Embedding Video on WordPress.com

I wanted to embed something from Vimeo so that I could demonstrate to a wordpress.com user the easiest way to do it. The video I picked to embed is a short film (about 4 minutes, and it doesn’t seem that long) that I liked. The oddity of how someone goes from being a girlfriend/boyfriend to being an ex to being just someone in your old pictures is definitely something I have pondered myself. This may be due in part to the fact that my friends are still close to most of my exes, and some of the exes are fairly high profile in the tech community, so they pop up in the news I follow on a fairly regular basis. Even so, I think that attrition of attachment is something that almost everyone has experienced at some point or other, and this short film approaches it in an unconventional format (and makes a comment on the ubiquity of documented experience that has resulted from social media sites) that I thought was awesome. Check out the film by pressing play below, and if you want to know how to embed videos like this in your wordpress.com blog, just scroll down to below the video for my quick instruction.

Okay, so how did I get that Vimeo video to appear on my wordpress.com blog?

First things first — I did NOT do it this way, which is how most people are used to embedding videos:

Hover over video on Vimeo, click on the “embed” button, copy the code that looks like the image below, and paste it into my wordpress.com post editor.

Hover state of video playing on Vimeo Vimeo embed buttonVimeo embed dialog

I repeat: I did NOT do it that way. Why? Because that embed code won’t be accepted for security reasons, and you’ll just see a link to the video. But! Because Vimeo is a trusted provider, they’re “whitelisted” on wordpress.com for use with the oEmbed format. That means it’s actually even easier to embed Vimeo videos on wordpress.com than it would be with their embed code.

All you have to do is copy and paste the URL of the Vimeo page onto its own line, and WordPress will transform that URL into an embedded video.

Just copy:

Copying the Vimeo video's URL from the address bar

Then paste on a separate line:

URL is pasted on its own line in the post editor

And you get this:

Easy, right? The oEmbed format is supported on wordpress.com for embedding content (not just videos, but pictures, polls, music, etc) from all of the following sites: YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, blip.tv
Flickr (both videos and images), Viddler, Hulu, Qik, Revision3, Scribd, Photobucket, Polldaddy, Google Video, WordPress.tv, Funny or Die, SmugMugBlurbEntertonementSoundCloudofficial.fm (old Fairtilizer links work, too).

And you thought WordPress was just for words. :)


As anyone can see from looking through past posts, I almost never blog here. I mostly post on the official WordPress.org blog, or toss out snippets of thought via Twitter. However, my two years of relative silence here — when it comes to the GPL and Thesis — is now at an end. Normally I would write this post and then wait a day and edit it before publishing, but in this case I’m just going to hit Publish. Tomorrow is a another day, and I can clarify anything that needs it then.

Yesterday, I met Chris Pearson, of Thesis theme infamy. How? Why? What? I accepted an invitation to speak at a real estate convention largely for the chance to meet him in a neutral situation (not a WordCamp, etc). I introduced myself in the hall and we went to sit down and talk in a room some speakers were using. As we walked down the hall, he mentioned wanting to get an iPad while in town that day, though supplies were scarce. I offered to call “my guy” at the SF Apple store to ask if he could snag one from stock and hold it for Chris. Even though Chris had previously been a confrontational jerk to most of my co-workers, collaborators and friends, I am just a generally nice person. If I can help, I want to. I made the call.

While pretty much everyone knows that I agree with the argument that themes and plugins count as derivative works and therefore inherit the WordPress license (GPLv2), I’ve really tried to stay out of the mud when it comes to the fighting. Even when people have baited me in the past, said mean things on Twitter, misrepresented/misquoted me or in any other way were just plain uncool, I tried to stay calm, think about the overall impact to the community and make love not war (figuratively speaking). I’ve traveled to meet with WordPress community members to discuss the issues that had them riled to see if we could come to some understanding; in most cases we wound up agreeing and became friends, while in others we at least agreed to disagree and be polite for the good of the community. It takes a lot to ruffle my feathers. I was raised to be a nice girl, and even when someone is a total jackass, that training usually sticks. I am basically an overgrown hippie who just wants everyone to get along and be nice, no dogma.

There is a history of antipathy between Thesis/Chris and WordPress/Matt that predates me. I have to admit that when I first started working with the WordPress open source project and I would see their squabbling on Twitter, it reminded me of boys kicking each other in the schoolyard. I began my job with the WordPress redesign for 2.7 in 2008, right around this time of year, though I’ve known Matt and WordPress for much longer. When I started paying more attention to the issue of themes being distributed under proprietary licenses, I was actually pretty astounded. The license text itself seems pretty simple, and has been around for several decades. Each copy of WordPress comes with the license attached, and states that derivative works inherit the GPL license when distributed. I’m not going to get into the details of the license here, that’s freely available all over the web. The thing is, most of the theme developers who were distributing WordPress themes under restrictive licenses either didn’t understand the GPL, or just hadn’t really thought about it too hard, especially those coming from agency or proprietary design/software backgrounds. Those people? Pretty much all went GPL once they realized what was going on. A few others, however, simply don’t think that the license applies to them.

When I met Chris Pearson yesterday, I didn’t expect him to jump up and say, “Yay for GPL and here I come with license compliance!” Based on things some people had told me, I expected the aggressive dude from Twitter to be more of a persona than a person; I thought I’d be talking with an intelligent guy who just had a different point of view. It seemed to start out that way. However, it didn’t last, and many circuitous statements later, it became clear that Chris had no interest in peace in the community nor any respect for the license. It was almost impossible to make sense of his assertions. In one breath he would claim that Thesis had nothing to do with WordPress, then in the next would say that he builds on top of WordPress because of the profit potential (broad user base). In one breath he would say that the GPL wasn’t valid, then in another breath would say that because of the GPL he was allowed to build on WordPress for free. Discussion addressing respect for the developers went nowhere, as did points about license structures, pricing, promotion, community, and more; pretty much they all wound up with Chris saying he didn’t care about the GPL, and that he would continue to license Thesis as he does for as long as he could make money doing so. I had planned to write up this conversation last night, but frankly, had started to wonder if someone had slipped me a roofie, because I found it hard to believe anyone could be so convinced that he was above the law (at one point he asked me where the cops were, if he was breaking the law).

I stated over and over that for WordPress, a lawsuit was an ineffective use of time and money that we could be using to improve our software and grow the community resources that support it, and Chris said something similar with regard to prosecuting his own pirates (he mentioned Malaysians profiting from his work several times). Yet somehow it kept coming back to him saying we should sue him if we were so sure that the GPL was valid.

The hour or more of this type of discussion was exhausting. At one point he raised his voice so loudly that another speaker in the green room (we were at a conference) shushed us. There were a couple of other guys there who tried to back me up (not related to WordPress project team; they were real estate guys), but Chris would have none of it. We parted ways and I was terribly disappointed, not just because I am sick of this whole thing, but because he really proved my pollyanna people-are-inherently-good-and-want-to-do-the-right-thing-if-they-only-knew-what-that-was attitude to be total crap. He showed me that he does not care about the good of the community. He wouldn’t even have a straightforward discussion. His responses to questions had more misdirection than a Penn & Teller act. Ask about the license and he responded with a statement about creating solutions that work or the quality of WordPress code (which he totally dissed, btw). Eventually I asked him why not just move to a platform that was licensed in a way he approved, and he said he was working on it, but that as long as WordPress was as profitable as it is, he wasn’t leaving. He kept claiming it was “just smart business.”

1. It’s smart business to adhere to the license of any software you use. Have we not learned this in this litigious age?

2. It’s professional to answer the actual questions someone asks rather than spouting pre-determined talking points.

What makes me think they are practiced talking points? Today, a brouhaha arose on Twitter under the hashtag #thesiswp. I was trying to avoid it, but eventually it came down to Matt and Chris and they wound up going on a live webcast to debate it. Chris was saying the same things he’d said to me yesterday, verbatim. In one exchange he said iPhone instead of iPod, but otherwise, he repeated almost every single thing he’d said to me the day before. I challenge anyone to listen to the debate and come away thinking Chris Pearson has anyone’s interests at heart other than his own. Frankly, I still don’t want WordPress to sue him. I still think it is a massive waste of time and money that could be put to much better use. I think he should either respect the license or choose a different platform. But if a court case will settle this once and for all, maybe it would help the community in the end; at the very least, it would make it all less confusing.

Oh, and after Chris walked away? “My Apple guy” called to verify that there were no more iPads available in the store, but he’d gotten one out of other stock and was holding it. Too bad Chris didn’t bother to ask me about it before he left.

Yesterday sucked. Today sucked, too. I’m really ready for a day to arrive when all this crap stops taking our attention, and we can focus on documentation, forums, plugin repository enhancements, fixing the media uploader, etc. You know, get back to the business of building WordPress for those 20 million+ WordPress users around the world who owe their publishing freedom to the GPL, and are glad to have it.

** I would have linked to dozens of tweets by various community members to support this narrative, but writing this all out makes me want to go get a drink with friends instead. I’ll come back and add links  later.

Words of Wisdom from Glenn Ansley

Its funny how you think you know ‘who’ a community is because you’re following a couple mailing lists or a couple of opinionated talkers on Twitter. Getting plugged into the development process has opened me up to a whole new world of very intelligent individuals that I continue to learn from by listening in on their conversations. My coding has become more efficient due to the little tidbits of information I skim off of their public discussions every day.

via Contributing to WordPress Makes You a Better Developer | FullThrottle Development.


Panda Raccoon

We have a saying in my current family configuration (in which I go to my brother’s house in between WordCamps to help raise his teenage daughters). That saying is Panda Raccoon. It recently started spreading (my fault) into the WordPress dev community, and Nikolay has tasked me with writing up the history of it, so that people will know what the heck we’re talking about when we tell them, “Panda Raccoon!”

Okay, so I have these nieces who are in 9th grade, twins named Jamie and Morgan. Jamie and Morgan both have active imaginations, but Jamie is also an avid reader, which sometimes leads to conversational threads that are based on fictional characters and/or situations that are wholly unrealistic and unrelated to the topic at hand. For example, we might be talking about going to the lake on Saturday, which might turn into speculation about the weather and who to invite to come with us. Then Jamie will open her mouth, and before you know it there is an owl in a mouse costume flying a helicopter to drop bottled water on impoverished villages in Africa and that’s why we should have root beer to drink instead of water with lunch today. By now, of course, no one remembers that we were trying to decide if we should invite people to come to the lake with us. One of these tangential flights of fancy involved a panda in a raccoon costume. It was that evening that we declared “Panda Raccoon” to be the exclamation we would use to alert Jamie (or anyone else) that the tangent had gone too far and it was time to come back to reality. This has worked out pretty well for us. And Jamie loves pandas.

Anyway, sometimes in the #wordpress-dev weekly IRC chat, someone will raise a topic that is not on the agenda, which takes us off track and slows us down. Sometimes people will raise suggestions that are wholly impractical. Sometimes people just start self-promoting, unrelated to the topic at hand. When these things happen, I now call “Panda Raccoon” on them. The words themselves, even without the backstory, make it clear that something is happening that has nothing to do with our agenda. It’s nicer than saying, “Hey, stop it. That’s a tangent.” It’s fun to say (or type). And we all love pandas.

So we think that instead of saying “bike shed” as verbal shorthand in the WordPress community to indicate people are quibbling over inconsequential details or making unrelated suggestions that are taking us off track, we should say, “Panda Raccoon.” Tell your friends.

Woo, Menus! And a Recipe.

People ask me why I don’t post much to my site. Today, I’d like to post about the new Woo menus that are being integrated into core. But, wait! I already posted about it officially on the dev blog! And then I posted my official UI/UX review of the menus patch on the development updates P2. And I’ll be talking about it again today in the official #wordpress-dev IRC chat. So I don’t have much left to say about it that I haven’t already posted in official channels. I’d do book reviews or recipes or something here instead of WordPress stuff, but, well, I don’t.

Okay. Here’s a recipe (speaking of menus).

In a frying pan, swirl a little olive oil. Throw in some minced garlic and some bay scallops. Sauté.  Cover with some dried basil and oregano and black pepper, continue stirring. Squirt some lemon juice over the whole thing. Add two handfuls of fresh spinach. It will wilt, but will stay bright green. When the spinach is half cooked down, add a handful of cherry tomatoes. Do not cut up the cherry tomatoes, just throw them in whole. Continue to stir. When all the spinach is wilted, it’s ready. Dump it all on a plate. Take a picture, because this simple, diet-friendly meal is super pretty. Then eat it. Yum. If only I had some scallops right now, I’d be making this for lunch myself.

Patches Welcome

There are a handful of small UI enhancement tickets that are low priority for the hardcore devs, but that I’d still like to see make it into 3.0. If you mess around with PHP, consider writing a patch for one of these tickets. Contributing to core gives you awesome bragging rights, and if you do WordPress consulting, it generally gives you the cred to charge more. :)

Here are three tickets that would be awesome for someone to bang out:

I’ll try to post a couple of pet tickets each day throughout the sprint week that is coming up. If you want to take a stab at one but aren’t sure how to deal with the core patch process, check out the links under “How to Submit Patches” on the WordPress Trac home page.

The WordPress Foundation

Matt and I took a couple of hours tonight to put up a web site for the new WordPress Foundation. Though the specifics of what the Foundation will do are still being determined, I’m pretty stoked for the possibilities. My pet projects around bringing more women/girls into WordPress development, doing more outreach to schools/universities, making WordCamp presentations more available, etc finally have a place to live. Well, at least we hope so. We’ll see how it works out. I have high hopes, though. WordPress is awesome. :)

Oh, and P.S. It’s running 3.0-alpha, and using the new default theme, 2010. Dogfood, you are eaten!

WordPress Resolutions

At WordCamp Atlanta this past weekend, I gave the opening keynote, “WordPress Resolutions: What to Expect in 2010.” It went pretty well, and more people approached me about volunteering than at any previous WordCamp, which was cool. Here are my slides:

There’s also a video of the talk (I don’t come on until a few minutes in).

I talked about the plan for WordPress 3.0 (the merge with MU, custom post types, blog menu improvements, core plugins, new default theme, stricter scope control), being nice when communicating with each other, doing more to involve design/ux contributors, mentoring programs, increasing diversity among the core contributor pool, the ideas forum, redesigning WordPress.org and WordCamp.org, and mini-camps for kids to get them into WP development. I also said my personal resolution was to convince 5 theme developers to go GPL in 2010. More detail on all these topics will be forthcoming as they get fleshed out a bit.

Easy Like Sunday Morning

Title refers to the song that Ryan can’t get out of his head this morning. I am sitting in a hotel lounge in Orlando with the WordPress core committers going through the trac 2.9 milestone in preparation for branch. If anyone has a patch that hasn’t been committed: get some community members to test it for you (wrangle them from IRC and wp-hackers); if you reported a bug, patch it if you can or see if you can find someone to tackle it. Thanks!

picture of Andrew and Ryan

Andrew and Ryan

picture of Peter, Matt, Mark

Peter, Matt, Mark

Testing WordPress, PDX Edition

I’ll be here all week, folks.

Portland WordPress users: I’ll be in town tonight through next Tuesday morning to attend WordCamp, and would like to do some usability testing with you lovely people while I’m around. I have time slots all day tomorrow (Thursday), a few on Friday, a couple before/during/after WordCamp (though those will mostly be very short), and a couple on Tuesday morning. If you’d like to participate and can spare 20-40 mintues to help improve the next version of WordPress, send me an email (you can use the contact form on this site) or send me a message on Twitter (@janeforshort).