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6 min read Eric Karkovack
Editorials | speckyboy.com | 16 days ago

Is Nothing Sacred? The Pollution of the WordPress Dashboard

Going beyond the whole Jetpack issue, the constant nagging messages within the dashboard are too much.

Is Nothing Sacred? The Pollution of the WordPress Dashboard

Editorials | speckyboy.com | 16 days ago

There are any number of things to love about WordPress. Chiefly among them is the fact that it’s open source and free to use in any way you like. For web designers and their clients, this keeps costs down and lowers the barrier to building a first-class website. For plugin and theme authors, it provides an opportunity to tap into and benefit from a large, existing marketplace. Everyone’s a winner, right?
Well, it’s not always that simple. There are times when the various interests who have a stake in WordPress collide with a difference of opinion (see: Gutenberg). And it seems that we’ve hit another one of those points of contention: The WordPress dashboard.
An Unseemly Tactic?
Recently, there’s been some fervor over a “feature” in version 7.1 of Jetpack (since removed, as of version 7.2.1), the venerable Swiss-Army-Knife of a plugin by Automattic (a driving force behind WordPress) that offers a ton of various functionality. The plugin had started to promote its own paid products on the WordPress plugin search screen, placing itself first in line over everyone else.
Funny enough, this did not go unnoticed by members of the community (which likely

Community | speckyboy.com | Feb. 25, 2019

A Conversation with WordPress Evangelist Maddy Osman

A wide-ranging discussion about freelancing, content writing and the evolution of WordPress.

8 min read Eric Karkovack
Plugins | speckyboy.com | 6 days ago

Simple Ways to Customize WordPress Plugins

You don't need to be an expert to add custom functionality to a plugin. This post takes a look at a few ways to add your own touches.

Simple Ways to Customize WordPress Plugins

Plugins | speckyboy.com | 6 days ago

There are times when a WordPress plugin’s functionality gets you close to what you need – but not quite the whole way. In addition, there are also situations where you’ve committed to using a particular plugin and would like to build additional features around it. These are prime examples of why you’d want to customize or extend an existing WordPress plugin. It’s one of the really cool aspects of how the CMS allows us to build highly-custom websites. We can take a plugin we’re already using on our site and integrate extra functionality or usability items that help us to do more.
And, while it may sound like something reserved for seasoned developers, extending a plugin doesn’t require a PhD. Depending on what you’re looking to achieve, a basic understanding of PHP, HTML and CSS may be all you need to add some powerful features.
Today, we’ll review the process of choosing a plugin worth extending and some basics regarding what you can achieve.
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Finding the Right Plugin
The first part of this process is also the most important:

7 min read Eric Karkovack
Development | speckyboy.com | Feb. 7, 2019

Using the WordPress Classic Editor on New Websites

Because the Classic Editor is going to be around for a little while, does it make sense to use it on a new build?

Using the WordPress Classic Editor on New Websites

Development | speckyboy.com | Feb. 7, 2019

As software evolves, we can find ourselves having to adapt to new ways of doing things. There’s a learning curve involved that, while frustrating at first, becomes second nature once we have put in the requisite practice. WordPress, however, has provided us with a choice. We can adapt to the new Gutenberg block editor, or we can stick with the tried-and-true Classic editor.
Generally speaking, “legacy” solutions such as the Classic editor are often phased out rather quickly. Software developers tend to leave the old feature around just long enough for serious users to adapt and clean up any loose ends on existing projects. After that, it’s gone for good.
In the case of web design and development, that trend often means that we can squeeze some extra life out of a feature for our existing sites, while using the latest solution for new projects. But the Classic editor may be a different ball of wax.
Continuing Support
As you might have noticed, the road to get Gutenberg released with WordPress 5.0 was a bumpy one. There were a lot of ups and downs. Worst of all, an air of uncertainty left web professionals without a clear sense of how to approach both new and existing

7 min read Eric Karkovack
Development | speckyboy.com | Jan. 24, 2019

The Best Practices for Redesigning a Large WordPress Website

Some tips and special considerations when dealing with content-heavy WP sites.

The Best Practices for Redesigning a Large WordPress Website

Development | speckyboy.com | Jan. 24, 2019

Eventually, every website will require a redesign. And each one presents its own set of unique challenges. Among the most challenging are large, content-heavy WordPress websites. Why? For starters, they often come with several different types of content to account for. Plus, their existing setup may not be as ideal today as it was when the site was originally built. And, if content is regularly added or changed, this throws yet another monkey wrench into the works.
All told, there is a lot to consider. That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead. While there will always be pain points, being prepared will make the process that much smoother.
So, before you tackle that next redesign project, let’s review some ways to get into the best position for success.
Review the Content Structure
First up, you’ll want to take a close look at how content is structured. Even if you were the one who originally built the website, it’s still a good idea to refresh your memory.
Things to look for include:
Parent and child pages
Taxonomies such as categories and tags
Custom post types
Navigation menus
Once you have a better picture of how the existing content is set up, you

6 min read Eric Karkovack
Editorials | speckyboy.com | Aug. 9, 2018

Are Gutenberg’s Bad Reviews a Sign of Failure?

There are legitimate concerns about Gutenberg - but what do all of these bad reviews really mean?

Are Gutenberg’s Bad Reviews a Sign of Failure?

Editorials | speckyboy.com | Aug. 9, 2018

Perception is everything. And when the perception of your product or service isn’t very positive, it can really throw a monkey-wrench into your plans for success (just ask Windows 8). Frankly, it can be very difficult to shake free from this kind of negativity. At the moment, that’s what we’re seeing with the WordPress Gutenberg editor. As of this writing, the new editing experience hasn’t been merged into WordPress core, but is available in the form of a beta plugin. WordPress 4.9.8 included a call to test the plugin, which led to a huge leap in usage. With that came a flood of reviews – many of them negative.
But how big of a deal are those reviews? This is, after all, a piece of software that is still technically in beta form. Still, it seems like there is pent up frustration when it comes to Gutenberg. One wonders how this bodes for its future.
A Long Time Coming
Since the editor’s first beta plugin release back in June 2017, it seems the whole idea of the Gutenberg project has garnered controversy. Some developers have been miffed by the process for building out the new feature. Others have expressed concern about the effects it will have on

6 min read Eric Karkovack
Pro | speckyboy.com | Jan. 1, 2019

The Grumpy Designer's Bold Predictions for 2019

A very much tongue-in-cheek look at what will happen this year. Nothing will be the same!

The Grumpy Designer's Bold Predictions for 2019

Pro | speckyboy.com | Jan. 1, 2019

2019 is upon us and it has me thinking big. And since everyone else out there is telling you what will happen in the new year, I’m going to do the same thing: But with a twist. You see, this isn’t any old set of predictions. No, these will be more like trekking up a mountain to see a soothsayer. But only way better, since you won’t suffer from the fatigue of having to climb thousands of feet just to hear my thoughts.
This old grumpy designer has read literally tens of these “predict the year ahead” types of articles. And I’ve discovered that, although they mean well, they’re neither very fun or useful. So, I’m here to change the narrative.
But before we begin, just a word of warning. These predictions are absolutely huge. Like you’ve never seen before. And they are completely tongue-in-cheek, so don’t wager anything of value on them.
If you want to know what 2019 will bring, you’ve come to the right place. So, settle in with a cup of your favorite beverage and prepare to be dazzled.
Prediction #1: JavaScript Will Run Everything
I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t take full credit for this one. Back in

6 min read Eric Karkovack
Community | speckyboy.com | Mar. 4, 2019

Behind the Scenes of ClassicPress - the WordPress Alternative

A look at the genesis of ClassicPress, its goals and some thoughts on the challenges it faces.

Behind the Scenes of ClassicPress - the WordPress Alternative

Community | speckyboy.com | Mar. 4, 2019

WordPress 5.0 brought with it a lot of change and controversy. Most of the buzz surrounded the switch to a new block-based editor named Gutenberg. It seemed to have left a lot of people both frustrated and uncertain about the direction of their websites and even their careers. And for some, it prompted action. Among those who opted to act was developer Scott Bowler. In August 2018, he took it upon himself to create a fork of WordPress – one with the “classic” editor left in place and with a more community driven process for adding core features. Its name: ClassicPress.
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A Fork in the CMS Superhighway
It’s a big step, for sure. So, what drove such a large undertaking? The reason, according to the project’s marketing co-lead Michelle Coe, “We believe that WordPress wasn’t broken and didn’t need to be fixed by mandating a block editor. We also believe the pre-5.0 WordPress publishing experience was (and still is) a tried and tested solution complimented by a wide array of plugins that extend its functionality.”
Coe says that “By

7 min read Eric Karkovack
Community | speckyboy.com | Aug. 21, 2018

Building a WordPress Website with Gutenberg: Initial Observations

I put Gutenberg to work on a real project to see how it would hold up. The results weren't that bad.

Building a WordPress Website with Gutenberg: Initial Observations

Community | speckyboy.com | Aug. 21, 2018

If you’ve been following all the fuss regarding Gutenberg, the new WordPress editor, you know that many users have formed a very strong opinion of it. But, all the drama aside, what’s it like to actually build a website with it? As WordPress 5.0 creeps ever closer, I decided it was time to finally see what Gutenberg is capable of. While I had done a good bit of testing (perhaps better described as playing around), I hadn’t yet included the plugin version of the editor into my standard workflow.
I figured I’d start off fairly small. So, I installed Gutenberg on a brochure-style site that I’m redesigning. Below are a few thoughts on my experiences, while keeping in mind that this is still beta software that has several bugs left to iron out.
A New Way to Work
Having previously seen the Gutenberg UI, there were some basic expectations I had as to what I would be able to accomplish – things that I wouldn’t easily be able to do with the Classic editor:
Easily rearrange content
Create simple multicolumn layouts
Reuse customized content blocks in multiple places
Suffice it to say that I didn’t expect (nor want) a full-blown page builder type

5 min read Eric Karkovack
Tutorials | speckyboy.com | Dec. 10, 2018

How To Create Custom Blocks for Gutenberg with Block Lab

A little tutorial on creating custom Gutenberg blocks without getting knee-deep in JavaScript.

How To Create Custom Blocks for Gutenberg with Block Lab

Tutorials | speckyboy.com | Dec. 10, 2018

Of all the amazing things the new block editor (aka Gutenberg) for WordPress can do, the ability to create custom blocks is right at the top of the list. This feature allows developers to tightly integrate their own content and layouts within the editor in a standardized way. While we lose a little bit of flexibility in terms of what we can do with the edit screen, we gain a more consistent UI. This can be a big help when training clients to use WordPress. Plus, it just looks cleaner than the Classic editor.
Among all this great news is a bit of a catch: The default way to build a custom block requires that you wade knee-deep in JavaScript. Specifically, WordPress uses the React.js library to power this interface. It’s incredibly dynamic, yet features a fairly steep learning curve for those of us who primarily work with PHP.
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But you can always rely on the WordPress community for creative solutions. Today, we’re going to look at one alternative that aims to simplify the block creation process (even taking JavaScript out of the equation). This helps to empower more

8 min read Eric Karkovack
Tutorials | speckyboy.com | Jan. 28, 2019

How to Test Your WordPress Website for PHP 7.x Compatibility

Some simple ways to ensure your site is compatible with newer versions of PHP.

How to Test Your WordPress Website for PHP 7.x Compatibility

Tutorials | speckyboy.com | Jan. 28, 2019

There are a number of benefits to running your WordPress website on a recent version of PHP. Among the most noticeable perks is the massive increase in speed. PHP 7.3 runs about three times as many requests per second when compared with PHP 5.6. While performance is important, there is something even more concerning. Both PHP 5.6 and 7.0 reached their end-of-life at the end of 2018. That means neither version is receiving crucial security fixes. Therefore, the longer you remain on one of these non-supported versions, the more potential there is for something bad to happen.
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Also of note is that WordPress is currently recommending that your web server run PHP 7.3 and is making plans to drop support for anything lower than PHP 5.6. But in this case, running at the bare minimum isn’t good enough.
So, if you’re utilizing an outdated version of PHP, it’s time to get up-to-speed. But before you upgrade, it’s important to test your site to ensure that it will continue running smoothly afterwards.
Let’s have a look at some considerations and testing methods

6 min read Eric Karkovack
Security | speckyboy.com | Sep. 7, 2018

5 Tips for a More Secure WordPress Website

A look at how adapting our behaviors can result in a more secure website.

5 Tips for a More Secure WordPress Website

Security | speckyboy.com | Sep. 7, 2018

Web security has grown into one of the most important issues we face – right up there with design and development. And those of us who use an open source content management system such as WordPress are under even more pressure to tighten up security. The unfortunate fact is that, as time goes on, the task is only going to become more difficult. WordPress itself is the target of an array of automated attacks. Bots are attempting brute-force logins, script and database injections, along with a multitude of other malicious activities. But, while preventing bot attacks is vital, they’re far from the only threat that needs dealt with.
Indeed, there are other bases we need to cover. Beyond automated threats, changing human behavior may be an even more important step in securing a WordPress site. With that in mind, here are 5 things we can do right now to improve security.
1. Train Users in Best Practices
Part of a designer’s job description often includes training clients. But while we tend to focus on the basics of managing content, this is also a prime opportunity to talk about security. I know, it sounds like a potentially complicated discussion – but it doesn’t

5 min read Eric Karkovack
Editorials | speckyboy.com | Nov. 28, 2018

How Many Issues Are Acceptable for Gutenberg's Release?

A lot has been said about whether Gutenberg is "ready" or not. No doubt it will ship with some bugs, as everything does. But how many is too many?

How Many Issues Are Acceptable for Gutenberg's Release?

Editorials | speckyboy.com | Nov. 28, 2018

We are finally (barring any last-minute delays) approaching the time when WordPress 5.0 is released. With it comes a certain new editor that has drummed up quite a lot of debate along the way. Unless you’ve been hiding under that proverbial rock for the past two years, you know that Gutenberg is going to transform WordPress the minute it’s merged into core. Of course, this process would go off-script without some last-minute drama. There have been a number of calls from some in the community (including yours truly) to further delay Gutenberg in order to squash some bugs.
Speaking from my own experience using the editor, the bugs tend to be minor annoyances. I’ve found that some tasks aren’t very intuitive while others seem to be missing altogether when compared to the Classic Editor.
Add all of these little annoyances up and it makes for a sometimes-frustrating user experience. But this doesn’t mean that Gutenberg is fatally flawed. It just needs more time to ripen on the vine.
A Rush to the Presses
Gutenberg has been on the WordPress community’s radar since early 2017. In the time since, a lot of potential release dates were proposed. Therefore,

5 min read Eric Karkovack
Editorials | speckyboy.com | Dec. 13, 2018

What WordPress 5.0 Taught Me About Stress

Perhaps I paid too much attention to the process behind 5.0, flawed as it was. Was it worth stressing out over?

What WordPress 5.0 Taught Me About Stress

Editorials | speckyboy.com | Dec. 13, 2018

2018 has certainly been an exciting year for WordPress. The CMS celebrated its 15th birthday and released its revolutionary version 5.0, featuring the new Gutenberg block editor. It seemed like there was something new to discuss on a daily basis. A lot of it was controversial. As someone who uses WordPress and cares about its future, I followed the process to develop and release version 5.0 closely. There were all kinds of dramatic twists and turns in the story. Timelines for the release continually shifted, the choice of using React.js was put in doubt due to licensing issues and accessibility concerns arose.
So much was left up in the air and many of us on the outside were left to scratch our heads. That lack of certainty led many members of the community to vent their frustrations in one way or another. Personally, I took a liking to Gutenberg but was a bit perplexed by how everything was unfolding.
An Undue Burden
To be blunt, the whole situation was stressful. And, judging by the social media and blog posts I read, there were others who felt similarly.
For me, much of the concern was how this was all going to affect both my clients and workflow. Not knowing when Gutenberg would

Editorials | speckyboy.com | Jul. 26, 2018

The Impact WordPress Has Had on the Web

A look at how WordPress changed the CMS landscape back in the day and how it impacts us today.

5 min read Eric Karkovack
Community | speckyboy.com | Aug. 6, 2018

See the Future of WordPress with Beta Plugins

A look at some of the non-Gutenberg beta plugins looking to make their way into WordPress core.

See the Future of WordPress with Beta Plugins

Community | speckyboy.com | Aug. 6, 2018

As a platform, WordPress is continually looking to add features that will both keep its existing user base happy as well as attract new recruits. And over the years, that has led to some very popular additions such as Custom Post Types, Custom Fields and Widgets. Each of these examples have become such staples of the WordPress experience that it’s difficult to remember a time when they didn’t exist. But each one started out as just an idea. These days, there are no shortage of potential additions vying to make their way into WordPress core. The neat thing is that you can test out these new features before they become official (provided they get that far in the process). Testing is as simple as installing a beta plugin.
Here are 5 such plugins that, while you haven’t heard much about them yet, may just make their way to the big leagues someday. Please note that it’s recommended you install them on a staging or test site, rather than a live one.
Offering two-factor authentication has become pretty much standard throughout industries like banking and even social media. In a time when we face the reality of compromised data, two-factor provides user accounts with

5 min read Eric Karkovack
Tutorials | speckyboy.com | Jan. 15, 2019

Controlling WordPress Through the Command Line with WP

Having recently been introduced to using WP-CLI, I thought it might be nice to spread the word a bit.

Controlling WordPress Through the Command Line with WP

Tutorials | speckyboy.com | Jan. 15, 2019

Even in a standard install, WordPress is a highly-visual platform. That not only makes for easy content creation, but site maintenance as well. Within a few clicks, you can install a plugin, run software updates and tweak any number of settings. However, there are situations where that visual interface can get in the way. For example, running large imports or other memory-intensive tasks can cause problems on slower servers. Plus, you don’t always get the fine grain level of control that might be necessary.
For those who want more control and the ability to carry out complex tasks, WP-CLI could be just what you’re looking for.
What is WP-CLI?
WP-CLI is a command line interface for WordPress. It provides the ability to maintain just about every aspect of your WordPress website without ever needing to login to the dashboard.
Like WordPress itself, WP-CLI is free software. To use it, you must first install it on your remote server or local machine. From there, you can put the power of the command line to work for your site.
But before you get too excited, a word of warning. This is a highly-powerful (and potentially dangerous) tool. Make a mistake and you might not easily recover

5 min read Eric Karkovack
Tutorials | speckyboy.com | Oct. 16, 2018

How to Display Content Based on WordPress User Roles

Some simple code examples that enable developers to show content/features based on user roles.

How to Display Content Based on WordPress User Roles

Tutorials | speckyboy.com | Oct. 16, 2018

When building a WordPress website, it’s often useful to provide content or functionality based on a user’s role or capabilities. For example, you may want to display some special content on your site – but only for administrators. That’s just one of many possibilities. It’s quite handy that WordPress has a built-in function to help. The current_user_can() function allows you to check the permissions of logged-in users. Based on that information, you can provide them with whatever special goodies you like. Conversely, you can also turn off certain items as well.
Keeping with the previously mentioned special content example, we’ll dive into a few basic snippets that let us add this functionality.
Example 1: Administrators Only
In this example, we’ll check to see if the logged in user visiting our page is a site administrator. If they are, a little welcome message will be displayed.
Before we go into the code, it’s worth noting that there is more than one way to check a user’s permissions. The WordPress Codex states that we can provide an existing user role inside the current_user_can() function, however, it’s not recommended.

5 min read Eric Karkovack
Community | speckyboy.com | Jul. 18, 2018

6 Helpful Facebook Groups for WordPress Developers

There are some outstanding groups out there ready to help with a variety of WordPress related issues.

6 Helpful Facebook Groups for WordPress Developers

Community | speckyboy.com | Jul. 18, 2018

Part of what makes working with WordPress so much fun is that you get much more than a free, open source CMS. You also become part of a tremendously welcoming and helpful community. Information regarding just about any aspect of the software you want to learn is most likely available for free. And when you have questions or run into trouble, there’s a good chance that someone out there is willing to help. It’s no surprise, then, that Facebook is home to some outstanding groups dedicated to WordPress in one way or another. Some are quite general in nature, while others cater to a specific niche. Here are six groups you’ll want to check out, depending on how you use WordPress.
The Advanced WordPress group is one of the most interesting out there. It boasts over 30,000 members, and the list includes some of the most influential names in the world of WordPress. Like the other groups on this list, membership is closed – meaning a moderator has to approve your request to join. Posts are also subject to moderator approval, which helps to keep the content relevant. And, as its name suggests, you’ll find some very advanced discussions regarding code, design and

7 min read Eric Karkovack
Plugins | speckyboy.com | Jul. 10, 2018

A Faster and Safer Way to Troubleshoot WordPress

Using the Health Check plugin makes troubleshooting a potential theme/plugin conflict easier.

A Faster and Safer Way to Troubleshoot WordPress

Plugins | speckyboy.com | Jul. 10, 2018

Whether you’re building a new WordPress website or applying updates to an existing one, troubleshooting issues can be a very time-consuming process. It can also be a bit risky – especially if you’re dealing with a live site (one more good reason to set up a staging environment, when possible). In general, pinpointing a problem requires that we take the following steps:
Switch to a default theme, such as Twenty Seventeen;
Disable all plugins and reactivate them, one-by-one;
After activating each plugin, refresh your site on the front end to see if the issue you’re dealing with appears;
These steps are necessary, as they will help you determine if your theme or one of the plugins you’re running is causing the fuss. But to do this on a live site, you’ll need to throw it into maintenance mode or face the prospect of allowing visitors to see your mess.
Fortunately, there is now a way to troubleshoot a site without the side effect of downtime. Thanks to the free Health Check plugin, you can perform the steps above in a manner that is confined to just your specific user account. Here’s how it works:
Let’s Get Healthy
Health Check was developed

7 min read Eric Karkovack
Community | speckyboy.com | Mar. 20, 2019

How Web Designers Benefit from Open Source

A bit of a love-letter regarding how so much of what we do depends on open source software.

How Web Designers Benefit from Open Source

Community | speckyboy.com | Mar. 20, 2019

Part of being a successful web designer is having the right tools (and the requisite knowledge) to get the job done. Fortunately, those of us who work in this industry have an incredible amount of resources available. Here’s the kicker: many of them free. Okay, perhaps that last bit of information isn’t new to you. But, to those who work in other fields, it may just be astonishing.
Free tools and even educational materials are not something that, say, a mechanic would have access to. Nor would a plumber or a pilot. Yet, web designers take advantage of these perks every single day. Not only that, we also benefit from a large community that is centered around comradery and the sharing of knowledge.
And perhaps the biggest, most influential contributor of all is the open source software community. As such, let’s take a look at why open source means so much to those of us who work on the web.
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A Fast Start (On the Cheap)
In just about any service-related industry, there are certain costs required to get started on a project – the “materials”, if you

6 min read Eric Karkovack
Development | speckyboy.com | Oct. 24, 2018

Thoughts on Building WordPress Membership Sites

Important items to consider when building member-based sites with WP.

Thoughts on Building WordPress Membership Sites

Development | speckyboy.com | Oct. 24, 2018

The idea of a membership website is quite broad. Really, it can be anything from an organization that charges members for access to content or a simple community bulletin board. In between, you’ll find all sorts of niche requirements. In many ways, it’s akin to eCommerce in that there are any number of ways to approach a build. Using WordPress as your base platform provides a number of plugin-based options. Over the past several years, I’ve had the experience of using several of them to build in membership capabilities for a variety of websites. Each one presented unique challenges, including some that didn’t match up with the functionality offered by the chosen plugin.
All told, there are a lot of things to consider. So, before you decide which path to take, think about the following factors. They’ll help you develop a plan of attack for your project.
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Types of Available Memberships
The first thing to look at is what type of memberships the site will offer. For instance, you’ll want to determine if there will be single or multiple levels. The

7 min read Eric Karkovack
Editorials | speckyboy.com | Nov. 1, 2018

Lessons from Gutenberg

As Gutenberg nears release, there are many lessons to be learned from the often chaotic process.

Lessons from Gutenberg

Editorials | speckyboy.com | Nov. 1, 2018

WordPress 5.0 is on the horizon. Yes, we’ve been saying it for months. But now we really are on the brink of its full release. The journey to get to this point has been quite a wild ride. During the buildup, we’ve heard just about every argument for and against the new Gutenberg editor. And we’ve had loads of controversy (which hasn’t stopped, by the way) about one thing or another. Some people aren’t happy with process for storing data, while others think the whole concept is flawed. Then, there are all of those pre-release negative reviews. In all, it’s a lot for both web designers and users to digest.
Today, I think it’s important to look at this milestone release in another light. Instead of cheerleading or criticizing, let’s have an honest discussion about what WordPress and its community can learn from this experience.
With that, the following are a few lessons I believe that the development and launch of Gutenberg can teach us.
Change is Hard
Perhaps the most obvious lesson here is that change can be a very difficult process. And, when you’re talking about software that runs over 30% of websites, it’s especially tough.

6 min read Eric Karkovack
Pro | speckyboy.com | May. 29, 2018

Is Big Data Selling Out Web Designers?

Part of a developer's job often involves integrating 3rd party services. But now it looks as though some of those providers are changing the game on us.

Is Big Data Selling Out Web Designers?

Pro | speckyboy.com | May. 29, 2018

For years, web designers have relied on free tools from the likes of Google, Facebook and other large companies to enhance the things we build. We have happily used these offerings to analyze site statistics, serve up fonts and integrate social media. Just about any type of high-end functionality these companies have to offer has been readily available to us – usually without any upfront monetary cost. But things are changing. Google, for one, is now requiring us to add billing information to our accounts if we want to continue to use their Maps API. And the recent revelations of the whole Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal have shaken the very foundation of trust when it comes to securing user data.
Of course, those aren’t the only examples of the changing landscape that one can find. But they do represent a sort of bait-and-switch of the ideals that these companies like to preach. And it leaves a sour taste in the mouth of those of us who have helped to spread this technology in our web projects.
There Was Always a Catch
Whether or not we realized it at the time, many of these “free” services we have added to websites had a cost attached to them. The companies