Issue 58 - With our first guest editors. Covering Green Hosting, Remote Work, and the StackOverflow developer survey.
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This week we have the first of our guest editors. Tom and Vineeta run Wholegrain Digital, they run a London based WordPress agency who are a Certified B Corp. This means they have to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. If you’re interested in ethical business then you can follow them on their blog or their Wholesome podcast.

Green technology and ethical business are clearly a passion for Tom and Vineeta and the articles they have chosen reflect this. From renewable energy powered hosting, through sustainable design workshops, and a discussion on whether working from home is greener than working in an office. There’s also the Stack Overflow developer survey and how to cultivate a culture of web performance.

As always if you’re interested in sponsoring MasterWP, or just want to say hi, then please feel free to reach out by replying to this email. Until next week - Ben.

Coming up in this issue

Google and Microsoft are shaping energy markets

Can tech giants accelerate the transition to clean energy?

For years I have been looking for high performance hosting services that run on renewable energy and until recently they’ve been fairly hard to find. Now we seem to have reached a tipping point in the availability of online services and hosting providers using renewables.

This podcast caught my attention as the Green Tech Media team really know their stuff and in this episode they get to talk to energy buyers from Google and Microsoft. Just try to look past the annoying advertisements!

Even though Google has reached its goal of 100% renewable energy globally, I’m impressed to see that they haven’t stopped there. I was fascinated to hear how they are experimenting with AI, aiming to make their energy purchases more localised and granular, and how battery storage could enable tech companies to contribute to a healthy energy grid. Microsoft are less ambitious but also doing some great projects.

I strongly believe that we should be aiming to move all websites to renewable energy sources and we can start right now simply by choosing the right hosting provider. WordPress hosts such as Kinsta and WP Engine use Google Cloud Platform and so benefit from their use of renewable energy, and some other WordPress hosts like Raidboxes and Timpani also use 100% renewable energy. - Tom


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Stack Overflow’s 2018 developer survey

Is WordPress really the 6th most dreaded platform?

I was taken a bit surprise when I heard that WordPress was rated as the 6th most dreaded platform in this years Stack Overflow survey. The only other CMS in the list was Drupal, which was even less popular, and with other platforms including Salesforce, Android and Raspberry Pi it seems that their definition of ‘platform’ is far too loose to actually be meaningful.

I think it is no secret that there has long been some snobbery towards WordPress in the wider developer community, but considering the strength of the WordPress community itself and the incredible popularity of WordPress, we probably shouldn’t let this survey worry us.

Other things that jumped out were that female developers are massively under represented, with 92.7% respondents being male, and it seems that while roughly half of respondents spend an hour or more outside each day, there are some bad habits including 36.4% of developers skipping meals and 37.4% not doing any exercise. - Tom

Let’s all make it our goal this week to eat well, exercise, and get out in the fresh spring air :-) - Vineeta

Facilitating more sustainable design workshops

Damn those Sharpies!

We might work in digital, but design workshops often involve physical meetings with real materials like paper, sticky notes and good old felt tip pens. The waste from our client discovery meetings is something that has been frustrating me lately and when I read Tim Frick’s article I realised that I am not alone.

Tim offers some practical steps that we can take to reduce waste and also looks at digital alternatives for facilitating design workshops online, highlighting that even these have an environmental impact that should be taken into account. One thing that I feel is missing from the article is a note on the impact of travelling to and from meetings, as in many cases our choice of transport and meeting location probably has a bigger impact than the materials that we use in the session. - Tom

I’m really shocked that sticky notes are not always recyclable! This is something that I never would have imagined. - Vineeta

Is working from home really more sustainable?

Put an extra jumper on!

Many of us in the WordPress community, myself included, enjoy the benefits of working from home and there are some clear environmental benefits to it in theory, including reduced travel and smaller office spaces.

This article highlights that although this may often be true, the devil is in the detail and we should do our homework before we pat ourselves on the back. I would also suggest checking if you can switch to a renewable energy provider at home such as Ecotricity, Bulb, OVO or Good Energy, or equivalent if you live outside the UK. - Tom

Don’t forget about what you eat! Fuel yourself with a low carbon diet of healthy foods. - Vineeta

How to nurture a culture of web performance

“All the tools in the world won't make a difference if your people aren't invested in making a difference.”

Fast, easy to use websites are often more energy efficient, so website performance can be a win-win-win for users, site owners and the environment. It can be easy to assume that performance measuring tools will in themselves lead to better outcomes but this article turns the attention away from technology and towards people.

By finding out what makes people tick and relating website performance metrics to their own interests, we can generate a culture in which performance optimisation is something that comes naturally. For example, I personally am motivated most by reducing the carbon footprint of websites, while others may be more interested in conversion rates or user satisfaction.

The article sets out a process for embedding performance within your team culture, summed up nicely as “Get people to care, show them what they can do to help, and then give them positive reinforcement when you get results.” - Tom

The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.

- John Maynard Keynes

About the authors

MasterWP Weekly is brought to you by Alex Denning and Ben Gillbanks.

Alex does marketing for people who don't like marketing, working with WordPress businesses. You can follow @AlexDenning

Ben is a WordPress theme developer who runs leading theme shop Pro Theme Design. You can follow @BinaryMoon.

Interested in sponsoring MasterWP Weekly? Email us for details.
Copyright © 2018 MasterWP Weekly, a Pro Theme Design and Ellipsis Marketing LTD collaboration, All rights reserved.

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