Here we are. It’s the end of 2021, and that means the final Five for the Future (5FTF) day of the year is upon us.

However, instead of holding this monthly event on a Friday, as we normally do, our final 5FTF day for 2021 is happening Thursday, December 30, 2021. That’s because Friday is New Year’s Eve, and the virtual offices of WebDevStudios (WDS) will be closed.

After sharing WDS’ year in review, in which we announced that our WordPress agency contributed 1650 hours to giving back to WordPress, we thought what better way to celebrate than by allowing our team to report their Five for the Future accomplishments for the year?

We asked our teammates:

  • What were some of the ways you gave back to WordPress in 2021?
  • What 5FTF accomplishment(s) are your proudest?
  • What are your 5FTF goals for 2022?

Here’s what they had to say.

Justin Foell, Engineering Manager

Photograph of Justin Foell, Senior Backend Engineer at WordPress design and development agency WebDevStudios.
Justin Foell, Engineering Manager

“I was able to produce seven releases of a plugin I help author,” says Justin, referring to WP-Strava. “Collectively these releases closed 10 user requests and bug reports.”

Justin states that his greatest 5FTF accomplishment is adding additional Gutenberg support to the WP-Strava plugin incrementally. “It has been a journey,” he says, “I’ve learned a lot along the way and I’m glad to put the knowledge into something the public can use.”

For 2022, Justin is planning on more code refinement and Gutenberg support for WP-Strava, saying, “Now that WordPress is actively suggesting PHP upgrades, I’d like to use some of the new features available knowing that it won’t break something on someone’s site.”

Aubrey Portwood, Senior Backend Engineer

Aubrey Portwood
Aubrey Portwood, Senior Backend Engineer

Aubrey’s contributions to 5FTF include:

  • TablePlus for LocalWP
  • ZSH plugins
  • Alfred workflows
  • WordPress core tickets

What he’s most proud of is: “I built a tool I needed (TablePlus for LocalWP) and it turned out to be pretty useful for many others out there. I’m proud my add-on is used by other people out there on the internet!”

That’s a big contribution. In fact, Aubrey is so excited about this tool he developed that his goal for 2022 is to continue building cool tools for other people to use.

“It’s really nice that Five for the Future doesn’t always have to be about WordPress,” Aubrey says. “We do that eight hours a day, five days a week at WebDevStudios, all month long! It’s nice to be able to do something different for 5FTF!”

Evan Hildreth, Backend Engineer

A photograph of WebDevStudios Backend Engineer Evan Hildreth, who is photographed from the chest up while wearing a plaid shirt and slightly smiling at the camera.
Evan Hildreth, Backend Engineer

In 2021, Evan found a multitude of ways to participate in 5FTF, including writing blog posts and working on a custom plugin to connect WordPress to social media sites.

“I completed a significant milestone in my plugin—being able to pull in posts from my other social media profiles.” This is especially exciting because Evan plans on shipping the full version of his social media plugin in 2022.

“Being able to dedicate an eight-hour chunk to contributing to open-source makes it easier for me to get into a flow and actually contribute,” says Evan.

Greg Rickaby, Director of Engineering

Photograph of Greg Rickaby, Director of Engineering at WordPress website design and development agency WebDebStudios.
Greg Rickaby, Director of Engineering

Greg’s 2021 5FTF contribution was singular, but extraordinarily monumental. “We released the Next.js WordPress Starter,” he says.

The WebDevStudios Next.js WordPress Starter is a headless starter for WordPress powered by Next.js. It’s available to the general public on our GitHub.

Greg, along with other WDS team members, has invested a lot of time into this project, which is being used by developers all over. Five for the Future and WebDevStudios’ sponsorship of the day for our staff make such a feat possible. “It’s my favorite day of the month!” proclaims Greg.

Lax Mariappan, Backend Engineer

This is a portrait photo of WebDevStudios Backend Engineer, Lax Mariappan.
Lax Mariappan, Backend Engineer

As a new employee, Lax is acclimating to WDS life by using his 5FTF days to build React and Next.js apps. He says his biggest accomplishment is working on an alpha version of his Gutenberg plugin. “Which would be impossible without the support and resources of WDS,” he adds.

His 5FTF goal for next year is submit that plugin to the WordPress repo. Plus, he plans on contributing to the WordPress Core.

Due to client work, Lax had to skip a regularly scheduled 5FTF Friday, but he was given a make-up day. “I admire the WebDevStudios commitment towards the WordPress community and Five for the Future,” he says.

Christina Workman, Website Specialist

This is a photograph of Christina Workman, Website Specialist
Christina Workman, Website Specialist

As technically talented as Christina is, she also has a unique knack for contributing to the WordPress community. Christina used her 5FTF time to:

  • Help organize her local WordPress Meetup
  • Coordinate, organize, and run the WordPress Contributor Working Group
  • Present at WordCamp Santa Clarita
  • Learn more about the WordPress Accessibility Team

“First, I love helping others get set up with 5FTF, and I’m honoured that I’ve had opportunities to meet with some of our new teammates to show them some options and share how they can get started,” Christina explains her proudest Five for the Future accomplishments. “Second, I’m really proud of the presentation I did for WordCamp Santa Clarita, ‘Understanding Neurodisabilities.'”

Accessibility is an important topic for Christina. She says that it was a privilege to be able to share information about this sub-section that lots of people aren’t very aware of.

Christina also shares that she submitted her first WordPress core issue. “It has been worked on and will hopefully be released with 5.9,” she adds.

Richard Aber, Lead Engineer

A photograph of Richard Aber, Senior Backend Engineer at website design and development agency, WebDevStudios. In this photo, Richard is looking at the camera and smiling, as he stands in front of green shrubbery.
Richard Aber, Lead Engineer

In 2021, Richard used his 5FTF hours to continue the development of the WP Search with Algolia plugin. This led to the release of Version 2.0 this year, a significant step forward. For next year, Richard plans to continue its development.

“My goals for 2022 include improving WP Search with Algolia compatibility by prefixing PHP client libraries, adding a logging mechanism, and improving the Admin UI,” he states, adding, “Five for the Future is awesome!”

Michael Beckwith, Backend Engineer

Michael Beckwith, Backend Engineer

On his 5FTF days, Michael contributed changes to the WordPress Core, evolved some of his personal WordPress plugins, including getting some hands-on Block editor development experience, and he spent extra time on some Pluginize products to further keep them compatible and impressive.

What he’s really proud of, though, is the release of his second block-based plugin and single-purpose block, designed to keep blogrolls in people’s conscious. You can learn more about this plugin, Blogroll Block, in this article published at WP Tavern in March.

But, what is Michael going to focus on in 2022? “Keep learning about current WordPress development while still helping with the legacy code parts that are often forgotten,” he says.

Michael Joseph Panaga, Backend Engineer

Michael Joseph Panaga, Backend Engineer

For his 5FTF time, Michael focused on being an accomplished WordPress Core contributor. He succeeded, too, as he was listed as a contributor for both WordPress 5.7 and 5.8. In 2022, he plans on doing more to contribute to every release in 2022.

“Five for the Future at WDS is awesome,” says Michael. “I’m really thankful that we are being sponsored to do it. WordPress market share is only increasing, so in a sense, we are literally empowering the web!”

Follow #5FTF on Twitter

It will be a skeleton crew on Thursday, because of the holidays, but the WDS staff members who will be present in our virtual offices will share their Five for the Future contributions on Twitter and tag them with the hashtag #5FTF. Other WordPress companies and individuals use the hashtag, as well. We encourage you to keep up with their contributions, too.

As you create your new year’s resolutions, consider adding the participation of Five for the Future to your list. Read this blog post for ideas.

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