Project Kickoffs and a Block Editor Build Process

Some people LOVE to start new things. They register domain names with reckless abandon. Others (like me) get hit with insecurity before they can even begin. They talk themselves out of it or fall victim to resistance. But I’m trying, people. It’s been a new year of new projects, most notably the viewSource podcast (and YouTube channel) with Aurooba Ahmed.

On viewSource this week, Aurooba and I discuss the kickoff phase of a new project. We share horror stories and talk about project management, client management, and whether or not you can train clients to use your preferred workflow.
🎙️ Starting a new WordPress project

New projects have been on the brain, because new projects are in the air. I share a recent “design-to-dev” handoff for a new website I’m working on and discuss what made it feel so successful.
✏️What makes a good design-to-dev handoff?

Throwing some custom HTML in the backend of WordPress used to feel easy, or at least familiar. Now there’s JavaScript, package dependencies, a build process, and so much more. I’m trying to learn all the things here.

I’ve been using Copilot more and more for these types of code explorations. Because the Gutenberg side of WordPress is so under-documented, you have to spend a lot of time digging into the repo to understand how it works. And it’s a huge repository of code.

What makes Copilot nice is that it’s sort of done that digging for you. It’s already read all the Stack Overflows and everyone else’s code. It’s still wrong fairly often, but no more wrong than I’d be. If you’re not messing around with AI-based pair-programming, I recommend it. I’m collecting all my posts on it on this Copilot category archive page.

This week I walked through what it was like just getting a little piece of HTML to show up on the block editor. The entire time, I used GitHub Copilot to predict what code I would need (with mixed results).
✏️Hooking into the Block Editor’s Post Publish Panel (with Copilot)

A few quick links before you go:

  • If you haven’t already read Ted Chiang’s ChatGPT Is a Blurry JPEG of the Web, it’s a must-read. Such a great analogy for large language models.
  • On that topic, Tom Scott’s video “I tried using AI. It scared me.” is another great entry into the topic. Are we on the cusp of an actual technological revolution at the same level of “the internet” or “the smartphone”?
  • OK, one more for AI: The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy writes about using AI to generate a song. The Decemberists (especially on their early albums) have a whole “vibe” so it’s funny to see it imitated in the (very terrible) song that gets created.
  • Cory and Phil are back with a new episode of In The Loop and I’m VERY exciting to hear them talk about template tags in WordPress, for weird personal reasons.
  • I’m cautiously optimistic about Cloudflare’s new “fediverse-compatible” server– mostly optimistic because Cloudflare seems to handle these technical challenges rather elegantly.
  • As someone running a full-site-editing theme with the Gutenberg beta plugin on my very-much-production website, the idea that WordPress 6.2 will remove the “beta” tag from the site editor is absolutely bonkers.
  • An ex-Googler explores the inherent cultural problems at the company, while repeatedly quoting Bob Dylan.
  • Can we all agree that watching Elon Musk have temper tantrums about Twitter is still pretty funny? If having the most money on the planet can’t buy you a sense of intrinsic self-worth, what can?

One last thing, I’ll be on Torque Social Hour live at 3pm PST today. I’m not actually sure what we’ll discuss but it’ll probably be around WordPress and podcasting.

Do you have a new project you’re excited about? Tell me about it.

Brian Coords
Modern WordPress Development