EP384 – Move Slow and Fix Things

February 26, 2021

This week we’re discussing WordPress releases and moving slow and fixing things.


Jason Tucker @jasontucker https://twitter.com/jasontucker​
Jason Cosper @boogah https://twitter.com/boogah​
Sé Reed @sereedmedia https://twitter.com/sereedmedia

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Episode Transcription

Jason Tucker 0:10
This is episode number 384 of WPwatercooler.

move slow and fix things brought to you by ServerPress, makers of DesktopServer. They make local WordPress development easy. Check them out at ServerPress.com dot com. support us on Patreon go to patreon.com slash wp WPwatercooler. We’d love to see you over there and help us out. We’d really appreciate it.

Jason Cosper 0:35

Jason Tucker 0:38
difference. I’m Jason Tucker, you can find me at Jason Tucker on Twitter. I’m an IT director and WordPress web developer.

Sé Reed 0:47
I’m Se Reed and I make WordPress teach WordPress and preach WordPress at SeReedMedia.com.

Jason Cosper 0:54
And you all know who it is is your boy Jason Cosper, AKA Fat Mullenwig here to talk some WordPress today. Let’s do it. Hi, good like us. If you really

Jason Tucker 1:04
like us, you should go over to Apple podcasts and give us a little review. Let us know how we’re doing. You know, take a few moments there and just really let us know like, you know, if we’re doing a good job or not leave us five stars leave us four stars, whatever, somewhere in there just

Sé Reed 1:21
we would love to know about doing a good job or not leave us

Jason Cosper 1:24
somewhere. Somewhere between four and five stars.

Unknown Speaker 1:28
Yeah, I’m gonna say if you have criticism, email, Jason.

Jason Tucker 1:33
Yeah, yeah. feedback.

Sé Reed 1:36
emailed to me, he’ll text me a screenshot. That’ll just get right to us. So if you have stuff to say, like, for example, my microphone is crap. Tell us when and I’ll just feel guilty about it. While I don’t fix my microphone for like six months? I’m not sure. That’s a good thing.

Jason Cosper 1:56
If you have a criticism to make, just tweet it at JD Power and Associates, they’re concerned with quality. And that’s, that’s that’s where all that will get handled. But otherwise positive feedback,

Sé Reed 2:15
they definitely will know what you’re talking about.

Jason Cosper 2:19
Yeah, absolutely. Got it.

Sé Reed 2:20
They’ll get it. You don’t even have to say anything, you know, hashtag. Anyway. So

Jason Tucker 2:29
today, we’re talking about moving slowly fixing things. And we’re, you know,

Sé Reed 2:36
talking slow and making sense. That’s my new mantra.

Jason Tucker 2:41
Let’s give it a shot. Say how about you? Can you tell us about this episode?

Sé Reed 2:45
Oh, no, I was just commandeering the title. I’m a big fan of this title. Big fan. Cosper should do it. He’s won a title, which I am. Applause

Jason Cosper 2:57
it’s a good thing. Thank you. It’s my series of wp WPwatercooler title hits is the Ariana Grande a series and this. So I appreciate that. So Facebook has a the motto, at least when they got started out of move fast and break things. And it’s a crappy day. Oh, yeah, absolutely. They have. It’s a crappy moto. Just the worst. And after reading this post, and Jason, if you want to pull it up by Josepha, who basically has opened the discussion about making WordPress releases easier. They were planning on how they’re hidden.

Sé Reed 3:48
See whose last name I can’t fully pronounce, which I should probably learn how to do who is the executive director of the WordPress project?

Jason Cosper 3:56
Yes. So she has put up this post talking about making WordPress releases easier. They were planning on doing four releases in 2021, which is actually was actually a step up from the previous history of three releases. One that would happen kind of early spring or so then one in summer and then one inconveniently right before Christmas for anyone who runs a professional site and it makes money off of WordPress, it’s always a way to, to kind of throw a wrench into things but they were talking about taking it to quarterly releases. And Josepha kind of thought about this and thought, well maybe we should pump the brakes a little bit on this.

Sé Reed 4:49
I feel like this is something that we here at WPwatercooler have been talking about since the very first episode back in 2012, when they introduced More, or it was the automatic updates to introduce, but we always hit on this that the development cycle is so can be really disruptive. And then the motivation, or the model of Chrome that has been touted as the model that we want to emulate. But that has been touted by Matt. And this is Josepha saying. Yeah, maybe not so much. Which I’m really excited about, actually, just the fact that this is a, an opposing view, to what has been out there with the norm backed up by data, because, you know, she’s not gonna just state her opinion. But you know, she presents it as a project management problem. And a resources issue, which I think is really interesting, because it’s not even from the developer point of view of how it affects the developer or the community.

Jason Cosper 6:02
Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s a really great thing, that they’re, they’re having a discussion about this and something that for a change, instead of, Okay, we’re including Gutenberg. And the next release, oh, we’re getting rid of jQuery migrate, which they’re doing in the next release, which they’ve, you know, slowly but surely, kind of let plugin developers know, but plugin developers don’t know that jQuery migrate is going away. I mean, I was I was talking with I was talking with a few developer friends of mine, just earlier this week, going, man, I I’ve written like, 2030, plugins that do little things here and there, I have no idea if this stuff uses jQuery migrate, I have very little idea that if things are going to break or not, and if they do, it’s, you know, like, it’s going to be a very interesting next few weeks while I scramble and get all this stuff fixed.

Sé Reed 7:11
Yeah, and I mean, hopefully, the play if people are relying on those plugins, I mean, I’m, you know, I don’t know how many people in terms of the general community are using your plugins. But this is, the bigger problem is if a developer isn’t totally on top of it, and paying attention as much as they should, for a plugin that is affecting people, or if they don’t have good communication with their customers, or they don’t reply to the support, and people are using it, there’s gonna be a whole movement of WordPress is broken again. You know, because that’s what happens is always WordPress is broken, or 5.7, broke my site. But really, what that means is, you know, the plugins weren’t updated. So it’s actually the plugins that broke your site. And, you know, because it’s not the most updated core. It’s an interesting dynamic, which way you look at that, right? Like, is it core that’s breaking your site with the upgrade? Or is it the plugins that breaking? That’s breaking your site with the older code? That’s not updated?

Jason Tucker 8:09
As Steve would say? Yes,

Sé Reed 8:12
yes, exactly.

Be on the show, and we can channel him. Amazing,

Jason Tucker 8:21
it’s totally true. Because there’s there there are those there are those updates, and we’ve all we’ve all experienced them over the last last couple months, in that, you know, there’s a huge change that happens either in a theme or in a plugin or, or in both, or the combination of them. And now you end up with, like auto updates that are breaking and things are just not working, right. And I have to go through and turn off auto updates on a couple things, knowing that these things are gonna break or Steve would say, Hi, Steve, that you would, you would just turn them all off. And you would use staging or something like that to actually manage those those updates. So it’s

Sé Reed 8:59
that thing where we are. I’ve been having a lot of like, kind of, I always have conceptual concept discussions about WordPress, but I’ve been having them a lot more with clients lately, which is not nearly as much fun as having discussions about them with other WordPress people. But I think that’s one of the things is that you’re always having to, like things that get built, you have to undo, right, like so Gutenberg, and you’re like, Oh, we got to install classic press to like counter effect, counter counterbalance that. It’s like, yes, it’s great that you have these choices. You can turn auto updates on and off and whatever. But all of these choices are what overwhelm people, like, honestly, and that it’s like, even the developers who are like, oh, everyone turn auto updates off or this plugin, it’s okay for auto updates to be on but not this one. Or, you know, this is why users get overwhelmed, and they have to have a developer to work with them. And that is also why they migrate over to prebuilt walled garden solutions because they don’t have to nest there might be paying more or whatever. But they don’t necessarily have to have someone explaining to them stuff or fixing things are coming in all the time to fix stuff, because it’s handled behind the scenes. So that’s the real difference. I think between WordPress, well, there’s a million differences, obviously, but between WordPress and Chrome, in terms of the updating model, in Chrome, you don’t need a developer to come help you repair what happened, when it updates. In word, right? Sometimes you need a developer to come fix it, or put it back or at least even tell you that it is okay just to do the update.

Jason Cosper 10:39
Right? Make it so my Sorry, my site can start accepting payments again, like you never deal with that Chrome.

Sé Reed 10:48
No, you know, maybe your extension didn’t work that you don’t notice for like, you know, a couple weeks, and then you don’t even realize that has anything to do with an update in Chrome. And that’s, that’s about the braking that might happen. So that really even I’ve never thought that was a good model to emulate the chrome model. But now that I’m thinking about it, and that terms, it’s it’s a terrible model to emulate. Why did I have any grievance whatsoever, that’s, that’s silly,

Jason Tucker 11:15
especially that, like, the updates are even being kicked off, at least for the sites that the I’ve been, I’ve been really, really monitoring, as of late, you know, like the ones that are at my work that I really worry about, instead of like, you know, my, my version of a cat blog that I have, having to, you know, kind of look at my work stuff. And I see that the updates are trying to kick off at like eight o’clock in the morning. And I’m like, Oh, cool. So when things break, they break, and I’ll be there every morning. That’s awesome. Thank you. You know, and you have you have that stuff. And one of the things that, that in the chat, Bridget was mentioning is the fact that like, shortening the release candidate windows an issue as well, you know, the resources aren’t available to all the different developers that are out there to be able to do essentially development in two different places, you know, one for looking at the bugs that are happening within the current beta, looking at the bugs that are in trunk, looking at bugs that are in this, and kind of really figuring out like, What things do I need to work on and having somebody doing future updates or future, you know, builds of the of the product, as well as dealing with those bugs?

Unknown Speaker 12:22
It’s hard. You can structure yourself thin? Yeah,

Sé Reed 12:26
yeah, no, I mean, I think the release cat when obviously, the release candidate window is extremely developer focused, like that’s not necessarily of any matter to users. But it is obviously an even to just kind of regular developers who aren’t developing plugins and themes. So plugins, plugin and theme developers versus site developers, site developers, the release candidate might be good for testing. But what’s it’s really being used for right is for the plugin and theme developers to test to make sure their products work that then the site developers will use. So, you know, cramming all of this into any small amount of time is, is complicated. Because there’s a there’s, you know, there’s a lot of levels of testing there, there’s the plugin and theme testing. And then there also needs to be the time to test the the new stuff. So if the plugins and themes are getting updated, right, at the same time, as the new WordPress core is being updated, then that doesn’t leave any time for the users or the site developers to do any testing. Without right. You know, basically, you’re just like, after everything’s launched, you’ve got your plugin updates, your theme updates, and your core updates. Now you can test it all together, or you’re just periodically updating throughout throughout the month, you know, like, okay, updated core. Now I have to go test this plugin, which just finally got an update for core. And now this plugin, oh, look, the theme that updated four core now, three weeks, like, that’s all we’re doing. So it’s like clicking? No, we’re doing is updating at this point, you know, and this is why both auto updates are good, because it takes away that burden. But it doesn’t, because you have to pay attention to those auto updates when they’re happening, whatever to see if something is breaking. So

Jason Tucker 14:18
yeah, I need an Amazon day constant

Sé Reed 14:21
thing. I need

Jason Tucker 14:23
an Amazon day for my updates. Like I want to be able to tell Amazon Hey, I need you to show up on Thursdays because it’s super annoying that my dogs bark every single day when Amazon truck goes live. So I just want those barking to happen on that one Thursday. So every Thursday, just make that happen then, so if I can get a WordPress day, that’d be pretty cool, because then I could just I could just schedule around that. And I don’t want that happening every day.

Jason Cosper 14:47
You know, Jason.

Unknown Speaker 14:50
You’ve worked in it for how long? Ever? forever. Patch Tuesday,

Unknown Speaker 14:57
Tuesday. That’s Tuesday. Exactly right.

Jason Cosper 14:59
So so for the people who aren’t familiar Windows users, Microsoft would release patches, updates everything else on a Tuesday. And it was like a nice day.

Sé Reed 15:11
You’ve got Wednesday, Thursday, Friday to fix your problem.

Jason Cosper 15:14
Yeah, you don’t launch on Thursday? Yeah. Yeah. And you don’t want you don’t want on Monday? because that gives you like, you know, you you walk into work, and immediately there’s a problem. No man Patch Tuesday. Monday is for catching up. Yeah. So it’s the patch Patch Tuesday, when

Sé Reed 15:33
we start advocating this. Can we make this? Because this is it’s chaos? And, you know, I don’t you know, we are all depending on so many layers of updates here. And really, it’s only corps that has a schedule, right? Like, we’re not getting a testing schedule, or an update schedule from every single plugin that we’re using, like whether your user or a site developer, like that would be what what are you going to maintain some sort of crate? And where would you even get that information? Like, monitoring tweets? Like I don’t like where would you get the information of when your plugin is going to release its update? For five, seven? Like, you’re gonna ask everybody like,

Unknown Speaker 16:18

Sé Reed 16:19
are you just I guess, wait, and then do it all on your own Patch Tuesday. But anyway, this is this is why I think the release candidate is the least of the problems in this like, it’s just the and I do appreciate, you know, them trying to tie it to a more like, at least with the nomenclature, tie it to a more standard open source model, so that it makes more sense to people and other developer worlds, because they’re very judgy. So that makes sense. But

Jason Cosper 16:50
what Jaci No. Developers

Sé Reed 16:57
judgy, about which software you’re using your dirty little PHP,

Jason Cosper 17:01
developers have opinions on things. I’ve never heard that. In my experience. I’ve never heard that I I have an opinion on. I’m a slave.

Sé Reed 17:13
Well, I mean, we’re talking about this from a technical standpoint, but from a community standpoint. This is showing a new side of Josepha as an executive director. I think personally, as the director of the project, she has written missives before about her philosophy or about her approach. But this is the first time I’ve really noticed pushback against something that has been kind of pre scripted. And it’s, it’s very gentle push back. It’s not like, now we can’t do this. I say No, it’s nothing like that. It’s like, I think it’s part that really they’re in a hurry, you know, laying out her argument, just saying, you know, it doesn’t seem like this is feasible, which is a very good communicator, way to say that, you know, it’s not going to antagonize anybody. It’s like putting the thought out there. But it’s still resisting that the direction that it has been going in to push, push, push more developers or more launches, more updates. And I’m excited to see that it seems healthy. To me.

Jason Cosper 18:25
It’s it’s very welcoming to actually see this kind of governing happening in the open for a change, not just right, you know, decisions about options, that that seems to have been the way before and now it’s like, well, we’re gonna have a decision. But let’s have a chat first.

Sé Reed 18:48
It is still feel a little like that, like a decisions already made. But at least we’re gonna like, tell you what we were thinking when we first thought about it. But at least it’s saying something, right? Like, at least there’s a little bit of

Jason Cosper 19:02
something. The fact that we’re going from what in 2021 was supposed to be a new release every three months to Yeah, to basically like, okay, let’s talk about this, I still think that we’re going eventually 2020 to 2023 to a release every three months, it’s going to be the inevitable way. But what Joseph is kind of calling for in her post, is we need to have something built up to support having four releases a year before we actually move to four pieces a year. And I think that is a good call.

Sé Reed 19:42
I think that’s also a good distinction to make, because she isn’t saying we shouldn’t do this and this is why this post does not touch on the should we because of development. And it only touches on the should we or should we not because of resources. And I think that’s a really big difference, too, too. To call out because should we because of timeline for developers and the community, the structure of the update structure of the community? versus how do we get the resources to do that instead? So I would hope that the resources component would also involve communication. And I mean, conversation about these things with the the community. So hopefully, you know, that will be part of the conversation, but it doesn’t touch on that really much at all. There is a lot in the comments that touches on that, of course, yeah, that touches that’s what developers care about. But she’s really approaching it from a is the core update team to stress is there are there people who have the knowledge how much work is being put on these volunteers who are not really volunteering, because they’re getting paid? And all of that touches on the big topic of who is building WordPress who can afford to be a full time volunteer on the core teams who can afford to, you know, be a part of the release? The release teams, what are they called? Now? squads? They have a name? squads, squads? Sure. Anyway, like, Who can it most, and we’ve talked about this a lot before that most of those people end up being sponsored by godaddy, Paige Lee, all the bit, you know, all the big companies and so getting more resources of full time structured people, kind of probably means bringing in more of those full time volunteers that are more sponsored.

Jason Tucker 21:43
Yeah. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s a tricky one. Because it’s like, you know, just like how we’ve talked about in the past with, with like, people speaking at speaking at work camps, those aren’t paid, you know, those aren’t paid positions, but it requires so much resources of that person, time, money, time off, time off from the project, like time off from all these different things, to go to an event and do this, it’s the same way with with contributing decor, as well as even contributing to your own product, your own your own product, or your own project to make sure that it’s going to work correctly. Within WordPress. Yeah, it’s definitely a resource issue. And it’s, it’s one of those things where we, you know, we, we have to look at this. And if we can, if we can change the cadence of the releases, and get it to a point where everyone’s essentially synched up, then we could at least make it so it’s not as bad. You know, I mean, we, I don’t know if you guys saw this, but like, you know, very early on, in the pandemic, here, we had, we had folks that were just cranking out code left and right, I mean, I had updates to, to all sorts of different pieces of software that we use. And it was because the resources were available, it’s like people had to do, they’re just cranking out code like crazy. Now, at this point, it’s like, okay, we’re gonna be getting back to a part where things are going, things are going to change at some point here. And when they start changing, that cadence is not going to be there. You know, so it’s gonna be a different, it’s gonna be a totally different way of looking at it. And it may be staggered. Yeah, you know,

Jason Cosper 23:18
when, when I was working for WP Engine years ago, I was one of the only, like, maybe very small handful of employees who was working remotely. Everybody else there was working from an office in Austin and San Antonio, San Francisco one day and all the places that they have an office, and they were like, you are hands down one of the most productive members of the team. And I really appreciated that. But a lot of the secret was, I was working from home. The reason that all those products were getting updates, is because all of a sudden, people didn’t have Jeff or you know, Pete, or Gina or whoever swinging by their desk, and going.

Unknown Speaker 24:12
And one of the ping pong table. Yeah, you

Jason Cosper 24:14
want to grab foosball? Yo, let’s play some. You know what, let’s play some Street Fighter real quick, something like that. Nobody. That’s

Sé Reed 24:23
so real. So yeah,

Jason Cosper 24:27
yeah. Those are names that I just pulled out of my butt. But whatever. works with a single Jeff or gene or whatever. No. You know, actually, Jason, getting to what you were saying though. Ryan McHugh brought up a good point about this release cycle about the planned release cycle of every three months. He was saying that basically, the big thing for them was the predictability. Woody, this release cycle. And that was something I mentioned, too. Yeah.

Sé Reed 25:06
Because they’ve even though it’s too much, they’ve planned for this now. And so now she’s changing the plan, even though it’s thoughtful or whatever, the plan is still changing on everybody with a blog post. Yeah, actually.

Jason Cosper 25:22
But at least it’s happening now, instead of three months from now or right, like right before

Sé Reed 25:29
the thing or just kidding, we’re bumping this. So I mean, that was what that was what I’m just if his response was also to his point. So I think that, um, or somewhere in here, she’s, you know, yeah. February for August was better than for July. Exactly. Like it’s better than talking about it now. But when was the decision made to go to for like, I remember us talking about it. But when was that decision made? That was in this is we only done three major updates in last year? I feel like we’ve been at for forever. But we’ve been in three? Yeah. So was it last year? Like was it one of the release teams? Like where was like, that’s, that’s something I haven’t looked into is like, who made that decision originally. And the way it was?

Jason Cosper 26:17
I remember the discussion that was happening in 2020. I think Ryan McHugh was was heavily involved in those discussions. And I think it was around the predictability around having and knowing, you know, I 2022 2023, I don’t mind this as going to four releases a year, if there’s the predictability of it. If they say, just like you do with, you know, an event, you go to like a WordPress meetup. If you say, okay, we are on the first Tuesday, Patch Tuesday, rearing its head again, but the first Tuesday of March, and then June. And then what September and December? Yeah. So you say the first Tuesday, there’s going to be a release of WordPress, we have this plan, this cut like that makes it super easy. For I mean, it’s it’s not great that I have to worry about four updates a year, however, knowing that it’s going to be there, having that time blocked out on my calendar, even so I can say, Okay, I know that this release is coming in three weeks. And I know it’s not going to get bumped because of this or that. But it is it’s coming, it’s expected. Like I can actually plan for that. Right,

Sé Reed 27:41
as a developer, and of site developer and a plugin or theme developer and community member, and even a user could understand that that, oh, it’s updated, I should pay attention to my site today, I should go and do the updates and pay attention to, you know, the tweets and what everyone’s saying about it that would, that would at the very least provide continuity, and also community around it instead of just being you know,

Jason Cosper 28:10
yeah, I’m pretty anti dashboard notification. But if a few weeks out once things hit release candidate, if it’s like, hey, just so you know, there’s a bit of WordPress coming in a few weeks. Like, it’d be great for site owners to like, you know, with a filter to shut that off for the

Sé Reed 28:31
kind of communication we need. That’s because, like, we were talking about that, you know, that’s a that’s an admin notice I’m okay with as opposed to, like, you know, OptinMonster screaming at me.

Unknown Speaker 28:43
Right, right.

Sé Reed 28:45
Doing By the way, it is screaming that I don’t use it anymore, but it does scrape.

Jason Tucker 28:50
Yeah, I’m looking in the in the chat. And Bridget was talking about the dimensioning of the roadmap, I went over to the roadmap page here. And here’s the the current plan releases and looking at, you know, where, where those reside. There’s a section in here where they talk about, I think it’s towards the top that they were talking about, like, you know, how, how the various holidays, especially holidays in America are set up and where those times are and how they how they align. But you know, it’s it’s a those times in June

Sé Reed 29:27
and September, those are, those are a lot. There are a lot of days in each of those months. So a plan released in March is like, Okay, cool. March 1, March 31

Jason Tucker 29:39
days, you know, 3031,

Sé Reed 29:42
you’re just like it’s coming. You don’t know when but it will be here. And when it does, you better be paying attention. That’s basically that’s basically what it’s saying. I’m interested in how this community this conversation, not just from a developer and an updating standpoint, but from a community resources. standpoint is what happens to a merchant, I was talking about all of the dates ahead of time. And yeah,

relating to that comment there. But the, the conversation that is really leading to, which is community resources, and volunteers, and enough people who are on the core teams, not just automatic automatic ones, but enough people who are on the core teams to be able to cycle through something like that, because if you’re doing every three months, that means essentially, that the five eight team is working, or at least getting started, when the five seven team is, you know, closing out or, you know, there’s, there’s, at the very least, it’s like one day, and then the next day, you know, like if there’s not overlap, which there would need to be. So that does require the bigger team and the bigger resources. And my I am very interested to see where that conversation goes. Because that is where we always end up in autumn attrition, and big corporation versus community conversation. That is the crux of it. And that is also where the whole governance concept comes in, and the sponsored volunteerism, and all of that. So that is a big problem that WordPress has that isn’t just related to the community, it’s actually affecting development. So guess what, we have to confront it at some point.

Jason Tucker 31:21
And that final word.

Jason Cosper 31:26
Alright, folks, thank

Jason Tucker 31:26
you very much for hanging out, as always, and talk to you later. Here’s our outro over to debut arco.com slash subscribe where you can subscribe to this content. Like I said, Go over to Apple podcasts. We’d really appreciate it. Go over there and leave us a quick little review and just let us know how things are going over there. But um, yeah, we’re available as a video as well as audio. until later. Bye bye. Hey,

Sé Reed 31:52
hey, hey.

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