ICON Weekly #7 – Rosetta Integration

In this edition of ICON Weekly, we’ll discuss ICON’s Rosetta integration, and its potential impact on a future ICX listing on Coinbase.

“When Coinbase?”

This question has plagued the ICON subreddit and Telegram channel since the dawn of time. Now that ICON’s Rosetta integration is in the final stages of development, it’s finally possible for ICX to be listed on Coinbase.

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Jetpack Wants to Be Better 🔗

Sarah Gooding, WP Tavern:

Jetpack is recruiting customers for 45-minute long interviews on Zoom where they will preview some new designs and talk about proposed product improvements that are already in the works. In exchange, participants receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

This outreach effort may help in easing the periodic friction between Automattic and the larger WordPress community, which tends to emerge like pop-up storms on social media and quickly dissipate, but not without taxing onlookers’ good will. Although Jetpack is active on more than 5 million sites, and is marketed as “the most popular WordPress plugin for just about everything,” its team occasionally seems out of touch with users.

I’m old enough to remember when Jetpack was a decent plugin. Back then, Jetpack’s had no sketchy upsells, and the plugin was designed in a modular fashion that allowed for individual features to be fully switched off.

Is that still possible? I don’t know, and quite frankly – I don’t care enough to find out. Based on the public sentiment of the WordPress community, it sounds like Jetpack is now bloated by design.

Sarah is right here, Jetpack and Automattic do occasionally seem out of touch with users, and this product improvement strategy is, ironically, yet another example of that. The idea of rewarding people with an Amazon gift card in exchange for Jetpack feedback feels wrong to me. The WordPress community has been making valid complaints about Jetpack and Automattic for years. There’s no need to go through the charade that is this product improvement plan. Jetpack should just listen and reflect on the WordPress community’s existing feedback.

One recent example of this happened when Matt Medeiros drew attention to the wording for the Jetpack Scan upsells that appear on the plugins page in the admin. Specifically, people took issue with the claim that “adding plugins can expose your site to security risks.” While this is true, participants in the resulting heated discussion said it implies that Jetpack, the plugin that claims to do “just about everything,” is the only safe plugin.

Matt Medeiros of Matt Report has a long history of critical takes on WordPress, especially regarding Automattic and Jetpack. If anyone at Automattic happens to read this, just listen to Matt’s podcast (seriously). There’s no need to engage in 45-minute long interviews. You’ll find almost everything wrong with Jetpack and Automattic within Matt’s podcast archive.

At the end of the day, the problem is fundamental in nature. Jetpack’s issues are not going to be fixed by practical methods like codebase optimization or code refactoring. The problem with Jetpack is a conflict of interest between WordPress.com (Automattic) and WordPress.org (the WordPress community). Jetpack, a plugin developed by Automattic, will always put corporate interests before community interests because that’s the only incentive model that makes logical sense from Automattic’s perspective. Unless that changes, Jetpack will never get better for WordPress users.

I wonder how many Amazon gift cards it’ll take for Automattic to realize this.

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WordPress Features vs. User Experience 🔗

Matt Medeiros:

I’m just an average user trying to do average user things in Gutenberg.

Check out this video from Matt Medeiros depicting the Gutenberg editing experience in 2021. I use Gutenberg at work pretty often, and I’ve always found it exhausting to use. Not only does the user experience leave a lot (more than acceptable at this stage) to be desired, the editor is laggy as well.

I’ve used Gutenberg in Chrome, Brave, and Safari on a $5,000 16" MacBook Pro. Whether I’m scrolling, writing, or interacting with the UI, there’s always a noticeable degree of lag. If Gutenberg were to solve its responsiveness issue, the mental exhaustion associated with using it would disappear.

Anyway, back to this video. I think one of Gutenberg’s biggest problems is the trajectory of its features versus its user experience. The feature trajectory is progressing at a much faster rate, while the user experience trajectory is lagging behind. As a result, what we have now is a WordPress editor that is dysfunctional – and I mean that sincerely.

The goal of WordPress is to “democratize publishing” – that can’t happen until Gutenberg grows up into a fast, intuitive, and accessible editing experience.

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A Quick Update 📝

I haven’t written anything for a few weeks, so I wanted to post a quick update.

  • I’ve been super busy with life and work since the beginning of the year. We’re moving to a new apartment in the coming weeks, so preparing for that has consumed a lot of my time. I’m happy to report that I’ll finally have a dedicated home office at our new place, so I’m excited to be able to work anytime without worrying about being too loud.
  • Work has been busy as well. We recently launched DevKinsta, an awesome (and free) tool for deploying local WordPress sites. Check it out if you’re a WordPress developer, or if you have a curious mind.
  • I’ve been spending almost all of my free time on Clubhouse. I didn’t really get it at first, but now I do. I’ve met a lot of interesting people on there over the past few weeks. I have a lot to say about Clubhouse – too much for this update, so I’ll share more of my thoughts in an upcoming podcast.
  • I’ve been playing around with a site redesign. The previous codebase was hacked together over the past two years, and I felt like it was finally time to clean things up. I’m still working on the frontend code, but I was able to slim down my backend code significantly. This time around, I decided to try out Tailwind CSS as a design framework of sorts. I think I’ve finally wrapped my head around how it works, so I’m planning to finish up the redesign in the next few weeks.

Not sure if I’ll have time to post again before moving. If not, I’ll be back in late-February! In the meantime, you can probably catch me on Clubhouse.

How I Created My Photos Page in Hugo

I’m not sure why, but I received a bunch of inquiries about my photos page over the past week or two. Perhaps people were busy rebuilding their websites with Hugo over the holiday season. In any case, I figured it would be a good idea to write a post about how I created my photos page – that way I can have a resource to point to if I receive similar requests in the future.

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