Andrey Savchenko, better known as Rarst, announced that he’s removing all his WordPress plugins from the official repository. He’s been talking about it for a while, but now finally pulled the trigger on this decision.

Things like the mandatory support forum for each plugin, without the option to disable it or use an external support system, is something that has been bugging me a lot. Now WordPress core will start accepting pull requests on GitHub (as announced in Matt’s Town Hall talk at WordCamp San Francisco), the version control state of the plugins repository becomes even more painful:

While SVN is usable it is hardly pleasant or popular for modern development, lacking in newer distributed version control paradigms, performance, and other conveniences. More so WordPress actively discourages using its repository for active development, reducing it to storage mechanism with updates only happening for release versions.

I agree on a lot of Rarst his points, but am not really at the point of removing my plugins from the repository myself. What I do hope, is that decisions and bold statements like this post can become a catalyst for all the changes in the WordPress ecosystem.

This is why you don’t bundle plugins in WordPress themes

Yesterday, Sucuri published a very detailed document about a critical vulnerability in the Slider Revolution plugin. This is a vulnerability that’s about as bad as they can get. It allows access to files like wp-config.php and makes it fairly easy to compromise a website.

This wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t the case where the plugin author decided to not disclose the vulnerability and patch it without notifying their users:

The problem was fixed 29 updates back in 4.2 in February. We were told not to make the exploit public by several security companies so that the instructions of how to hack the slider will not appear on the web.

Right now, the exploit is being actively exploited and lots of websites are compromised because of it. But it gets worse. This plugin is bundled in a ton of themes sold on the internet, including some very popular themes on ThemeForest and other marketplaces. All of those sites are probably vulnerable to this exploit and can be compromised within seconds.

The good news is, there is a patch available. Users of the plugin can just update and the vulnerability will go away and their website will be safe again. There is only one problem. The themes that come with this plugin bundled, probably have no idea this vulnerability even exists and more important: They have no easy way to update the plugin. Yikes. Continue Reading…

The courtesy of explaining your issue properly to a developer

I don’t mind people emailing me about issues they are having with my code. Whether it’s some old snippet I posted on a GitHub gist, or when people contact me about something they stumbled upon with WooCommerce (even though I’m no longer working for WooThemes).

Sometimes I know the answer, sometimes I can only point them in the right direction. I my best to make sure they can overcome their issue, whatever it is.

In order to continue doing this, I maintain one strict rule: Explain the issue properly. Emails that just say “it doesn’t work” are likely to get trashed. You don’t drive you car into the garage and tell the mechanic that.
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Watching the WooCommerce ecosystem continue to grow

It’s little over 2 months since I left my job at WooThemes. As I explained in that post, this didn’t mean that I was never going to look at WooCommerce or any other WordPress project again. In fact, I’ve been working on a couple WooCommerce related projects since I’ve started my new job.

Not only did the WooCommerce plugin recently hit 4 million downloads, there is also a dedicated conference being held later this year. I think it’s safe to say that WooCommerce is still growing very fast.

With the recent addition of fellow Dutchman Barry Kooij to the team, I’m sure they have enough development power to make sure WooCommerce continues to grow. And because more and more people start to use the plugin (as a developer or a business owner), the ecosystem around it is growing as well.

Being outside of the WooCommerce core development team for 2 months now, made me look at the plugin with a different set of eyes.
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Moving on

I have some exciting news to share today. This month will be my last month at WooThemes. Starting June, I will be joining Radish Concepts. It’s a new company (note the lack of a proper website :) ), managed by RichardDavid and Arjan, in which I wil be forming the main development team with Gaya and Arno joins as designer. I’m really excited to jump in new challenges, continue to learn and develop my coding skills and work on cool projects.

Over the past months I’ve learned that I wanted to expand my knowledge on other programming languages, frameworks and get a larger toolbox for my web development work. In my spare time, I’ve always been investing in my development skills by coding on various side/test projects, based on different frameworks.

As much as I love WordPress and the growing ecosystem around it, I no longer want to be exclusively developing WordPress products. At my new job, I will be working with various projects, based on Laravel, OpenCart and others, but also WordPress powered projects still. This doesn’t mean I’m saying goodbye to WordPress, but will give me a broader set of tools to work with. Continue Reading…

Changing the number of product columns in WooCommerce 2.1

Some people asked me this question on Twitter and I always pointed them to the support forums we’ve got. When this question got asked for the 10th time this week, I figured I had to check if this was actually any different in WooCommerce 2.1 now. Turns out, it’s not. It still works the same as it did in previous versions.

Hi! In new WooCommerce 2.1.2, how can I change the number of shop columns? All fixes that I can find on Google are not working in this release.

Well, here we go. Let’s debunk this myth that it’s no longer working by showing some examples. Continue Reading…

While I’m sitting in the departure area at Schiphol Airport, sipping on a Starbucks drink, I suddenly realised that it was over three weeks since my last post here. So far so good with my blogging resolutions

And now there’s a special of the Dutch Webdesigner Magazine being published, with two articles by me in it. To top that off, I’ll be speaking at WordCamp Norway this weekend. People will visit this site and will see a very inactive blog, so this is just a quick update that I’m still alive and will get into blogging more soon.

If you are at WordCamp Norway this weekend, come say hi and we’ll have a chat. I’d love to talk to people using WooCommerce, or about any subject really.

Looking back at a great 2013

It’s the last day of the year, which is a great day to look at I have achieved and what happened this year. In my 2014 resolutions, I gave some parts away already and most events that I’ll mention in this recap already have explaining blog posts published.

Today is also the last day in the month December, which ends the Blogging for Benjamin competition. In the month December, I have published 31 posts (including this one), which leaves me in a 3-way tie with Patrick and Mike. Well done guys, we surely published a ton of great content in this month, keep up the good work!

Without further ado, here are my highlights of 2013. Continue Reading…