March VIP Roundup
If you aren’t yet a part of the wave of activity around Gutenberg development, experimentation, and planning across the WordPress community, now is a great time to join in. We have a slew of March updates and tools to share on that front in this roundup, along with news from across the community, and a run-down of Spring and early Summer events including our own VIP Workshop!
Read on for all this, plus a spotlight on TechCrunch‘s redesign, rebuild, and relaunch on VIP.
Gutenberg News and Notes
The latest tools, demos, and updates around the block-based editor coming to WordPress 5.0
- Have teammates who haven’t yet played around with the Gutenberg editor? No problem! They can use our TestGutenberg.com site to try out the latest version on a standard WordPress site.
- For VIP clients, we’ve partnered with well-known WordPress educators Zac Gordon and Joe Casabona to develop our own videos on the Gutenberg project. Get all the details on how to access these videos on the related Lobby post.
- We are committed to helping all of our clients integrate the new editor into their workflow smoothly. We’re working on a tool that will help you incorporate Gutenberg in to your production environments by Page and Post. The Gutenberg Ramp plugin will allow you to make granular choices about where Gutenberg appears so that you can get teams working with it sooner on live sites, test all of your customizations, and get everything squared away ahead of WordPress 5.0 deployment. Once we have this tested and in place on our platform, we’ll release a public version as well that anyone can use. More on that soon!
- Automattic Product Designer Mel Choyce presented at LoopConf on the future of Customization in the post-Gutenberg world. And Enterprise Happiness Engineer Shannon Smith gave a talk on Gutenberg and the future of WordPress, including a demo of our new TestGutenberg tool, for the Montreal WordPress community.
- Jay Hoffman at Reaktiv posted a helpful step-by-step guide to getting started with Gutenberg block attributes.
- In the month of April, rtCamp is offering complimentary 30 minute technical introductions to Gutenberg.
- Keep up with everything having to do with Gutenberg at VIP and a list of helpful resources in this regularly updated doc.
News and Releases
Updates from around VIP, our clients, and our agency and technical partners.
- Our new, streamlined Data Sync process for VIP Go allows you to easily and quickly replicate all of your production data to non-production environments. A self-service option is on the way soon!
- We have an amazing group of speakers lined for VIP Workshop May 14-17th in Napa, California. Ticket sales end next Friday – more details below in Upcoming Events.
- AMP version 0.6.2 rolled out across WordPress.com, including VIP sites hosted there (Lobby post).
- Ads.txt manager, developed and maintained by featured partner 10up, is now available on VIP Go. This helpful tool allows you to manage and validate the contents of your ads.txt file through your admin interface (Lobby post).
- Jetpack 5.9 General Maintenance rolled out this month (Lobby post, Announcement).
- The PHP 7.2 upgrade has rolled out to all WordPress.com servers (Lobby post). It’s scheduled to deploy this week (#) on VIP Go.
- Technical integration Ooyala version 3.0 is now available (Lobby post).
- Trew Knowledge shared a look back at the work they did in collaboration with us at VIP in optimizing Olympic.ca and Olympique.ca for the heavy traffic expectations of the 2018 Games. The site’s visitors enjoyed gold medal performance throughout, despite it’s “exceeding projections by more than 200% and doubling what was generated in Rio 2016 with more than 17 million page views.”
- Human Made released a trio of tools: React-wp-scripts for development tooling, Repress for smart Redux stores, and react-oembed-container to simplify oEmbed rendering. And Peter Wilson presented on a major media company replatforming at LoopConf.
- 10up’s Helen Hou-Sandí was featured in NY Magazine’s “Ask A Tech Person” highlighting her favorite gadgets. And Adam Silverstein wrote up his experiences contributing MathML support to the AMP project. 10up has also made accessibility standard WCAG 2.0 Level A a baseline requirement for all projects, and updated their Engineering Best Practices to include specific standards.
- Alley Interactive launched the 2018 State Science and Engineering Indicators data visualization project for the National Science Foundation.
- rtCamp celebrated the company’s 9th anniversary at their annual team gathering in Goa.
- Weston Ruter, CTO of XWP, and Alberto Medina, Developer Advocate with the Web Content Ecosystems team at Google, were featured in an episode of WPWeekly this month on the AMP Project.
Media and Marketing Notes
Research and perspectives on the business of media and the practice of marketing.
“One of the biggest challenges facing newsroom innovators is transferring one-off prototypes to product teams. This can be exacerbated when there are simply too many new experiments for any one team to take ownership of.”
-Allie Schultes, Social media and outreach producer at BBC Labs, in notes from the team’s first Media Innovation Unconference.
“We spent a lot of time literally watching them use it on their phone. When does their face light up because they love it, or their eyebrows scrunch up because they’re stuck?”
-Arizona Daily Star product manager Becky Pallack as quoted by Meg Heckman in the Columbia Journalism Review, on the research they did in developing and evolving chatbots.
Client Spotlight: TechCrunch
Big congratulations are in order for Nicole Wilke and the entire TechCrunch team, along with Human Made, for launching a brand new TechCrunch on VIP in March. It was a complete rebuild from the ground up, including design, user experience, and architecture. Nicole’s introductory post traces the project from first principles all the way through to launch, and explores the rationale behind the TechCrunch team’s choice of a decoupled setup.
Tickets sales for our favorite event of the year, VIP Workshop (May 14-17th in Napa California), will end April 13th. In addition to kickoff talks by Kinsey Wilson, Howard Rheingold, Miguel Fonseca, and Tammie Lister, session leaders include VIP clients like TechCrunch, Nielsen, and FiveThirtyEight, agency partners Dekode, Alley Interactive, 10up, rtCamp, and XWP, and Automatticians Simon Wheatley and Matt Perry. We keep the event deliberately small to make sure there are lots of opportunities for chance conversations and informal breakout discussions. Book soon!
- BigWP NYC is coming up on Wednesday, April 11th! If you’ll be in the area and want to attend, RSVP soon via the meetup group to hear talks by Paul Schreiber from FiveThirtyEight, Andrew Fleming from Dow Jones, Tom Harrigan from Alley Interactive, and Kevin Langley from Human Made. It will take place at USA Today’s new offices in Midtown. Doors will open at 6:30pm. Space is extremely limited.
- SRCCON 2018 will be June 28-29 in Minneapolis and the call for participation of all kinds is open! It’s the fifth anniversary for the event that gathers over 300 journalism-technologists, newsroom leaders, and others working to change journalism for the better. VIP typically sends as many folks as we can to this event and it comes highly recommended.
- VIP Happiness Engineer Shannon Smith will be giving a talk on code review April 11 at Web a Québec, the largest French-speaking digital event in North America.
- rtCamp is sponsoring FOSSMeet at College of Engineering Pune (COEP), one of oldest and top engineering institutes in India, April 7-8. Rahul Bansal, rtCamp’s CEO, will be speaking there about the WordPress ecosystem.
- We will be sponsoring ONA Insights: Revenue and Engagement in Toronto, May 11th at the Globe and Mail Headquarters.
- The awesome WordCamp for Publishers returns August 8-10 in Chicago and ticket sales are now open. Follow the Twitter handle @WCPublishers for updates. Check out our post from last year’s inaugural event to get a sense of what to expect.