What I learn at WCEU 2018

I was lucky enough to attend WordCamp Europe 2018 and it was by far the biggest WordCamp that I have ever been too. Lots of the things I learn at WordCamps are not from the sessions or talks, but from the hallaway track and  chat with people in the WordPress community. So here are some of the interesting fidbits that I learn while talking to people on the ground.

Automattic are enabling developers on there VIP GO platform, to empower themselves with a growing toolkit. The VIP GO team have adding some new tools. First of which is the ability to allow you to use tools like Circle CI and travis, to build / compile your code. Read more at there official blog post here. This will enable more javascript / scss heavy projects, to compile and minify there code. This will enable more faster workflows using Frameworks like React or Vue.js. Automattic announced CLI tools, written in node. This tool uses github to authenticate and enables developers to sync data from different environments and I am sure functionality will only ever grow.

I saw an interesting talk from the Human made team, discussing there use of react and the rest api, with the redesign of  Tech crunch. Hosted on VIP GO, the site has a react based theme. With the site being a WordPress theme, they also adding none javascript fallback to pages and allowed react to replace content that appears on the site. This means that the site fade in gracefully and there isn’t such a jump in. They said, that they noticed no lose in SEO, from moving to javascript. There also mention that is was very hard to integrate tracking libraries, like google analytics and nicely load ads from there custom platform.

There are some interesting talk about javascript apis, documented in the slides. All new functionality for javascript is being put on NPM and made more generic. This means, that other members of the javascript community can jump and use them libraries and start contributing back.

WordPress in 2019, was an interesting talk about, the current state of WordPress. It was a little bleak and mentions that growth will not continue if the experience in the admin terminal and on site doesn’t improve. Noel mentions many AI and machine learning to improve user experience.

Matt Mullenweg keynote was brief. He talked about the state of the gutenberg project and the plans for the rest of the year. The plan is to get everything merged by September. But that automattic has provided a plugin called  gutenberg ramp. This plugin, disables gutenberg, and will allow you to selectively turn this functionality on or off. I am sure this will be welcome to many smaller hosts and agencies that are dreading when the new editor drops into core. There are plans to put blocks in every part of the site. The plan is to make everything blocks on WordPress. Get rid of menus, widgets and headers. Also removing custom meta boxes by using custom post types and fixed templates. These fixed templates looks pretty clean and I become a believer as seeing it in action. The Q&A was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Many of the questions were weird or pointless. The only useful question to me was the move away from SVN / Trac for issue management and version control. A question I was going to ask myself until someone beat me to it. He said, that he believed they were better tools out there and he wanted to move to them someday, but it was low down the list of stuff they want to get done.

On the contributor day, I sat with the REST api team for most of the day. This team, are extremely smart and hard working and they don’t get the credit they deserve. The rest api team having being doing a lot of work on the register meta function. This means there is lots more work being done on make the data stored in WordPress much more structured. See this ticket for more information, this has since been merged id which amazing, as it has been in the works for over 2 years. 😀

One of the biggest missing pieces of the rest api, is a way in core to authenticate requests with the REST API. I pressed the team of this and got some interesting information. At the moment, the most popular methods are Oauth1, Oauth2 and JWT tokens. Regarding these solutions, they said.

  • Regarding JWT tokens, they are novel solution to the problem, but not workable for core.
  • Oauth1 plugin is just a proof of concept and is not be actively worked on, as the workflow is too hard for many applications.
  • Oauth2 plugin is currently the recommended plugin to auth the rest api.

The Rest team are also looking into X-Auth, an auth method that Twitter first implemented and have since removed support for.

I know there is more that I am missing, so let me know what you learnt and remember to follow me on twitter for more twitter news.