WordPress.com to WooCommerce

April 2, 2019 marks one year since I started “officially” at Automattic. The past twelve months have been a terrific journey — speaking with thousands of WordPress.com users, seeing their challenges firsthand and working with developers on priotizing issues.

I can confidently say I love what I am doing here, but I figured I needed to experience other parts of support at Automattic as well.

Automattic has this process called rotations — wherein, you can jump to another team doing similar work with a different product. I will be doing just that in Q2 of 2019; I am moving from WordPress.com support to WooCommerce support for three months.

Rotations are not limited to Happiness (support) division, but there are rotations within product teams as well.

There’s also another process called support rotations, wherein new hires would start their first two-weeks in Happiness division. It does not matter where one’s core work lies; whether one is a designer, developer, working in finance, or working in any role, one would be spending the first two-weeks answering customer queries on email and live chat.

I have experience in working with WordPress sites (both WordPress.org and WordPress.com) but I cannot say the same about WooCommerce.

I have known WooCommerce as a plugin to build e-commerce stores at the outset, but it does have a massive potential to do things beyond simple stores. I am looking forward to learning more of WooCommerce extensions, WooCommerce apps, and bring back these lessons to my home team.

New range of site addresses with .blog subdomains in WordPress.com

I am very excited about this. When I first wanted to create websites/blogs on WordPress.com, an year ago, most of the subdomains I wanted were already used up by other users. I am not surprised given how many millions use WordPress.com every day.

This is changing – you can now choose .blog subdomains for free on the signup flow, gaining yourselves new site addresses like jack.photo.blog, dan.tech.blog. The entire list of .blog subdomains available, is on the page I have linked to earlier.

If you are an aspiring photo blogger, tech enthusiast, cook, nomad, travel blogger or want a plain, private family blog, go, get your favourite subdomain now!

WordPress.com now has a nice little feature to download all media library files

Ever wanted to download all the media library files from your WordPress.com site in one go?

This is now possible.

  • Open the settings section of your WordPress.com site.
  • Click on the Export button.
  • Use the shiny new Download button next to the Export media library section.

This should download all your media library files (images, videos, documents and other files supported by WordPress.com) in one go.

This was originally a Automattic Grand Meetup project by my colleagues, which James has written about here.

I have also contributed a teeny-tiny bit to this work, and I am so happy with my first decent PR on Calypso! πŸ™ƒ

At this time, this feature works for all WordPress.com sites, expect for the ones that are on the WordPress.com Business plan and have at least one third-party theme/plugin installed on it. The feature might be available for these sites as well, soon.

I am officially a WordPress contributor today? πŸ˜‡

I have been involved in contributing to FOSS projects for a while now, mostly in the form of highlighting bugs and suggesting feature requests.
Things go one step further today. One of my issues was squashed today, and the entire world will be experiencing a better WordPress going forward. I guess I can call myself an official WordPress contributor now? πŸ˜‡

I submitted this issue on Github a while ago, and it was fixed today on this PR.

On WP-CLI 2.0.0

This issue caused the WP-CLI app to throw a false positive result when the theme slug is entered in non-lowercase for activation. Let’s say you use a command like wp theme activate Dara.

You would be shown a Success: Switched to 'Dara' theme. notice.

Eventually, the output of wp theme list shows what’s seen below.

Output of theme list on WP-CLI 2.0.0
Output of theme list on WP-CLI 2.0.0 after activating “Dara” (vs “dara”)

Yes, in theory, this should not be the case.

When one uses the theme slug in capitalized format, one should be shown an error that the theme slug entered is wrong.

All theme slugs are to be entered in lowercase.

Enter WP-CLI 2.0.1

When you use wp theme activate Dara now, you will be shown a Error: The 'Dara' theme could not be found. notice.

This is an indication that theme slugs are to be entered in lowercase, and any other case format will be a false.

I was also featured on this release note and I am super thrilled! πŸ•Ί

WordPress is now 15 years old πŸ’–

🎁On the 27th of May, 2003, the first version of WordPress launched for the general public.
I didn’t use WordPress until 2010. I first discovered WordPress when I was in my 10th grade. That’s when I started using WordPress, for tech blogging.
It has been a beautiful experience since, converting my ideas to products and services, with WordPress. I am not a coder, but WordPress has made most of my dreams come true. These, otherwise, wouldn’t have been possible.
WordPress is not just a software. It’s an idea, an idea to help democratise publishing. “We want users, regardless of device or ability, to be able to publish content and maintain a website or application built with WordPress.” —Β accessibility page on WordPress. The community’s belief in this idea has made WordPress successful over the years.
In the past 15 years, WordPress has made many dreams come true. Many businesses thrive on WordPress. At the time of writing this post, WordPress powers 30% of the internet. 30% of all the websites on the internet run on WordPress!
Everyone’s success wouldn’t have been possible without WordPress. WordPress wouldn’t have been possible without the WordPress community, and I salute them.
πŸŽ‚Thank you, #WordPress. Thank you for changing my life. πŸ’–

Attending a WordPress meetup for the first time

Today was an eventful day. I mean, January 30 of 2018. I attended my first WordPress meetup ever at Mumbai. #WPMumbai was hosting a WooCommerce workshop for women, and was hosting a speech by Andrew Spittle of Automattic and Artur Piszek of Automattic, on the same day.

I attended the speech sessions and everything I learned over there was incredibly valuable. Andrew spoke on how the customer support team at Automattic works – the company the powers WordPress.com, Jetpack, Simplenote, Longreads, WooCommerce, Gravatar, VaultPress, Akismet and Polldaddy among the most popular names.

Artur Piszek spoke on Jetpack’s Simple Payments module, which allows anyone to get started with collecting online payments. Simple Payments enables anyone to become a seller online and works with PayPal to collect payments. It’s available for use for WordPress.com Premium plan users and above, or for self-hosted WordPress (WordPress.org) sites that are on the Jetpack Premium subscription.

Right after the speech sessions, we had a networking session over snacks and it was amazing to speak with Automatticians in real-life. I spoke to Andrew who gave me an outline on how the hiring process works at Automattic, and clarified a few doubts I had around it.

I also met Karen Arnold at the venue. Karen is the lead of the Happiness Hiring team and oversees the Happiness Engineer applications.

I also got a chance to meet other Automatticians based out of India, Nagesh Pai and Gala Khyati. They’re Happiness Engineers at Automattic. The Happiness Engineer team members are responsible for answering customer support questions and ensure that all users across all the Automattic products have a happy user experience.

I also got a chance to say hit to Alex Gounder who has been a major driving force in growing WordPress in India. Meeting him reminds me of Aditya Kane is a close friend of Alex, and I have worked with Aditya Kane in the past. We used to write at Devils’ Workshop, a tech blog by rtCamp. Aditya is probably the only person I know in the WordPress community, whom I haven’t met yet. I hope to see him at #WCMumbai which is happening on the 17th-18th of March, 2018.
I also met Meher Bala, who is a freelancer WordPress developer and is another major driving force for WordPress’ growth in India.

To summarise, #WordPressMumbai meetup was extremely valuable and I am really glad I went to the meetup. Having been a WordPress enthusiast for over 8 years, I never got a chance to attend meetups and WordCamp events, thanks to school and college days. Now that I have graduated, it’s time to explore the WordPress communities in India better, and this is the only the first step of the process.
2 flights later, it’s time to hit the bed. Goodnight, WordPress!

WordPress users, did you know that Jan 28 is "Thank a plugin developer" day?

I learned something today. I learned that Matt Mullenweg officially named Jan 28 as the “Thank a plugin developer” day, 9 years ago. Back in 2009, on the same day, the co-founder of WordPress and the CEO of Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, coined this day.
WordPress in itself is a free open source software that’s aimed at enabling everyone to get started on building websites with ease. Being a truly open source software, it also enables people to make a living out of it. Over 32% of the total respondents in a survey conducted by WordPress responded that they make money with WordPress and that it helps them run their daily lives.

WordPress is not successful all by itself. It’s largely driven by the theme developers and plugin developers that contribute their coding skills to building a better WordPress experience for all users. WordPress will never be the same as it is now, without plugins.
Back in 2009, when WordPress 2.7 had come out, WordPress plugin repository had just crossed 4000 plugins. Today, it has over 53000 plugins! Some of the most popular ones like Jetpack, Akismet, Yoast SEO and Contact form 7 are used by millions across the world, all many WordPress setups and many WordPress.com sites, which help in a range of activities including SEO, publishing, sharing, customization and more.
WordPress life would never be the same without plugins. There’s no doubt that plugins haven’t improved your life, and on that note, take a minute and “Thank a plugin developer” today.

Facebook is limiting link customization ability, Here's what you should know

Facebook is reportedly dropping support for customizing link previews you don’t own. Going forward, you will have to verify your domains on Facebook Business Manager to be able to customize a link’s title, meta description or image when you sharing the link to Facebook.
Facebook is doing this to prevent misuse of link customization for domains you don’t own. This effect goes live from Dec 18, and this blog post has detailed description on what you should do to verify your domain.
If you are a website owner, publisher or a webmaster in general, you should read that post and act on it as soon as possible.

Moving from Tumblr to WordPress.com

It was just yesterday when I was rambling about how Tumblr offers custom domain mapping for free while WordPress.com does not. I am a huge fan of WordPress for the open-source contributions it has done to the world. Having used self-hosted WordPress sites for years, I am recently blown by how much has changed in the past few years on WordPress.com.
Automattic has shaped WordPress.com into a powerful medium since what I knew about WordPress.com a few years back.
Here are key reasons why I moved away from Tumblr to WordPress.com.

  • Rich ecosystem. Interesting niche content that I can follow, subscribe to.
  • Community forums. I love volunteering as a customer support member. Look at my participation with Google Top Contributors program. Also, a SUMO member with Mozilla, Support Support member with Firefox.
  • Having been with self-hosted WordPress sites for long, adopting WordPress.com is easy and WordPress.com’s dashboard can serve as a single place for my new WordPress.com site and all other self-hosted WordPress sites I own.
  • Clean mobile apps. Tumblr has one too, but I just don’t feel content in the Tumblr environment.

I am on the WordPress.com personal plan and it costs Rs 2400 per year. Decent enough. Not free as Tumblr though. But, helps connect with the right WordPress bloggers in the community.
Let me see how my experience with WordPress.com goes! If you have questions, ask on WordPress.com community forums and look out for my answer! πŸ˜‰