The Great Firewall of Russia

It’s a shame that the Russian “consumer watchdog” Rospotrebnadzor, the Ministry of Justice, and the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (or Roskomnadzor) were “smart” enough to block access to over 20 million blogs hosted on WordPress.com because three of them contained suicide, drugs, and terrorism related content, which apparently has to be censored in Russia.

Looks like somebody’s building the Great Firewall of Russia. I hoped we were better than that. Oh well…

Theme Publish is now on WordPress.com

I released a WordPress theme called Publish earlier this month, and today, thanks to the awesome Theme Team of Automattic, Publish has been made available to all WordPress.com users.

WordPress Theme Publish

Publish is a clean and minimal WordPress theme, perfect for (but not limited to) single-author blogs. While working on shipping Publish to WordPress.com customers, a bunch of improvements have been made to the theme itself, like support for uploading a custom logo (vs using Gravatar), better compatibility with many sidebar widgets and more.

I’m excited to see how Publish does on WordPress.com, and looking forward to launching more themes. You can start a new blog on WordPress.com with Publish or head over to WordPress.org for the downloadable version. Enjoy!

Custom Colors on WordPress.com

Custom Colors on WordPress.com

Now that’s an awesome way to leverage the WordPress 3.4 theme customizer! The Custom Design upgrade on WordPress.com gets a Custom Colors update — it allows you to color your blog to your taste, with those awesome predefined color palettes, color matching recommendations, or complete control with manual color picking.

Let’s hope the whole Custom Design package makes it into Jetpack sooner or later, though it’s going to be quite a challenge to support themes you have no control of, unlike WordPress.com. I’d really love to use these features with the self-hosted version. What about you?

WordPress.com now with a REST API!

Tim Moore has recently announced the REST API for WordPress.com, which allows you to access the data available on WordPress.com blogs in many new and fun ways, as well build cool applications on top of the platform, leveraging even the latest “dot com” features, such as likes, follows and reblogs.

WordPress.com Developer Blog

You’ll absolutely love the Developer Console, which allows you to run real REST API queries directly from your browser. Tim also mentioned that the API will soon be available for self-hosted WordPress users via Jetpack. For more information check out the WordPress.com Developer blog

Custom CSS Now with CSS3 Support on WordPress.com

Who said all WordPress.com blogs have to look the same? Who said you cannot customize your theme unless you’re running self-hosted WordPress? WordPress.com had the Custom Design upgrade for quite some time now, and now it’s suited and booted with CSS3 support: animation, gradients, shadows, transforms and a bunch of other stuff.

You can even make your non-responsive theme into a responsive one, with media queries! Perhaps then share your CSS via the forums with the other “dot com” members.

The CSS editor itself has been upgraded too! Now that we’re using Ace, it’s just like having a desktop code editor in the browser: syntax coloring, auto-indentation, and immediate feedback on the validity of the CSS you’re writing are just a few of its features.

The WordPress.com Custom CSS plugin for self-hosted WordPress users might be getting the updates too, although that’s less exciting, since you were able to edit CSS anyway. A good use case, however, is a multisite environment with no access to sources — the Safe CSS plugin will make sure nobody’s doing anything fuzzy ;)

San Kloud Theme by Theme.fm, now on WordPress.com

Today WordPress.com has launched a couple of new themes, and one of them is San Kloud. I remember introducing the San Kloud theme for WordPress on Theme.fm, back in August last year, and it’s made almost nine thousand downloads since then. Designed by Umit Kayabas and developed by Alexander Permyakov, San Kloud is a great theme for blogging. Congratulations to the Theme.fm team for making their first theme into the WordPress.com directory!