WordPress Cambridge Meetup

The WordPress Cambridge Meetup is a monthly get together for developers and users of WordPress, held at The Boathouse usually on the second, or third Monday of the month.

You can usually expect to see 2-3 talks and an open Q&A session, followed by drinks in the pub.

Find out more about WordPress, whether you’re trying to decide if you should use it, or if you’re an expert that wants to keep on top of the latest features, or anywhere in between – everyone is welcome.

So come along to see how WordPress can benefit your organisation, and get specific advise on any WordPress questions you may have.

If you’re interested in coming along, please let us know at our Meetup page.

Subscribe to our Mailing list/Google group
Follow us on Twitter
Like our Facebook page
Subscribe to us on Youtube

See you at the WPCBG Meetup!

Practical WordPress Security with Tim Nash

Tim Nash (@tnash) from 34SP joined us on Monday 14 May to share his knowledge of WordPress security.

Tim Nash

You can see slides from Tim’s recent talks on security here

Tim’s said:

Thanks folks who came to my Practical Security talk at WP Cambridge last night.

Today it’s time to take action we covered a lot of stuff so where to start?

Here are 3 things to do right now.

1. DONT PANIC
2. Remove all admin roles and replace with editors
3. test your backups

 

The Gutenberg Block What I Wrote

Lightening talk given by me (Ben Attenborough) at the WordPress Cambridge meeting on 14 May 2018. Slides below:

Click on image to open pdf

Links:

Code on github:

https://github.com/BenAttenborough/rba-codeblock

Zac Gordon’s Gutenberg course:

https://gutenberg.courses/development/

Code Mirror

http://codemirror.net/2/

See also:

https://codemirror.net/

Gutenberg Code Editor component

https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg/tree/master/components/code-editor

Resources for building accessible websites using WP

The resources below accompany the talk on accessible website design, from both user and developer perspectives, given by Zuzana Kunckova and Elisabeth Klaar at the March 2018 meeting of Cambridge WordPress Meetup.

Reasons for making your site accessible to everyone

Disability affects 1 in 5 of the UK population – that’s 12.9 million people who will find it easier to be your customers or site user if your site is accessible to them. An infographic from A Bright Clear Web gives further facts and figures to motivate you to make your site accessible. Fully referenced at the bottom of the page.

Also worth reading is Zuzana Kunckova’s medium article ‘Is your website accessible? If not you may be losing money!’

You can also learn more about the Social Model of Disability on Wikipedia.

Design principles

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative’s guide to Accessible Design Principles will get you up to speed on the key principles (make your site Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust) of accessible design.

Accessibility tips for beginners/users/non-coders

WPBeginner has a useful introductory article giving ‘non-coder’ tips for improving accessibility

The WP Accessiblity Plug-in developed by Joe Dolson is also an excellent way to configure your site if you are concerned it’s not accessible but you don’t want to change themes.

Adding images, text and video

A Bright Clear Web has an excellent ‘how to’ blog piece on adding alt text to images in the right way.

Foxland’s article on accessible content covers all bases from a user perspective – headings, video, images and more.

The UK Government has produced some fantastic posters about accessibility and website design, indicating the various ways the users with different impairments can benefit from tweaks in use of colour, in particular.

There are particular considerations for sharing information with people who have a learning difficulty, and the technique of Easy Read has been developed to help with this.

Accessibility for developers

The W3C guidelines for accessibility are a key resource

The WordPress Accessibility Handbook

There are also many articles on WebAIM going into detail about many aspects of accessibility, including intros/guidelines for key areas.

WAI-ARIA guidelines: https://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria-1.1/

Tools for assessing accessibility

HTML validator – https://validator.w3.org/ Chrome/Firefox Developer tools aXe Firefox and Chrome browsers extention WAVE – accessibility checker https://wave.webaim.org/ (also a chrome extension) Readibility checker – https://www.webpagefx.com/tools/read-able/ Contrast ration checker – http://leaverou.github.io/contrast-ratio/ Accessibility checklist – https://github.com/Heydon/inclusive-design-checklist

Courses, for if you want to take it further

Udacity course on Accessible website design (general)

https://github.com/mgifford/a11y-courses (general)

WordPress: Accessibility on Lynda (WordPress specific)

People/groups to follow on twitter or on their blogs

The following people tweet or blog regularly about issues concerning accessibility and WordPress:

Joe Dolson   @joedolson

Claire Brotherton  @abrightclearweb

Graham Armfield  @coolfields

Adrian Roselli   @aardrian

Sami Keijonen  @samikeijonen

Rian Rietveld    @rianrietveld

WordPress.tv

And don’t forget to check out the useful and interesting videos on WordPress.tv, in particular those exploring issues to do with accessibility. Typcially, these are videos of talks given at WordCamps around the world and are a useful resource for learning about many aspects of WordPress.

Useful WordPress Courses

Here are some useful WordPress courses. Do you have any others you’d like to add? Let us know!

General WP Courses

WPShout – described as “In-Depth WordPress Tutorials for Developers”

Free Code Camp (free, natch) – Very accessible and of course free, so if you don’t get on with it you don’t lose anything. I don’t think there is a lot of WordPress conent (feel free to correct me on this!) But it does have a tonne of JS and React stuff

WP101 – Described as Easy WordPress video tutorials for beginners. I’ve heard this is the go to place for beginners. Haven’t tried it myself though

Press Ups – A more personal way to learn WP? (Again I haven’t tried it). Looks like lots of short free WordPress screencasts

KnowTheCode (paid) – A huge resource of videos for developers, including a selection of free ones. I found the delivery style of the videos a bit difficult. But it’s probably the most comprehensive resource out there. Learn how to build themes and plugins “the right way”. Learn local development as well. Seemed to have a bit of a bias towards building sites using the Genesis theme as a framework.

Gutenberg courses

Gutenberg Development Courses (online, paid for) featuring instructors Zac Gordon and Joe Casabona. Joe teaches users about how do use the new Gutenberg interface and Zac teaches developers how to develop for Gutenberg, including how to upgrade an older site to be compatible with Gutenberg.

The course will cost you $79 (about £55) but there is a discount for ($49) if you use the discount code earlyadopter (see WP Tavern)

I’ve done courses with Zac before and found them very friendly and useful.

Creatorcourses – Another Gutenberg specific course. One of our members has enrolled so should have some feedback soon. There’s also a discount via the Gutenberg Courses above.

CSS / Design courses

Wes Bos has announce a new CSS Grid course (online, paid for) . If you’re new to CSS Grid or want to know more, check it out.

Learn JS Deeply courses

This is more of an aside than a course suggestion. The future of WordPress development is going to require a deep understanding of JavaScript include the new stuff in ES2015/16/18 and the use of frameworks like React.

Matt Mullenweg goes into some detail about why learning JS deeply will be important for developers in this video:

So, does anyone have any good suggestions for how to learn JS deeply?

I’ve been doing the Advanced Web Developer Bootcamp (online, paid for) on Udemy, which isn’t WordPress specific but does have an excellent section on the latest JS (ES2015 / 16 / 17) and a section on React (you need to know the latest JS to develop for react because it makes heavy use of modern JS features).

Videos

Jakson – Short YouTube videos that tackle many aspects of WordPress development.

Here’s a taster:

24 resources for learning WordPress

Here’s a timely article from regular speaker and co-organiser of the WordPress Cambridge Meetup group, Steven Watts of Newt Labs on some of the best resources for learning WordPress. Includes a selection of some of the best WordPress courses, blogs and Youtube channels for 2018.

Summing up

If you have any course suggestions for wither users or developers? Let us know!

Next Meetup: Gutenberg: Learn the Future of WordPress 12-02-2018

The word "Gutenberg" in metal moveable type

Getting to know Gutenberg – Monday 12 February 2018 6.45pm to 9.45pm, The Bradfield Centre, Central Working, Cambridge

See: Meetup for up to date details

Gutenberg is the name for the new editor focus in WordPress. It is the future of WordPress, and will make creating websites much, much simpler. Tammie Lister will take you through a rough guide to the project. How it began and why it’s needed. Then, she will show you where the project is currently at and finally how you can also get involved. Join her and get to know Gutenberg.

Tammie Lister
Tammie works at Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com as an experience designer. She has a varied background including psychology, design, front end development and user experience. She is a contributor to WordPress and is currently the design lead for Gutenberg.

In other words Tammie is a leading UK expert on Gutenberg. We are hugely honoured she has made the time to present Gutenberg to us. Our meetup group website: https://wpcbg.uk/ with old presentations. Thanks Steve.

Thank you to TwinDots our sponsors

This meeting is sponsored by Twin Dots, the leading branding, design and development agency in Newmarket. Twin Dots has clients like Cambridge Marketing College, 450 GSM, Racing Welfare, and Devam the jewellers.

The usual format:

18:45: Roll up for a couple of beers in the foyer, & chat, mingle etc.

19:15 start: Everyone introduces themselves: 20 seconds max, mainly describing their involvement with WordPress.

2. Up to 4 * 3 minute pitches. Share discoveries, useful tips, requests for help with charitable projects. 3: WordPress News with our star reporter Ben Attenborough.

4. Main presentation Tammie Lister, Gutenberg

5. Clinic: Bring along a problem, and the audience will offer advice. If we can’t, maybe we’ll have a solution by next meeting. Kinda aiming to finish the formal part by about 21:00, depending on everyone’s enthusiasm to chat & discuss.

6. Beer & networking: We should leave by about 21:45 at the latest.

WordPress News – WP 4.9.1 and State of the Word 2017

Top stories

WordPress 4.9.1 Released

Mostly a security and maintenance release (point releases are normally bug and security fixes).

Fixes page template issue:

4.9 introduced an error whereby users would discover that page templates wouldn’t appear in the Template drop down when editing a page.

See more at: WP Tavern

Gutenberg 1.8 Released, includes block templates for custom post types

Block Templates – allows developers to specify where to display custom fields when defining custom post types

Improved design of tool menu – include a space for where plugin extensions will appear in future

Ability to filter by block type – so developers will be able to specify which block types a custom post type can use

Better UI features – Including improve colour picker, contrast checker and tooltips.

State of the Word 2017

Matt Mullenweg, original developer of WordPress, has delivered his annual State of the Word address at the US WordCamp.

To see the entire speech here:

Key takeaways:

Note these are just my scribbled notes from the video, not a verbatim account. Please see the video for the exact exchanges. – Ben Attenborough

Tide project

Tide aims to clean up plugin directory. Runs tests against the plugin directory – allows user to see status of tests.

Gives devs info on how to improve plugins and fix bugs – lets user know which plugins have issues

Links to GitHub so people can automatically raise issues and help fix them.

There’s a slack channel for tide

Growth Council

Will discuss ways WP can grow.

HTTPS

36% of WP sites are over https more than double last year.

This year’s focuses

This year there has been a focus of customisation:

  • Improvements for adding images, videos, audio and text to sidebars (widget areas- could also be header, footer or within the body)
  • New dashboard widget for meet ups – attendances have gone up 30% on average since this was introduced.
  • Drafting and scheduling for customiser.
  • Syntax highlighting to css and code editors
  • No default theme this year.
  • WP-CLI has become an official WordPress project

Gutenberg

Gutenberg is longest running feature development WP has ever had, now more than 11 months, 18 iterations

It’s an effort to simplify everything that goes on in the editor – short codes, widgets, menus and random stuff in TinyMCE into the concept of a block.

Gutenberg expected to be ready by April.

Mission to democratise publishing

Classic editor plugin.

If you think April is too soon to start using Gutenberg, install the Classic Editor Plugin now – will make sure that old editor will continue to be used.

Next step: Gutenberg-based site optimisation

Blocks to lay out the whole site.

Next year’s focuses

Gutenberg Editing

Gutenberg Customisations

Gutenberg Theme

Q&A (See 1:02.00 in video)

Note these are just my scribbled notes of the Q and A, not a verbatim account. Please see the video for the exact exchanges. – Ben Attenborough

Q: Question about page builders and is Gutenberg unfair to creators of page builder plugins as it will replace their functionality

MM: Lots of different page builder plugins, which shows how much demand there is for page building functionality

But problem is it is hard for plugins to work with page builders because each builder works differently. If Gutenberg presents a standard way for building posts and pages it makes it much easier for plugin developers to build applications that work in the expected way.

Will create opportunities for devs.

Q: Fields API – Will it be necessary to continue to have a fields API

MM: Gutenberg will cover a lot of bases for fields, but not everything so a fields API will still be necessary.

Question about WYSIWYG

MM: Will be editing on dashboard not literally on front end. But it will be a lot closer to a true WYSIWYG experience.

Q: Could we get a split community where some people will be on classic mode and some on Gutenberg. How will we get beyond these two worlds?

MM: You really do need to develop for Gutenberg and I’m okay if you drop support for Classic.

Q: Concern that users may find Gutenberg harder to use.

MM: We are building for people new to publishing and websites

Structure will be more intuitive. Ever have an image which is right aligned and you try to move it and move it inside a link and it’s a bit of a mess? Gutenberg is trying to fix that.

Q: If I’m creating sites for clients, I’m putting onus on users to design. What would be great is if I can add certain blocks to a CPT and say that’s it.

MM: Yes, it will be possible to lock down which block types a user will have access to.

Q: Front end responsive issue. There are circumstances where things have to change on different screens. So if the user specifies a 80px font size for a heading, it is not going to be 80px on a mobile phone. How are you going to control this?

MM: We are going to err on the side of letting people do stuff. Including being able to mess it up, but allow themes and plugins to bring in the guard rails a lot more.

Q: Concerned about changes Gutenberg will force on to customers.

MM: Today there is an opt-in plugin. New plugin will give a specific opt out. Trying to provide a gradual ramp. Trying to learn from Gutenberg because going to make big changes in the future.

Q: Are you concerned about React?

MM: Think that React is the future and can fork from the GPL version of React if future React version introduce bad things.

Cross compiling from other language possible.

My thoughts

Gutenberg is happening, and although there will be ways to continue with the old TinyMCE editor it is clearly the direction of travel.

At 1:10.55 Matt gets a question about the danger of “two worlds” one where people use Gutenberg and one where people use classic. Matt responds by saying that over time users will expect everything to work with Gutenberg and demand for classic will fall away.

It was interesting to me that Matt Mullenweg actually says “at some point” he will be fine with plugin developers dropping support for the pre-Gutenberg world (See around  1:14.00). Once plugin start dropping support for classic, people are going to have to either stay still or move ahead under Gutenberg.

It certainly feels like Gutenberg is the future and developers and users will not be able to ignore it, or at least not for long.

Furthermore it seems that the Gutenberg philosophy of using content “blocks” will also be extended into designing pages. It looks like a page building system, like ones such as Beaver Builder, will eventually be part of WordPress core. What will this mean for existing sites built with a page builder system? Will they need to be redesigned using the Gutenberg builder?

This will be controversial, but I’m optimistic that eventually this will be a good thing for users, as it will give them more access to design their own pages and posts without having to code. Hopefully it will also be good news for developers, as they will be able to build sites which give users more customisation options without having to introduce a slew of plugins or custom code.

WordPress News – WP Version 4.9, GDPR, RobotNinja and more

Hello, here are the  notes from the WordPress News section tonight’s WordPress Cambridge meeting (November 13, 2017).

Slides are here (all content is replicated in the post below, so take your pick):

WordPress News slides. Click to open PDF

WordPress News is a new part of the meetup. A quick 10 minute update on all things WordPress. Feel free to give feedback on the presentation.

Top Stories

WordPress 4.9 due to be released tomorrow

For full feature summary see: https://codex.wordpress.org/Version_4.9

New features include:

Save and Schedule Theme Changes in Customizer

WordPress 4.9 will introduce saving theme customizations as draft. Now when you make changes to a theme using the customizer, you will have an option to save your changes as a draft instead of making them live.

This new feature will also allow you to share the preview of changes with a url. You can send this URL to any user, and they will be able to see your website with the changes made in that particular draft.

Want to publish your theme changes at a specific time? WordPress 4.9 will also allow you to schedule changes.

For more information on this see:

http://www.wpbeginner.com/news/whats-coming-in-wordpress-4-9-features-and-screenshots/

https://make.wordpress.org/core/tag/4.9+dev-notes/

Add shortcodes and embedded media into widget areas

WordPress 4.8 brought media widgets including rich text, audio, image, and video. WordPress 4.9 will introduce the new gallery widget, as well as shortcodes and embedded media.

This will allow users to better access to adding content into widget areas. For example sidebars, header and footer areas.

As an example contact form plugins often generate a shortcode which you add to a page or post to display. Now you will be able to also add such a form to a footer on your site.

See: https://wptavern.com/wordpress-4-9-will-support-shortcodes-and-embedded-media-in-the-text-widget

Better user management for activating plugins

It is now possible to manage capabilities for activating and deactivating plugins more granularly through the following new capabilities:

activate_plugin checks whether a user can activate a specific plugin. When checking the capability, it gets passed the plugin file (such as current_user_can( ‘activate_plugin’, ‘my-plugin/my-plugin.php’ )).

deactivate_plugin works similar to activate_plugin, but checks whether a user can deactivate a specific plugin as the name indicates.

deactivate_plugins allows to check whether a user can generally deactivate plugins

See: https://make.wordpress.org/core/2017/10/15/improvements-for-roles-and-capabilities-in-4-9/

WordPress 4.9 Protects Users From Fatal Errors Created in the Theme and Plugin Editors

Over the years, there have been many discussions and debates on whether or not WordPress should have a built-in file editor for themes and plugins. The file editors, while convenient, allow users to easily trigger fatal errors that can be difficult to fix, especially if they don’t have FTP access.

Instead of removing the editors from core, the WordPress development team has enhanced them by adding fatal error protection in WordPress 4.9. When a user accesses the theme or plugin editor for the first time, they’re presented with warnings.

If you try to save changes to a file and WordPress detects a fatal error, the change is not saved and a warning message is displayed that explains where the error occurred

In addition to safety features, the code editors are powered by CodeMirror, an open-source, JavaScript powered text editor that adds features such as line numbers. The plugin editor includes the ability to look up documentation for filters, hooks, and actions with many of the links pointing to the new WordPress Developers Resource site.

See: https://wptavern.com/wordpress-4-9-protects-users-from-fatal-errors-created-in-the-theme-and-plugin-editors

Better mapping for widget areas when switching between themes

Sometimes widget areas and even menus could become ‘lost’ when switching themes, because different themes have different names for menus and widget areas. 4.9 tries to fix this by trying to match up widget and menu areas from one theme to another.

Other news

GDPR for WordPress Project Seeks to Provide a Standard for Plugin Compliance

WordCamp Denmark organizer Kåre Mulvad Steffensen and WP Pusher creator Peter Suhm are working on a GDPR for WordPress project that aims to provide an industry standard for getting plugins compliant with EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation. The deadline for compliance is May 28, 2018, approximately 200 days from now.

See https://www.gdprwp.com/

Woocomerce – Introduces Robot Ninja

A tool to provide continuous testing of your site’s storefront, which provides warning if functionality fails, so you can make quick corrections and avoid a loss of sales

Find out more at https://robotninja.com/blog/introducing-robot-ninja/

Gutenberg Development Advances

Up until the release on October 24, Gutenberg did not support the meta boxes that so many WordPress content creators rely on. The new editor now has initial support for meta boxes as well as a host of other critical features for content creation.

WordPress 4.8.3 Security Release

At the end of October, WordPress 4.8.3 was released containing an important security fix for all previous versions of WordPress. If your WordPress installation has not updated automatically, please update it now to protect your site.

Take the 2017 Annual WordPress User Survey

The annual WordPress User Survey is a great opportunity for you to provide your feedback about how you use WordPress. This year is no exception, as the 2017 WordPress User Survey is out now. See https://wordpressdotorg.polldaddy.com/s/wordpress-2017-survey

October 2017 Meetup: Managing WordPress & WP Transients

Managing WordPress

Steven Watts of Newt Labs talked about WordPress management, which also included a quick introduction to Slack – an instant messaging/support system.

See the slides below:

Click on the image above to see the slide (pdf format)

This is a cut down version of the presentation, for more see https://www.slideshare.net/StevenWatts8/managing-wordpress

Takeaways: where to get help, how to setup a staging site, a backup strategy, quick security wins, eyes on your site, and a better understanding of quality hosting.

Slack – We at WordPress Cambridge have two channels. There are a bunch of UK channels, and also a bunch of international channels. You can stay in contact with the Cambridge group, and get help/support from the UK and internationally.

Newt Labs is a sponsor of our Meetup group. They provide site care for WordPress websites by providing unlimited small fixes, implementing best practices and taking care of ongoing technical tasks. Keeping WordPress sites secure and effective, from £49 a month.

WordPress Transients API

Adam Maltpress of http://maltpress.co.uk/ talked about the WordPress Transients API.

Transients help speed up your site by reducing the number of database queries needed to create a page. We discussed the code needed to start using transients in your theme or plugin as well as looking at a couple of ways of measuring your code’s performance while developing and testing. We also discussed some of the issues around caching content and the compromises involved.

See the slides below:

Transients API presentation cover
Click on the image above to see the slides (PDF format)