Brian Richards joins the WebDevStudios team


Brian Richards, known primarily for the Startbox theme framework but also as the lead organizer for the upcoming WordCamp Grand Rapids, has joined the WebDevStudios team. Richards joins the team of ten at WebDevStudios as a remote developer.

In a recent blog post he explained his decision:

After more than 18 months working as a developer and project manager with Delta Defense, LLC I have left to join WebDev Studios. I’m making this transition so I can focus more completely on WordPress development. It sounds like a fun thing to do and, though I’m sad to leave Delta, I’m very excited for this opportunity.

For a bit of a throwback, see this interview I did with Richards back in October of 2010. You can follow Richards on his blog and on Twitter.

Also, and I promise, this will be the last time I mention him for a while.

Make WordPress Events blog gives WordCamp organizers a place to collaborate


In addition to the WordPress development blog becoming Make WordPress Core this week, WordCamp and meetup organizers have a new blog to collaborate on at Make WordPress Events. Jane Wells announced the new blog over at, where she said she’s excited to see organizers get more recognition as important members of the community. She said:

I’m especially excited about the creation of this group because until now the role of community organizer, while one of the most important, has not gotten the same recognition as higher-profile contribution methods such as forum support or core code contribution. That is something I hope this group will change, and the local organizers can be recognized for the community leaders they are.

In the blog’s (pretty much obligatory) “Hello world!” post, Wells said she envisions the group to not only be a blog for sharing and discussion, but where mentorship can grow, regular IRC discussions can happen, and tasks like reviewing and processing WordCamp videos could become a shared responsibility. There are even talks of a regular IRC chat. The blog is already filling up with ideas from current and past organizers — jump right in if you’re one of them!

The new Make WordPress Events site follows suit with the other P2-driven contributor blogs: UI, Themes, Plugins, Polyglots, Accessibility, and Core.

As a meetup organizer I can say I’m looking forward to having a place to reach out to others and discuss what works and what doesn’t. If you’ve dabbled in WordPress event organization before, what do you think?

Erick Hitter joins Automattic as Design Engineer


Erick Hitter announced today on his blog that he’s joining Automattic as a Design Engineer. He completed his trial phase, as is typical of Automattic hires, and will be joining “Team Custom” in two weeks to work on providing features that let users customize their blogs.

Hitter is the author of a few WordPress plugins with respectable download counts: Simple Facebook Share Button, Taxonomy Dropdown Widget, and WP Print Friendly just to name a few.

Hitter said that he is excited about joining Automattic:

Needless to say, I’m overjoyed at the opportunity I’ve been presented with. I’ve really enjoyed my time at Oomph, and they’re a company equipped to continue doing great work, but I’m ready for a new challenge. I’ll use the next two weeks to wrap up my involvement in our current projects before starting at Automattic.

Automattic employs well over 100 people at this point, and Hitter will join three others there who carry the title Design Engineer. He is leaving Oomph, a web development agency in Providence Rhode Island.

You can follow Hitter via Twitter and his blog.

Editor’s note: I pay much more attention to the graphics I produce for a post when writing about a designer.

Tickets for WordCamp Grand Rapids (Aug 18-19) are now available


Tickets for WordCamp Grand Rapids, the first event in the Michigan city, are now available for $20 from the conference website. Brian Richards, who you might recognize as the person behind Startbox, is the organizer of the event and is working to assemble what looks to be an impressive first WordCamp.

The event will take place August 18 and 19 this year, and while there isn’t a full speaker list or schedule public yet I have heard through the grapevine[ref]The organizer Brian Richards being the proverbial grapevine, of course.[/ref] that attendees to the Grand Rapids can expect to hear from the likes of John James Jacoby, Lisa Sabin-Wilson, Pippin Williamson, Jake Caputo and Matt Danner before it’s all said and done.

You can listen to a brief interview with Richards about WordCamp Grand Rapids on this week’s WP Late Night Aftertaste (around an hour and change in).

Just over 200 tickets are available for WordCamp Grand Rapids, and the event is only 5 weeks away so don’t dawdle if you want to attend!

WordPress 3.5 (tentative) scope coming together, release due December 5


WordPress 3.5, the next version of our beloved content management system, has a release date set: December 5th, 2012. For those keeping score at home, that’s just a scant five months away. Release leader Andrew Nacin announced the date during Wednesday’s developer chat, where a rough scope for 3.5 was also laid out.

Keep in mind that the list below is only tentative, and the final scope hasn’t quite yet come together. But, I can say the following things were discussed by contributors during the Wednesday chat:

  • New default theme Twenty Twelve (more on that soon)
  • User interface and experience tweaks, mostly matching up the discussions going on over at lately
  • Updates to the customizer including header/background image handling and menus
  • Removal of the link manager
  • Gallery management and revamped upload/insert workflows

Anyone excited yet? I am.

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Core team updates: Nacin to Lead Developer, Koopersmith and Cave commit access


WordPress Lead Developer Mark Jaquith announced a few new core team promotions on the WordPress development blog this week.[ref]Which has recently moved from to, by the way.[/ref] The announcement came on Tuesday, just a day before planning for WordPress 3.5 began.

Andrew Nacin has been a prolific WordPress contributor with commit access to the project for some time. As of this week, though, he has also been promoted to Lead Developer of the project. Nacin joins the small group of project leaders that includes Ryan Boren, Mark Jaquith, Matt Mullenweg, Andrew Ozz, and Peter Westwood.

In addition Nacin will act as the release leader for the 3.5 development cycle. This is new for the WordPress project, and as Jaquith described in his post these leaders will “crack the whip when people aren’t delivering on things they promised.” If it works out we can expect a release leader for each major point release in the future.

Nacin wasn’t the only one to see a promotion this week. Daryl Koopersmith — who has worked on features such as the theme customizer, distraction-free writing, and the linking dialog — has been promoted from “temporary commit access” to having “commit access.” Jon Cave’s commit access is extended for the duration of this release cycle as well.

Perhaps, as Pete Mall suggested during the chat on Wednseday, is it possible Nacin’s promotion and leadership for the 3.5 cycle might prompt a few more #thanknacin tweets in place of the standard #blamenacin ones? I can get behind that idea.

Photo by John O’Nolan.

Ryan Duff raises money to to attend WordCamp SF in less than 24 hours


Yesterday Ryan Duff put up an Indiegogo campaign attempting to raise money so that he could attend WordCamp San Francisco. He sustained a back injury not long ago which put him behind his bills, so he took to the community. In just under 24 hours he has raised more than enough to cover his travel costs — $1,620 at the time of this writing. And there are still fifteen days left in the Indiegogo campain.

I can’t help but be reminded of Mika Epstein’s similar campaign or the Kickstarter campaign for the Jitterbug that Jane Wells ran. There’s some serious fundraising power within the WordPress community.

What do you think of Duff’s campaign success? Do you think we’ll see more campaigns like this one as long as they continue to be successful?

WPCandy will be at WordCamp Columbus this weekend


WordCamp Columbus takes place this weekend — mere hours from now in fact. The conference sports four tracks this year over the course of two days. Speakers like Austin Gunter, Nile Flores, and Syed Bahlki will all be in attendance talking about what they know best.

And actually, if you take a close look at the Columbus speakers page, you’ll see that yours truly is speaking too. I’ll be giving my plugin presentation to the user track, and maybe even a new talk I’ve been nursing called “Every Theme Sucks, and Nobody Cares.” If you’re going to be attending the conference this weekend (or live nearby and can swing by) be sure to say hello!

There are still tickets available for the event for $40 if you’d like to attend. Sound off in the comments if you’re planning on attending.

More tickets for WordCamp San Francisco due tomorrow at 10am PST


Speaking of WordCamp San Francisco, a new set of tickets is due out for the conference tomorrow morning. Rather than all of the tickets being available at one time, the San Francisco organizers released batches of tickets over the course of the last few weeks. Live stream tickets are still available in large numbers — it’s the in-the-flesh attendee tickets that some are still clamoring for.

The official schedule and list of speakers hasn’t yet been finalized, but at the very least it’s safe  to expect another keynote from Matt Mullenweg and a number of influential members of the WordPress community in attendance.

The last couple batches of tickets have sold out in only a couple of hours, so set your alarms for 10am PST tomorrow morning so you don’t miss out. If you’re already planning on attending WordCamp San Francisco this year, sound off in the comments.

Ryan Duff hopes the crowd will fund his trip to WCSF


Update: He raised the money needed in less than 24 hours.

Ryan Duff is known in the WordPress community, not only for the drink named after him[ref]See Brad’s drink during just about any episode of WP Late Night.[/ref] but also as a contributor to the project and contract developer. Earlier today he started an Indiegogo campaign to help him fund his trip to WordCamp San Francisco this year. He explains why:

I got a ticket for WCSF and was working my tail off so I could buy airfare. About 3 weeks ago I injured my back and was unable to work for 2 full weeks which has now set me back on all my bills. I can no longer afford airfare or hotel (SF is expensive!!!). I’m asking for your help to get me there.

Duff is asking for $1500, and so far today as brought in $285. If you’re inclined to help him out: $25 gets a thank-you tweet, $100 a blog post about you, and for $500 you can send him a shirt that he’ll wear on Saturday at WordCamp San Francisco. Duff also said that if contributions come in he will spend more time contributing during the WordPress 3.5 development cycle.

You can check out the campaign on Indiegogo and see him tweeting out thanks on Twitter.