Black Friday 20 hour 20% off sale now on!

In the US there are some strange traditions, and one of them is the day after Thanksgiving when people line up from 3 or 4 in the morning to be the first people in a store when it opens to get some item for a really good price. This is ostensibly to get a head start on Christmas shopping.

We’ve decided to replicate this experience but without the cold, the early morning, or the scramble to get to the door first.

Right now you can get 20% off on all upgrades purchased on the Upgrades page on your blog. This is our Black Friday sale and must end in 20 hours time!

For example, you can get VideoPress for only $47.98, register a domain and map it for $11.98. Custom CSS costs $11.98 right now.

20% off everything, only for the next 20 hours. Check out the list of available upgrades to see what’s on offer then visit your Dashboard and click “Upgrades”.

This is the first sale we’ve ever had, and might be the only one.

Video Contest Extended!

Earlier this week, we launched a WordPress.com Video Contest all about giving thanks. No matter where on Earth you are, we invited you to submit a 30-second video all about the things that bring you joy. And it’s still on!

The new deadline for submissions is midnight Pacific time (UTC-8) on December 4, giving you an extra week to show us your awesome vids.

Remember, the winner of the contest wins a Flip Mino HD video camera, plus a one-year subscription to VideoPress!

To submit your entry, just post your video to your blog with the tag ThanksgivingContest09.

Better Source Code Posting

For the coders among you, you may already know that posting source code is really easy here on WordPress.com thanks to the sourcecode shortcode. You just wrap your code in [sourcecode] and you’re good to go — no code escaping or anything.

If you are one of those code posters, or are looking to become one, then you’ll be happy to know that we’ve updated the feature allowing more flexibility as well as adding support for additional coding languages like Bash and SVN diff.

See for yourself — here’s some HTML with a little bit of PHP:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en">
<head>
	<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
	<title>WordPress.com Code Example</title>
</head>
<body>
	<h1>WordPress.com Code Example</h1>

	<p><?php echo 'Hello World!'; ?></p>

	<p>This line is highlighted.</p>

	<p>This line is very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very long.</p>

	<div class="foobar">
		This	is	an
		example	of	smart
		tabs.
	</div>

	<p><a href="http://wordpress.com/">WordPress.com</a></p>
</body>
</html>

Besides a completely new, easier to use look, you may notice that line number 12 is highlighted. It’s just one of the many new features offered in the new version which also includes things like first line number control and the much better toolbar (hover over the code block to make it show up).

To see the full list of available languages and configurations parameters as well as some working examples, check out our in-depth support document.

This feature was implemented using Alex Gorbatchev’s SyntaxHighlighter package. It’s also available as a plugin for WordPress.org users.

A Little Snow for the Holidays

I’ve seen my fair share of snow growing up in northern Michigan. The sun was shining today, but there is a good chance we’ll have snow on the ground by the end of the week. My favorite things about snow have always been making snowmen, building snow forts, and having snowball fights.

Many of you don’t get a chance to experience the fluffy white stuff, so we’re bringing snow to WordPress.com like we’ve done the last two years. What do you like about snow?

To make it snow on your blog:

  1. Go to your dashboard.
  2. Navigate to Appearance -> Extras.
  3. Check the box next to “Show falling snow on this blog.”

If you used snow last year it is automatically turned back on. If you want to turn it off, follow the steps above but uncheck the box.

Older computers may run slow or stop responding due to snow. Use the following links if you run into a problem (the options below only affect your user account):

Prevent Snow
Allow Snow

A New Translation Platform

The full translation of WordPress.com is an ongoing process, of which you are a great part and whom we thank for the patience and assistance. Thanks to you, WordPress.com is now available in 60+ languages (and, yes, before you ask, esperanto, too). As you know, any text that shows up on your dashboard, widgets or (most) themes can be shown in one of the supported languages, by specifying a different language in the Language Settings of your blog’s dashboard.

Up to now the platform used for translation was simple and worked, but not only did it lack features that have been requested over time, but also made the approval and deploy process slow at times. Given the accelerated pace at which new features have been rolling out, we have been working on a new and improved translation platform that will make life easier for all involved.

Enter GlotPress, the new open source GPL project from Automattic, that is now the engine behind WordPress.com translations. Here are the most important changes:

  • Filters for everything,
  • Pagination! (no more filtering through thousands of strings),
  • Faster, optimized process of string validation and deployment,
  • Much easier to add new languages.

In the future we will bring in other cool stuff like keyboard shortcuts, more social functions (user profiles, comments, tags). We are pushing GlotPress live without them, because we were so impatient to deliver something better than the old system, that we focused on the most important features only.

Be sure to read the support pages on internationalization and on GlotPress, then dive into your language’s strings to make sure WordPress.com displays your language the way it should.

A few notes:

  • Translations were generally approved by one of us at Automattic, but we can only validate so much as we don’t speak all the languages (we try, though!), so that we now support “validator” profiles on GlotPress, for those users who want to help out in semantic and consistency validation (and not just technical). If you feel this is something you might want to sink your teeth into, please drop us a line in the forums.
  • Remember that for the 10 or so most spoken languages, we import those language communities’ translations directly, overwriting existing strings, at every new release. We strongly encourage you to get in touch with the .org translators for your particular idiom.
  • If you are a programmer and wish to contribute to the GlotPress code self, there’s a Trac for the project, where you can browse the code and contribute with patches and additions.

WordPress.com Video Contest: Giving Thanks

Announcing our first-ever video contest, brought to you by turkey, stuffing, and that gelatinous stuff that grandma calls cranberry sauce. Yes, that’s American Thanksgiving. Appropriate to the occasion, the topic is giving thanks.

While it’s inspired by the holiday, it’s in no way limited to residents of the U.S. Whether you’re in Jacksonville, Jakarta or Johannesburg, you’re invited to take stock of all that you’re thankful for, and share it with the WordPress community through video.

To enter the contest, embed your video in a blog post tagged with ThanksgivingContest09, any time between November 23 and 27. We’ll announce the winners the following week.

We’re looking for creative interpretations on the topic, not confessional-style orated lists. Maybe it’s a montage of tiny moments that fill you with joy, a mini-documentary of your family traditions, or a strange stop-motion adventure about the things you treasure most. Check out our announcement video for even more ideas:

While there’s no limit to the ways you can express yourself, we do have two requests:

  • Keep it rated G (obviously).
  • Keep it under 30 seconds. It sounds short but, trust us, you can fit a lot of amazing things into that timeframe.

Videos that don’t meet those two requirements will be disqualified.

The first place winner will receive a one-year subscription to the VideoPress upgrade (or an additional year, for those who already have it), along with a sleek new Flip Mino HD camera!

For the runners-up, there’s lovely WordPress apparel and mugs, plus a very special WordPress Moleskine notebook, not available in our online shop.

The contest ends at midnight Pacific time (UTC -8) on November 27. To translate that to your timezone, you can calculate it on The World Clock.

If you aren’t sure how to embed video on WordPress.com, check out our handy Support resources. You can even upload videos straight to your Media Library, with the VideoPress upgrade.

All best to our contestants. We look forward to seeing what your brainy brains come up with!

WordPress.com Video Contest

A New P2

The New P2

For those of you who haven’t yet tried it, P2 is an awesome micro blogging theme with quick front end posting, live ajax updating, and inline threaded comments. It already packs a big punch.

P2 Options Page

So how can an already great theme be taken to the next level? That was the task of Team 34 at this year’s Automattic retreat.

One of the first areas we thought could be improved was the ease of customization. Most people like to add their own personal touch to a theme, currently P2 is hard to customize beyond the standard design. We’ve added new options to allow you to hide the sidebar and even set a unique header image. All these options allow you to personalize your own P2 to match your tastes.

Post Types

We’ve also introduced post types into P2. Now you can post different types of content and have them formatted and displayed in a way that fits the content beautifully. There are settings for standard posts, single images and galleries, as well as links and quotes. Selecting which post type to use is as simple as clicking the correct tab above the post box.

P2 Single Column View

We also decided to go a step further and rework P2 so that it could easily be used as a parent theme and extended with child themes. This will allow theme designers to create awesome new theme designs without having to duplicate all of the existing P2 features. We’ve streamlined the HTML of the theme so that it is much more flexible for creating new designs using CSS. We’ve also added a large number of template based hooks that will allow plugin developers to hook into the theme and output extended functionality.

The new P2 theme is now live on WordPress.com, and also available for download from the WordPress.org theme repository. However for .org users, P2 requires WordPress 2.9 beta or greater.

A Blog Near You

During the Automattic company meetup, Team 21* holed up in a cottage outside Québec to create a new set of features for a blog near you (literally!). Have you ever wondered where in the world a blog post was written? Where a commenter was located? If there were other WordPress.com bloggers near you? If so, hold on to your hat, because you’re going to love the geotagging and geolocation features we’re introducing.

Starting today, when you log in to write a post, you have the option of identifying your location. For browsers that support it, we can get this information automatically through the magic of 21st century technology and you just have to double-check to make sure the location is correct. You can also enter your location manually. This feature is opt-in, meaning that if you don’t want anyone to know where you were when you wrote a post, that’s okay.

Enter an address, click the map, or auto detect your location

In addition to geotagging posts, you can also geotag your profile. Interested in reading blogs by other people in your area? A quick search will find them, and in the future could even be used to organize local WordPress.com user meetups.

Right now, we’re only collecting and exposing geodata for posts and profiles. Geotagged posts get marked up with the geo microformat, geo.position and ICBM meta tags, and GeoRSS and W3C geodata in feeds.

This is all machine readable data: hidden from display. What good is it if it’s hidden? It tells search engines where your posts are located, and with browser plugins like Operator and Geo, you can view geo information on any web page (not just WordPress.com geotagged posts).

The machine readable data is cool and geeky, but what about something for us humans? Right now, we don’t display geo data anywhere in a human readable way. Don’t worry, though. We’ll be launching theme integration, various maps, widgets, and shortcodes soon.

This is just the beginning. Building on this platform, we’ll gradually roll out more geotagging features, such as showing the location of your commenters, the location of poll votes, a live map view of blog updates on WordPress.com, or an annual report showing you where your posts were written and where your comments came from — kind of a blogger’s version of the Dopplr annual travel report.

For now, we’re pretty psyched about the geotagging and (the upcoming) search of posts and profiles and hope you’ll all give this new feature a try! If there are other geotagging features you’d like to see built on this foundation, suggest them in the comments!

For more information, check out the Geotagging support page.

Note: We’re holding off on launching the geo search feature until we start getting some data (from you!). So start geotagging :)

*Team 21 consisted of Jane, Jon, Mike and Stephane.

WordCamp NYC This Weekend!

WordCampNYC shirt

This weekend, November 14-15, a whole bunch of the friendly faces from Automattic and WordPress.com will be in New York City to attend WordCamp NYC. If you’re a NYC area local (and really, with Acela service being what it is, doesn’t that almost mean anywhere from Boston to D.C.?), we hope you’ll join us at what’s shaping up to be one of the most exciting WordCamps of all time.

(Okay, I’m one of the organizers, so of course *I* think it will be awesome, but in this case, I’m right!)

What’s so great about this WordCamp? Allow me to tell you:

  • 8 tracks of content, to cover every WordPress-lover’s area of interest/expertise*
  • Over 50 confirmed speakers for Saturday’s sessions
  • Sunday morning unconference
  • Sunday afternoon “Best of WordCamp NYC” Ignite-style recap
  • Q&A with Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress.com
  • Theme/Plugin Competition, Project Runway style
  • Fantastic shirts
  • Yummy lunch on Saturday
  • Door prize raffle
  • Genius Bar to help people with their WordPress woes (meet the Happiness Engineers in person!)
  • Hacker Room for hardcore developers who want to contribute to the open source project

We’re being hosted by Baruch College, a great venue in the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan. We will not be streaming WordCamp NYC online due to bandwidth limitations, but we hope to post videos from the event on WordPress.tv after it’s over.

It’s like 2 days of WordPress Paradise for less than going out to dinner (thanks to generous sponsors like Microsoft, Media Temple and other great companies). Over 550 people have already signed up. What are you waiting for? Get your ticket now and come meet us there!

*Tracks are: Newbies, Bloggers, CMS, Beginning Developer, Advanced Developer, BuddyPress/MU, Academic, and Open Source Community.

A Little Support?

Thanksgiving was last week, and I thought about doing a post to thank the people who contribute to WordPress core, since this is a group of people I’m thankful for on a daily basis. I started a draft, and then realized that with 2.9 in beta, we’ll have a release announcement sometime in the next few weeks (barring unforeseen complications, etc), and all the core contributors will be thanked then. Though I think it’s worth giving thanks every day for the people who make WordPress possible, I don’t like to clutter up anyone’s feed readers with repetitive posts, so I decided to wait until today for my post, and to focus solely on the other group I’d planned to include: support forum volunteers.

Forum volunteers don’t get a lot of flashy attention. There aren’t flame wars about whether or not the support forums should be commercial instead of free and community-run. There generally aren’t big arguments and debates over whose point of view is the right one. What the forums do have is amazing volunteers who give their time to help other WordPress users and developers learn. People who only know a little answer easy questions that maybe they’ve only recently learned the answers to themselves. People with more expert skills help troubleshoot larger issues. If someone offers advice that could be better, others will add their solutions to the mix. Of all the WordPress users I’ve met in person, not one person got started without visiting the forums. In many cases, people turn to the forums even before the Codex. In the support forums, I see a lot of what is best about our community, and almost none of that which is not.*

Without further ado, here’s my thank you to the volunteers who make the support forums work. Without them, we would be less than what we are today. I’m listing people by their WordPress.org usernames, since that’s how you see them in the forums.

Official WordPress.org Support Forum Moderators

These are the people who’ve officially got your back and have been active in the past few months. See them at a WordCamp? Buy them a beer! Otto42jeremyclark13MichaelH, samboll, Chris_K. MichaelH suggested we also recognize Moshu, Podz, Kafkaesqui for past meritorious service.

The Honor Roll
These people are not official moderators, but their knowledge and activity levels have caught the attention of those who are. A big round of thanks to these folks for selflessly sharing their knowledge with other WordPress users.

Most active volunteers, nominated by more than one official moderator for recognition (for the reasons given):
alchymyth – “Overall knowledge”
apljdi – “Overall knowledge and programming skills”
t31os_ – “Programming skills”
whooami – “For her security responses” “Knows her stuff”

Generally active volunteers, nominated by official moderators for recognition:
esmi, ClaytonJames, numeeja, stvwlf, buddhatrance, songdogtech, alism, alchymyth, Ipstenu, RVoodoo, jdingman, kmessinger, ArnoldGoodway, Shane G., figaro, jonimueller, blepoxp, cais, mfields, designdolphin, doc4, greenshady, mercime, mrmist, bh_WP_fan , henkholland, krembo99, jdembowski, pboosten, adiant, andrea_r, GDHosting, Gangleri.

Some newcomers who’ve been getting active:
a_johnson, equalmark, WebTechGlobal, kymac.

And an additional shoutout to plugin authors who take an active role in moderating threads regarding their plugins, again nominated by official moderators for recognition:
scribu, GDragoN, sivel, MikeChallis, GamerZ, alexrabe, arnee, sociable, takayukister, hallsofmontezuma, joostdevalk, filosofo, roytanck, donncha, Hiroaki Miyashita, manojtd, froman118, error, Viper007Bond, alexkingorg, cavemonkey50, azaozz, aaroncampbell, isa.goksu, flipper, joedolson, redwallhp, eight7teen, orenshmu, WebGeek, Otto42, toddiceton, the_dead_one, mywpplugin, MattyRob, markjaquith, TobiasBg, Txanny, elfin, jolley_small, stastoc, anmari, micropat, frekel.

One more time, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who contributes to the support forums at WordPress.org.

As we close out 2009 and get closer to 2010, it would be great for us to start thinking about some ways we could make it easier/more rewarding for people to be involved in the forums and other aspects of the open source project. I’ve started a forum thread to discuss some ideas with the thought that we can try a couple after the holidays and see what takes.

* I say almost because let’s face it, we all get caught in the traps of trolls sometimes, and patience can be hard to keep when someone is a jerk. So a reminder to all who use the forums: be nice to the people who are trying to help you! :)

P.S. While I’m at it, here’s another tip/request. Search the forums for your problem before posting; if it’s already been answered before (often more than once), you’re kind of wasting people’s time by posting it again without trying the previous solutions first. Please respect the time of the volunteers by searching first (and mention in your post what you’ve already tried).