Monthly Archives: May 2009

Typekit Web Fonts

Introducing Typekit, an iTunes-for-fonts on the web that allows you to have rich typography in your designs and pages without resorting to flash or image hacks. (Old time readers will remember my yellow design which used Dante, the original WordPress logo font, and generated-image titles.) Typekit takes advantage of the current and upcoming browser support for embedded fonts and abstracts away all of the complications thereof like Feedburner did for feeds. Brought to you by my friends at Small Batch, previously of Adaptive Path, Measure Map, Start, and Wikirank fame. The people building the web have been waiting for this.

AFP WordPress / China Article

AFP: Blogging guru chips away at Great Firewall of China — the Agence France-Press talked to me when I was in Hong Kong about the early days of WordPress.com and our experience with the Chinese firewall. Today we are still sporadically blocked, nothing official but enough that almost everyone in China uses WordPress.org. It’s funny that this story came out almost two months after the interview because I’m wearing that exact same sweater today.

WordCamp Developer Day

I have some cool news: On Sunday the day after WordCamp San Francisco we’re going to host a WordPress developer day at the Automattic office on Pier 38. It will be Barcamp-style with no pre-announced schedule, but expect more hardcore geek content like heavy WordPress performance optimization, BuddyPress internals, an intro to Erlang, a guide to secure coding, WordPress-as-CMS discussions, and more. If there’s a topic you’d like to lead start thinking about it now, there should be plenty of room for everyone to connect. (Try to keep things local though, we’re not sure how the internet will hold up.)

How P2 Changed Automattic

If you haven’t heard of P2 yet, check out this quick video:

Almost everyone at Automattic is a blogger, but for the first couple of years of the company we didn’t blog much internally. Everything happened over IRC, Skype, and email. (In that order.) Eventually we started a blog that worked like a traditional blog did with long posts and comments, but everyone forgot to visit it until I wrote a quick script on cron job that would email everybody summaries of new posts and comments.

There was a disconnect we couldn’t reconcile: even though our internal blogs didn’t work out most of the company was active on Twitter every day. (WordPress users are some of the most passionate adopters of micro-blogging.)

We found a solution in Prologue which added a posting box to the home page and gave it a Twitter-like feel. Now Automattic had a pulse, a place where the incredible amount of activity was chronicled and captured. It was low-friction and hassle-free, we all started using it more.

But there was still a problem, Prologue was great for status updates but terribly awkward for conversation. P2 solves all this by moving the conversation inline on the homepage. Conversations can be fully threaded using 2.7’s new comment features. Finally the blog started to get so busy we made it real time so you can just leave the page open and new stuff will come in. (It’s hard to describe, so watch the video above.) Seemingly simple changes have increased engagement many-fold: our main P2 now has over 4,700 posts in it with 1,100 of those in the past 60 days.

It completely transformed how Automattic works internally and I think is one of the most valuable things we’ve adopted in the past year. I’m on the road a lot, and sometimes my only connection is checking the mobile-optimized P2 on my iPhone.

I’m excited about P2 partly because blogs provide an incredibly robust infrastructure on which to build more advanced apps and this is a good example of that. I’d love to see more themes that transform what WordPress can do top-to-bottom.

You can get P2 for your WordPress.org blog here, and it’s available for all of WordPress.com too.