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B-san's Blog

The work and life of a Community Education Manager in Japan

This month at WordPress.com (January – May 2020)

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Hi all! I was thinking about starting another series on my blog, and was wondering what would be great. I have my Treasure Box series, where I am gathering my own personal memories as a record for myself. (Read more about this on Treasure Box 1.) At the same time, some of my followers seem to be interested in the more technical posts of my blog – such as those to do with WordPress, or even those about my journey getting hired at Automattic. I’m going to try spinning this new series on a topic that might interest these followers.

Did you know WordPress.com has its own blog? That’s right! You can follow WordPress.com and see what is happening at https://wordpress.com/blog/ . In my new series, I’ll be me picking out and highlighting some of the major events that happen at WordPress.com over the previous month. I may not share everything on the blog above, but I’ll be using it as a bit of inspiration, and link to it so you can read more about the topics that interest you.

WordPress.com has published more posts on their blog so far this year than they did all year combined. And that’s not too surprising, as there has been a ton of stuff happening around here. Here are some highlights so far this year!

Updates to the Apps and Editors

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In late 2018, WordPress introduced a new editing experience – moving away from the traditional editor that relied heavily on coding (such as shortcode and HTML.) The new editor is named Gutenberg, after Johannes Gutenberg who invented the first printing press in the 1400s. That printing press consisted of moveable blocks that could be rearranged for each page to be printed. The new Gutenberg editor also utilizes blocks. Users can now create media-rich content through a more graphic user experience, rather than combining just text and code in the page.

Gutenberg on WordPress.com is also called the Block Editor. And at the beginning of the year, this editor was introduced into the native WordPress apps. WordPress has both mobile and desktop apps you can install into pretty much any device. While the editing experience is very similar to accessing WordPress in a browser, development is always a little bit behind, as features get deployed into the core software first. But the apps are always catching up! (The apps had another major update released just a week ago, but since that post was made in June, I’ll keep that for now, and introduce it formally in my next post ?)

New Blocks!

girls playing with colorful blocks

One of the most exciting part about the new Gutenberg Editor is that there are new blocks getting added all the time. These blocks bring new features into your site that would have traditionally required a fair bit of coding, or installing third-party plugins to your WordPress installation. While installing plugins and adding code has been possible on the Business and eCommerce plans at WordPress.com, users on the lower tier plans would have to miss out – until now!

On WordPress.com, new blocks are being added all the time, even on the free and lower tier plans! This means it is possible for anyone to create feature-rich content and get their message out to the world in more effective ways. One of these new blocks was the Image Compare block I introduced at the end of my last post: A HAIRCUT AT HOME (TREASURE BOX 13)

Online Webinars

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The whole world was thrown a surprise this year… COVID-19. Shop managers had to take their stores online all of a sudden. School teachers needed to conduct classes online. Office workers started working and collaborating from home. And some just had more time to invest into their personal blogs. Working in support, I experienced a surge in customers who would come with a vision of a site they wanted to create, but not really knowing how to get there.

In response to this, WordPress.com conducted multiple webinars and published articles to help people jumpstart their visions for their site. The webinars address commonly asked question from our users, and in many cases were interactive – giving the audience a chance to ask questions in the seminar, too. The articles published provide practical resources to help people create sites for specific use cases.

Advice on working from home

man working from home office

Automattic has always been a remote company. That is, there has never been a central office everyone has had to walk into and work each day. Each Automattician works from the location of their choice – anywhere in the world!

Having been operating this way for 15 years now, Automattic has quite a bit of expertise when it comes to remote work. And with a major portion of the world forced into a similar work style over the last few months, there has been a growing interest in how we’ve done it successfully. And so in true Automattic style, the WordPress.com blog has published a number of blog posts that discuss this work format. And if you’d like to know how it has worked out for me personally over the last year, then feel free to drop me a line and I’d be happy to share my take on it all. (Warning – I only have positive thoughts about remote work ?)

So, how was the first post of “This month at WordPress.com?” I covered a lot of ground in this first one, but I did want to go through everything that had happened from the beginning of the year. If you have any comments or suggestions about this series, feel free to drop them as a comment below. And once again…

Thank you for reading!

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