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We have to start this week’s news with coverage of WordPress’ 20th birthday. Our beloved CMS officially reached the milestone on Saturday, May 27. Dozens of celebratory events were held around the world. You can even sign an online birthday card as part of the #WP20 From Blogs to Blocks campaign.

Meanwhile, there is some special content worth checking out. First, WordPress co-founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little joined Drupal founder Dries Buytaert for a conversation on open source, AI, and the future of the web.

And if you’d like to read about the last 10 years of WordPress history, take a look at Building Blocks: The Evolution of WordPress. The online book serves as the second volume in a series.

Not surprisingly, the WordPress community also shared their thoughts via blog posts. That’s how this whole thing got started, right?

Among the highlights:

  • WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy shared an ode to the WordPress community’s role in the project’s success;
  • Sarah Gooding of WP Tavern reflected on the impact of WordPress and outlines future challenges;
  • HeroPress founder Topher DeRosia looked back at his start in blogging and what WordPress has meant to him;

For more coverage of the big celebration, check out the #WP20 hashtag on Twitter.

Links You Shouldn’t Miss

WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg wrote a short post regarding his creation’s 20th anniversary. And he also announced the Audrey Scholars program. The aim is to provide 100% scholarships to selected members. There are currently 13 scholars in the program, which renews annually. All are encouraged to apply, although the focus will be on “children of parents or guardians who have contributed significantly to open source, or have been significant in our principal Matt Mullenweg’s life.” Audrey Scholars is run by Audrey Capital, Mullenweg’s angel investment and research company.

Does Automattic have a top-secret AI plugin in the works? Author Seth Godin recently discussed such a tool on the Tim Ferris Podcast. The WP Minute’s Matt Medeiros took a closer look at how important AI will be to WordPress. He even makes a guess at this new item Godin referred to as the “single best use I have seen of Chat GPT or whatever they’re using.”

European service provider has acquired popular WordPress SEO plugin Rank Math. The free version of the plugin currently boasts over 2 million active installations. This a deeper dive into WordPress for, as they also own web host and the WP Rocket optimization plugin.

A couple of well-known WordPress workflow solutions are teaming up. Sandbox site provider InstaWP has partnered with collaboration tool Atarim. There will be cross-product integration. Together, the aim is to make it easier to spin up test environments, collaborate, and track changes.

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  • Pressable makes it easy to manage sites with its award-winning control panel, but what if you’re managing sites across multiple accounts or hosts? Pressable is thrilled to announce its extension partnership with MainWP, which uses the Pressable API to provide a simple, yet powerful solution for this all-too-frequent challenge.

From the Grab Bag 

Now it’s time to take a look at some other interesting topics shared by our contributors.

  • Automattic has pushed an automated update of the Jetpack plugin to patch a security hole. The vulnerability was found during an internal audit and would allow site authors to modify WordPress files. If you use Jetpack, make sure to update to the latest version immediately.
  • There’s been lots of talk regarding diversity and inclusion related to the upcoming WordCamp Europe. With that in mind, Michelle Frechette has shared some thoughts on moving forward as a community.
  • WordPress developer and accessibility expert Joe Dolson has announced the closure of the Access Monitor and WP Tweets Pro plugins. Both plugins will be shuttered due to complications with their third-party tie ins.
  • The results of the WordPress Individual Learner Survey are in. A total of 583 people participated. An analysis shows that 321 respondents described themselves as ‘somewhat knowledgeable’ or ‘very knowledgeable’ of WordPress, while nearly 32% had more than 10 years of experience.
  • The WordPress Performance Team has conducted an analysis of version 6.2. The goal was to identify opportunities for future enhancements. Based on their findings, performance upgrades for classic theme templates, block widgets, and translation loading are among the identified targets.
  • There’s a new proposal to establish a WordPress Sustainability Team. The group would be responsible for promoting eco-friendly practices on the web and for in-person events. It would also include creating themes and plugins that serve this purpose.
  • Developer Bill Erickson has released BE Starter, a hybrid starter theme. The package combines classic PHP templates with a theme.json file to control block styles.

Thanks to all of the members who shared these links today: 

  • Michelle Frechette
  • Mustaasam Saleem
  • Daniel Schutzsmith

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