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Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

Gutenberg, the new content editor for WordPress, is very good

I’m writing this post using a new post editor that is coming in the next version of WordPress code-named, and likely named for all-time, Gutenberg.

In fact, I’ve written several of my most recent posts, including this photo post of South Iceland, using this new editor.

Gutenberg is an editor that allows a WordPress author to use an interface for writing that is much more akin to using Google Docs or Microsoft Word. You type, drag images, add headlines and quotes, and all other various things using a much more visual way of editing than previous versions of WordPress had with what is now being called the “Classic Editor”.

To get a feel for Gutenberg there is a live demo available on this page.

For those that may not know my background, I helped to create a web site content editor called Barley. Its raison d’etre was to allow the user to edit web content directly in place. Our mission was to make a true What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) web editor. Barley also had a WordPress plugin that brought some of the platform’s functionality to WordPress. While it was more WYSIWYG than Gutenberg (since the Gutenberg author still edits in a “back end” and previews in a “front end”) it was nowhere near as comprehensive and robust as even this first debut version of Gutenberg.

I believe the WordPress/Gutenberg team is taking a far better track than we did with Barley. First, Gutenberg is open source and can be used by any other platform. I wish we did this. The WordPress team is much more adept than we were at managing an open source project. Second, the WordPress ecosystem is so broad that by controlling the editing experience within and editing area I believe Gutenberg will be able to serve an enormous portion of the WordPress community. I believe Gutenberg is already approaching 1,000,000 installs. Barley had to make so many concessions to work within the countless WordPress themes out there that it was untenable to keep up-to-date and squash bugs. Gutenberg, presumably, won’t suffer from this issue. Our hard-nosed mission to be a front-end only editor turned out to be our Achilles’ heel in the WordPress ecosystem.

Anyway, this isn’t a post comparing Gutenberg to Barley. I wanted to write to say how very well done this new editor is. Change is hard and I’m sure some people will miss “the old way”. But, I doubt for very long.

When I’m using Gutenberg I cannot believe it is still just the initial release. I think just about anyone could use this editor to make very nice web pages and blog posts. And I imagine it is only going to get better from here. I hope I never see a shortcode again in my life!

I’m looking forward to seeing how WordPress markets this new editing experience because it fundamentally changes what anyone understands about WordPress. I believe the plans may be to bring this editor to more parts of WordPress. If that ends up happening than the entire WordPress brand may need such a jolt as to bring people that have used WordPress in the past to give it a brand-new try.

I look forward to Gutenberg’s future. Especially as a longtime WordPress user (since it was called b2/Cafelog). It makes me want to write more. And I plan to continue using WordPress to do my blogging.

Matt Haughey on the mobile WordPress app

Matt Haughey vents his frustrations with WordPress:

Over the past week I’ve written a bunch of posts while out and about using the iOS WordPress app, often with photos of things I was seeing. But unless I was on WiFi or had 5 bars of LTE connectivity, I would get a Posting Failed, Retry? message. The wild thing is even after hitting retry a bunch, it would still fail. And then if I flicked over to my draft posts folder, the post wasn’t there. If I didn’t keep retrying and instead clicked anywhere in the app, the post would disappear completely.

Like Haughey, I too am frustrated with the WordPress mobile app (I’m on Android, and I have the same issues). I’ve actually removed WordPress from my phone because I can’t use it. It simply doesn’t work well at all. If I even try do post my photo posts with it crashes over and over and over and over. Which is why you’ve seen a lot less photos from me.

JSON Feed WordPress plugin

Manton Reece just released the JSON Feed WordPress plugin into the WordPress directory. Making it mad easy to install and support the new spec.

WP Admin → Plugins → Add New, then search for “jsonfeed”.

I’ve updated to this version in the directory so that all future updates come from there as well.

Attending NEPA WordPress Meetup for March 2017

Last night was the NEPA WordPress Meetup for March 2017. It was a panel discussion regarding how agencies use WordPress with Jack Reager of Black Out Design (our gracious host, thanks Jack and team), Liam Dempsey and Lauren Pittenger of LBDesign in the Philadelphia-area, and your’s truly of Condron Media.

As these types of events typically do, the discussion meandered through many different topics including the reasons our agencies have decided to use WordPress as our platform for many of our projects, about how someone can get started using WordPress, about JavaScript and how it is the language that is currently eating the web, and even a bit about baking bread somehow.

One question that was posited by Phil Erb, our moderator for the evening, was what do the agencies or individuals get out of the WordPress community. Most of the answers were focused on what each individual gleans from WordPress-related events. If you’ve read my blog at all you know that I’m a strong advocate for attending events and that I think they have immense value. It was good to see all of the panelists agree on this point. I hope it spurs some in the audience to attend even more events and certainly more events out of the area and bring that energy and knowledge back to our nook in the mountains here in Pennsylvania.

It was a great meetup in a great space. Very glad to have been part of it.

Thanks to Phil and Stephanie for organizing the event, to Jack and his team for opening up their new space to us (they should be proud of the space they’ve created there, it is lovely), to Liam and Lauren for driving a few hours through fog and lastly to Liam for sharing his Duke’s pizza with me.

Angelina Simms on the Philly Burbs WordPress group

Angelina Simms published her experience at WordCamp US this year. Note this bit about the Philly Burbs WordPress group:

Too often, we are surrounded by people who act like they are concerned about your well-being out of self-interest and totally disappear if you don’t fit into their grand scheme of things. That is definitely not the case when it comes to hanging with WordPress people, especially within the burbsWP community.

Related.

Attending the Philly Burbs WordPress meetup

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Do you know the visible signs of a strong community? If you’ve ever attended a Philly Burbs WordPress meetup then you definitely do.

Last night my new coworker Tucker Hottes and I drove the 2.5 hours to Pheonixville, PA for this month’s WordPress meetup in the Philly Burbs meetup group. What we saw during the evening was the clear, visible signs of a healthy, vibrant, and active community.

Those signs were:

  • Conversation – People were talking to one another from the jump. They greeted one another when a new person arrived. And even if they had already found their own seat, they got up and moved to have a conversation with someone else.
  • Inclusivity – No one. No one feels like an outsider at one of these meetups. Race, gender, or distance from the area (like us) doesn’t matter. Everyone feels very welcome.
  • Questions – Lots of questions and answers. And people really trying to help one another.
  • Lingering – After the event was over people stuck around, got more food, chatted more. In fact, if it wasn’t for the long ride home I would have stayed longer.

I’ve attended this meetup before as a presenter in West Chester. And I felt welcome then too and I could feel the strength of the community then as well. This is a well run group and I highly recommend attending one of their meetups if you can.

Oh, if you’re wondering why I’m willing to drive 2.5 hours just for a WordPress meetup. Read this.

FADE INTO A WORDPRESS LOGO

INTERIOR, COFFEE SHOP, HOUSTON, TEXAS

Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, wearing a WordPress tshirt, brainstorms over a latte.

MULLENWEG, internal dialogue: “How can I get WordPress in front of the Wix customer base for free?”

MULLENWEG: *opens WordPress on his Mac*

….

MULLENWEG: Publishes: “The Wix Mobile App, a WordPress Joint” to his WordPress-powered blog. For free.

Twitter explodes.

INTERIOR, POSH APARTMENT, ISRAEL

Tal Kol, Engineer at Wix, spits his tea all over his computer’s display.

KOL: *opens Medium.com*

KOL: *continues to wait for Medium.com to load gallons of JavaScript*

KOL: Publishes: How I Found Myself Accused of Stealing Code from WordPress

CUT TO: INSIDE A MOVING UBER

Mullenweg cracks a smile while looking at his mobile phone.

CUT TO: IMAGES OF BOTH COMPANY’S SLACK CHATS EXPLODING

INTERIOR, APARTMENT BEDROOM, NEW YORK CITY

Avishai Abrahami, CEO of Wix.com, is stomach-down, in bed, sound asleep.

BZZZZ

BZZZZ

Avishai Abrahami’s mobile phone is vibrating on the nightstand.

BZZZZ

Avishai Abrahami reaches for his phone. His eyes nearly pop out of their sockets.

ABRAHAMI: Sits down at his computer. *opens Wix content management system* …. errr, *opens WordPress Admin*

ABRAHAMI: Publishes: Dear Matt Mullenweg: an open letter from Wix.com’s CEO Avishai Abrahami on Wix’s WordPress-powered blog.

CUT TO: EXTERIOR, PUBLIC PARK, HOUSTON TEXAS

Matt Mullenweg is seen frolicking through fields of green grass.

THE END

A date picker to schedule posts in WordPress

On Sunday mornings I make some coffee, sit down at my computer, and choose 7 images to publish to my blog throughout the week. After I’ve chosen and edited the images I schedule them in WordPress to be published each morning at around 9:00am. I can then go about my week knowing that each day there will be a new image automatically published to my site.

There was a problem though. I think in days not dates. Like, “what image should I post on Wednesday?” instead of “what image should I post on the 12th?”. So when I used WordPress’ default date selector for scheduling the post I found myself wishing that I could see what day each date was.

So I searched the plugin directory but I didn’t find anything (more on this in a second). I was surprised. So, I quickly cobbled together a plugin of my own which I’ve open sourced on Github this morning. And, while I’m not finished with it, it works. I can see which day each date of the week is and that helps me. So now my Sunday morning’s will be a bit happier.

It turns out there is a plugin for this, which Sal Ferrarello linked me to in the BurbsWP Slack, called Publish Date DatePicker. I don’t think I found it because I searched terms like “scheduled posts” and “date picker” with a space in the name. Oh well. Now I have my own and I plan on improving upon it slightly before I roll it together as a release.

Update: To make sure you have the latest version of this plugin visit the releases page on Github.

How I create a combo feed using WordPress

When my site was on Barley I had something we called a “combo feed”. A combo feed combined all content types (what we called custom post types) into my main RSS feed. This allowed someone to subscribe to a single feed and get all of the blog posts, statuses, photos, and audio bits that I publish. Optionally, they could choose to subscribe to each of them individually, effectively allowing them to opt-out of the ones they’d rather not see. A good example of why someone may do this would be if they followed me on Twitter they may not want to subscribe to my status updates.

I wanted to have this functionality on WordPress too and I thought I’d share how I did it for anyone else that may find it useful. If you see anything I’m doing wrong please let me know.

When I register my custom post types I enable the post type archive. This turns on the /feed URL for each of them. See my statuses feed as an example. According to the Codex page for register_post_type I could also turn on rewrite for ‘feed’. But since I turn on the archive this is done automatically. Here is a slightly modified version of the code I use:

Now that I know there will be feeds for each custom post type, it’d be nice to list them in the HEAD of the HTML document so that they are discoverable by feed readers. For example, Feedly (the feed reader I use) lists all of the feeds available to subscribe to. I’d like that list to include all of my feeds and not just my combo feed. WordPress has a function to “add theme support” for several things and one of them is adding feed links to your site automatically. Which is nice since I may add or subtract feeds over time and this way all of the currently available feeds will be discoverable without me changing anything. Here is the documentation for this function, but here is what it looks like in my functions.php file:

The final step is to combine all of the custom post types that I want into my main feed. This is done by modifying the request for the main feed to include the other post types. WordPress calls this “filtering”. When a request for my feed comes from a feed reader I “filter” the request to include the default blog posts and the custom post types that I want.

This function first checks to be sure the request coming in is for a feed. Specifically the main feed. It does this by checking if the request is for a feed and that the request does not include a custom post type. Next, I set the post_type array on the request to include all public post types that are not built in (meaning, not out-of-the-box from WordPress such as post and page) using get_post_types. Lastly, I add the default ‘post’ type so that my blog posts are included in the request as well.

For my use I include all public custom post types because I do not have any that I do not want to include in my main theme. You could just as easily create the array yourself to include any custom post types that you’d like. But then you’d have to manually update that array when you add or remove custom post types.

I’m happy with the result. I hope you subscribe.

“Needed: Rockstar, expert, ninja, WordPress developer. $100.00 budget”

“Needed: Rockstar, expert, ninja, WordPress developer. $100.00 budget” Job boards are funny.

NEPA WordPress Meetup February 2016

Last night was the NEPA WordPress Meetup for February 2016. The weather got a bit crazy yesterday and so the organizers, Phil & Joe, decided to take the meetup online rather than at Coalwork.

So that’s what we did. We chatted using Google Hangouts and answered questions presented to us via Slack. It seemed to work pretty well.

Here are some links:

It was a geeky, fun evening.

Microblogging with WordPress

Manton Reece, on his blog, about the fact that he’s using WordPress to “tweet”:

I’m very excited about the potential for microblogging. For the last year I’ve been working on a new platform around this stuff. By adopting some of these tips for WordPress, your microblog will be ready for my platform, but more importantly your blog will be open and extensible. Let’s get back to our roots with RSS and see what tools and web sites we can build.

Ben Brooks is doing it too.

Very, very Indie Web. And awesome. I plan on doing the same with Barley soon.

/via Ben Brooks.

Five for the Future (of WordPress)

Speaking of Matt Mullenweg (I’m catching up on his blog)… he has a great suggestion for how companies that benefit from WordPress can contribute to its longevity. He suggests:

I think a good rule of thumb that will scale with the community as it continues to grow is that organizations that want to grow the WordPress pie (and not just their piece of it) should dedicate 5% of their people to working on something to do with core — be it development, documentation, security, support forums, theme reviews, training, testing, translation or whatever it might be that helps move WordPress mission forward.

This is a great suggestion. We at Plain do some WordPress work. We also have a premium theme called Aspen. And our best-selling product, outside of Barley CMS, is our WordPress plugin Barley for WordPress. So, we definitely benefit from WordPress.

One way we try to give back, in addition to all of our code going out under the GPL, is to do “double donations”. I wrote about this on our company blog a few weeks go. We only recently started doing this. While we’ve always paid for any code we’ve used that people sold, we hadn’t always donated to those whose plugins have a donate link next to them. Shame on us.

Asking our clients to double the donation amount does — in our minds — two things; 1) it helps our client see the value in the “little bits” of code they gather to get their site to work. Some plugins are deceivingly simple yet they are incredibly valuable. That value is worth rewarding. 2) We hope it keeps the entire eco-system moving by allowing the developers some much needed time to support the plugins they put out there and perhaps make more useful bits of code.

Matt’s suggestion pushes the best and most needed resource into the eco-system; time. Ours pushes some cash into it. Both are good.

So let’s do both. Devote 5% of our workforce to helping the WordPress eco-system (for Plain, this would be measured in hours-per-week rather than number of employees) and have both the agency and the client donate for the code used when a developer or designer asks for donations. Oh, and this doesn’t need to be limited to WordPress.

More thoughts on the future of WordPress themes

Chris Lema, on how things have changed in the WordPress theme industry:

Today people treat themes like IKEA furniture – easily replaced and never intended to last for years or decades.

He makes some excellent points.

In case you missed it, Lema’s piece is in response to this.

The State of the WordPress Theme Industry

David Perel, of Obox Themes and SalesGenius, on The State of the WordPress Theme Industry:

These days there is very little to choose from between theme companies. Themes look the same, have very similar features and all offer decent support. If you look at the industry’s biggest market — business themes — you will be hard-pressed to know who built what.

This is slightly understated. Our company recently built a WordPress theme as a client project. Which we ended up finishing on our own and publishing on Creative Market. From the very beginning the spec for the project was generalized and super bloated. It had to be on par with everything else out there, have X, Y, and Z, and be as multipurpose as possible. The very definition of a product not being unique.

The industry for themes is crazy. A bunch of developers that are building for a market that is buying $60,000 themes for $55 bucks one-time and getting support forever. It is a market that is making a few people a massive amount of money and with one hundred new entrants a day. It is a market poised to explode and begin anew.

VelocityPage for WordPress

One of the most common misconceptions about Barley is that it helps you with page layout in some way. It does not. You can’t change anything about a page’s layout using Barley CMS, our editor, or our Barley for WordPress plugin.

Barley is specifically designed to help you edit the content of a web page. The text, images, video. It is the easiest way to add content to a web site directly inline so that you know exactly how your site will look. And the many, many people that use it agree.

VelocityPage, however, is precisely what many people have asked us for. I’m really glad it exists now and while it is “limited” to WordPress this should make, oh, say 21% of the web very happy to see. VelocityPage allows you to change the layout of your WordPress-powered site’s pages from two column to three, add forms, move images around, etc.

To Mark, Jon, and Bill (the VelocityPage team) I want to say that the fact that it works with so many WordPress themes is really remarkable. Job well done fellas. We know how hard this was to accomplish.

Great, great plugin.

And people are already combining it with Barley for WordPress’s inline content editing features to make what must be an incredible WordPress experience.

Presenting at the NEPA WordPress Meetup

Tonight I had the privilege of presenting at our local NEPA WordPress Meetup. We were also privileged to host the event at our space in Carbondale, PA.

My presentation was entitled The History & Future of Inline Editing. I’m sure there will be a video posted online as soon as it is ready.

 

Barley for WordPress was first seen in Sydney, Australia about 36 hours before it came out

The Barley team had the opportunity to sponsor the beer and pizza for a WordPress Meet up in Sydney, Australia earlier in the week. It was about 36 hours before we officially debuted Barley for WordPress to the public.


Photo by Will Brown.

The above photo is those attending the WordPress Meetup watching a special video we sent just for them. It included our promo video (which you can see on our site).

We look forward to attending, sponsoring, and being part of many more meetups to help people use Barley. If you organize one, get in touch.

Thanks to everyone who helped make Barley for WordPress a reality

Inspired by Shawn Blanc’s post wherein he thanked the people that helped make The Sweet Setup a reality I thought I’d take a few moments to thank everyone that helped make Barley for WordPress, our team’s inline editing plugin for WordPress, a reality.

A plugin of this scope has no one author. It takes an entire team of people dedicated to making something truly great – and that is exactly what we have at Plain. So thanks to Kyle, Jeff, Tim, Chris, and Jakub for coming in early and staying late over the last few months to completely flip our little product upside down.

Beta Testing

To ensure that Barley for WordPress would work for the most number of people we began seeding beta copies to numerous people. Beta testers are a rare breed and finding good ones can be tough. They are willing to take time out of their already busy day to try your product, sometimes on their live sites, and then take the time to report any problems back to you. This sometimes involves sending code back and forth, themes, bug reports, and it can be frustrating. It is a very thankless job most times. Here are just a few people that were instrumental in beta testing Barley for WordPress.

This list is actually a bit longer. Really, honestly, thanks to anyone that even considered trying our plugin on their site while it was in beta.

Next, we wanted to ensure that Barley for WordPress would work as well as it possibly could in the leading theme foundries excellent WordPress themes. To do this, we reached out to the theme foundries and they went above and beyond in helping us. Some of them gave us exclusive access to their libraries, worked with us to fix small little issues, and even went so far as to suggest code changes for our plugin. Thanks to the following theme foundries:

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, our team highly recommends the work of the above teams. The themes are amazingly well done, professional, and all great people to work with.

Mentorship

Although this isn’t the first product any of our team has worked on, it is our team’s first premium product for the WordPress community. As such we reached out to people we respected to make sure they thought what we were up to smelled right. Thanks to the following people for allowing us to bend their ears on Skype or via email, sometimes for a long time, going through our ideas.

Marketing

Now that we had a plugin that worked well across many different themes, in a number of environments, and we think we had the business model that seemed right, we needed to figure out how best to tell people about it. In addition to the tens of thousands of people we have in our email list for Barley, we wanted to reach the WordPress community in a whole new way.

This all started with good messaging. Our copywriter Melissa Haertsch was pivotal in taking our thoughts, intentions, and words and getting them into a few pieces of coherent marketing. First, a press release that we’d send off to the few tech news sites and WordPress blogs. Second, was a newsletter to all of our current customers and email list. Third was a promotional video script and a full video walkthrough on how to use our plugin. We’d be nowhere without Melissa’s pen. And our promotional video came to life by the fine hands at Black Box Films. You can see from The Making of the Barley Promotional Video, we take our videos seriously.

Trying to separate ourselves from the pack, we decided to partner with Pagely, a manage WordPress hosting so
lution, to bring our plugin to their customers in a new way. Customers of Pagely can get the plugin without ever needing to figure out how to install it. It is a great experience and it was great to work with Pagely on this as they take the vetting of the plugins that can run on their platform very seriously. We look forward to working with more hosting providers in the near future.

Once we had all of these bits, we reached out to the fine people at The Next Web, WP Tavern, Post Status, Shawn Blanc, and others. Some of those whom we reached out to either A) didn’t have time to cover it, or B) didn’t want to. This will happen and it is totally OK. If this happens to you simply do not sweat it.

A note about working with news outlets: Yesterday on Twitter Brian Krogsgard, of Post Status, remarked that there was a lot to learn from how we handled the marketing of Barley for WordPress. Believe me, we still have a lot to learn yet, but here are some really quick tips that could help you if you are looking to get covered in the tech press.

  • Involve the tech press early in your process
  • Keep them up-to-date on progress
  • Send them a complete Press Release that has all of the following if possible
    • A thorough description of the product
    • A media kit with screenshots, logos
    • A video or several videos to show your product
    • A beta of the product or a place to easily test the product
    • A clear person to contact for more information

  • Send them the Press Release at least 4 business days prior to launch
  • Follow up with them 2 days prior to launch
  • On the day of launch, thank them for covering it and point to their stories
  • Offer to help them in anyway you can
  • Pay it forward
We couldn’t be happier with the response to Barley for WordPress so far. Thanks again to everyone who helped us make it a reality. We’re looking forward to making continuous updates to the plugin and we hope everyone loves it.

A case for something, anything more simple than WordPress

There is a growing sentiment that WordPress – though incredibly well supported and ubiquitous – is simply far too complex for some projects and for some customers.

Obviously, I think so too. That’s why my company is building Barley.

Here are a few other notable people that seem to believe the same thing, that while WordPress is a powerful tool and it is providing their livelihood currently, it is time for more simple solutions. More choices.

Jason Schuller, of Press75 (a premium WordPress theme shop for 8 years), on his personal blog:

In my case, I’ve become increasingly passionate about creating minimalist/simple website solutions for which WordPress isn’t quite suitable as a platform in its current state and direction. As WordPress continues to change, the passion I once had for my WordPress theme business continues to become more of a chore than anything else.

John O’Nolan, in his pitch for Ghost (a competitor to WordPress’s blogging features which was successfully funded on Kickstarter with almost $300,000 more than its goal):

The WordPress motto is “decisions, not options” – and yet there are still too many options, too many settings, too many things which you have an unnecessary level of control over in the administrative user interface. Things like admin colour schemes, quickpress, press this, post-via-email, remote publishing, inline theme editing, media editing and multi-everything. Things that many people have never even used.

There are a lot of web sites. Billions, perhaps. And each of those sites have different needs. Some sites are blogs, others are small business web sites, others are photo galleries, others are one pagers of information, and some are pages that let you buy things. There shouldn’t just be one tool to build all of these.

There also isn’t one, single, clearcut answer to “What should I use besides WordPress?” because, in reality, you should choose a tool that works best for the project-at-hand. For some web sites WordPress is the clear and obvious choice. For others, such as small business sites, event sites, professional profiles, and others – perhaps Barley is a good choice. And for those of you that prefer to write in Markdown perhaps Ghost or Dropplets might be fun to use.

As a web developer you should have a few different tools in your bag so that when you need to reach for one you grab the right one for the job.

WordPress turns 10

I remember the first time I ran WordPress on my local computer. It was amazing. Within a few moments I was up and running with just a bit of PHP that could power hundreds of blog posts.

Before I was using b2 (the name WordPress sort of had before that project became WordPress) I was copying and pasting HTML blocks to simulate what is called blogging today. Then I got frustrated and wrote a quick ASP script to loop through HTML elements. It was terrible. But I thought I was the best programmer on the planet. Then along came WordPress and the entire world seemed to be so full of possibilities. I could use WordPress for blogs, photo galleries, stores, anything, everything. WordPress was the Swiss Army knife of CMSes for the last decade.

After using WordPress for tons of blogs I helped build 9rules using WordPress. They even featured us  Then I helped Viddler build ontop of WordPress’ structure. I also helped Om Malik with GigaOm, and AWN with tens-of-thousands of WordPress-powered blogs using WordPress MU. I’ve attended WordCamps all over the world including Hawaii, San Francisco, and Scranton and you see the same thing at every single one; a community all willing to help one another.

WordPress has and will continue to push publishing on the web forward.

Thanks Matt.
Thanks to the entire community.
Thank you for WordPress.

WordPress for bands

WordPress.com recently published a new page dedicated to showcasing how bands and musicians can use the service to its full potential.

I’ve always been surprised that WordPress.com didn’taggressivelygo after moretargetedverticals (besides VIP publishers) like music, movies, and so on. MySpace, Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter all make boatloads of cash off of these verticals and WordPress.com should be too. In fact, they should be winning in that space.

A fork of the Recent Photos widget by Asad Iqbal for WordPress

I’ve been planning on figuring out a simple way to show the latest photo from my mobile photos category on the sidebar of my site for a while. Today I did a quick search for a plugin that would simply add a widget that I could drag/drop into place to do exactly that.

I came across the Recent Photos widget by Asad Iqbal. Asad hasn’t updated the plugin in a little while so it didn’t work for me out of the box. I also made a few slight revisions for my use (mostly removing a bunch of inline HTML).I’ve created a fork in a Gist of the widget and I plan on making a few more revisions. Feel free to use the code or fork it yourself if you find it useful.

Why the WordPress theme customizer matters

Andy Adams of The Theme Foundry:

I’d like to suggest that competitors like Squarespace are going to start eating WordPress’s lunch on the “ease of use” front if WordPress does not adapt.

Adams goes on to say how important the theme customizer is to helping WordPress to keep its competition at bay.

Remember, Matt Mullenweg said that they are focused on “radically simplifying what we currently do”. This is key for WordPress to continue to be the platform of choice for so many sites. There are much easier solutions out there – though arguably more or less powerful – but WordPress really could use a major (radical as Matt put it) rethink because the years of adding features have made it much more complex than its newest competition.

The Theme Foundry’s themes all support WordPress’s new theme customizer

The Theme Foundry, who is arguably doing the best work in professional WordPress theming, just announced that all of their themes already support WordPress 3.4’s new theme customizer.

We’ve been keeping an eye on WordPress 3.4, and now that it is released we’re proud to announce that our 4 most recent themes (Portfolio,Chalk,Duet, andAnthem) support the theme customizer foralltheme options.

This is what it means to be on top of things. To be doing great work. Watching your area of expertise and being ready for what is next. An awesome example to everyone.

WordPress 3.4 released

The latest version of WordPress has been released featuring a pretty great live theme preview feature. Theme developers will need to do a few things to make their themes compatible. Upgrade!

Matt Mullenweg on a much more simple WordPress

First, yes please.

Now, Matt Mullenweg on what tablets should mean to WordPress:

How we democratize publishing on that sort of platform will not and should not work like WordPress’ current dashboard does. It’s not a matter of a responsive stylesheet or incremental UX improvements, it’s re-imagining and radically simplifying what we currently do, thinking outside the box of wp-admin.

I’m sort of disappointed that WordPress used to set the trends and now it simply reacts to them. However, I’m very happy that the most influential person in the WordPress world is now focusing on making it easier to publish from something other than the typical computer set up.

I can publish to my blog using my iPhone or iPad. But it is painful when compared to publishing from my Macbook Pro.

The WordPress.com API

Interesting. WordPress.com now has an API. Which is slightly different than WordPress simply having the use of the decade old Meta-Weblog API. This opens up features on WordPress.com like reblogging, following, etc.

It will be interesting to see what comes of this.

WordPress Post formats Admin UI

WordPress 3.1 exhibited an underlying feature that didn’t reveal itself in the UI in much of any way. Post formats. Post formats are sort of like categories of posts but are used to “handle” different post types in different ways. You can [read more about Post formats over on the WordPress Codex](http://codex.wordpress.org/Post_Formats).

[Crowd Favorite](http://crowdfavorite.com/) has [released an open source WordPress plugin](https://github.com/crowdfavorite/wp-post-formats) * that changes the Admin UI and sets up standards for a few different post formats. Here, their description is better:

>”The plugin is a completely additive solution that leverages the default WordPress functionality, while improving the UI and standardizing the names and presentation of custom fields that support the various post formats.”

Post formats has limitless possibilities as you extend WordPress from a simple blogging tool to a much more powerful CMS… but this plugin seems to focus on the modern day blogger.

This interests me in that I use categories to handle my different post formats. Which is how everyone that has ever used WordPress had to do it. I’ve got mobile photos, links, videos, and longer posts I call notes, and larger photos. It would be great to start using post formats to post different types of formats – I’m looking forward to digging into this.

* Side note: So glad Crowd Favorite switched to Github. I hope other WordPress developers quickly follow suit. In fact, I think WordPress.org should change the way they host WordPress plugins to git.

WordPress for iOS 2.9

A very, very nice update of [WordPress for iOS](http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wordpress/id335703880?mt=8) was been released. The application for iPhone and iPad now has a simple content editor and the QuickPhoto feature can now post images from your Library instead of going straight to the camera.

Although I wish the app supported Markdown format (rather than just HTML) I’ll take it.

Just in time for our trip to Ireland too.

*Update:* A small, yet very welcomed update, is that the Posts tab is now the default tab rather than the Comments tab. This makes things so much quicker. Again, a very, very nice update to WordPress for iOS.