Categories
WordPress

To Viper

My first interactions with Alex were in the #wordpress IRC channel, likely him helping me with some code. Over the coarse of a couple of months, we joked around and chatted code. At some point the mention of his username prompted the question of if he had a Viper, but I found out he didn’t even have a driver’s license! I didn’t even realize that this person I was becoming friends with lived in my city, but when I mentioned WordCamp Portland I found out I would actually get to meet him in person. Alex became the first person I met through WordPress chats that I got to meet in person.

At WordCamp Portland 2009, Alex led an unconference session on Advanced WordPress development. I think that Matt Mullenweg might have been the one who put Alex’s name on board and pushed him to lead the discussion. It was during this session that I was first introduced to the idea of custom post types. This event was one of the most important events on my journey to were I am today, and Alex leading a discussion was a part of it.

The following year at WordCamp Portland 2010, I gave the final session of the second day. The room was half empty at this point, but Alex had stuck around to support me. Unfortunately, Alex might have been more exhausted than he had let on as I remember looking at him at one point and seeing him asleep. For a couple years, I encouraged him to give a talk at a WordCamp so I could fall asleep in it.

In 2011 at WordCamp San Francisco a small group of us headed out in search of dinner. This is when I found out that Alex was the opposite of an adventurous eater. We discussed multiple places before heading to some chain restaurant that had cheese pizza and I got to enjoy one of Alex’s favorite dishes, but more importantly I got to enjoy a meal with him.

Alex and I continued our conversations for years. We never were close friends, but we always remained friends. After his initial diagnoses with Leukemia, I wrote some unit tests with Alex in mind. Alex’s contributions to WordPress were numerous, and his contributions to my life are unforgettable. Whenever I see a Viper, I’ll forever think of a man who was obsessed with cars but didn’t get his license until his mid twenties. Tonight I raise my glass to Alex, Viper007Bond, Mills.

Categories
Art Code Four Short Things WordPress

Four Short Things – 23 February 2019

Inspired by O’reilly’s Four Short Links, here are some of the things I’ve seen, read, or watched recently.

Leukemia has won

WordPress has allowed me the opportunity to meet hundreds of people first online and then offline, but Alex “Viper007Bond” was the first. When I first started getting involved in WordPress, I spent many late nights in the IRC #wordpress channel on freenode, at first seeking help but then providing it. Viper was commonly there helping others and likely answered more than a few questions of mine as well. He’s been publicly battling leukemia for 2.5 years. His blog is a great tale of the ups and downs of cancer. Alex and those that care about him are in my thoughts right now.

Kevin Beasley: A view of a Landscape

On view at the Whitney until 10 March, this exhibit on the top floor is one encompassing sound and visuals. Featuring the motor from a cotton gin and giant sculptures with Cotton, it explores race, history and the evolution of America.

Writing CSS Algorithms

Lara has done more to change my opinions on CSS than anyone else. This post is a companion piece to a talk she gave at WordCamp US and one that everyone web developer should read.

Pento hits 1000 Commits

13 people have made over 1000 commits to WordPress core over the past nearly 16 years. Gary Pendergast joined the club during the 5.1 release. Overall, there have been 44767 commits so Gary’s count only represents 2.2% of the total activity.

Four Short Things is a series where I post a small collection of links to art, news, articles, videos and other things that are me. Follow my RSS feed to see Four Short Things whenver it comes out.

Categories
WordPress

WordCamp US: FAQ

We are just a few days away from WordCamp US! This will be the fourth WordCamp US, and I’m excited to be attending my fourth WordCamp US. To help you know what to expect, here are a few questions and my opinions to go along with them.  

Last year I was a rockstar Wapuu. 
How many people will be there?

A look at the attendees’ page show 1389 people registered as of today. While not everyone will show up or stay the entire time, there will likely be over 1000 people interested in WordPress at the Music City Center this weekend. 

I’ve been to a WordCamp in my city before, should I expect the same thing? 

I’ve attended over 30 WordCamps, and WordCamp US is a different class of events than the local camps. In addition to the size (it’s bigger), WordCamp US features a closing “State of the Word” presentation and sponsor booths that are much more than 2 people behind a table with a backdrop. It’s much more like a $1,000 ticket tech conferences than a celebration of the local WordPress community.

What should I do if I see a big name person?

Say Howdy! The WordPress community is an incredibly welcoming place. So if you see a name you recognize, say Howdy. This includes internationally developers such as D Bachhuber

What Talks are you most excited about? 

All of them? 
But since I can’t see them all in person, the three I am most looking forward to are: 
Bridging the Design and Development Gap with CSS Algorithms by Lara Schenck
Metaboxes Considered Harmful by Helen Hou-Sandí
The evolution and future of publishing by Alexis Lloyd

Will anyone want to talk about Gutenberg?

Not this year. Maybe in 2019. 

Should I attend Contributor Dy?

Absolutely! It’s a chance to get behind the scenes and not ust see how the sausage is made, but grind some yourself. 

Will the food be any good?

Most conferences you are happy if one thing is edible, but last year the Music City Center shined when it came to food. This year’s menu is looking as well.

I hope this helps you get as. excited for WordCamp US as. I am. This year I’ll also have copies of. my first zine “Art and Commit Messages” available, so come find me if you want one. 

If you have any questions, ask them and I’ll try my best to answer them. 

Categories
WordPress

WordPress at 15

I came into WordPress like a lot of people: I wanted a blog. I tried and it was lacking, so I googled around and discovered WordPress.  This was 2007, WordPress 2.2 had just been released. Widgets were the hot new thing. Tags were still a few months away from being added to core. It was an entirely different WordPress than we have today.

WordPress has had a giant impact on my every facet of my life since then. In just the last week, I organized a last minute Happy Hour for a friend I made because of WordPress. I sat at the house of a friend enjoying the company of him and his family because I got involved with WordPress. I started a job I got because I got involved in WordPress. I took a friend out for a drink who I met because of WordPress. I wore a bow tie that was given to me with a WordPress logo because I got involved in WordPress. I stayed up entirely too late making Art to celebrate WordPress because I got involved in WordPress.

Above you’ll find 15 mono prints I made in celebration of WordPress’s 15th anniversary. Inspired by the WordPress logo, I based the text on Dalliance, Jason Santa Maria’s inspiration for the original W, before cutting the linoleum and making each print. For the Blue, Black, Orange, and Grey, I used printmaking ink. The green is acrylic paint. I then splatter painted till I was happy with the effect. Each print is hand numbered and signed on both the mat and the back of the print.

Over the coming weeks, I’m hoping to send a few of these off to some of the people who have influenced me the most in the WordPress community. I also think I’ll throw one or two on to raise some money for charity. Comment below if you want me to update you when I do so.

I continue to remain optimistic about the long term success of WordPress. I’m writing this in Gutenberg, where I’ve written almost all my posts over the last year. Five years ago I went to JSConf and the reaction of many people towards hearing I worked on WordPress was that it was amateur. This last week I went to a CSS meetup and the reaction to people hearing I worked on WordPress was respect. Always bet long on WordPress. 

I previously blogged WordPress’s 10th anniversary and hope to blog it’s 20th as well. 

Categories
WordPress

A quick review of Local by Flywheel

I recently decided to check out Local by Flywheel for local development, and my initial thoughts are that it’s strong for many things, but is far from perfect.

In the past, I’ve used MAMP, XAMPP, VVV, and custom docker environments for local development. Each of these has it’s own strengths and weaknesses. Local’s strength is that it is by the far the most user-friendly route to having a local development environment. It’s all GUI driven, you don’t need to mess with hosts files, and having an SSL cert for your local site couldn’t be easier. If your goal is to have a local site with little fuss, Local By Flywheel does it.

Where Local falls short is developer friendliness.  Installing XDebug, for example, isn’t easy. Customizing the environment to include anything beyond the standard config options also isn’t easy. If you are eloper that needs XDebug or wants a PHP Extention that isn’t included out of the box, you are going to need to do some work for it.

Installing the development checkout of WordPress also isn’t straightforward. I would love for it to out of the box support using either the regular or development versions of WordPress. I could see a GUI tool like Local being very valuable for onboarding new WordPress Core Contributors who aren’t as familiar with git, svn, or the command line if it did this. 

Would I recommend Local by Flywheel?

For the right person, yes.  If you wouldn’t call yourself a developer and have no interest in contributing to core, then Local is definitely worth checking out. If you want XDebug, are comfortable on the command line, want to run PHPUnit, or need a nondefault PHP setup, then you likely should look elsewhere.

Have you tried Local by Flywheel?  What are your thoughts on it? 

Categories
Programming WordPress

Douglas Crockford could sue the White House

Recently, the White House switched to using WordPress for whitehouse.gov. While doing so, they deployed the most recent version of WordPress. WordPress 4.9 includes a copy of CodeMirror for an improved experience when it comes to editing code. In order to provide linting of JavaScript uses JSHint.  And this is where things get interesting. 

JSHint is mostly licensed under the MIT license. I say mostly since it inherits some code from JSLint which uses a modified form of the MIT license. It requires that the software only is used for Good, not Evil.

"The Software shall be used for Good, not Evil."

So the White House is using software that can only be used for Good, not Evil. Which means that if the White House has used its website to do evil, it has violated Douglas Crockford's license. 

The next minor version of WordPress removes JSHint, but the inclusion of it will live on in internet archive history. 

Categories
WordPress

Random Thoughts on…Six Months of Using Gutenberg

It's been a little over six months since I wrote my first post in Gutenberg (and it was about Gutenberg). In that time, I've published 18 posts using Gutenberg. It still has ways to go before I think it's going to be great, but it's continuously solving my needs on this site. When I originally posted my comments, I posted a mix of ideas, bugs, oooh-moment features, and reactions. Some of them are worth revisiting:

  • It’s pretty. And Fast. I never thought of the post editor as being slow, but there is something about Gutenberg that makes it feel fast.

    This is still true! Overall I’m still impressed with how fast things feel.  And as some of the clutter pieces have been removed, it’s gotten even prettier. 

  • There are a lot of rough edges. It’s hard to know what is a bug, what is intentional,  what just hasn’t been done yet, and what hasn’t been thought of.

    It is becoming clearer what is a bug (and they still exist), what needs another riff, and what is just new to me.

  • The default state is likely my favorite “Distraction Free Writing” implementation in WordPress yet. I’m simultaneously able to focus on my content, and yet I have all the tools I need for writing. I don’t yet have all the tools I need for content creation.

    Creating content in Gutenberg has only gotten better.

  • I need to take my hands off my keyboard more than usual. Adding a paragraph after a list isn’t easy to do with just a keyboard.

    It’s more keyboard friendly, but still has steps to go before I can really not use my keyboard. 

And now for some new thoughts:

  • I like the direction Gutenberg continues to head in, but there are a number of edges that continue appearing rough. Some of those are the micro-interactions that continue to be iterated on, while others are the result of bugs (copy and paste right now is rough). 
  • Developing software in the open is hard. I'm continuously impressed with the Gutenberg team's ability to take  and turn it constructive. 
  • Once better documentation is in place, I think we will start being at a point that we can consider when Gutenberg is merged into Core. I view the lack of great documentation as being a blocker for that discussion. Until it's easy for plugin developers to support Gutenberg, they can't build much and until things are built, it's hard to figure out when Gutenberg is ready to ship.
  • I think the documentation is going to need to tackle things from multiple points of view:
    • How to use all the various extension points. 
    • How to create automated tests
    • Advice on making decisions/Philosophy of what extension points to use (I'm hoping some designers write this)
  • I'd like to see some iteration around the taxonomies in the sidebar. In part to make custom taxonomies easier and in part to see if there are ways to make it easier. 
  • I'm going to be building something for production in February and am seriously considering building it in Gutenberg so it's more future proof.
  • This post was the first time I needed to use the classic text block. Blockquotes and paragraphs inside list items might be an edge case, or perhaps the list block is too rigid. 

I'm going to try and remember to post more thoughts on Gutenberg in another six months. I think it will be in WordPress core by then, but I'm not sure if 5.0 will have been released. For others that have been using Gutenberg for a while, how has your opinion changed? 

Categories
WordPress

WordPress Core Committer Stats: 2017

2017 is coming to a close, and unless someone commits something very soon, WordPress Core development is at rest (since we have an API to do that now). This is the third year I've compiled these stats, see the 2016 committer stats for some of the background information. I'm going to share the stats and then share my reactions to seeing them.

An important caveat, in the post I'll mention employers but we need to remember that people change jobs and that not everyone works on donated time. In fact, the vast majority of WordPress core committers are volunteering their time when they review, write, and commit code to WordPress.

2017 will end the year with 1731 changesets to trunk.  This is down from 2967 last year.  These changesets were committed by 35 individuals, down from 37 in 2016.

2017's most prolific committer was Sergey Biryukov who was responsible for 20.57% of all WordPress commits. He takes this crown from Dominik Schilling.  In raw numbers, Dominick had 4 more commits in 2016 than Sergey did in 2017. This is the first time since I started keeping these stats that a non-release lead has had the lead.

Other notable committers (by volume of commits) in 2017 were Weston Ruter (18.14%) and John Billion (11.84%). 

The employer who was most responsible for WordPress commits this year was Yoast with 24.67%. 14 different employers (grouping all the self-employed individuals into a single group for this purpose). This is down from 20. In 2016, Automattic was first with 14.66%. 

Thoughts and Reactions

The number of higher volume committers is down substantially. In 2016, 17  had at least 52 commits, in 2017 it was 11. Only 3 individuals had over 100 commits in 2017, while in 2016 it was 11. 

The number of core commits and committers continues to fall, but that's in part due to projects like the rest- and Gutenberg being developed outside of Trac. If WordPress continues to move away from the monolithic repo model, I think this trend will continue. Additionally, with only 2 major releases and no new default theme, there was less to do in (and many people that were active in Core development have devoted themselves to Gutenberg, the new hosting team, and other WordPress efforts).

I also don't think that it can be ruled out that as a complex piece of software with moderate (at best) automated test coverage, people tend to be cautious and risk-averse. Increasing the automated test coverage should help with these efforts. 

Finally, WordPress does continue to improve. It had two major releases in 2017 bringing some long requested changes to a large swath of the internet. Commit numbers is far from a perfect metric. Some people it takes one commit to get right, sometimes it takes 3 commits to not break the build when landing something. Looking at it and watching it in context of everything else, we can see that WordPress is for an incredible 2018.

Categories
WordPress

My WCUS 2017 Watchlist

I didn't make it to nearly as many WordCamp US Sessions as I would have liked. This year was packed full of quality talks.  Rather than leave a bunch of tabs open, I'm going to list out all the talks I hope to watch here.


There are more talks that still need to be uploaded, so this list may grow.

Check out the rest of the WCUS 2017 videos, you just might find something that inspires you. 

Categories
WordPress

Three Years as a WordPress Committer

Three years ago today, I changed three lines of code in WordPress and did it without someone else signing off.  In fact, I didn't write the code that went into WordPress that day.

I've not been a high volume committer in my three years ( I've made 283 total commits), but I have had the pleasure of working on user-facing features such as Shiny Updates for plugins and "Logout everywhere" along with helping to multiple underlying components. I also had the honor of being a deputy release lead for WordPress 4.7.

Here's to three years of helping to democratize publishing 🍻