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WordPress News Roundup – October 2021

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Here is what the month looked like in a nutshell. In-person WordCamps receive the green light to come back and WooCommerce has humble beginnings.

The month of September was a busy one for those in the WordPress media scene as it brought us a number of acquisitions, acqui-hires, and new products/projects to write about. Here is what the month looked like in a nutshell. In-person WordCamps receive the green light to come back and WooCommerce has humble beginnings.

WordPress News Roundup

Automattic Acqui-hires Frontity Team

The team that created the Frontity open-source framework was acqui-hired by Automattic. The team will focus on enhancing Gutenberg and the block editor in the core of WordPress. The Frontity framework will transition into an open-source project where users and developers will have more control in maintaining it.

Andrea Middleton Departs WordPress for Reddit

Andre Middleton who worked full-time on via Automattic for ten years as a community evangelist of sorts has left the WordPress scene to take a community-focused role at Reddit. In those ten years, she worked on a number of internal projects, including those related to WordCamp Central. To hear Middleton’s take on the last ten years of WordPress and to find out what’s next for her, check out this interview from WP Mainline.

Security Update for Gutenberg Template Library & Redux Framework published a security update for its Gutenberg Template Library and Redux Framework. The patch was released in early August after working with security research firm Wordfence who published details of the vulnerabilities in September.

“One vulnerability allowed users with lower permissions, such as contributors, to install and activate arbitrary plugins and delete any post or page via the REST API. A second vulnerability allowed unauthenticated attackers to access potentially sensitive information about a site’s configuration,” Ram Gall said.

Web3 WP Launches Wapuu NFT Project

Aaron Edwards, CTO of IncSub and Joshua Dailey, CMO of Infinite Uploads launched their first experiment to see how Web3 technologies intersect with open-source. The first project is a Wapuu NFT collection featuring 2,222 different Wapuus that can be minted, including a few special editions. Half of the proceeds are donated to the WordPress Foundation. Although minting was opened during the middle of the month, there are still plenty of Wapuus that are available.

WordPress 5.9 Scheduled for December 14th

In a roadmap published on the WordPress Core blog, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, WordPress Executive Director, outlined the proposed scope of 5.9. The main goal for WordPress 5.9 is to bring Full-site Editing to the masses. There’s also a good chance that it will introduce a new default theme.

Automattic Acquires Social Image Generator

Automattic has acqui-hired Daniel Post, creator of the Social Image Generator plugin. This plugin automatically created images based on text and other factors to create more shareable content through social media. Daniel will work on the Jetpack team rolling the plugin’s features into one or more of Jetpack’s paid tiers. SIG is no longer available for purchase and current customers will be able to use the plugin as-is for the foreseeable future.

Termly Adjusts Free Tier Limits After Vocal Criticism

After Termly was acquired earlier this year, the plugin was overhauled. As part of the overhaul, the free tier was limited to 100 visitors. Once users hit this limit, the cheapest option available was $180 which made quite a few people upset. Termly has since revised the 100 visitors limit to 10,000 visitors.

WordPress 5.8.1 Patched Three Security Vulnerabilities

WordPress 5.8.1 squashed 60 bugs and patched three security vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities affected WordPress versions 5.4 to 5.8. For a full list of changes that took place, check out this Trac report.

WP Engine Launches Faust.js

WP Engine has entered the JavaScript framework arena with a solution of their own called Faust. Faust.js is a way for developers to build headless WordPress sites. Some of the features of this new framework include GraphQL support, content previews, authentication, React, React Hooks, and Custom Post Types.

In-person WordCamps Receive the Green Light

The WordPress community team announced that they would begin to accept in-person WordCamp applications again. In-person WordCamps will have to follow some new guidelines. The first is that local health authorities say that people can gather in-person. The second is that the region passes the in-person safety checklist or if the region doesn’t pass the in-person safety checklist, but vaccines or COVID tests are available for anyone who wants them.

Survery Says: ZIP Files Are The Preferred Method of Uploading a Theme Update

Based on the results of a six-week survey, Theme authors prefer uploading themes to the directory via ZIP files. Git or Github, integration, direct SVN access, and anything other than ZIP, SVN, and Git rounded out the results. The survey was conducted to gain feedback on how theme authors would like to upload updates to their themes in the future.

PostStatus Launches Get Hired Podcast

If you’re looking for a podcast that explores the skills and traits employers are looking for as well as employment trends in the WordPress community, give this show a listen. It’s hosted by Cory Miller and Courtney Robinson.

Awesome Motive Acquires Sandhills Development

After ten plus years of working in the WordPress space, Pippin Williamson decided it was time to move on. Awesome Motive, founded by Syed Balkhi acquired Sandhills Development and all of the products under the Sandhills umbrella including AffiliateWP and Easy Digital Downloads. Pippin published a detailed post explaining it was time and that some personal things in his life motivated his decision.

For me, the time to begin seeking out acquisition offers came earlier this year when my dad had a heart attack that put him in the hospital for several days and landed him with an extended recovery period. While he was in the hospital a second time, a harsh reality set in: my dad is only a few years from being the one sitting in that chair while we cut firewood. That was a stark reminder of the brevity of our time on this earth, helping me recognize and remember just how important it was for me to spend as much quality time with my family as possible.

Pippin Williamson

Syed Balkhi explains in a post of his own that the move is full-circle for him.

These brands are very close to my heart because when I first started selling premium plugins in 2013, we used Easy Digital Downloads, and we still use EDD to power our eCommerce. This is one of those rare life moments where things have come full circle, and I honestly feel like I’m living in a dream.

Syed Balkhi

Existing users can expect to see continuous updates to the various Sandhills products with more substantial developments coming in the future.

StellarWP Acquires LearnDash

Liquid Web acquired LearnDash and placed it under their umbrella of WordPress products and services known as StellarWP. LearnDash is a Learning Management System that enables users to create quizzes, learning experiences, and full-blown courses with built-in support for a myriad of e-commerce solutions.

Unlike many acquisitions where the product is absorbed into something else or the founders move on after a few months, StellarWP makes a point to keep the products and teams together. In essence, StellarWP is creating a super team of people and companies that can leverage the strengths of each other. StellarWP says the acquisition will likely translate into new integrations and collaborations. Chris Lema, Liquid Web’s Vice President of Products, is switching his role to become the General Manager of LearnDash.

WooCommerce Acqui-hires SomewhereWarm

WooCommerce has acqui-hired the employees of SomewhereWarm in addition to their WooCommerce extensions. SomewhereWarm is responsible for creating some of the most popular extensions on the WooCommerce marketplace including, Product Bundles, Composite Products, and Gift Cards. The acquisition brings the SomewhereWarm team in-house to work directly with the WooCommerce team and other Automatticians. Existing customers can expect no significant changes to their subscriptions.

WooCommerce Turns 10

WooCommerce celebrated its 10 year anniversary by looking back at how far the plugin has come from its inception. Meanwhile, those who are not familiar with the history of WooCommerce and how it came to be can catch up by reading this article on WP Tavern from Sarah Gooding. In terms of WordPress history, how WooCommerce was created is what I consider to be a milestone moment. There was a lot more involved than simply forking code.

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