In this issue of Delicious Brain Bytes, we take a look at what’s coming in WordPress 6.4, awards that honor the best in WordPress and awards that honor the ability to cough up $20, why LLM prompts sometimes work best in ALL CAPS, and much more.
💻 WordPress 6.4 Nears Full Release
Highlights of WordPress 6.4 include a new flexible default theme, Twenty Twenty-Four, with a “vast collection of templates and patterns,” lightbox functionality in images, a redesigned Command Palette, over 60 accessibility updates, and more than 100 performance improvements. See the WordPress 6.4 Field Guide for a wealth of in-depth information on the new release.
Damon Cook gave a sneak peek into WordPress 6.4 on the WP Engine Builders YouTube channel recently, highlighting new features such as block hooks, Query Loop improvements that enable you to fine-tune the way paginated content is retrieved and displayed, importing and exporting patterns as JSON files, a tour of the Twenty Twenty-Four theme, and more.
“In the past, they’ve focused a lot of default themes around a centralized topic or niche, but this one kind of covers a few different ones, and they’re leveraging full page patterns to address these niches” he says, pointing to patterns in Twenty Twenty-Four that seem designed for artists and photographers, writers, and businesses.
The full video is a comprehensive look at the next version of WordPress, with topics organized by chapter so you can skip directly to the specific segments that interest you.
💡 Expand Your Horizons by Writing Useless Software
There’s a good reason to write so-called useless software, according to Nicole Tietz. Tietz is the creator of Hurl, a general-purpose programming language which only gives you exceptions for control flow.
“The simple answer is ‘for the joke.’ But the longer answer is that useless software is a fantastic way to explore and experience the joy of computing. Play is an important part of exploration and joy,” she writes in a recent blog post.
The post includes examples of “useless” things she’s written, such as “A terrible chess engine and UI, riddled with bugs, which taught me about GUI programming and game programming, and led to a more thorough understanding of how chess engines work,” and “an LLM-based tool that ‘mansplains’ what a command does.”
️🗳️ Voting Open for 2023 WP Awards
Run by the WP Weekly, the 2023 WP Awards acknowledges and celebrates the best products, innovations, and teams in the WordPress space.
ACF has once again been nominated in the Dynamic Data Plugin category, with WP Engine nominated for best Hosting Service. ACF took the top spot in its category in 2022, as well receiving the single-most votes in any category.
Vote for your favorite plugins, themes, and more at https://thewpweekly.com/awards/. Voting closes November 30th, 2023.
On a lighter note, the WP Builds WordPress Awards 2023 will let you buy your way into being named “best in class” in whatever category you like. All it takes is a $20 donation to the WP Community Collective, and you can be rubbing elbows with the nominees in categories like “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Third (Possibly Fourth) Best Podcast called WP Builds,” and 3rd Handsomest Man in WordPress”.
📢 The Future of Yelling at Your Computer
Software typically communicates with other software through an API. However, LLMs can use conventional English to pass instructions to each other. Photographer David Garrido shared an interesting example of this recently, showing a prompt that passed from DALL-E to ChatGPT, giving instructions on how to behave when OpenAI’s servers are at capacity. At some points, DALL-E appears to be YELLING IN ALL CAPS:
“DALL-E returned some images. They are already displayed to the user. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES list the DALL-E prompts or images in your response. DALL-E is currently experiencing high demand. Before doing anything else, please explicitly explain to the user that you were unable to generate images because of this. Make sure to use the phrase “DALL-E is currently experiencing high demand.” in your response. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES retry generating images until a new request is given.”
Ars Technica asked AI writer and researcher Simon Willison why an LLM would respond to “…all-caps for emphasis, which is often interpreted typographically as shouting or yelling.” Willison said he could see why it might help, noting that “In the training data, they’ll have huge numbers of examples of text that used all caps where the response clearly paid more attention to the capitalized sentence.”
🤝 Mergers and Acquisitions
Matthas Klute has purchased the Social Link Pages plugin from Corey Maass, according to a report on WP Tavern. Maass created the plugin in 2019 after taking a course that required him to sign up for a “link in bio” landing page service. “In typical developer fashion, instead of paying $8 a month, I thought ‘I should build this,’” Maass said. “So I spent hundreds of hours building Social Link Pages for WordPress.”
Awesome Motive has announced the acquisition of Envira Gallery, NextGen Gallery, Photocrati Theme, and Soliloquy Slider. Envira Gallery and Soliloquy were initially created by Awesome Motive, but were sold to Nathan Singh in 2017.
Slightly outside of the WordPress space, Automattic has announced the acquisition of Texts.com, an app that “…brings all your chats into a single dashboard: iMessage, Slack, WhatsApp, Instagram, Telegram, Messenger, LinkedIn, Signal, Discord, and X, with more services on the way.”
🤼♂️ Handling AJAX Requests in WordPress: WP REST API vs admin-ajax.php vs Must-Use Plugin
The WordPress REST API was merged into WordPress core in version 4.7. Before that, developers relied on the default AJAX implementation, otherwise known as
admin-ajax after the
/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php file that processes AJAX requests in WordPress.
Prior to the introduction of the WordPress REST API, developers relied on the default AJAX implementation. The REST API is typically considered a better option because less of WordPress core is loaded during a typical REST request, and a REST response is always in a predictable format based on its schema.
However, is it faster than an AJAX request? Is there another option if the raw performance of your asynchronous requests is critical?
In this article, Matt Shaw compares the pros and cons of each approach, runs benchmarks to see which is faster, and looks at how you can speed up your request processing.
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