OUT OF THE BOX

OUT OF THE BOX

Usage statistics and market share of WordPress for websites

In the past month or so WordPress has reached a major milestone, with W3Techs reporting that over 30% of all sites on the Internet are now powered by WordPress! That's an incredible number and one that looks likely to continue to go up.

WordPress is used by 60.1% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 30.4% of all websites.

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How Existing Content Will Be Affected by Gutenberg WordPress Editor

In all the various articles on Gutenberg this is the first I've seen that specifically looks at what will happen to the content that's already on your site. Bear in mind that it's a few months old and Gutenberg has come a long way since then, but it's still relevant.

we’re only going to focus on how the Gutenberg editor affects the existing content on your website with a standard WordPress installation (not page builders; we’ll cover that another time). Now, let’s dig in.

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WordPress Gutenberg Guide: How to Build Your Next Site With the Revolutionary Editor

Most of the articles on Gutenberg seem to focus on reviewing it and giving opinions on it. Refreshingly, this article doesn't do that. Instead it walks you through what using Gutenberg actually looks like and explains in detail how to do so. If you manage content on a WordPress web site, this article is definitely worth a read (or three!).

Whether this is the first time you’re hearing about the WordPress Gutenberg editor or you’re already somewhat familiar with it, this post will help you learn how you can use the new editor to build layouts for your WordPress content.

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Is Gutenberg the End or a New Beginning for WordPress?

A thorough analysis of the impending Gutenberg editor and its impact - particularly on agencies and others who develop Wordpress sites, themes and plugins. We're still formulating how we're going to handle the update here at Brown Box, and this article will certainly help.

I’ve been loosely following the noise and #wpdrama surrounding Gutenberg for as long as it has been around and honestly for the most part I’ve had negative feelings around it (I don’t like change at the best of times). However, I recently dived in and tried it out and you will never guess what happened next! But seriously. I came to two conclusions: 1. It’s a lovely piece of software 2. It does not belong in WordPress. (Yet. Or WordPress as we know it today) Let me explain.

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Liquid Web has acquired iThemes

You may have never heard of either of these companies, but we certainly have. Liquid Web is a Wordpress-focused hosting company, and iThemes are a plugin developer whose products have long formed a significant part of the Brown Box ecosystem. We recently moved away from using iThemes Security, but BackupBuddy is still very much our preferred backup plugin. Hopefully this change won't have a negative effect on the development of BackupBuddy - indeed the added knowledge and different perspectives that come from being part of the larger organisation may well be a benefit! Either way we'll be watching closely.

Liquid Web has announced the acquisition of iThemes in an all cash deal that includes the entire iThemes team moving over to Liquid Web as an independent unit, and iThemes products will be included in various Liquid Web offerings.

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Happy Birthday Wordpress!

Wordpress last week celebrated 15 years since its inception. Originally a blogging platform it has grown to a full-blown CMS used by more than 1 in 4 sites on the Internet today!

Thank you Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little for creating WordPress, its contributors for keeping the ball rolling all these years, and providing opportunities for so many people. Happy birthday WordPress!

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Creating a Custom Table with PHP in WordPress

A nice introduction to custom database tables in Wordpress - what to consider before creating them, and how to use the tools provided by Wordpress to do so.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to create a custom table in WordPress or why you would ever want or need to? WordPress comes with many different ways to store data out-of-the-box. Luckily for us, WordPress is flexible enough that we aren’t forced to shoehorn our every need into the ready-made solutions that come with it.

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How to Add HTML5 Video to WordPress Using Custom Fields

HTML5 Content is both extremely engaging and increasingly popular among users. Check out this article to find out how to add it to your WordPress site using custom fields.

Generally speaking, if you ask 10 WordPress developers how to do something, you’ll receive ten different answers. But that speaks to both the versatility of the CMS and that there is more than one solution to any given task. Recently, I faced the challenge of setting up an HTML5 video inside a WordPress page. It’s in a static location and would need to be replaced every so often. While it’s fine to use the Video Shortcode, in this case I wanted to make things extra simple for the folks who would be updating the page. I didn’t want them to have to learn what a Shortcode was or how to use it. So, the simplest solution (in my mind, anyway) was to create some custom fields where the related video files could be uploaded. From there, the theme’s template would automatically create the necessary code to display the video. Here’s how I did it:

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We Called it Gutenberg for a Reason

No one could suggest that the WP team have small dreams - according to Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg, the new Gutenberg editor will literally "change the world". While the article is light on details, it's hard not to get caught up in the hype. But will it really serve end-users? Only time will tell.

For those who don’t know we kicked off the Gutenberg project around the beginning of the year, I talked about it and we did our first public releases in June, and the team has been doing weekly updates of the public beta plugin that’s available for anyone to try out in their wp-admin.

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Introducing Site Meta

This is one of those moments where you look at an upcoming new feature in Wordpress and slap your forehead, saying "Why has no one thought of this before?!". We have meta on users, posts and taxonomies. Why don't we have meta on sites in a multisite network? Well, we soon will.

The site meta adds a new table into core database, that enables developers store per site data in a uniform way. There will be a full API to interact with this data in databases.

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The End of 80/20 and the Future of WordPress

Wordpress' development direction - as with most open source software - has long been driven by those doing the development, rather than the (much more numerous) end users who generally don't have the skills necessary to contribute code. This article suggests a radical change to this approach - but even if accepted, it's not something that can change overnight.

The 80/20 principle as applied in the context of current WordPress development is an ideal without a tether to reality. However much we say we develop the application for 80% of users, the reality is we know almost nothing about 99% of WordPress users. That means at best the rule is without consequence, at worst it is doing harm. The big question is how do we change our philosophy to solve this issue?

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A Deep Dive Into the GTmetrix Speed Test Tool

If you're looking to improve the performance of your website, GT Metrix is a fantastic tool to get you started. At Brown Box, we love using GT Metrix and use it whenever we need to diagnose any performance issues!

GTmetrix was developed by GT.net, a company based out of Canada, as a tool for their hosting customers to easily determine the performance of their site. Besides Pingdom, it is probably one of the most well known and used speed testing tools on the web today! In fact, the reason we are writing this is that we have a lot of Kinsta customers that are always asking us how to follow the advice they see on their GTmetrix reports. Compared to other developer tools, GTmetrix is pretty easy to use and the beginner can pick it up pretty quickly. It uses a combination of Google PageSpeed Insights and YSlow to generate scores and recommendations.

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Using IFTTT With WordPress

If This Then That (IFTTT) is a powerful automation service that many users have been taking advantage of for some time. IFTTT has some pretty awesome feature that can help you in your everyday life, However integrating these capabilities into WordPress could be able to take your web automation to the next level! Check out this article to learn more.

You may have heard of the IFTTT service. It has become very popular due to the simple way it allows you to automate a vast array of online activities. Using the service, you no longer need to manually update all of your social networks or try to figure out how to do everything yourself. If you are sick of forgetting to share your blog posts with a specific network or are looking for a way to gather multiple feeds from the services you use and recreate your posts on a WordPress website, IFTTT is exactly what you’re looking for. Let’s take a look at IFTTT in a little more detail.

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20 WordPress Core Functions That Don’t Scale and How to Work Around Them

An interesting list including some very commonly used functions in Wordpress. Some of the comments and advice is specific to Wordpress.com VIP hosting, but it's a useful reference nonetheless.

WordPress comes with a set of core functions that are globally accessible. Most theme and plugin developers rely on these function to extend the functionality of the WordPress framework. There are however a collection of functions that are not necessarily fast when used repeatedly, in other words, they do not scale. Fortunately, Automattic, the company behind the paid VIP WordPress service, has released a set of functions that do not scale properly because they are not cached and possible workarounds around those functions.

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When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Use a WordPress Plugin

Proper testing and risk evaluation are key when deciding whether or not to introduce a plugin into your WordPress site.

The key to effective use of plugins is to deploy them only from properly vetted sources, and only when necessary. Plugins should solve a specific problem or provide an essential function. They should not indulge our vanity or our desire for a “shiny new object”. In this post, let’s get specific and discuss a decision-making framework for a specific type of plugin that can be applied across many different plugins. We’ll focus on a type of plugin that we see often, and whether it’s needed or not — plugins for Google Analytics.

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WordPress 4.8 Improves Accessibility on Admin Screens

As accessibility reaches the foreground of web design and development, more and more users are able to access the web than ever! Increased accessibility surrounding the WordPress Admin screens now means that more and more people are able to manage and use WordPress admin screens!

In WordPress 4.3, the Accessibility Team restored H1 headings to the admin screens. This paved the way for the team to change the headings hierarchy in WordPress 4.4. In WordPress 4.8, admin screens are more accessible thanks to organizing the header text on pages.

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WordPress 4.8 “Evans”

Wordpress 4.8 was released a few days ago. As they've said themselves many of the updates seem fairly minor, but there are some significant improvements to a number of areas. The new option in widgets is certainly one we'll be diving into a bit deeper - we've avoided using widgets in the past due to their inflexibility and lack of user-friendliness, so we're keen to see whether this update means they should find their place back in our toolbox. If you subscribe to our Managed Maintenance service we'll be looking at updating Wordpress to 4.8 for you early in July.

Though some updates seem minor, they’ve been built by hundreds of contributors with you in mind. Get ready for new features you’ll welcome like an old friend: link improvements, three new media widgets covering images, audio, and video, an updated text widget that supports visual editing, and an upgraded news section in your dashboard which brings in nearby and upcoming WordPress events.

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Creating Better, Faster And More Optimized WordPress Websites

There are some great pointers here - such as making sure you have a development version of your site, and using tools like Cloudflare. Definitely worth a read.

There is a reason why WordPress is used by over 28% of all websites on the internet. And that is because it’s a very robust, easy to use and feature rich content management system (CMS). Everyone from stay at home bloggers to fortune 500 companies rely on it every day. Just like with most platforms, if it isn’t properly used or optimized it can turn into a big headache very quickly.

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Brown Box Digital is joining forces with AlphaSys to become AlphaSys Digital

Over the long history of Brown Box Digital, we have worked closely with AlphaSys on many occasions. We’re thrilled that by combining our individual expertise in development and design we’ll be able to serve our partners and clients in a whole new and improved way.

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