Proposal to Start a News blog on developer.WordPress.org

Staying on top of the new features coming to the WordPress open-source project is one of the main barriers expressed by developers.

The Make CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. blogblog (versus network, site) has a heavy emphasis on meeting notes for the various core teams, rather than highlighting new features. This makes it difficult for developers who are not contributors or who just occasionally contribute to find the relevant information among the team-related posts. 

To achieve one of the big-picture goals for 2022 (“Create a developer-focused communications site“), this is a proposal for creating a Developer News blog. The content focuses on updates for developers, extenders creating plugins and themes, and those who work with WordPress at an agency or as freelancers. 

Preliminary Timeline

  • Proposal and request for comment period: February 25 – March 18, 2022
  • Coordinate with Design and MetaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress. Teams for theme (the News theme would be spectacular) 
  • Brainstorm meeting with team representatives: End of March
  • Content creation and first post: early April 2022 
  • Start-up phase: Through mid-July
  • Review and expansion to regular topics for developers: Fall 2022

Problem to be Solved 

The current developer.wordpress.org holds a ton of comprehensive documentation with examples, tutorials, getting started guides, and more. That being said, there are various improvements that could be made to make the site much more impactful. Some of these areas for improvement are outlined below. 

What’s missing: 

  • There is no changelog to signal various changes including when pages are updated or when new APIs appear or existing ones are augmented with new filters, hooksHooks In WordPress theme and development, hooks are functions that can be applied to an action or a Filter in WordPress. Actions are functions performed when a certain event occurs in WordPress. Filters allow you to modify certain functions. Arguments used to hook both filters and actions look the same., and configuration. 
  • There is no mechanism to subscribe to updates. A blog would provide this feature. 
  • Outside #core-editor meetings and GitHubGitHub GitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. https://github.com/, there is no single place to keep up with  ongoing discussions. For example, to learn about the new styling engine, a developer needs to visit three sites: Discussion, Tracking Issues, and the first PR.

Start-Up Phase

As a first step, the Developer News can tackle the above pain points by:

  • Surfacing updates to documentation, 
  • Highlighting new tutorials, and, 
  • Providing a way for developers to subscribe to stay up to date 

The Developer News blog can also be added to the Planet WordPress feed, so post titles also appear in the WordPress News WidgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. in the WP Adminadmin (and super admin) Dashboard. 

This initiative requires cross-team collaboration among contributors from the Documentation, Core (core-css, core-js, core-editor etc.), Training, and Support teams. 

These teams could use an existing WP SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. channel for synchronous meetings, such as #docs or #core. During the meeting, team reps and other contributors can make editorial suggestions for topics and links that could be included in the next edition of an update post.

An editorial calendar can be an early agenda item for the meetings. 

After the initial start-up phase, the blog would be extended to regular topical posts relevant to developers. 

Possible Ideas for Future Expansion

  • Summaries from GitHub Discussions 
  • Excerpts from meeting discussions for distribution to a wider audience of developers
  • A post consisting of a summary of multiple dev updates 
  • Useful questions/solutions found on StackOverflow/StackExchange 
  • Reviews of existing documentation to identify gaps 

A possible future expansion would include a regular revision process to update content with new information and changelog recording. 

I recommend that contributors to this initiative comply with the Make Core Post and Comment Guidelines. Should the editorial group decide to also include highlights of example plugins or themes, all products must adhere to the Community Team’s guidelines regarding GPLGPL GNU General Public License. Also see copyright license. compliance of the products, including premium products. 

As mentioned above, these are just some initial steps to get processes and contributors in place. Reader comments and discussion in the Slack channel will surface opportunities for further enhancements. 

What do you think? How could this proposal be improved?
Please share  your comments, your thoughts, and content ideas. If you’d like to contribute to the Developer News, mention this also in the comments. The comment period on this proposal will end on March 18, 2022. 

Props to Dion Hulse (@dd32), Destiny Fox Kanno (@piyopiyofox), Tara King (@sparklinerobots), Anne McCarthy (@annezazu), Tonya Mork (@hellofromtonya), Daisy Olsen (@daisyo), Dan Soschin (@dansoschin), and Anjana Vasan (@anjanavasan) for fruitful collaborating on this proposal. 
Props to Mary Baum (@marybaum) and Jean-Baptist Audras (@audrasjb) for final review

#core-dev-blog, #developer-news, #proposal