About Me

Hi, my name is Jonathan.

I am a developer and writer from Cape Town, South Africa with a passion for open-source software.

Profile photo courtesy https://www.sitombe.com/

Developer Educator WordPress Code Instructor at Automattic

In May 2022 I joined Automattic as a full-time sponsored contributor to the WordPress project, working with the Training team on Learn WordPress. We create educational content for the WordPress community, and my focus is on developer-related content.

Joining the dotorg team at Automattic was a “coming home” of sorts, as I’ve made many friends in the WordPress space who work at Automattic, and now I get to be part of the open-source team that works on the WordPress open-source project full time.

Senior Technical Writer at Delicious Brains

In 2021 I decided to take my love of writing, my experience as a software developer, and my interest in the fields of education and developer communities and accepted a position as Developer Educator Senior Technical Writer at Delicious Brains.

Delicious Brains is a dedicated team of experts who love making software for their fellow WordPress developers. My job is to help them build amazing technical documentation and insightful developer-focused content that informs and delights our developer community.

Development Lead at Castos

From 2017 to 2020, I was Development Lead at Castos. Castos is a podcast hosting and analytics service that powers and supporters the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin for WordPress

When I left, Castos had grown from just Craig and me to a distributed team of 12, the plugin was used by over 20 000 podcasters around the world, and over 10 000 active customers using the Castos service.

Expert at Codeable

From August 2016 to September 2020, I solved technical problems for clients from around the world through Codeable. I focused on plugin development (both custom plugins and plugin extensions) and theme development, specifically adding custom functionality to themes via child themes or plugins. As of the 1st of October 2020, I left active freelance development to focus solely on Castos.

Writer, Blogger, and Podcaster

Besides this blog, I have also written for the WordPress.com Go blog, the Jetpack blog, as well as Smashing Magazine, and WP Tavern.

In my spare time, I host a small WordPress focused podcast where I interview folks from all over doing interesting things with WordPress. If this is you, let’s chat.

Speaker

Whenever the opportunity provides itself, I try and speak at local events about various topics, including development, freelancing, PHP, WordPress, and Laravel. So far, I have spoken at WordCamp Europe (2019), WordCamp Cape Town (2016, 2018), WordCamp Johannesburg (2018, 2019), PHP South Africa (2017), and DevConf (2022).

WordPress contributor

WordPress has given me so much, so I do what I can to give back. I’m a community deputy, and I’ve been on or led the WordPress Cape Town organising team for three years. In September 2020, I stepped down from organising local WordPress meetups to focus on the WP Notify project.

Get in Touch

If you want to chat, feel free to find me on any of the following networks.

Alternatively, email me if you want to discuss a project, have a question, or want to say hi.

If anything you’ve found on this site was useful to you, and you want to say thanks, you can always buy me a coffee. I generally order an almond milk latte because I like the steamed milk texture but get a stronger taste of the espresso.

Latest Posts


  • Tuesday Twitch Streams

    I’ve been toying with the idea of doing weekly development live streams for some time now. Fortunately, my work on the WordPress training team regularly requires me to do some R&D work on new topics, which are the perfect subjects for live streams. So if you want to watch me fumble my way through WordPress […]

  • Running Different PHP Versions with Apache on Ubuntu

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    I’ve been using Apache as my default local development web server since I started writing PHP code back in 2006. Back then, Nginx was barely 2 years old, and every web server was running Apache, so it just made sense. Over the years I’ve come to prefer Nginx on my web servers, but I still […]

  • Let’s code! Creating your first WordPress Plugin

    As part of my sponsored work for the WordPress Training Team, I’m hosting weekly “Let’s Code” Online Workshops for Learn WordPress. Each week I cover a WordPress development concept. I’m sharing them here as well so that if anyone has questions they can ask me here (in the comments) directly. Watch this video on WordPress.tv […]

  • Turning a shortcode into a block

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    I’ve had a couple of folks either reach out to me or ask on Twitter if it’s easy to convert a shortcode into a block. The irony is that during my trial at Automattic, that’s exactly what I created, a tutorial on taking an existing shortcode plugin and adding it as a block. I am […]

  • 45

    I turn 45 today, in a world where right-wing politics is tearing down individual rights, unjust wars are being allowed to kill innocents, and tech, in general, is just one big scam after another. I’m finding it hard to be positive about all this, but the one thing that keeps me going is the fact […]

  • Configuring Ubuntu in Multipass for Local Web Development on a MacBook

    black and white browsing business coffee

    I’ve been using an Apple MacBook since June 2021. While I don’t totally hate it, I still prefer a LAMP or LEMP stack as my default local web development environment. The best alternative I’ve found on the Mac is Laravel Valet, but it’s not without some minor niggles, mostly the fact that the web server […]

  • I’ll Remember the Days Before I Knew Everything

    The first time I heard about the Automattic creed was on a plane flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg, sitting next to Hugh Lashbrooke, as we flew to attend the first WordCamp in Johannesburg in 2016. I’d met the Johannesburg organizing team at that year’s Cape Town WordCamp, where we were all speakers, and I […]

  • Coding Words

    The slides from my https://www.devconf.co.za/ 2022 talk. If you’d like to get early access to the book I’m writing on this topic, please fill in this Google form.

  • Screen Recording Options for Code Editors

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    In my Goals Setting post for 2022, I shared that I wanted to improve my blogging activity, and “try and expand into some online videos and possibly even do some live streaming.” One of the biggest hurdles with creating technical video content is making sure that any code in the code editor is readable when […]