WPWeekly Episode 360 – CBD and E-Commerce With Javier Cano

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I are joined by Javier Cano, Director of Marketing for Liquid Web. We discuss the challenges people are facing selling CBD products on e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce and what Liquid Web is doing to be an ally to the industry. We also talk about high-risk payment processors and the brick and mortar approach versus selling high-risk products online. Cano also shares his experiences from attending and speaking at recent CBD expos.

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In Case You Missed It – Issue 28

In Case You Missed It Featured Image
photo credit: Night Moves(license)

There’s a lot of great WordPress content published in the community but not all of it is featured on the Tavern. This post is an assortment of items related to WordPress that caught my eye but didn’t make it into a full post.

Changes to WordPress PHP Coding Standards

Based on changes that were proposed back in March, the PHP Coding Standards for WordPress have been altered. Note that these changes apply to WordPress core only and Gary Pendergast recommends that developers can and should choose practices that best suit your needs for plugins and themes.

Excluding Remote Employee Job Applicants Based on the State They Live In

Like Brad, the topic of not hiring job applicants for a remote company based on the state they live in because of tax laws is not something I’ve seen discussed.

In certain situations, companies that go the extra mile to hire a remote worker can also turn that person into an advocate.

If you’re involved in the hiring process for a remote company, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comments.

Would You Like to See A Product Hunt for WordPress Products?

Once you create something awesome in the WordPress ecosystem, it’s tough to get the word out. Ben from LyrWP wants to know if anyone is interested in a Product Hunt website for Themes, Plugins, and Services.

I think it’s a great idea and something I’d like to see become a reality. There are probably a ton of great products in the WordPress space that go unseen because there’s no easy way to reach a large mass of people outside of sites like the Tavern.

However, Mario Peshev is concerned that such a site may end up posting infrequently or promote mediocre products.

If Peshev’s concern became a reality, there wouldn’t be much of a point to continue with the site and developers would be back to square one.

Speaking of learning about new products, who remembers the Plugin Release posts on WeblogToolsCollection.com?

Early Look at What A Block Directory in WP-Admin Could Look Like

Mel Choyce has shared a collection of concept images that depict what a Block Directory could look like inside of WP-Admin. She describes the inspiration for each image and how each screen would work.

What I find interesting is that users will be able to try out new blocks before installing them. “Inside the modal, you’d also be able to demo a block before installing. @ck3lee has figured out how to make this possible,” Choyce said.

It’s also great to see that the tech behind Shiny Updates will be used for quickly installing and activating new blocks. If you have feedback regarding the conceptual designs, please leave a comment on her post.

Notes From Lead Developer Conference

More than 20 Automatticians are attending the Lead Developer Conference in London, England, and are publishing notes from each day. You can check out Day 1 here.

WPCampus 2019 Will Be LiveStreamed

Thanks to Pantheon, all sessions excluding workshops at WPCampus will be livestreamed with captioning and available to watch for free. Simply visit the livestream page on Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27.

Apply for a DonateWC WordCamp Sponsorship

DonateWC is looking for applicants for its sponsorship program. DonateWC provides underrepresented and minority groups within the WordPress community with the means to attend a WordCamp.

That’s it for issue twenty-eight. If you recently discovered a cool resource or post related to WordPress, please share it with us in the comments.

Experimental Block Areas Plugin Allows for Editing Content Sitewide with Gutenberg

WordPress core committer Felix Arntz is working on an experimental Block Areas plugin that would enable users to create and edit content sitewide using the Gutenberg editor. Inspired by a conversation with Morten Rand-Hendriksen at WordCamp Europe, Arntz created the plugin to “explore what the theming of tomorrow could look like already today.”

Block Areas allows users to define specific areas where they want to use the block editor (outside of regular posts). The block areas function similar to widget areas, but are created using a custom post type with a familiar admin UI.

“They are implemented as a post type – with the key aspect that they can’t be accessed in the frontend via a certain URL, but your theme has to render them via a block_areas()->render( $slug ) method that the plugin exposes,” Arntz said. “The slug you pass to the method should match the block area slug (i.e. post slug) of one of the areas you have created in the admin.”

The plugin comes with block areas for site header and footer to provide a starting point. However, adding the block areas to a theme is one technical hurdle that currently limits this experimental plugin to developers.

The concept is reminiscent of the now seemingly abandoned Buckets plugin that aimed to provide an alternative to WordPress widgets. It allows admins to create reusable pieces of content and place them anywhere on their sites. Reusable buckets can be created with the same UI as the legacy post editor and then placed anywhere using a shortcode or via a button in the TinyMCE editor.

In the case of Buckets, the idea was to preserve the users’ ability to create content using the visual editor and media manager. Block Areas seems to have a similar aim – to preserve users’ ability to use the block editor anywhere they want throughout the site. That is part of the general goal of Gutenberg Phase 2, which includes migrating widgets and menus to use the block editor.

Block Areas is just one idea for providing a unified approach to reusable content inside WordPress. It is not an official project and may not be the approach that the Gutenberg team settles on for core. However, it offers a good opportunity for discussion and collaboration about the possibilities of taking the editor sitewide. This will open up a whole new genre of blocks for plugin developers.

“Think about a block that renders the site title, the custom header, a menu, the copyright information – taking Gutenberg to the site level opens up a whole new set of typical blocks that would be required,” Arntz said. “Start thinking about which blocks you would need outside of your post content bubble today.”

The Block Areas plugin is available on GitHub if you want to experiment with it. Check out Arntz’s introduction post for more implementation details.

JAMstack’s Growing Popularity Brings Increase in WordPress Plugins for Deploying to Netlify

One of the more interesting trends this year is that WordPress developers are beginning to explore JAMstack setups for their sites. JAMstack is a term coined by Netlify CEO Mathias Biilmann to describe development architecture that includes client-side JavaScript, reusable APIs, and prebuilt Markup, the three pillars of a modern static website.

Static websites are making a major comeback right now, perhaps as a reaction to the slow, bloated PHP frameworks that run large portions of the web today. The speed, security, and scalability of these sites, often available at a lower cost, are some of the most compelling reasons developers find themselves joining the rapidly growing JAMstack community. It also provides a git and CLI-friendly development workflow and allows developers to easily experiment with the latest frontend technologies, without prescribing any specific frameworks or tools.

Most JAMstack sites are built using Jekyll, Hugo, Nuxt, Next, Gatsby, or another static site generator. The generated markup and assets are often served via a CDN for near instant page loads.

Netlify pioneered JAMstack hosting and has inspired the creation of a myriad of tools that enable fast and convenient deployments. Plugins that allow developers source content from WordPress and host it with Netlify are starting to pop up more frequently. Netlify’s free tier is one of the main reasons it has grown so quickly in popularity, as it provides a fast way to host a personal site or small project with custom domain support, HTTPS, Git integration, and continuous deployment included.

Tiny Pixel Collective created a plugin called Netlify Deploy that automates Netlify builds on WordPress publish and update events. The company built it to make it easier for developers to rebuild Netlify-hosted Gatsby frontends using WordPress as the publishing tool. It works in the background to keep a static frontend in sync with the post database, rebuilding the site when users make updates to posts and pages. The plugin triggers the Netlify webhook whenever the standard WordPress posttypes post and page undergo a change in publish status, but it can also be modified to work with custom post types and custom publish hooks.

JAMstack Deployments, created by Christopher Geary, a developer and JAMstack aficionado, is a similar WordPress plugin that facilitates deployments to Netlify, as well as other platforms. The plugin’s settings page lets users configure the webhook URL in the admin, and includes options to limit it to trigger on specific post types and taxonomies. JAMstack Deployments is also conveniently available for free on WordPress.org.

Deploy Netlify Webhook is a similar plugin from Luke Secomb that appears to work manually through a “Build” button in the WordPress admin. It has the added benefit of allowing developers to check the status of the latest build to see if it was successful, without having to leave WordPress.

Justin Hall, a plugin author and senior web developer at SendGrid, published his Gatsby + Headless WordPress + Netlify starter skeleton to GitHub. This particular setup requires his LittleBot Netlify plugin to trigger Netlify build hooks on post save or update, with an additional option that allows WordPress users to publish to Staging or Production sites.

WP2Static is a popular plugin that generates static HTML files rom a WordPress site. Users have the option of auto-deploying to a folder on the server, a ZIP file, FTP server, S3, GitHub, Netlify, BunnyCDN, BitBucket, or GitLab. Theh plugin currently has more than 10,000 active installations.

These are just a small sampling of tools that developers are creating to allow WordPress users to retain the capabilities a dynamic publishing platform while building it statically to take advantage of the speed, security, and performance gains.

The trend towards using a headless CMS combined with static site generators is a setup that is heavily geared towards developers at the moment. Translating all the jargon for non-technical site and business owners is a new challenge for those looking to sell services for setting up JAMstack architecture.

That’s where more user-friendly hosting platforms like Strattic, Shifter, and HardyPress are making inroads on marketing JAMstack technology to a less-technical crowd. They provide all-in-one “serverless” architecture solutions that generate static files from WordPress sites and serve them via CDN.

One of the chief drawbacks to pursuing a static WordPress setup is that many dynamic capabilities do not work in this environment. Adding contact forms can be a challenge. Sites that require native WordPress comments or anything that is more complex and interactive will not work. This includes functionality offered by WooCommerce, bbPress, BuddyPress, and membership plugins, to name a few examples. For now, the JAMstack fervor is mostly limited to the DIY developer crowd looking to host more simple sites.