Delicious Brain Bytes: DE{CODE} Registration Open, Plugin Madness, and Running Doom on Bacteria

By Mike Davey, Senior Editor

In this issue of Delicious Brain Bytes, we open the doors on DE{CODE} 2024, look into the “sustainability crisis” in open source, and much more.

Registration Open for DE{CODE} 2024

Registrations are now open for DE{CODE} 2024, the virtual WordPress developer conference hosted by WP Engine! The industry’s largest annual WordPress developer event, DE{CODE} features high-level content, networking, and demos dedicated to helping you build better sites with WordPress.

The agenda is packed with exciting and informative keynote speakers and breakout sessions, but we’ve picked out a few of our favorites below:

  • AI and the future of WordPress development: Artificial intelligence is the hottest topic in tech, but hype often runs ahead of capabilities. In the first keynote session of DE{CODE} 2024, Jason Cohen and Luke Patterson of WP Engine host a panel of WordPress experts to discuss a more grounded approach to AI and WordPress integration.

  • Elevate WordPress search with AI magic: See how combining semantic and keyword search improves the visitor experience and maximizes conversions in this demo of WP Engine’s new AI-powered Hybrid Search for WordPress.

  • Mastering modern site creation with the best workflows in WordPress: A must for anyone who makes their living building with WordPress, this session demos an entire modern site creation workflow using the latest advancements from Local, Advanced Custom Fields, WP Migrate, Frost, the WP Engine platform, and more.

  • Fine tuning your site with ACF Blocks: The modern block editor unlocks new paradigms for WordPress, but sometime core, or your theme, don’t give you the fine-tuned control over design, interaction, or integration that you really need. Get a look at the possibilities in this session, with a walkthrough of five different and imaginative custom blocks possible with Advanced Custom Fields.

DE{CODE} 2024 takes place March 19 for the Americas and APAC, and March 21 for the APAC region. Register here.

Plugin Madness Voting Opens March 5th

Nominations are now closed for Torque’s annual Plugin Madness event celebrating the best WordPress plugins. The event is a bracket-style competition where the community votes for their favorite plugins in a series of rounds. Voting begins on March 4th, with winners announced on April 15th.

This is the eighth year Torque has run Plugin Madness. Last year’s winner, Advanced Custom Fields (ACF), was also the first Plugin Madness winner in 2016.

The Sustainability Crisis in Open Source

A recent article by Chad Whitacre discusses the challenges faced by open-source developers in getting paid fairly for their work. Whitacre defines “open-source sustainability” as the ability of any smart, motivated person to produce widely adopted open-source software and get paid without having to jump through hoops. He argues that despite the success of some open-source projects, many developers still struggle to make a living, citing examples of prominent developers who have not achieved financial stability.

Whitacre also addresses the issue of “hoops,” which refers to the non-monetary ways developers often have to support themselves, such as becoming tech influencers or selling contracts. He envisions a world where developers can be self-determined and get paid in proportion to their productivity without having to engage in these activities.

Bacteria Runs Doom

It’s been said that anything with a screen can be made to run the classic first-person shooter Doom, but it seems doubtful anyone thought E. coli bacteria would qualify. Nevertheless, MIT biotechnology PhD student researcher Lauren “Ren” Ramlan has managed to get simulated bacteria to function as pixels.

We think this is worthwhile in and of itself, but Ramlan’s work also has implications for the creation of biological screens. Check out the paper for the technical details, or check out the results in the video below.

YouTube cover image

HTTP Area Codes

HTTP response headers are three digits. North American phone area codes are also three digits. That was enough for Doug Sillars to create a site that matches them up.

There are some humorous coincidences to be found if you go looking. For example, “404: Not Found” is equal to Atlanta, which might seem reasonable to anyone who has spent hours wandering its mammoth airport. Southern Alberta, meanwhile, comes up as “Forbidden,” which will surely be a shock to the over 1 million people living in Calgary.

Beta Testing WordPress with Local Blueprints

A new release of WordPress is on the horizon, with 6.5 targeted for release on March 26. As with each new release, there are countless hours of testing needed to ensure the overall experience is bug-free and optimized. You can help by testing the beta release.

In this article, Damon Cook shows us how to use Local to get testing in seconds. He provides instructions for three methods you can combine with Local: WP-CLI, the WordPress Beta Test plugin, and with a Local Blueprint.

How to Use Next-Gen Images With WordPress

Improving the Core Web Vitals for your WordPress site is a solid method to boost its rank in Google. Serving “next-gen images” is one of the more frequent recommendations for getting those scores up, as fast loading images means users spend less time waiting for pages to load.

WordPress will add support for AVIF images in 6.5, but sooner or later a new image format will come along to take its place. In this article, we show you how to use next-gen image formats with WordPress, even if they aren’t natively supported.

What’s the most interesting news you’ve come across recently? Pop by Twitter and let us know.

About the Author

Mike Davey Senior Editor

Mike is an editor and writer based in Hamilton, Ontario, with an extensive background in business-to-business communications and marketing. His hobbies include reading, writing, and wrangling his four children.