WordPress 4.0 brought plugin icons and info cards to the installer, offering developers more incentive to brand their extensions for a better appearance in the admin. Plugin branding has made exploring the 34,000+ items in the official Plugin Directory a more friendly and colorful experience for users.
Building on top of the new plugin identity cards, French WordPress developer Brice Capobianco created WP Plugin Info Card for showcasing plugins on the frontend of a site. This new plugin uses the WordPress.org plugin API to fetch data and provides a configurable shortcode for embedding plugin cards within your content.
One of the feature plugins under development for possible inclusion to WordPress 4.1 is called Focus. Focus enhances the Distraction Free Writing mode in WordPress. Janneke Van Dorpe is the lead developer for the project with Mark Jaquith and Andrew Ozz contributing as well. Unlike DFW mode in WordPress 4.0, Focus keeps the meta boxes, admin bar, and left hand menu just a mouse swipe away from view.
I’m not sure I buy in to this trend. Sometimes I need to be distracted to write well. Writer’s block is when you are so focused you can’t think of anything to write about.
Self-hosted WordPress sites connected via Jetpack can now publish posts using the WordPress.com post editor. When you visit wordpress.com/post/ you’ll find a dropdown of your sites above the title field. Here you can select a Jetpack-connected site. Once you either save or publish a post, a progress bar crawls across the screen as WordPress.com communicates to your site.
On first look, it seems that WordPress.com is aiming to become a centralized place for publishing WordPress content, regardless of where the site is hosted.
But this begs the question: Why would I want to post to my self-hosted site from WordPress.com? Many themes now incorporate customized editor styles to help match the preview to the frontend a little better. The self-hosted post editor also includes better access to the rest of your content and integration with plugins you’ve added to customize that experience.