from WordPress web design projects to sustain her during her learning period. Mary continues to use WordPress in her work and says she is still learning every day!She got to jump off Signal Hill in Cape Town when visiting a WordCamp!  Mary moderating a panel at WordCamp Lagos in 2019 Essentially, the community has taught me to be a better communicator, and a better person. I’ve made friends across the world that have become like a family to me.Mary Job She now runs a village hub in Ijebu,  where she teaches girls digital skills and WordPress as a way of giving back to her town. Since she started on this journey, Mary has gotten a fulltime job supporting a WordPress plugin. She’s also become a Community Team Rep and continues to build and foster communities. Mary’s advice to others Always seek to understand the basics of whatever knowledge you seek. Never jump in too fast, wanting to spiral to the top while ignoring the learning curve. You will likely crash down effortlessly if you do so, and would have learned nothing.Mary Job Contributors Thanks to Alison Rothwell (@wpfiddlybits), Yvette Sonneveld (@yvettesonneveld), Abha Thakor (@webcommsat), Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune), Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe). Thank you to Mary Job (@maryojob) for sharing her #ContributorStory. This post is based on an article originally published on HeroPress.com, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. HeroPress highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories would otherwise go unheard. Meet more WordPress community members over at HeroPress.com!

WordPress 5.4 Release Candidate

The first release candidate for WordPress 5.4 is now available! This is an important milestone as we progress toward the WordPress 5.4 release date. “Release Candidate” means that the new version is ready for release, but with millions of users and thousands of plugins and themes, it’s possible something was missed. WordPress 5.4 is currently scheduled to be released on March 31, 2020, but we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.4 yet, now is the time! There are two ways to test the WordPress 5.4 release candidate: Try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (choose the “bleeding edge nightlies” option)Or download the release candidate here (zip). What’s in WordPress 5.4? WordPress 5.4 has lots of refinements to polish the developer experience. To keep up, subscribe to the Make WordPress Core blog and pay special attention to the developer notes tag for updates on those and other changes that could affect your products. Plugin and Theme Developers Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.4 and update the Tested up to version in the readme file to 5.4. If you find compatibility problems, please be sure to post to the support forums so we can figure those out before the final release. The WordPress 5.4 Field Guide will be published within the next 24 hours with a more detailed dive into the major changes. How to Help Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! This release also marks the hard string freeze point of the 5.4 release schedule. If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

The Month in WordPress: February 2020

February 2020 was a busy month in the WordPress project! Most notably, there was an outpouring of sentiment in response to the unfortunate cancellation of WordCamp Asia. However, the team continues to work hard in the hopes of making WordCamp Asia 2021 happen. In addition, there were a number of releases and some exciting new news during the month of February. Read on for more information! WordCamp Asia 2020 Cancelled & Pop-up Livestream There was a ton of excitement around WordCamp Asia, not to mention all the effort from organizers, speakers, sponsors and volunteers. Unfortunately, on February 12th, WordCamp Asia was cancelled due to concern and uncertainty around COVID-19. Since then, the organizing team has worked to refund tickets and to support hotel and air refunds. In addition, a pop-up livestream featuring some WordCamp Asia speakers and a Fireside Chat and Q&A with Matt Mullenweg took place on February 22nd. For a personal take on the cancellation of WordCamp Asia, read this post from Naoko Takano, the global lead organizer. Many thanks to the volunteers who worked hard to deliver WordCamp Asia. They’ve not only handled logistics associated with cancellation but have also announced that they’ve started working on WordCamp Asia 2021 with some January dates in mind! To get the latest on WordCamp Asia, subscribe to updates here.  WordPress 5.4 Beta is Now Available WordPress 5.4 Beta 1 was released on February 11 and quickly followed by Beta 2 on February 18 and Beta 3 on February 25. These two releases get us closer to our primary goal for 2020: full-site editing with blocks. WordPress 5.4 will merge ten releases of the Gutenberg plugin and is scheduled to be released on March 31, 2020. It will come with many new features, such as two new blocks for social links and buttons, and easier navigation in the block breadcrumbs. There are also a number of accessibility improvements, such as easier multi-block selection and easier tabbing, one of the editor’s biggest accessibility issues. 5.4 will also include many developer-focused changes, such as improved favicon handling and many new hooks and filters. Want to get involved in building WordPress? There are a number of ways to help right now! If you speak a language other than English, help us translate WordPress. Found a bug? Post it to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. You can also help us test the current beta by installing the WordPress Beta Tester plugin. Just remember that the software is still in development, so we recommend against running it on a production site.  WordCamp Centroamérica is Looking for Speakers and Sponsors! WordCamp Centroamérica is the first regional WordCamp for Central America and will be held on September 17-19, 2020, in Managua, Nicaragua. The Call for Speakers and Call for Sponsors are now open, so if you’re interested in speaking at or sponsoring WordCamp Centroamérica, now is your chance! To learn more about the eent, visit and subscribe to updates on their website, or follow their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.   Want to get involved in the Community team and help make more amazing WordCamps happen? Follow the blog and join the #community-events channel in the Making WordPress Slack group! You can also find out about other upcoming WordCamps here. Contribute to WordPress Core via GitHub An experimental feature has been added to Trac to help improve collaboration between Trac and GitHub. This feature allows contributors to link GitHub pull requests opened against the official WordPress Develop Git mirror to tickets, which will make GitHub contributions more visible in the related Trac ticket. To learn all the details and to see how it works, read this post. Gutenberg Development Continues There are many new exciting additions to Gutenberg! On February 5, Gutenberg 7.4 saw two new features added, including background color support to the Columns block and text color support for the Group block. Many enhancements were made, including a number of improvements to the Navigation Block. Gutenberg 7.5 was released on February 12, with 7.6 following on February 27. They introduced even more features, including the Social Links block as a stable block and a number of additional blocks for full-site editing, not to mention the many enhancements, new APIs, bug fixes, documentation, and updates. Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. Further Reading: Aside from WordCamp Asia, two other WordCamps have been postponed due to COVID-19: WordCamp Retreat Soltau and WordCamp Genève. News about further postponements or cancellations will be posted on the WordCamp Central blog.Automatic updates for themes and plugins are being planned for inclusion in WordPress 5.5.Version 2.2.1 of the WordPress Coding Standards has been released.The Community Team has selected new team representatives for 2020.The Core team published a useful refresher on what it means to be a component maintainer, along with some tips and best practices.The Support Team has announced some amendments to their guidelines for linking to external resources when using the support forums.The WordPress Foundation has published financial information regarding their charitable donations from 2019.The Core XML Sitemaps project kicked off with their first meeting this month.The Gutenberg team have created a new @wordpress/create-block package for scaffolding new blocks. Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

WordPress 5.4 Beta 3

WordPress 5.4 Beta 3 is now available! This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version. You can test the WordPress 5.4 beta in two ways: Try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (choose “bleeding edge nightlies” or “Beta/RC – Bleeding edge” option in version 2.2.0 or later of the plugin) * you must already have updated to your site to “bleeding edge nightlies” for the “Beta/RC – Bleeding edge” option to be availableOr download the beta here (zip). WordPress 5.4 is slated for release on March 31st, 2020, and we need your help to get there. Thanks to the testing and feedback from everyone who tested beta 2 (and beta 1) over 24 tickets have been closed in the past week. Some highlights Round-up of Gutenberg fixesDisplay Site Health score on Dashboard Developer notes WordPress 5.4 has lots of refinements to polish the developer experience. To keep up, subscribe to the Make WordPress Core blog and pay special attention to the developer notes tag for updates on those and other changes that could affect your products. How to Help Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac where you can also find a list of known bugs.

Pop-Up Livestream on February 22

As mentioned in this post, Matt will host a livestream on February 22 during Bangkok daylight hours. He opened an invitation to any speaker who was affected by the cancellation, and the livestream will include the following fine people: Imran Sayed, Md Saif Hassan, Muhammad Muhsin, Nirav Mehta, Piccia Neri, Umar Draz, and Francesca Marano as well as a Fireside Chat and Q&A with Matt Mullenweg & Monisha Varadan. Join the stream This should be a great way to get to hear from some speakers who have yet to share their knowledge on a global stage. WordPress is enriched by a multitude of experiences and perspectives, and I hope you are as excited as I am to hear new voices from a part of the world that is frequently underrepresented in the WordPress open source project.  Also exciting, the WordCamp Asia team has announced that they’re aiming for January 2021, so please mark your calendars now! This small but mighty team of trailblazing organizers has shown great resilience over the years they’ve spent, building toward this event. I am personally grateful for the hard work they’ve done and have yet to do, and can’t wait to thank them in Bangkok next year.

WordPress 5.4 Beta 2

WordPress 5.4 Beta 2 is now available! This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend running it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version. You can test WordPress 5.4 beta 2 in two ways: Try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (choose the “bleeding edge nightlies” option)Or download the beta here (zip). WordPress 5.4 is slated for release on March 31, 2020, and we need your help to get there! Thank you to all of the contributors that tested the beta 1 development release and provided feedback. Testing for bugs is an important part of polishing each release and a great way to contribute to WordPress. Some highlights Since beta 1, 27 bugs have been fixed. Here is a summary of a few changes included in beta 2: Block editor: Columns in the Block Library that have unassigned-width will now grow equally.Block editor: The custom gradient picker now works in languages other than English.Block editor: When choosing colors is not possible, the color formatter no longer shows.Privacy: The privacy request form fields have been adjusted to be more consistent on mobile.Privacy: The notice offering help when editing the privacy policy page will no longer show at the top of All Pages in the admin area.Site Health: The error codes for failed REST API tests now display correctly. Developer notes WordPress 5.4 has lots of refinements to polish the developer experience. To keep up, subscribe to the Make WordPress Core blog and pay special attention to the developers’ notes for updates on those and other changes that could affect your products. How to Help Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs. UPDATE – 20 Feb, 2020: This post was originally misattributed to Francesca Marano. The proper authorship has been corrected.

People of WordPress: Kori Ashton

You’ve probably heard that WordPress is open-source software, and may know that it’s created and run by volunteers. WordPress enthusiasts share many examples of how WordPress changed people’s lives for the better. This monthly series shares some of those lesser-known, amazing stories. The beginning Kori Ashton In 1998, Kori created her very first HTML website. Her dad was creating websites for a living at the time. She needed a website for her band because she wanted to be a rockstar. Under his training, and with a little bit of self-teaching, she learned how to build a website. She had been aware of WordPress since 2005, and, in 2008 a client specifically hired her as a freelancer to develop a WordPress website. Kori went straight to Google and taught herself how to build a WordPress website over a single weekend. She really enjoyed the experience of working with WordPress. My mind was absolutely blown when I saw the drag and drop options inside of menus to create dropdowns and a form builder. Kori Ashton She suggested to her dad that WordPress could be a solution for their customers who wanted to be able to access their own websites. Previously, they had found this was not as easy for clients unless they had specific software and knew how to code. So, Kori and her dad worked to learn WordPress over the next few years.  Then in 2012, Kori and her parents launched their new business, WebTegrity, in San Antonio, Texas, US. It started out small: just Kori and her parents. Soon, they started subcontracting design work and quickly continued to grow their team. Going big time Even though the business was in a saturated industry in San Antonio — over 700 freelancers and agencies were providing similar services — Kori and her parents were able to sell their company five years later, with a multi-million dollar valuation. There were a few choices they made early on that led to that success. 1. They picked a niche: WordPress specialists  At the time, there were no WordPress-specific agencies in San Antonio. They emphasized the fact that WordPress was the only CMS their company would use. Prospective clients looking for a different type of CMS solution were not the right fit for their business. They also offered on-site, WordPress training and weekend workshops that were open to anyone (including other agencies) as one of their revenue streams. They soon were established as a city-wide WordPress authority. 2. They cultivated a culture Kori wanted a great culture and environment in her company and to make that happen, she needed to hire the right people. She believes you must be careful about who you bring into the culture of your business, but particularly when hiring leaders into that community. You can’t teach passion so you’ve got to find people that are excited about what you do. You also need to look for integrity, creativity, a love for solving problems, and an eagerness to keep getting better.  You can teach code all day long, but be sure to find people with the right hearts to join your community and then train them up the right way. This way you will grow your culture in a healthy way.Kori Ashton Kori and her two sons 3. They learned how to build sustainable revenue streams Like many other web development agencies, WebTegrity started out with the “one-time fee and you’re done” business model. This business model is known for unpredictable revenue streams. Hearing about recurring revenue business models at WordCamp Austin was a lightbulb moment for Kori. She started drafting a more sustainable business model on the way back home.  Support packages were key to their new business plan. Clients needed ongoing support. They decided to include at least 12 months of post-launch support into their web development projects. This doubled their revenue in one year and allowed them to even out their revenue streams. 4. They knew the importance of reputation Kori believes that every client, whether they have a $5,000 or a $50,000 budget, should get the same type of boutique-style, white glove, concierge relationship. Every single project results in the absolute best solution for a client’s needs. In addition to that, offering training helped boost their reputation. Explaining the lingo of the web development and SEO fields and showing the processes used, added transparency. It helped set and meet expectations and it built trust.  5. They proactively gave back to the community Tori heard Matt Mullenweg speak about Five For The Future at WordCamp US. He encouraged people in the audience who make a living using WordPress, to find ways to give back 5% of their time to building the WordPress software and community. Matt talked about how firms and individuals could give back to the community. He suggested, for instance to: start a WordPress Meetup grouppresent at a Meetup event facilitate a Meetup group where maybe you’re just the organizer and you never have to speak because you’re not a fan of speakinghelp organize a WordCampvolunteer at a WordCampwrite a tutorial and tell people how to do WordPress related things run a workshopmake a video If you’re making an income using WordPress, consider giving 5% of your time back to building the software and/or the community. This gave Kori another light bulb moment. She could make videos to give back. So her way to give back to the WordPress community is her YouTube channel. Every Wednesday, she published a video on how to improve your online marketing. This made a huge impact, both inside the WordPress community, but also in her own business. Understanding So, in summary, how did Kori and her family turn their business into a multi-million dollar buyout in just five years?  Ultimately, it was about understanding that you have to build value. About keeping an exit strategy in mind while building your business. For instance when naming your company. Will it stand alone? Could it turn into a brand that you could sell as an independent entity? Think about revenue streams and watch sales margins.Be sure to include healthy margins. Don’t hire until you have no further option.Make sure to structure your offerings in such a way that you’re actually recouping your value. Understand entrepreneurship, watch Shark Tank, read more tutorials, watch more videos.Get involved in the WordPress community. Get to know its core leaders, the speakers that travel around to all the WordCamps. Start following them on Twitter and try to understand what they’re sharing.  In the end, the fact that Kori was so active in the San Antonio community helped enable the sale. We just kept hammering on the fact that we were the go-to place here in San Antonio for WordPress. We kept training, we kept doing free opportunities, going out and speaking at different events, and people kept seeing us. We kept showing up, kept giving back and kept establishing ourselves as the authority.Kori Ashton Contributors Alison Rothwell (@wpfiddlybits), Yvette Sonneveld (@yvettesonneveld), Abha Thakor (@webcommsat),  Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune), Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe). This post is based on an article originally published on HeroPress.com, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. HeroPress highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories would otherwise go unheard.Meet more WordPress community members over at HeroPress.com!

WordCamp Asia Cancelled Due to COVID-19

I’ve arrived at the difficult decision to cancel the inaugural WordCamp Asia event, which was planned to take place in Bangkok on February 21st. The excitement and anticipation around this event have been huge, but there are too many unknowns around the health issues unfolding right now in the region to explicitly encourage a large public gathering bringing together over 1,300 people from around the world. We’re going to explore if speakers — including myself — can do our sessions with the same content and at the same time that was originally planned, just online instead of in-person so we can achieve our goal of bringing the pan-Asian community closer together without putting anyone’s health at additional risk. Regardless, I greatly appreciate the work everyone — from organizers to attendees,  speakers to sponsors — put into making this a big success. So many people have come together to create an event to inspire and connect WordPressers, and I am confident that this passion will carry through into the event next year. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the virus so far, and we sincerely hope that everything is resolved quickly so that this precaution looks unnecessary in hindsight.

WordPress 5.4 Beta 1

WordPress 5.4 Beta 1 is now available for testing! This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend running it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version. You can test the WordPress 5.4 beta in two ways: Try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (choose the “bleeding edge nightlies” option)Or download the beta here (zip). WordPress 5.4 is slated for release on March 31, 2020, and we need your help to get there! While the primary goal for 2020 is full-site editing with blocks, contributors to WordPress are working across every area of the project to ensure the software continues moving forward. Testing for bugs is an important part of polishing the release during the beta stage and a great way to contribute. Here are some of the big changes and features to pay close attention to while testing. Block Editor: features and improvements WordPress 5.4 Core will merge ten releases of the Gutenberg plugin. This means there’s a long list of exciting new features. Here are just a few: Two new blocks: social links and buttons.More color options for Button, Cover, Group and Column blocks .A Welcome Guide modal.Tools for adding featured images in the Latest Posts block.Easier navigation in the block breadcrumbs. Some additional changes to make note of: On mobile, the toolbar stays on top, so you can’t lose it.Easier image sizing in the Gallery block.Drag-and-drop images into the featured-image box.Several new APIs.Friendlier offline error messages on REST API request failures.Table block captions.You can now color just parts of the text in any RichText block. Accessibility improvements Easier multi-block selection. Support for changing an image’s title attribute within the Image block.Easier tabbing. This had been one of the editor’s biggest accessibility problems, but now tabbing works with the block’s sidebar.Visual switch between Edit and Navigation modes and enable screen reader announcements. To see all of the features for each release in detail check out the release posts: 6.6, 6.7, 6.8, 6.9, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4 and 7.5. Continuing efforts to improve performance The block editor team has achieved a 14% loading time reduction and 51% time-to-type reduction, for a particularly sizable post (~ 36,000 words, ~1,000 blocks) since WordPress 5.3. Wait! There’s more Site Health When a project powers 34% of the world’s websites, there must be a focus on security. This is why contributors continue working so hard on the Site Health Project. WordPress 5.4 adds a widget on the dashboard that warns administrators of potential issues that could affect their site’s performance or security. A call-to-action button directs them to the Site Health screen for details and suggested fixes. Accessibility improvements WordPress strives to improve accessibility with every release, and this release is no different. Version 5.4 will contain the following accessibility enhancements: Better focus management in Menu, Customizer and Site Health screens, to fix some existing keyboard navigation issues.Easier keyboard navigation for better semantics in the Media modal.An easier-to-read Privacy Policy Guide. For Developers 5.4 also contains a bunch of developer focused changes. Calendar Widget The HTML 5.1 specification mandates that a <tfoot> tag must follow <tbody> tag (which was not the case in the calendar widget). WordPress 5.4 moves the navigation links to a <nav> HTML element immediately following the <table> element in order to produce valid HTML. apply_shortcodes() as an alias for do_shortcode() Instead of using do_shortcode(), apply_shortcodes() should be utilized instead. While do_shortcode() is not being deprecated, the new function delivers better semantics. Better favicon handling Now favicon requests can be managed with more flexibility. Administrators can choose a favicon in the Customizer, or upload a /favicon.ico file. The WordPress logo will always load as a fallback. Other changes for developers Clearer information about errors in wp_login_failed.Site ID has been added to the newblog_notify_siteadmin filter for multisite installs.Support has been added for the required WordPress and PHP version headers in themes.Embed support has been added for TikTok. Keep your eyes on the Make WordPress Core blog for  5.4-related developer notes in the coming weeks, breaking down these and other changes in greater detail. So far, contributors have fixed more than 255 tickets in WordPress 5.4 with more to come. How You Can Help Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac where you can also find a list of known bugs.

The Month in WordPress: January 2020

Following an action-packed December, 2020 is off to a fine start with some new releases and announcements. Read on to find out what happened in the WordPress project in January. Release of Gutenberg 7.2 & 7.3 Gutenberg 7.2, the first Gutenberg release of 2020, was deployed on January 8th and included over 180 pull requests from more than 56 contributors. This was followed soon after by Gutenberg 7.3. New features include a new Buttons block, support in adding links to Media & Text block images, improvements to the Navigation and Gallery blocks, performance improvements, and accessibility enhancements. These releases also included many additional enhancements, fixes, new APIs, documentation, and more. Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. Proposal for an XML Sitemaps Feature Plugin In June last year, a team of contributors proposed a feature plugin that would bring standardized XML sitemaps to WordPress Core. Since then, the team has been working to bring this to reality and have now published a working plugin to demonstrate this new capability. The plugin is still in development, but the included features already provide much-needed functionality from which all WordPress sites can benefit. You can install the plugin from your WordPress dashboard or download it here. Want to get involved in bringing this feature to Core? Follow the Core team blog, report any issues you find on GitHub, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. A New Block-Based Themes Meeting The Theme Review Team has announced that they will be holding bi-weekly meetings in the #themereview channel focused on discussing block-based themes. If you are interested in discussing themes within the context of Gutenberg’s full-site editing framework, this will be the place to do so! The first meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 5, at 16:00 UTC. Want to get involved with the Theme Review Team or become a reviewer? Follow their blog, and join the #themereview channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. Further Reading The Core team has started work on WordPress 5.4 and kicked off their planning with a summary post. You can follow all the v5.4 updates by watching the version tag on the Core team blog.The inaugural WordCamp Asia event is taking place in February. This will be the largest WordPress event in the region, bringing together around 1,500 WordPress enthusiasts from around the world.Two WordPress community leaders, @chanthaboune and @andreamiddleton, were nominated for CMX awards due to their work on the WordPress project, with @andreamiddleton winning the award for Executive Leader of a Community Team.A feature plugin has been proposed that introduces lazy-loading images to WordPress Core, which will be a huge step forward in improving performance all across the web.The Core team has put together an extensive and informative FAQ to help new contributors get involved in contributing to the project.One key priority for Gutenberg is the ability to control the block editor. There are already a number of APIs that control the experience, but there is a lack of consistency and missing APIs. A method to address this has been proposed.The Design team published detailed information on the recent design improvements in Gutenberg. Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

People of WordPress: Robert Cheleuka

You’ve probably heard that WordPress is open-source software, and may know that it’s created and run by volunteers. WordPress enthusiasts share many examples of how WordPress changed people’s lives for the better. This monthly series shares some of those lesser-known, amazing stories. Meet Robert Cheleuka Robert is a self-taught graphic and motion designer turned web designer (and aspiring web developer) from Malawi, Africa. Over the years, he has grown fond of WordPress and has become a loyal user. Still, the journey is rough. Robert Cheleuka Malawi Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. A tiny landlocked country with a population of 17 million, it’s largely rural and still considered a developing country. The average entry-level monthly pay for most skilled jobs is about $110. If you’re employed full-time in the creative industry and if you’re very lucky, you might be able to earn more than that. Employees earning more than $300 a month are rare to non-existent. Robert has been a freelance graphic designer since about 2011. He started by doing gigs from his dorm in college and from home. Earnings from his freelance jobs increased his interest in entrepreneurship and he started to consider starting his own creative agency. How Robert was introduced to WordPress Robert first came into contact with WordPress in 2014 when he and a friend started a local tech blog. Before that, all he knew was basic, outdated HTML from high school and some knowledge of Adobe Dreamweaver. They decided to use WordPress, and their new blog looked like it came from the future. They used a theme from the repo and got such positive feedback from the blog they decided to open a content and media publishing agency. While they got a few web redesign jobs thanks to the exposure the blog brought, they lacked the administrative and business skills needed and ended up going their separate ways. Then in his first real job after college Robert finally took it upon himself to learn the ins and outs of WordPress. He learned how to install WordPress on a server and did some research on customizing themes.  With that knowledge alone he got his first web design clients and started earning nearly as much as he did at his job. Robert soon realized that free WordPress themes would only take him so far, especially with his limited code skills. Because in Malawi only people who travel abroad have access to credit cards, paying for premium themes was impossible. Like many WordPress designers in developing countries, Robert turned to using pirated themes instead. He knew that was both unsafe and unethical, and decided to learn how to code. Knowing how to build themes from scratch would surely help him rise above the competition.  The WordPress community from Robert’s perspective Robert doesn’t have a lot of interaction with the WordPress community. Although he would search for solutions from blogs about WordPress he had never actually talked to or asked anyone from the community for a solution.  Robert believes that this isolation is the result of a glass ceiling — the WordPress community is partially online and partially in-person, but there isn’t a local group in Malawi. And because Malawi, like many other developing nations, lacks a way to pay online many can’t access premium support, online learning, or most other types of professional development. No matter how welcoming the people of WordPress might be, it can still feel like it mostly belongs to those with enough privilege to conduct business on the internet. WordPress & inclusion As most freelancers know, it’s really hard to learn while you also still need to earn. Add pitching to clients and shipping graphic design projects… there are only so many hours in a day. Robert didn’t have a programming background and had always been more of a creative person. In order to grow as a web designer/developer, he needed to learn PHP. Again, without access to a credit card, that was complicated. Also, free coding training wasn’t as widely available as it is now. Robert wishes that more developers would consider alternative ways for users who cannot pay for courses, themes, or plugins (whether that’s because of available infrastructure or otherwise). He wishes that WordPress tutors and developers would open up ways to accommodate aspiring learners in developing countries who cannot access plugins, courses, and themes, to be able to give back and to participate at another level. WordPress has allowed him to build an income he would have no other way of earning and it makes a huge difference. He believes sharing stories like his will hopefully make WordPress products and services become more universally available. In addition, he hopes that more aspiring, self-taught developers will find courage in reaching out to connect with others out there. Contributors Alison Rothwell (@wpfiddlybits), Yvette Sonneveld (@yvettesonneveld), Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune), Siobhan Cunningham (@siobhanseija), Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe) This post is based on an article originally published on HeroPress.com, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. HeroPress highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories would otherwise go unheard. Meet more WordPress community members over at HeroPress.com!

WordPress Leaders Nominated for CMX Awards

Two members of the WordPress leadership team were nominated for excellent work in their field in the first ever Community Industry Awards. Andrea Middleton is nominated for Executive Leader of a Community Team and Josepha Haden Chomphosy is nominated for Community Professional of the Year. CMX is one of the largest professional organizations dedicated to community builders. The awards were open to public nomination, and finalists were chosen by panels of their peers in the CMX community. Andrea has been a vital community strategist for the WordPress project since 2011. Her work to build and support a vibrant community has played a part in the success around the popular open source CMS. Her work is sponsored by Automattic, where she leads a team that focuses on educational efforts, funding, and in-person community-driven events that serve a global base. Josepha has been the Executive Director of the WordPress project since 2019. Her work to coordinate and guide volunteer efforts spans 20 teams and involves thousands of volunteers. Her work is also sponsored by Automattic, where she leads the open source division that focuses on all aspects of open source contribution including design, development, volunteer engagement, and the health of the overall WordPress ecosystem. Votes are Open Final recipients are chosen with open voting — if you feel like either Andrea or Josepha have had an impact on your careers, your trajectory in the WordPress project, or the health of WordPress as a whole, there are three ways you can show your support: Stop by and vote for them (Andrea here, Josepha here)!Share this post with your own communities!Tweet some inspirational thoughts about your time/experience/learnings with WordPress (using #WordPress, naturally)! Thank You Notes A lot of care and passion goes into making the WordPress Project as fantastic as it is. I think these awards are a reflection of how wonderful the community and ecosystem are, and I appreciate everyone’s continued trust in my stewardship!Josepha Haden Chomphosy WordPress community organizers are some of the most generous and creative people in the world — working with them is exciting and interesting every day. I’m humbled by this nomination; thank you!Andrea Middleton

The Month in WordPress: December 2019

As 2019 draws to a close and we look ahead to another exciting year let’s take a moment to review what the WordPress community achieved in December. WordPress 5.3.1 and 5.3.2 Releases The WordPress 5.3.1 security and maintenance release was announced on December 13. It features 46 fixes and enhancements. This version corrects four security issues in WordPress versions 5.3 and earlier. Shortly afterwards, WordPress 5.3.2 was released, addressing a couple high severity Trac tickets, and includes 5 fixes and enhancements, so you’ll want to upgrade. You can read more about these releases in the announcements for 5.3.1 and 5.3.2. Update on the Nine Core Projects for 2019 At the end of 2018, @matt announced the nine projects that would be the main focus areas for Core development in the next year. Have we made progress? Yes! @chanthaboune posted a full update on the team’s work. In brief, two of the projects have been completed and shipped in major releases, four are targeted for release in versions 5.4 and 5.5 of WordPress, and the remaining three have seen significant progress but are not yet slated for completion. These will continue to see progress throughout 2020. Want to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. WordPress Major Release Calendar The Core team has published a tentative release calendar for 2020 and 2021. This is intended to provide the community with more information about what lies ahead. The schedule is considered tentative because there are always variables that could affect these plans — not least that the Core team may need more time to finish the work planned for a release. Initial Documentation for Block-Based WordPress Themes The Gutenberg team has started working on the initial documentation for what block-based themes might look like, marking a significant change in the way themes are conceptualized. With full-site editing now a realistic goal for WordPress, themes will certainly look different in the future. Want to help shape the future of block-based themes in WordPress Core? Following the Core team blog is a good start! You can also join in on the discussion on this blog post, or help out with the work to create a demo space for experimentation with the future of themes. As always, contribution to Gutenberg on GitHub is open to everyone! Join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group to see what other people are saying, and contribute your own thoughts. Gutenberg Updates Abound It’s been a busy month for Gutenberg! Version 7.0, including a new navigation block, was announced on November 27. This was followed by version 7.1, announced on December 11; it includes 161 merged pull requests that offer a fresh UI to new users, an option to switch between edit and navigation modes, captions for the table block, and many other enhancements. Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. Arrival of the BuddyPress Beta Tester Plugin On December 2, the BuddyPress Beta Tester plugin was added to the WordPress.org plugins directory. This feature is a great way for the WordPress community to provide early feedback on releases. You can download the plugin now. If you find that something is not working as expected during your beta tests, let the BuddyPress team know by submitting a ticket on the Development Tracker or posting a new topic in the BuddyPress support forums.​​ An Update on the Block Directory in the WordPress Editor  The Design team received lots of excellent feedback on the early concepts for the Block Directory. This feedback was incorporated into a Version 1 update to the #block-directory project. The Block Directory is to be included in WordPress 5.5, which is slated for August 2020. To learn more about the Block Directory, check out this announcement post and help out by sharing your feedback.  Want to get involved in building the Block Directory? Follow the Design team blog. If you have a block you’d like to include in the directory you can submit it following the information here.  Further Reading: Guidelines for the Block Directory have been drafted; the team is actively working on them now.The Global Community Sponsorship Program for 2020 has been announced. The Theme Review Team has published a reminder for developers about the proper way to communicate with reviewers.The Community Team is in the process of selecting new team reps.The WordPress meetup program crossed the 800-group mark this month and includes groups from more than 100 countries.The team that helped to create the 2019 State of the Word slide deck shared how the slides were created using Gutenberg, powered by the Slides plugin.  Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

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