During the State of the Word at WordCamp US 2019, Matt Mullenweg shared that Gutenberg was used to create his slides and the presentation was powered by the Slides plugin. Using WordPress to power a slide deck isn’t an obvious choice, so we wanted to showcase the process and give some tips for making slide layouts using Gutenberg.
This post is co-written by Ella and Tammie, who (along with Mel, Mark, Enrique, Qand a cast of supporters) helped create this year’s State of the Word slide deck.
How it Started
Ella Van Durpe was selected to speak at JSConf and ReactEurope and wanted slides for her presentation.
For these new presentations, she wanted to use Reveal.js again but didn’t feel like writing all the HTML by hand. Creating blocks of content visually, without having to actually write any code, which can be published natively to the web, is exactly what Gutenberg was built for.
The plugin was prototyped quickly, with hardcoded styles on the slides and zero options. At the end of each presentation, Ella shared a brief demo of the Gutenberg-based slides and the audience was amazed.
As WordCamp US approached, Ella suggested that her plugin be used for State of the Word. Since it was such a hit with her audience members, it seemed like this would be a great chance to share it with the WordPress community as a whole.
This security and maintenance release features 46 fixes and enhancements. Plus, it adds a number of security fixes—see the list below.
WordPress 5.3.1 is a short-cycle maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.4.
You can download WordPress 5.3.1 by clicking the button at the top of this page, or visit your Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now.
If you have sites that support automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process.
Four security issues affect WordPress versions 5.3 and earlier; version 5.3.1 fixes them, so you’ll want to upgrade. If you haven’t yet updated to 5.3, there are also updated versions of 5.2 and earlier that fix the security issues.
Props to Daniel Bachhuber for finding an issue where an unprivileged user could make a post sticky via the REST API.
Props to the WordPress.org Security Team for hardening wp_kses_bad_protocol() to ensure that it is aware of the named colon attribute.
Props to Nguyen The Duc for discovering a stored XSS vulnerability using block editor content.
Here are a few of the highlights:
Administration: improvements to admin form controls height and alignment standardization (see related dev note), dashboard widget links accessibility and alternate color scheme readability issues (see related dev note).
Bundled themes: add customizer option to show/hide author bio, replace JS based smooth scroll with CSS (see related dev note) and fix Instagram embed CSS.
Date/time: improve non-GMT dates calculation, fix date format output in specific languages and make get_permalink() more resilient against PHP timezone changes.
Embeds: remove CollegeHumor oEmbed provider as the service doesn’t exist anymore.
External libraries: update sodium_compat.
Site health: allow the remind interval for the admin email verification to be filtered.
Uploads: avoid thumbnails overwriting other uploads when filename matches, and exclude PNG images from scaling after upload.
Users: ensure administration email verification uses the user’s locale instead of the site locale.
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 Jill Binder
Jill Binder never meant to become an activist. She insists it was an accident.
Despite that, Jill has led the Diversity Outreach Speaker Training working group in the WordPress Community team since 2017. This group is dedicated to increasing the number of women and other underrepresented groups who are stepping up to become speakers at WordPress Meetups, WordCamps, and events.
Jill’s back story
Jill’s WordPress story begins in 2011, in Vancouver, Canada. Jill secured an internship for her college program, working on a higher education website that was built in WordPress. As a thank you, her practicum advisor bought Jill a ticket to WordCamp Vancouver 2011: Developer’s Edition. After that Jill began freelancing with WordPress as a Solopreneur.
First steps in the WordPress community
The following year her internship advisor, who had become a client, was creating the first ever BuddyCamp for BuddyPress. He asked Jill to be on his organizing team. At that event she also moderated a panel that had Matt Mullenweg on it. Then, Jill was invited to be on the core organizing team for WordCamp Vancouver.
Part of this role meant reviewing and selecting speakers. From 40 speaker applications that could be a fit the team had to pick only 14 to speak.
The diversity challenge when selecting speakers
For anyone who has organized a conference, you know that speaker selection is hard. Of the 40 applications, 7 were from women, and the lead organizer selected 6 of those to be included in the speaker line up.
At this point Jill wasn’t aware that very few women apply to speak at tech conferences and suggested selection should be made on the best fit for the conference. The team shared that not only did they feel the pitches were good and fit the conference, but they also needed to be accepted or the Organizers would be criticized for a lack of diversity.
Selecting women for fear of criticism is embarrassing to admit, but that’s how people felt in 2013.
By the time the event happened, though, the number of women speakers dropped to 4. And with an additional track being added, the number of speakers overall was up to 28. Only 1 speaker in 7 was a woman (or 14%) and attendees did ask questions and even blogged about the lack of representation.
What keeps women from applying?
Later that year at WordCamp San Francisco—the biggest WordCamp at the time (before there was a WordCamp US)—Jill took the opportunity to chat with other organizers about her experience. She found out that many organizers had trouble getting enough women to present.
Surprisingly Vancouver had a high number of women applicants in comparison to others, and the consensus was more would be accepted if only more would apply.
Jill decided that she needed to know why this was happening? Why weren’t there more women applying? She started researching, reading, and talking to people.
Though this issue is complex, two things came up over and over:
“What would I talk about?”
“I’m not an expert on anything. I don’t know enough about anything to give a talk on it.”
A first workshop with encouraging results
Then Jill had an idea. She brought up the issue at an event and someone suggested that they should get women together in a room and brainstorm speaker topics.
So Jill became the lead of a small group creating a workshop in Vancouver: the talented Vanessa Chu, Kate Moore Hermes, and Mandi Wise. In one of the exercises that they created, participants were invited to brainstorm ideas—this proved that they had literally a hundred topic ideas and the biggest problem then became picking just one!
In the first workshop, they focussed on:
Why it matters that women (added later: diverse groups) are in the front of the room
The myths of what it takes to be the speaker at the front of the room (aka beating impostor syndrome)
Different presentation formats, especially story-telling
Finding and refining a topic
Tips to become a better speaker
Leveling up by speaking in front of the group throughout the afternoon
Leading to workshops across North America and then the world
Other cities across North America heard about the workshop and started hosting them, adding their own material.
Many women who initially joined her workshop wanted help getting even better at public speaking. So Jill’s Vancouver team added in some material created from the other cities and a bit more of their own. Such as:
Coming up with a great title
Writing a pitch that is more likely to get accepted
Writing a bio
Creating an outline
At WordCamp Vancouver 2014—only one year since Jill started—there were 50% women speakers and 3 times the number of women applicants! Not only that, but this WordCamp was a Developer’s Edition, where it’s more challenging to find women developers in general, let alone those who will step up to speak.
More work is needed!
Impressive as those results were, the reason Jill is so passionate about this work is because of what happened next:
Some of the women who attended the workshop stepped up to be leaders in the community and created new content for other women.
A handful of others became WordCamp organizers. One year Vancouver had an almost all-female organizing team – 5 out of 6!
It also influenced local businesses. One local business owner loved what one of the women speakers said so much that he hired her immediately. She was the first woman developer on the team, and soon after she became the Senior Developer.
Diversity touches on many levels
Jill has seen time and again what happens when different people speak at the front of the room. More people feel welcome in the community. The speakers and the new community members bring new ideas and new passions that help to make the technology we are creating more inclusive. And together we generate new ideas that benefit everyone.
This workshop was so successful, with typical results of going from 10% to 40-60% women speakers at WordCamps, that the WordPress Global Community Team asked Jill to promote it and train it for women and all diverse groups around the world. In late 2017, Jill started leading the Diverse Speaker Training group (#wpdiversity).
Dozens of community members across the world have now been trained to lead the workshop. With now dozens of workshops worldwide, for WordPress and other open source software projects as well, there is an increase in speaker diversity.
As a result of the success, Jill is now sponsored to continue the program. The first sponsor is Automattic. She’s proud of how the diversity represented on the stage adds value not only to the brand but also in the long-term will lead to the creation of a better product. She’s inspired by seeing the communities change as a result of the new voices and new ideas at the WordPress events.
Jill’s leadership in the development and growth of the Diversity Outreach Speaker Training initiative has had a positive, measurable impact on WordPress community events worldwide. When WordPress events are more diverse, the WordPress project gets more diverse — which makes WordPress better for more people.”
Andrea Middleton, Community organizer on the WordPress open source project
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.
November has been a big month in the WordPress community. New releases, big events, and a push for more contributors have characterized the work being done across the project — read on to find out more!
You can read the full details of all the included enhancements in the 5.3 Field Guide.
Along with 5.3 came the new Twenty Twenty theme, which gives users more design flexibility and integrates with the block editor. For more information about the improvements to the block editor, expanded design flexibility, the Twenty Twenty theme, and to see the huge list of amazing contributors who made this release possible, read the full announcement.
bbPress 2.6 was released on November 12 after a little over six years in development. This new release includes per-forum moderation, new platforms to import from, and an extensible engagements API. You can read more about all of this in the bbPress codex.
Version 2.6.1 and 2.6.2 quickly followed, both of which fixed a number of bugs that required immediate attention.
WordCamp US 2019 was held in St. Louis, MO this year on November 1-3. At the event, @matt gave his annual State of the Word address, during which he shared what had been accomplished in the past year, announced what is coming next, and shared several ways to get involved.
During the State of the Word, Matt announced that there is now a dedicated landing page for Five for the Future, which features the people and organizations that commit at least it 5% of their resources to the WordPress open source project. There are many ways to contribute to WordPress, such as core development, marketing, translation, training, and community organizing, among many other important paths to contribution.
Five for the Future welcomes individuals and organizations, and highlights all the incredible ways we build WordPress together. For more information, visit the Five for the Future page.
Version 2.2 of the WordPress Coding Standards has been released — this new release is ready for WordPress 5.3, includes five brand new sniffs, and plenty of new command-line documentation.
The latest update to the Theme Review Coding Standards, v0.2.1, is compatible with v2.2 of the WordPress Coding Standards, and helps authors to build more standards-compatible themes.
The WordCamp US team has announced the dates for next year’s event in St. Louis, MO — WordCamp US 2020 will be held on October 27-29. This will be the first time that the event will be held during the week and not on a weekend. The team has also announced a Call for Organizers. If you are interested in joining the team, learn more.
The WP Notify project, which is building a unified notification system for WordPress Core, is on hiatus until January 2020.