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May 15, 2021

Gutenberg Times: Template Editor, Theme.json and is a Universal theme possible? – Weekend Edition #169

Howdy,

It’s not entirely Gutenberg related, but I am so happy that deputies at Global Community Team are discussing conditions under which in-person meetings (WordCamp and Meetup) can start up again. Just the fact, that in-person meetings are talked about after 14 months “online only”, is already progress. It’ll still take months before the first in-person WordCamp organizers will be able to start planning. Your opinion counts, so don’t hesitate to chime in the comments.

There was a lot of happening this week in the WordPress world. You probably saw most of it on other WordPress news sites, so I dive in right into all the Gutenberg related updates. Happy reading.

Yours, 💕
Birgit

Gutenberg and WordPress Pre-release

It comes down to the wire for developers committing code before the WordPress 5.8 feature freeze coming up on May 25th, 2021. Gutenberg feature freeze is practically on May 19th when the Gutenberg 10.7 RC candidate is released. After those dates, only bug fixes will make it into the first Beta release, scheduled for June 7, 2021.

To keep all the dates straight I consult the full WordPress 5.8 Development Cycle page.

Calls for Testing

Andre Draganescu posted Help Test the Widgets Editor for WordPress 5.8 with test instructions for three scenarios any user could test

  • Migrating from classic widgets
  • Adding blocks next to widgets
  • Opting out of the new widgets screen with the new plugin

He also urges Theme and Plugin developers to read the available documentation and suggests to

  • Test upgrading classic widgets to blocks.
  • Test enabling and disabling theme support
  • Test 3rd party widgets compatibility.

Anne McCarthy in her post “Stick the Landing (pages)” ( 😁 nice pun!)* composed a real-life scenario for the various tests of the template editor and use it for landing pages. This goes to the heart of the new feature slated to be introduced to WordPress users with WordPress 5.8.

The instructions come with a very nice demo of the template editor in a silent movie. Just follow the mouse pointer.

(* I had to look it up: Stick the landing – is an expression that comes from gymnastic or other athletic routine when the athlete lands firmly and confidently on their feet. Or an aviator executes a flawless landing. – all part of the service… )

Gutenberg 10.6

Gutenberg 10.6 was released and comes with a ton of create features! For the first time, volunteer contributor, Koen Van den Wijngaert led this plugin release and published What’s new in Gutenberg 10.6? It was one of the bigger releases with 216 commits.

  • Duotone filters made it into this release now. Very cool highlight/shadow colors are already available. Theme developers can provide extend with theme specific colors.
  • Padding is here! You might not need those spacer block anymore or at least not so often.
  • Most used tags selector – many bloggers missed it for the last few years. It’s now also available in the block editor.
  • Tables can now have colored borders.
  • More blocks for Themes and modify Post list displays (Query blocks)
  • Theme.json is out of experimental and the documentation was updated just a couple of days ago.
  • Template Editor screen to create custom templates for landing pages.
  • Block Editor Settings are now available via an endpoint of the REST API. This opens quite a few additional opportunities for plugins and themes to adjust features and controls.

I have had a fascination with the Query block ever since it started as a Latest Post block. In this version, the team added Block Patterns to the place holder, so you don’t have to start from scratch assembling.

Justin Tadlock tested a few new features and shares his findings in Gutenberg 10.6 Adds Duotone Filters, Query Pattern Carousel, and Most-Used Tags Selector.


Need a plugin .zip from Gutenberg’s main (trunk) branch?
Gutenberg Times provides daily build for testing and review.
Have you been using it? Hit reply and let me know.

GitHub all releases

The Gutenberg Changelog episode #44 will be published later this weekend. Grzegorz (“Greg”) Ziolkowski and I had a great time diving into the details of this release, answered some General Gutenberg questions and also talked about what’s in the works even beyond 5.8.

Subscribe to the Gutenberg Changelog via your favorite podcast apps!
🎙️ Spotify | Google | iTunes | PocketCasts | Stitcher |
🎙️ Pod Bean | CastBox | Podchaser | RSS Feed 

Full Site Editing and Themes

Kjell Reigstad is back with the Gutenberg + Themes: Round up post from the Themes team. Learn quickly what was released and fixed, what is pending as PR or still in discussion that could use your input. The list of overview issues is a great way to catch up on the latest development.


Jeff Ong invited contributors and other theme developers to a Upcoming “Universal Themes” Hallway Hangout, a theme that works as a classic theme as well as a block-based theme. The post has links to recording, the sticky boards as well as the Zoom chat transcripts. I have yet to watch the gathering of Theme wizards and their thoughts on how they might want to deal with the upcoming changes. The recording is available on YouTube

Hallway Hangout – Universal Theme

The Second Call for Questions on Full Site Editing and their answers has ended, and Anne McCarthy published Answers from Round Two of Questions. Almost all answers have also reference to the GitHub discussion around a specific topic. The answer covering the differences and different use cases for the three entities that might cause confusion (#5): Reusable Block, Block Pattern and now Template. Anne answer it comprehensible, has a real life example and a great set of links to dive deeper into the topic.

Upcoming WordPress Events

May 19th, 2021
Portsmouth WordPress Meetup
Full-site Editing with Herb Miller core contributor and his block-based theme


 May 22-23, 2021
WordCamp Northeast Ohio Region
Two sessions and a Lighting talk about Gutenberg are on the schedule

  • Anatomy of a Block Theme for Full Site Editing w/ Daisy Olson
  • Web Components in WP, Gutenberg and as HTML plugins w/ Craig West
  • Lightning Talk: The power of reusable blocks w/ Daisy Olson

May 24-28, 2021
WordSesh 2021
The session schedule is now available, too. Here is the list of Gutenberg talks:

  • Blazing Fast Block Development w/ Lee Shadle
  • Building Custom Blocks w/ Rob Stinson
  • Block-Based ThemesThe Future Of Full Site Editing In WordPress w/ Imran Sayed
  • How the Block Editor Makes It Easier to Build Custom Websites w/ Danielle Zarcaro
  • Build your own Block-Based Theme w/ Daisy Olsen (Workshop)

June 7 – 9th, 2021
WordCamp Europe
A virtual event and contributor day. Call for sponsors is open.

🎉 Gutenberg Times is a media partner of WordCamp Europe 2021

June 20 – 26
WordCamp Japan
The schedule has been posted. Most sessions will be in Japanese, with exceptions, I think…

July 17 + 18th, 2021
WordCamp Santa Clarita
Calls for speakers (May 30th), sponsors, volunteers and organizers are open.

June 24 – 26, 2021
WordCamp Cochabama (Colombia)

July 23, 2021
WordFest Live The festival of WordPress
Call for Speakers is now open and submissions are due on May 24th, 2021

September 21 + 22, 2021
WPCampus 2021 Online
“A free online conference for web accessibility and WordPress in higher education.” Call for Proposal is up and proposal are due May 26, 2021


On the Calendar for WordPress Online Events you can browse a list of the upcoming WordPress Meetups, around the world, including WooCommerce, Elementor, Divi Builder and Beaver Builder meetups.


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by Birgit Pauli-Haack at May 15, 2021 06:21 PM under News

May 14, 2021

WPTavern: FSE Outreach Round #6: Building a WordCamp Landing Page via the Template Editor

As has almost become ritual at this point, I am always looking forward to the next testing round for Full Site Editing (FSE). Spearheaded by core contributor Anne McCarthy, the FSE Outreach Program’s fortnightly user tests are usually fun and offer everyone a chance to get involved, regardless of their experience level.

This latest testing round is all about whether users can create a custom template on a per-post basis directly from the editor. The answer? Why, yes, they absolutely can.

Round #6 asks for volunteers to use the new template-editing mode, which is expected to land in WordPress 5.8, to build a WordCamp landing page. The goal is to offer a discount code and attract attendees from another event to join.

Anyone interested in discovering issues and providing feedback should give this testing round a shot. There is a 36-step guide that will walk you through building a custom landing page. It should take no more than 15 minutes, maybe more if you are putting a unique spin on the design — that is half the fun for me.

Feedback is open through May 26. Just follow the instructions and leave a comment on the post.

The closest thing to a local WordCamp I have is Birmingham, AL, known for its “WP Y’all” name. I am hopeful that the WC Birmingham team would not mind me borrowing their logo for this experiment. The following is the WordCamp landing page I built with the TT1 Blocks theme:

Other than the known Nav Menu block issue noted in the post, I ran into no technical problems with any of the 36 steps. Everything worked as expected. However, that does not mean that everything was perfect.

Problems, Mostly Trivial

Before diving into the actual user-experience issues with building templates, I noticed a problem with the custom template system. After finishing the testing round, I wanted to see what my template looked like with other themes. However, I could not do this. Upon activating another theme, my custom template seemed to disappear.

The problem is that custom templates are tied to the theme. I see the logic in this. Certain aspects could be specific to the active theme (colors, fonts, etc.), and it is always how custom templates have worked. However, the block template system is different. From a user viewpoint, I feel like my custom-created templates belong to me rather than the theme.

I can see a user switching themes after a couple of years and building a dozen or so templates having a poor experience in this situation. If the feature remains the same, there should be more clarity.

One of the more frustrating aspects of the template editor is the lack of space at the bottom of the frame. I am accustomed to the post editor’s extra whitespace, focusing the active workspace toward the top of the screen.

Limited space at the bottom of template editor.

I just want to put the current piece of the layout I am working on higher up the page. I am not sure how this would look when dealing with a template editor because it needs to clearly mark the end of the document.

The other issues were primarily around the TT1 Blocks theme or missing features with the current Gutenberg plugin.

When adding a horizontal Buttons block, there is no space between individual buttons. Vertical alignment is better, but it could use a slight bump (on the front end, not in the editor).

Buttons a little too close.

And, I feel like I cannot be the first to say this: I am ready for Button block padding controls so that I can adjust TT1 Blocks’ abnormally large button output.

When inserting a full-width Columns block, the text on the left butted against the side of the page. Because neither the Columns nor the inner Column blocks currently have padding controls, the only way for users to “fix” this is to add a background color. Gutenberg automatically adds padding in that case.

No horizontal spacing.

The last trivial fix I had to make was adding a Spacer block above the custom footer section. This was not included in the testing instructions. Without it, the footer had no spacing between it and the content above it.

I did question one aspect of the testing instructions. Templates are generally a sort of wrapper or design layout. Content is a separate thing that typically lives independently. In this test, the content is housed within the template. There are scenarios where the test case makes sense. However, I would have preferred a flow where the content portion of the template was a part of the post and output via the Post Content block.

That sort of moving back and forth between post and template editors may have opened up some more usability hangups that would be worth exploring.

by Justin Tadlock at May 14, 2021 11:56 PM under gutenberg

WPTavern: WordPress Community Team Discusses Adding Vaccination Status to In-Person Meetup Safety Checklist

The WordPress community is eager to return to in-person events and organizers are discussing a path to ensure the safety of resuming meetups as a first step before considering WordCamps. Previous discussions led to the creation of a checklist to assist local organizers in determining if their chapter is eligible to proceed. Noticeably absent from the checklist at the time was the requirement for widely distributed vaccines before resuming local events.

This week, Andrea Middleton proposed adding vaccination status to the in-person meetup safety checklist.

“When we created that checklist, COVID-19 vaccine rollout was still in very early stages, and the checklist did not account for vaccines,” Middleton said. “Vaccination efforts are still being rolled out across the world and many people do not have access to vaccines yet, but progress has reached a point where it seems wise to start incorporating it into the checklist, where possible.”

The proposal would allow places that don’t currently pass the checklist to hold WordPress meetups for vaccinated attendees if vaccines are freely available in the area and local authorities are permitting gatherings.

Local organizers would also be encouraged to continue holding online events or finding ways to livestream in-person meetups so that those who are not yet comfortable attending will still have access.

“It isn’t practical (and, in some places, legal) to ask organizers to check the vaccination status of individuals,” Middleton said. “Therefore, I suggest we ask groups to use the honor system, trusting that people will only attend these events if they have been vaccinated.”

If meetup organizers move forward with the honor system, attendees will have to embrace some risk should people who are not fully vaccinated wish to break the meetup guidelines.

WordPress community leadership has the challenging task of navigating this new territory with changing conditions all over the globe. The changing laws and recommendations in different areas make it nearly impossible to create a policy that will work across the board. This week, the US passed a major milestone when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its interim public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to discontinue mask wearing and physical distancing in most cases. However, governors in some states said that indoor mask mandates would remain in place while state health officials review the new recommendations.

In the comments of the proposal, Mika Epstein asked if there will be repercussion if someone violates the honor code – otherwise “what’s the point in having a that proposal in the first place?” A policy that isn’t enforceable becomes more of an encouragement than a requirement.

WordPress meetup organizers, just like retailers, restaurants, and other businesses, will have no way of knowing who is vaccinated and who is not. The CDC reports that only 36.2% of the US population is fully vaccinated. The share of people who have had at least one does of the COVID-19 vaccine varies greatly from one country to the next.

While some countries are logging very low numbers for daily cases, despite having only small percentages of the population vaccinated, they pay the price with intermittent lockdowns, travel bans, and strict quarantine measures. In-person WordPress meetups may not be possible in these locations where vaccines are not widely available, despite the local chapter being able to meet most of the requirements on the checklist.

The discussion is open until May 27, when Middleton plans to close comments on the proposal.

by Sarah Gooding at May 14, 2021 09:10 PM under meetups

WPTavern: Gutenberg 10.6 Adds Duotone Filters, Query Pattern Carousel, and Most-Used Tags Selector

The Gutenberg development team has taken massive strides in the latest release. Version 10.6 of the plugin introduces several user-facing features and changes that upgrade the block-editing experience. The new duotone filter for images is just downright fun to play with. The UIs for the Query pattern selector and template-editing mode have been overhauled. Plus, the most-used tags feature from the pre-block era is making a return.

There is a ton of ground to cover for this release and never enough time. The development team is racing toward a WordPress 5.8 deadline that includes stabilizing theme-related blocks, theme.json integration, per-post templates, block-based widgets, and new block design controls.

Much of the work on those features is still underway. However, some of them are starting to take shape, and it could make the upcoming WordPress 5.8 release in July an exciting one as they are integrated.

Duotone Image Filters

The new duotone filter tool is one of my favorite features to land in Gutenberg. If I am being honest, I have probably put in about two hours of tinkering with it in the past day. Some of that was building out custom duotone color palettes for a theme I have been building, but most of it was just playing around for fun.

The feature works for both the Image and Cover blocks. However, it does not work for Covers with the “Fixed Background” setting enabled. There is currently an open ticket to disable duotone in this scenario.

What makes duotone such an exciting feature is that drops a powerful color filtering tool into the hands of users. It allows them to change the mood of a story with a couple of clicks.

Query Block Improvements

Query pattern carousel.

The new carousel that launches when first inserting a Query block is a much-needed improvement. It allows end-users to scroll through the various patterns. This view gives a more complete picture of what the output will actually look like before inserting it.

For users who prefer the grid-style view, there is a button to switch over to it. It has improved over the previous grid, providing a larger preview of each pattern.

On the theme side of things, developers can now choose between <div>, <main>, <section>, and <aside> elements for the Query block wrapper. This lets theme authors choose a more semantically correct tag when needed. Users have access to this via the “Advanced” tab.

Return of the Most-Used Tags Selector

Most-used tags selector.

After three years, the Gutenberg project has finally addressed its missing most-used tags feature. For new WordPress users since the 5.0 launch or those of you who may have forgotten, the Tags list in WordPress 4.9 and earlier allowed end-users to select from a list of the site’s most used tags when editing a post.

The feature was dismissed for having no “evidence right now of the user case” before the Gutenberg 1.0 launch, and the ticket asking for it was closed. In 2018, a year later, a new ticket popped up. Without boring everyone with the technical details and almost three years of discussion, the community can now rejoice in its return.

The Tags sidebar panel tab now lists the 10 most-used tags for the site. It should be a lot quicker to select them than typing each out. This is one of the few classic-editing features that I have longed for. I am happy to see it make a comeback, even after all this time.

Darker Background for the Template Editor

Template-editing mode.

Template-editing mode now has a darker background, which makes the user experience far better. The feature is slated for a WordPress 5.8 release, which will allow users to create custom templates on the fly from the post-editing screen.

Since I last did a deep dive into this mode, it has jumped leaps and bounds. The darker background behind the framed template editor indicates that the user has left the post editor and entered into a new experience. In the past, it was tough to tell which mode one was in.

Border Settings for Tables

It is easy for me to forget which blocks support specific features. I have a mini plugin that I use to enable pretty much everything — I get tired of waiting for things to land sometimes.

For everyone else, you can now enjoy border settings for the Table block. Borders controls are not widespread just yet. However, for those who have yet to use them, they are relatively basic. The feature adds a new block options tab for selecting a border style (none, solid, dashed, and dotted), width, and color.

Currently, there is no way to control individual sides. Border settings are applied to the top, right, bottom, and left sides equally. I am not one to complain too much, at least not all of the time, so this is a welcome addition to tables.

by Justin Tadlock at May 14, 2021 12:33 AM under gutenberg

May 13, 2021

WPTavern: Accessibility Advocates Sign Open Letter Urging People Not To Use AccesiBe and Other Overlay Products

AccessiBe and other similar tools are coming under fire after more than 400 accessibility advocates and developers signed an open letter calling on the industry to unite against the use of accessibility overlay products. These overlay “widgets” are technologies that apply third-party code to the front end in an attempt to automate repairs after sites launch without having accessibility baked in from the design phase.

A major part of the complaint is that these products are often marketed as quick-fix solutions that will make a website ADA compliant and immune from legal action. For example, the accessiBe website advertises the product as: “The #1 Automated Web Accessibility Solution for ADA & WCAG Compliance…A single line of code for 24/7 automated compliance.” Similarly, EqualWeb advertises making sites accessible by inserting “one line of code” to gain “compliance with WCAG 2.1, ADA, Section 508, AODA, EN 301549 and IS 5568.”

Sponsors and signatories have published a four-part statement condemning the use of these products as anything more than a temporary solution:

  1. We will never advocate, recommend, or integrate an overlay which deceptively markets itself as providing automated compliance with laws or standards.
  2. We will always advocate for the remediation of accessibility issues at the source of the original error.
  3. We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to market their products.
  4. More specifically, we hereby advocate for the removal of accessiBe, AudioEye, UserWay, User1st, MK-Sense, MaxAccess, FACIL’iti, and all similar products and encourage the site owners who’ve implemented these products to use more robust, independent, and permanent strategies to making their sites more accessible.

Accessibility practitioners are urging developers and site owners to abandon any overlay solutions they put in place, in favor of those that address inaccessibility at the root of the problem.

The document lists numerous first-hand accounts of people with disabilities struggling to use websites that have implemented overlays. Although the letter includes various products like Userway, EqualWeb, AudioEye, User1st, MaxAccess, FACIL’iti, and Purple Lens, nearly every struggling person cited accessiBe as the problem.

AccessiBe is one of the more widely known overlay products after the company raised $28 million earlier this year. It is also the subject of a cogent exposition on the dangers of using overlay products and expecting not to get sued, an article cited in the document. More recently, accessiBe gained notoriety in the WordPress world after WordPress.org removed a collection of fake reviews from the plugin’s page. The plugin is currently installed on approximately 4,000 websites. Competitors UserWay and EqualWeb have 40,000 and 1,000 active installs of their WordPress plugins but don’t seem to be as well known when compared to accessiBe’s aggressive marketing.

The creators of the document began adding signatures in March 2021. Several prominent WordPress accessibility contributors and experts are signatories on the document, including Joe Dolson, Rian Rietveld, Amanda Rush, Luc Poupard, and Gary Jones. Check out the full document for a more in-depth history of web accessibility overlays and why experts believe they are negatively impacting user experience on websites that implement them.

by Sarah Gooding at May 13, 2021 08:51 PM under accessibility

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.7.2 Security Release

WordPress 5.7.2 is now available.

This security release features one security fix. Because this is a security release, it is recommended that you update your sites immediately. All versions since WordPress 3.7 have also been updated.

WordPress 5.7.2 is a short-cycle security release. The next major release will be version 5.8.

You can update to WordPress 5.7.2 by downloading from WordPress.org, or visit your Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now.

If you have sites that support automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process.

Security Updates

One security issue affecting WordPress versions between 3.7 and 5.7. If you haven’t yet updated to 5.7, all WordPress versions since 3.7 have also been updated to fix the following security issue:

Thank you to the members of the WordPress security team for implementing these fixes in WordPress.

For more information refer to the version 5.7.2 HelpHub documentation page.

Thanks and props!

The 5.7.2 release was led by @peterwilsoncc and @audrasjb.

Thank you to everyone who helped make WordPress 5.7.2 happen: @audrasjb, @ayeshrajans, @desrosj, @dd32, @peterwilsoncc, @SergeyBiryukov, and @xknown.

by Peter Wilson at May 13, 2021 01:04 AM under Security

WPTavern: Genesis Framework To Become Free, StudioPress Announces Changes

Yesterday, StudioPress announced several changes to its themes and marketplace coming on or around June 8. For those outside its community, the company will be making its Genesis Framework available for free. The company is overhauling its marketplace, no longer selling individual themes.

StudioPress’s selection of themes will soon be available only through a Genesis Pro, WP Engine hosting, or Flywheel hosting account. The company’s ProPlus customers will gain access to the Genesis Blocks Pro and Genesis Custom Blocks Pro plugins.

The theme shop has been shifting gears since its acquisition in 2018 by WP Engine. While it still caters to freelancers and agencies, its audience has grown to include a more diverse user base. One year ago, WP Engine launched a Genesis Pro Add-On, offering a suite of StudioPress’s Genesis products to its customers.

Chris Garret, the StudioPress Marketing Director at WP Engine, wrote in the article that one of the reasons for these changes was aimed at “focusing our product and engineering efforts on preparing the Genesis community for Full Site Editing with the Gutenberg block editor in WordPress Core.”

Last fall, StudioPress launched an open beta of its upcoming Genesis Block Theme. While there has been little news of it lately, it is expected to land sometime this year alongside WordPress’s block-based theming system. In 2020, the company also rebranded an earlier plugin acquisition, Atomic Blocks, to Genesis Blocks. It later released a developer-centric Genesis Custom Blocks plugin.

The company is also retiring all but its top 10 most popular child themes. Retired themes will be archived and still available to existing customers, and the development team will issue security updates if and when necessary.

“As we have discussed in the past, there are big changes coming to WordPress with the introduction of Full Site Editing themes,” wrote Garret. “While this new way of building themes will be optional (especially at first), we’ve decided to focus most of our product and engineering efforts for Genesis related products on preparing to take advantage of these new capabilities.”

Releasing the Genesis theme for free will open a larger audience for StudioPress and ease some friction points.

“This has been one of the biggest asks in all of Genesis and beyond,” wrote Garret. “Gating Genesis Framework and Sample Theme behind a pay-wall causes confusion for people buying Genesis [child] themes from 3rd party theme providers and limits the number of people who can build with Genesis Framework.”

The team is also dropping its marketplace fees for third-party creators. Vendors, while still being listed, will need to handle payment processing on their own. The “buy” button on StudioPress will redirect customers to the vendor sites.

In the past, the Genesis community has been a bit of a walled garden. While there are still commercial plans, these changes can potentially bring in fresh creative talent who might not have chosen to build on top of Genesis in the past — payments are always barriers to entry for some. Genesis has always been the foundation, but the value non-developer customers will see is in the child themes and plugin add-ons.

With the loosening of the review guidelines in the coming months, I would like to see Genesis land in the free theme directory. It would not pass the current rules, but there may not be any holdups a bit down the road. If it will be free anyway, why not? It would be a gesture of goodwill toward the community while offering a robust and mature product into the directory. From the business end, it is sure to drive more customers to the StudioPress commercial offerings. It could be a win for everyone.

by Justin Tadlock at May 13, 2021 12:02 AM under studiopress

May 11, 2021

WPTavern: ‘Universal’ WordPress Themes Virtual Hallway Hangout Planned for May 14

Core contributor Jeff Ong announced an upcoming virtual hangout around the concept of universal themes. The meeting could cover much ground for theme authors learning how new and upcoming tools will fit into their workflows, businesses, and more. For an invitation, attendees should leave a comment on the announcement post or message Ong directly.

The hangout is slated for May 14 at 14:00 UTC.

The meeting agenda is loose, and the conversation could venture into various theme-related topics. However, the shortlist of possible discussion points covers:

  • Using new theme tools in WordPress 5.8.
  • Handling customization in block and classic themes.
  • Using block template parts within PHP templates.
  • Supporting block and classic nav menus.
  • Working with theme.json for theme styles.

The first order of business should be to define what a “universal” theme is. The terminology is new to the WordPress space, and it could change as the future of theming starts taking a more coherent shape.

Ong left a short description in the announcement. “A theme that aims to work in either classic (customizer) or FSE contexts,” he called it.

The definition seems to have been born out of GitHub ticket around “hybrid” themes — yet another new term. The goal was to discuss paths for any user to use the site or template editor to override traditional theme templates. For example, if a user wanted to create a block-based category archive template, they could do so without affecting their overall theme structure.

WordPress users will get a sampling of this idea in version 5.8. The post-editing screen has a new template-editing mode. Users will be able to switch to this mode to create a top-level template for that single post/page. It will live outside their theme structure, so it won’t matter if the theme supports blocks.

The Gutenberg development team and theme authors will be grappling with such questions in the coming months. Nothing is ever a perfect process. And, the transition to block-based theme templates is an overhaul unlike any we have seen in WordPress’s history. So, we need new paths and terms for them.

“I’ve been thinking about the notion of universal themes rather than hybrid,” wrote Matías Ventura, the Gutenberg project lead, in the ticket. “Universal themes would be themes that can be loaded in a classic context or block editor context without a problem. As a user, if I’m running a WordPress capable of understanding block themes, that’s the interface I get (and the one I can customize), otherwise, the regular theme files are used with its customizer integration. Hybrid would then be a tool for theme developers to gradually become universal themes if they want to.”

Hybrid themes seem to be designed to work with bits and pieces of FSE, giving developers time to move toward full support. However, universal themes cover everything from the traditional to the new era. They are meant to allow users to choose which bits of FSE to use.

All this new terminology could muddy the waters a bit, and if that happens, users are the ones to lose out. There will potentially be four types of themes:

  • Block Only
  • Universal
  • Hybrid (with varying levels of support)
  • Classic Only

Most themes that have landed in the official directory over the past few months lack basic block-editor styles. It is hard to imagine too many universal themes — which will require far more of a time investment — in the next year or so. It is more likely that we will see a split between new block themes and a mashup of classic/hybrid themes making the rounds. Only the most dedicated or those who can foot the bill will go the universal route.

For now, developers need to continue having these types of conversations and ironing out the details.

by Justin Tadlock at May 11, 2021 11:26 PM under Themes

WPTavern: Liquid Web Acquires GiveWP

GiveWP, one of the most popular donation and fundraising plugins with more than 100,000 active installs, has been acquired by Liquid Web. The team behind the plugin will be joining Liquid Web as part of the asset sale, which includes the whole company, products, and leadership.

GiveWP made its debut in 2015 with a 0% commission approach, its major differentiator from other third-party funding tools at the time. Sites using the plugin can collect 100% of the donations given. Its creators aimed to empower causes and non-profits to host their own donation forms. They built out the plugin to become a full donation platform with reporting and donor management.

As of May 2021, GiveWP has helped its users raise more than $1 billion dollars in online fundraising.

“When we launched, we talked about forms with no reporting, or having to hack eCommerce tools to skip the cart and sales tax and shipping,” GiveWP co-founder and former COO Matt Cromwell said. “When users started basically saying exactly that back to us as the reasons they LOVED GiveWP, it was major validation – we’d built exactly what we wished we’d had when we were freelancing for nonprofits.”

The founders also found validation in their business ideas when large organizations like the Clinton Foundation or Habitat for Humanity reached out to GiveWP support and gave positive reports after receiving answers.

“It made us really amazed how we can bring solutions to organizations that are solving BIG world problems,” Cromwell said. “When we started having better telemetry and realized that we were literally helping organizations raise billions of dollars now…that was huge. It’s been very humbling to be part of something so much bigger than any one person in our organization.”

Cromwell said his team was not actively “shopping” the company, but were looking for ways to accelerate growth of the team and product.

“GiveWP sales have been increasing annually year over year every year since our launch,” he said. “We were not looking for ways to save this product; it’s been wildly successful.”

Devin Walker, GiveWP former-CEO and co-founder, said he appreciated Liquid Web’s history of acquiring strong WordPress brands while keeping their teams in place. He referenced the company’s 2017 acquisition of iThemes, and The Events Calendar acquisition in 2020.

“These two success stories gave us great confidence in Liquid Web and their desire to see GiveWP grow,” Walker said.

“Liquid Web is building a whole software part of their business, they’ve been acquiring WordPress shops for quite some time and they saw us as a good addition to their ‘Family of Brands,'” Cromwell commented on the sale. “They are also leaders in the managed WordPress space, and we’re already talking with them about opportunities for a more specifically nonprofit focused managed WordPress solution that includes GiveWP and all our addons.”

Cromwell said his team does not anticipate any branding or pricing changes in the future. Current users and customers who have questions or concerns are invited to attend the company’s virtual Town Hall meeting with Liquid Web CTO Joe Osterling on May 18, at 11am Pacific.

by Sarah Gooding at May 11, 2021 05:41 PM under liquid web

WordPress.org blog: Welcome to Openverse

Following the recent statement by WordPress’s co-founder Matt Mullenweg and the Creative Commons CEO, Catherine Stihler’s post, I’m happy to formally announce that CC Search (with the new name Openverse) is now part of the WordPress open source project. Both Matt and I are long-time supporters of Creative Commons. I hope that this will provide a long-term, sustainable challenger to closed source photo libraries and further enhance the WordPress ecosystem.

How Does This Affect Current Users?

Current CC Search users will continue searching and using openly licensed images from around the internet. WordPress plans to continue the great work started by the Creative Commons project and expand search capabilities and features.

What’s Next?

We look forward to indexing and searching additional media, such as audio and video. As we expand our capabilities and grow the project, we look forward to integrating directly into WordPress and the media library. We hope to not only allow search and embeds of openly licensed media but pay it forward by additionally licensing and sharing your media back.

How Can You Contribute? 

Stop by the Slack channel, #openverse, and take a look at the code repositories moved under the WordPress organization here on GitHub. You can also follow along with the project on its own make page at: https://make.wordpress.org/openverse. We are working on setting up the new team, process, and procedures.

Join us in welcoming the team and community. As a treat, check out the most recent WP Briefing episode, The Commons of Images, in which Matt and I discuss CC Search and our hopes for it as part of the WordPress community.

by Josepha at May 11, 2021 12:42 PM under General

May 10, 2021

WPTavern: Openverse: Why This Project Is Good for WordPress and the Web

In today’s WP Briefing podcast episode, The Commons of Images, host Josepha Haden Chomphosy discussed the Openverse project with WordPress lead Matt Mullenweg. Automattic recently paid the non-profit Creative Commons organization for their Creative Commons Search engine. However, WordPress.org will host it, and there will be a community-run team. Openverse will be the name of the new project when it launches.

A more official announcement of the Openverse project and team is expected shortly. However, it is an ideal time to begin exploring what this means for WordPress and the web.

Over the past few years, theme authors have watched as their favored image services offered problematic license and terms changes. The domino effect of services not wanting competitors to build upon their collections of open-source media shifted the landscape. Pexels, Pixabay, Unsplash, and others began adding limitations to how their images could be used. Such limitations meant images from those services were not allowed in WordPress.org themes.

For theme creators, this meant the pool of potential open-source images became smaller in a time when it should have been growing.

“What happens today is there’s stock photography sites, some of which used to be Creative Commons-based, but many have moved away from that,” said Mullenweg. “So they essentially relicense their user contributions.”

It is not just an issue for creators on the theme directory. The burning question of where to find free images without fuzzy license agreements crosses the spectrum of the WordPress community. Even users should feel safe dropping a decorative or featured image into their post without digging through the legalese.

Creative Commons Search for beach photos.

The web is full of content under Creative Commons licenses. However, it is often tough to find them. Mullenweg said that image, audio, and video files are each “a little bit of an island” in his description of the problem. That discoverability issue is part of what the Openverse project intends to solve.

Sites that have changed their terms or licenses did so after becoming players in the stock photo space. However, their growth was on the back of the open-source world. They should have expected some backlash. And, WordPress is the ideal type of community to make a truly free alternative.

Potentially Revolutionary

The Openverse project can be a game-changer in two regards. The first is the direct integration into the WordPress media library. The second is it provides another avenue for people, even those who are not developers or designers, to contribute to the open content of the web.

The platform’s built-in media library is due for an overhaul. Uploading and adding images to a post is a relatively simple affair — if you have them on hand. Going to a stock photo site and choosing an image is often the course of action when users need to find the perfect photo to plug into a post. However, this takes users outside of the WordPress experience, creating a blockage in the content-creation flow.

The plan for Openverse is to integrate its search feature directly into the media library. This puts millions of media files into the hands of creators without ever leaving WordPress.

Some plugins already do this for various stock photo sites. Automattic’s Jetpack offers access to the Pexels collection.

Pexels image search via Jetpack.

Pexels has its own license similar to Pixababy and Unsplash. However, it does distinguish between CC0 (public domain) and the Pexels License on a photo-by-photo basis. Unfortunately, that license info is not shown via the Jetpack integration. I hope the eventual integration of Openverse and WordPress is more robust, offering a clear view of what users are getting when they find an image they like.

There are still some things to copy from Jetpack’s Pexels integration. Automatic photo credits and alt text are welcome features that generally make the web a better experience. Adding the credit to the image caption is a nice nod to the creator, and the oft-forgotten alt text is necessary for users with screen readers.

Inserting image with photo credits and alt text from Pexels.

One of the biggest takeaways from the podcast is what Openverse can be for the web. “We’re going to try to bring the WordPress philosophy to this space,” said Mullenweg.

He acknowledged that there is and should always be a market for professional media creators. There are sites aplenty for people who want to offer commercial access to their images and more.

“But we just want to make an alternative, so those who want to donate their work to the world, much like engineers, and designers, and translators of WordPress, donate their work some of that effort to the world, they can do so,” he said.

Openverse must become more than a media search engine. It needs to be a project where the Average Joe can upload a nice nature picture he took over the weekend barbecue. A place where Average Jane can share a video clip of the ocean waves hitting the shoreline from her beach trip. And a place where professionals can pay it forward to the world.

My excitement is mostly about having a trusted place for theme authors and designers to grab free media. I am already imagining what this could mean for the upcoming block pattern directory, a place that will need quality images without restrictions.

The project is 100% open source too. Developers can fork the search engine and create their own. Competing content management solutions will also have access to the public API, offering open-source media to their users.

Bringing the WordPress philosophy into the stock media space is a plan I can get behind.

by Justin Tadlock at May 10, 2021 11:43 PM under Openverse

WordPress.org blog: People of WordPress: Fike Komala

WordPress is open source software, maintained by a global network of contributors. There are many examples of how WordPress has changed people’s lives for the better. In this monthly series, we share some of the amazing stories that are not as well known.

Creating content with WordPress and blogging helped Fike Komala, from Indonesia, build a career where she can work remotely from different locations in the world.

In 2020, Fike joined a US-based company that specializes in form building to work as a content marketer. Using her experience as a freelancer and later a full time employee, she encourages others, particularly women in Asia, to consider remote work as a career option. She is so impressed by remote working benefits, that she is now considering writing about it for a thesis for her Master’s Degree, which she started this year in Europe.

Fike pictured with a snow background

As a keen blogger, WordPress immediately impressed Fike. Her dad is a programmer, and he helped her create the first of many blogs starting when she was 10 years old. She had private and public blogs, and even an English language one to help her practice and improve her skills.

“I got satisfaction and happiness from pouring my thoughts in writing and publishing them in my blog. Writing my thoughts and feelings often helped me process them, and does even now.”

Fike Komala

With a natural talent and love for languages, Fike pursued an Information Systems degree after graduating from high school. Her course covered business learning Java, HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Android programming. She also took courses to learn Bootstrap and Ruby on Rails. 

Earning Through Building With WordPress

Fike’s parents had a business building websites. She was drawn to this work and would help proofread and format the articles. This is how she first encountered WordPress, which was to play a pivotal role in her future career.

“I saw WordPress as something more advanced than other platforms, with more themes and plugins to choose from. The default WordPress websites already looked more professional than others.”

Fike Komala

Throughout school, Fike’s experience with WordPress and blogging helped her earn extra money safely online, including translating texts from English to Indonesia, online surveys, and writing articles in English.

Discovering Work You Enjoy 

The last year at University required a year-long full-time internship. Fike worked as an intern at a big general insurance company within the IT quality control staff. She enjoyed working with the people she met and learned a lot through this opportunity, but she declined the offer of a full-time position. 

Fike is a good student who loves learning and did well in her education. Through her traditional internship experience, she found that programming in an office job did not fulfill her. It strengthened her belief in a finding a career where she could have the freedom and creativity of working remotely.

“I was a good student, I love learning algorithms, but I didn’t love programming. I’m not that person who can stay calm finding errors in their codes, and then finding out that it’s only missing a character,” said Fike. She added: “I don’t really like the fact that I have to wake up at 6 AM and be back home at 7 PM, and do it all over again the next day.”

Adventure Into Remote Work 

Fike spent time improving her freelance profile, revising it, and applying to jobs as a virtual assistant. She was willing to do any small website jobs such as formatting WordPress posts, designing social media posts, and processing orders for online shops. Through a freelance job submission site, she was able to work with people from across the globe, including Singapore, Australia, Europe, and America. Through the site, Fike was able to gain experience with remote working tools like Slack, Asana, Trello, and Google Suites, and the work gave her practice writing in English. 

It was through this site that Fike saw a job opportunity with a WordPress plugin company. She sent in her profile and blog. 

“This was my first time being interviewed via a video call. I was ecstatic but panicked. On the day, I woke up at 4 AM, got dressed, and opened my laptop. Weirdly, my wi-fi died that morning. So I went to the nearest cafe to get the interview done, and it went great!”

She was hired to deliver consistency on the company’s blog. 

Through her job, Fike first began to contribute within the WordPress community and was able to attend her first WordCamp, WordCamp Jakarta 2018, sponsored by her firm. Through WordPress, Fike has met many generous, trusting, and helpful people.

She said: “Because I’ve experienced the generosity of the WordPress people, I wanted to give back to the community.”

WordCamp swagSwag from WordCamp Jakarta 2018, that’s Wapuu ondel-ondel!

“I got to know the amazing community behind WordPress. How people voluntarily contribute their time, energy, and skills to the community, from development, marketing to translating. It was really inspiring.”

Fike Komala

You Can Inspire Others Through Contributing

Fike has been an inspiration to people in her local community and globally within the WordPress community through her enthusiasm and energy. 

She talks about her joy in contributing during a live interview as part of WordPress Translation Day in 2020. 

So determined to encourage others to become translators of WordPress, she joined the Global Translation Day event with the Indonesian Community last year and took part in wider marketing of the event. She is pictured below with some of the Indonesian polyglots team.

She continues to support the polyglots and is a General Translation Editor for the Indonesian language. Last year, she also voiced an Indonesian translation of the onboarding video for new contributors joining WordPress.org. She has been a regular contributor to the PerempuanWP, an initiative for Indonesian women working in the WordPress world. Working with a firm which uses the WordPress platform has strengthened her familiarity with projects in the community and encourages her interest in contributing.

Indonesian translation team

To learn more about contributing to WordPress, visit make.wordpress.org/ and follow the “get involved” link. You can join any of the weekly team meetings to get started, and there is a lot of help available. 

Fike says, “I want to represent Asian women. In the future, I hope I can inspire more women, especially Asians, to work remotely.” She is now studying in Europe for a Master’s in Digital Communication Leadership. She hopes to use her learning to help other women, particularly back in her home country of Indonesia.

She continues to share her energy for learning and remote working.

Just learn things. As much as you can. From anywhere, about anything. Keep an open mind. Read books, listen to podcasts, and learn new skills.”

She added: “If you’re working in the WordPress world, join the WordPress community. It’s a great place to learn from and connect with great people.”

Contributors

Thanks to Abha Thakor (@webcommsat) and Meg Phillips (@megphillips91) for writing this feature, to Surendra Thakor (@sthakor), Meher Bala (@meher), Larissa Murillo (@lmurillom), Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune), Chloé Bringmann (@cbringmann) for additional support and graphics, and to Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe) who created HeroPress. Thank you to Fike Komala (@fikekomala) for sharing her #ContributorStory.

HeroPress logo

This post is based on an article originally published on HeroPress.com. It highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories would otherwise go unheard.

Meet more WordPress community members in our People of WordPress series.

#ContributorStory #HeroPress #WPTranslationDay

by webcommsat AbhaNonStopNewsUK at May 10, 2021 10:50 PM under ContributorStory

WordPress.org blog: WP Briefing: The Commons of Images

In this episode, Josepha is joined by the co-founder and project lead of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg. Tune in to hear Matt and Josepha discuss the relaunch of CC Search (Openverse) in WordPress and the facets of the open source ecosystem. 

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.

Credits

References

Openverse Repositories

Tech Stack Outline

  • Frontend– Languages:
    • JavaScript, CSS/SCSS
    • Libraries/Services: Vue.js, Nuxt.js# 
  • API– Languages:
    • Python, PostgreSQL
    • Libraries/Services: Django, Elasticsearch, Redis
  • Catalogue– Languages:
    • Python, PostgreSQL
    • Libraries/Services: Apache Airflow, PySpark

Join the WordPress Slack instance, #openverse

Transcript

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:10

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing. This is usually the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of some of the ideas is behind the WordPress open source project. Today, I have a little bit of a different topic. It’s still WordPress, it’s still open source, but it’s kind of peering into some stuff for the future as opposed to looking at where we are today or how we got to where we are today.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:36

You might have recently seen an announcement from Matt that CC Search is joining the WordPress project. This is a really exciting thing for open source, for sure, and definitely, from my perspective, for WordPress. And so I invited Matt to join me today to take a look at what he had in mind with bringing that particular project into our project and what we have in mind for the future. And so, today, this is the WordPress Briefing with Matt and Josepha. And I hope you enjoy the conversation we had. Here we go!

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:22

So, we recently announced for WordPress that we essentially acquired CC Search, a project that’s been part of Creative Commons. And they recently chose a different kind of roadmap for the work they’re doing in the future. And so it seemed like a really great opportunity to bring this tool and this, I don’t know, this kind of experience for our users into the WordPress project. So Matt, what are your thoughts about how, like this commitment to images with CC licenses, with Creative Commons licenses, can impact WordPress and how we work in the open web.

Matt Mullenweg  02:09

I think it’s pretty exciting because Creative Commons exists to do for media, you know, images, audio, etc., what open source has done for code. And so for people who choose to want to donate their creative work under these licenses, much like anyone who contributes a plugin, or code or documentation or translations for WordPress, now people for whom their method of expression is, let’s say, photography, can put that into the comments like literally, I like why it’s called the Creative Commons, it’s such a good name. It can be accessed within everyone’s dashboard for WordPress. And those images can start to really be part of the fabric of the web the same way that code that runs WordPress or its plugins is part of the fabric of the web.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  02:57

For anyone who’s listening who’s not actually already familiar with this concept of the tragedy of the commons, do you want to give us the elevator pitch of what that means and why it’s so important for WordPress to try to counterbalance that in our work?

Matt Mullenweg  03:12

Sure, the tragedy of the commons, you know, I think the canonical example is as a shared field in a town, and it doesn’t belong to anyone, so anyone can use it. And when too many farmers took their sheep there, they would overeat the grass, and then there was no more grass left because it was being overutilized, and there was no one owning the field to say, Hey, we need to practice a more sustainable amount of sheep. grass in

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  03:39

Put more grass in there.

Matt Mullenweg  03:41

So basically, the idea is like a shared resource that gets overused and then disappears. With software, we have the opportunity to have the opposite, which is a wealth of comments where every person using the thing actually has the opportunity to make it a little bit better. And that is really beauty of like Wikipedia, open source where every person using it might contribute a small fix, or a translation or a bug report or tell a friend about it, or basically be part of making this thing better, which you know, WordPress is history is very much an example of, and then as it gets better, more people want to use it. And the beautiful thing about software is you can have economics of abundance versus the economics of scarcity. There’s not one field used, but every additional incremental user of WordPress makes this community stronger and creates a larger market for the products inside it. So those types of dynamics can have the opposite of the tragedy of the commons.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  04:39

Absolutely. I love this idea that you brought it up in your question, not your question, in your answer right at the top. I love this idea of acknowledging that code isn’t the only fabric available in open source and certainly not the only fabric of the internet as we know it. This idea of like, let’s bring Creative Commons licensed images into a more long-term space for WordPress. Do you think that that at some point can apply to videos and other sorts of audio files?

Matt Mullenweg  05:21

Absolutely. There already is a ton of Creative Commons licensed content out there that people can use. But there’s a discoverability problem, you know? Each individual image or audio file or video is, is a little bit of an island. So that’s why it’s so important that there’s the equivalent of a search engine that allows people to discover all the great stuff that’s out there. And what happens today is there’s stock photography sites, some of which used to be Creative Commons-based, but many have moved away from that. So they essentially relicense their user contributions. Or people, if we’re being real, people just go to Google images, and they might utilize images that they don’t actually have rights to. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s not ideal. And so we can create this really compelling directory experience of imagery, which people have chosen to share and want to be used. I think that’s a much better outcome than the equivalent of piracy.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  06:21

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So I leapt right into this and didn’t really give any context to what CC Search is or anything, but for anyone who is not familiar with this tool already, CC Search is, as Matt mentioned, a search engine that currently is focused specifically on images that use open licenses. The Creative Commons licenses are like the content-specific version of GPL for code, which is a really big deal, I think. If wishes were fishes, Matt, and you had your total hope ahead of you, what is your hope for the relaunch of this product and this tool in WordPress?

Matt Mullenweg  07:15

Well, first and foremost, I think we can improve the experience of designing and contributing themes and then modifying them with this really fantastic image directory if we’re able to build it in the media library. And lots of plugins like Jetpack do some version of this. I think that Jetpack uses Pexels or one of the proprietary, but open libraries. And so we can make it fully, like you said, the equivalent of GPL and open source, all the better. I think longer-term, I’d love to have a way for people who are adding media to the WordPress site to set it to be available under a Creative Commons license. So just to make it easy and built-in for people to create more Creative Commons license imagery. And then, you know, with the integration of Gutenberg and other things, we can make it easy for other people to use it and credit back the original author if they choose to. And what we find is that even though with CC0, which is essentially a kind of like putting something into the public domain, credit is not required. If you make it the default to link back to the original photographer, author, most people believe that because they like creating things that they use. So you get the best of both worlds; you have the freedom of use for any purpose, including not requiring the credit. But then, just by having it by default, when you insert one of these images, a lot of people are going to leave that and link back to the original author, which I think is also really cool. Like you’re not required to have a credit link on WordPress, but most people leave the Powered BY WordPress on there. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  08:45

One of the interesting areas, you mentioned Pexels in this case. One of those interesting areas that we, as a project, can really explore here is how to make it so that the metadata gives you confidence in the origin of the image. Like I don’t believe that there are any set standards for that. I’ve just started my research, obviously, because they’re brand new to us, but I just don’t think there are any standards available there. And, I think that there is an opportunity for WordPress as a true supporter of the open web to help change the fact that we don’t have that’s one of the main competitive disadvantages that open source libraries have been trying to combat and especially with Unsplash, who eventually did get purchased by Getty Images. Still, I feel like part of what must have driven that decision to change the licensing terms had to be that they are up against that behemoth of Getty Images where people know where the things came from. They know where the images came from, and they can trust that lineage and model releases and all that stuff. I’m just really interested to see how we can; I don’t know; I hate to say dignify contributors who are offering their contributions to open source in this way. But, it also is kind of that there’s no sense in saying that just because you did not accept payment from getting images, your photos weren’t any good, or your images did not have an excellent path to where they are housed at that moment.

Matt Mullenweg  10:39

I mean, it’s really fun to contribute to something larger than yourself. And for many folks, you know, their gift, their craft is something like photography. And so there’s always going to be the sort of paid marketplaces and, and something like Shutterstock, I think really fantastic companies and services. I think a marketplace for paid content. But we just want to make an alternative, so those who want to donate their work to the world, much like engineers, and designers, and translators of WordPress, donate their work some of that effort to the world, they can do so. Right now, there are some places for that, but we’re going to try to create one that is fully open, has no advertising, has an open API. So other CMSs can access it too.  You know, we’re going to try to bring the WordPress philosophy to this space. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  11:29

Gosh, I just love that. While we’re on the question of contributing to something bigger than yourself, bringing the WordPress philosophy into this space, how do you think CC Search will impact the current media library and how WordPress handles media in general? Or do you have an idea about how it will impact that? Sometimes we don’t know until we get in?

Matt Mullenweg  11:53

Yeah, I think within Gutenberg, the idea of adding an image from an online library or a search is something we’ve wanted to do for a while. But either the licensing made it a little tricky, or, you know, some of the sites that did have open things, maybe the site itself had like a lot of advertising or pop-ups or things like that. So by having this hosted by wordpress.org, we’ll have a clean, open source, and ad-free place that people can access. I suppose it’s also worth saying that CC Search, which we’re rebranding as Openverse, is actually all the code behind is open source as well. So there is going to be a new project on WordPress’s GitHub that will be this open source search engine. So that’s also part of the contributions; we’ll be pointing this search engine to try to index and collect Creative Commons license media, but perhaps it could also provide a base for someone else wanting to build a different characters engine or just host Openverse themselves and run it themselves; that is totally fine.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  13:00

I should probably mention, for any of the WP Briefing listeners who are contributing to the WordPress project itself, there is a brand new team that we’re working on building, and for one wander over and welcome everybody, we are welcoming in an open source community into our open source community. And so, of course, we want to make sure that they know how to get around and feel welcome in the space. But also, anything that you are interested in helping to contribute to that particular project, I think would be helpful. WordPress is big; we have a long history. And so I think I feel confident in saying that, if I were on that team that’s bringing in this new tool, I would hope that there were some OG WordPressers, who were available to help me discover the ins and outs of things, especially as its 18 years of us.

Matt Mullenweg  14:04

Yeah, it’s also a new technology stack. So let’s say you want to be involved in WordPress, but your expertise is more on the Python side, or Elastic Search or something like that. We now have a project where people who are into that or want to learn about it can get involved. Because, of course, you know, contributing and being involved with open source is probably the best way to learn a technology, better than any college degree.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  14:28

I was just talking to some folks about that; our active learning opportunities and our passive learning opportunities get into a different balance as we get older. And active learning opportunities are for real in school, right? And our passive learning opportunities where you get to look at someone else’s code, you get to review proposals on user flows, and things are harder and harder to come by unless you happen to be in an open source project where we’re just working on that in the open all day, every day. And I’ll put a link to the repos in the show notes, and also, I’ll include a list of the tech stack that we’re looking at there, just so that no one has to like, chase it down. But yeah, I’m excited about this new integration, not only for the CMS but also for the community.

Matt Mullenweg  15:26

And the whole library will be available to any plug-in who wants to call to it. And like we said, even other CMSs, much like we designed Gutenberg to be able to be used by other CMSs, how cool would it be if Drupal or Joomla or others were also able to leverage this library and allow their users to contribute to it as well?

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  15:47

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. There is a burning question that I feel like we probably should just go ahead and answer here. I’ve been asked a few times, and I think you have been asked a few times whether this is an actual acquisition. And If yes, then what entity is it under? Is it under the WordPress Foundation? Is it under Automattic?

Matt Mullenweg  16:10

It’s a little complicated because, as you know, WordPress.org is not part of the Foundation. So basically, Automattic paid Creative Commons, the nonprofit. They will essentially redirect the old URL, so old links to Creative Commons Search won’t break. And we ended up hiring some of the people that they were parting ways with into Automattic. And then we put that open source code, and we’ll run the service on WordPress.org, and then those we hired, Automattic hired, will contribute to WordPress.org and the open source projects that power what we’re calling Openverse now.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  16:54

I am.

Matt Mullenweg  16:56

That’s kind of an acquisition, but also from a nonprofit, and then going into something, which is not a nonprofit, but is open source and sort of freely available, which is WordPress.org, the website.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  17:06

Yeah, that has been hard for me to answer because you’re right, it’s not like it was donated to WordPress or something. But everything that we’re doing is being donated back to the project, and of course, hopefully, really living into that WordPress ethos that we have of giving back to, to the project, something that made your work and your life better. So there’s some, some finger-crossing going on in there.

Matt Mullenweg  17:37

We could have skipped some of the steps because the code was open source; we could have just used it or something like that. But it was also a good opportunity, I think, to support the Creative Commons organization. And like we said, as part of that donation, there’ll be redirecting Creative Commons Search to WordPress.org. And honestly, we don’t need that, but it just from the point of view of keeping links workings, which is a big passion of mine. I like that none of the links will break or things to the Creative Commons Search, which I think has been around for… I don’t actually know the exact timeline, but a very long time. It’s been part of the internet for a long time. So we’re happy that it can now continue and be something that can plausibly be around for many decades to come.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  18:23

Yeah, we’re going to build ourselves a little sustainable program around this project, and it’s going to be beautiful; I’m excited.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  18:31

I did want to give everybody a cultural heads up. When I say crossing my fingers, I know that for some of our cultures, that means I was lying. That is not what I’m saying—crossing my fingers and moving forward on this with a lot of hope.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  18:51

I tried to be careful about my local idioms when I’m talking to folks who don’t know that I’m from Arkansas, so I sometimes say weird things. But I’ve given up on y’all, for instance, like that has made its way right back into my language. 

Matt Mullenweg  19:09

Y’all is great. In Texas, we had a funny thing, which maybe applies to you now, which is “more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.” I bet you haven’t heard that one. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  19:21

I have not, but I love it, and I’m going to fold it into my personal vocabulary for later use. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  19:30

The response to this has been overwhelmingly positive, and I know that I am incredibly positive. I just mentioned like I’m moving forward through this with hope, even though there’s a lot of stuff that I don’t actually know about how we can implement it. I have never brought an existing open source community into an open source community that I’m currently working with. So there’s a lot of learning to be done in there. But, from your side Matt, like, are there any things that you are feeling anxiously hopeful about for this? Anything that you hope is right, but you’re not sure about?

Matt Mullenweg  20:14

Oh, this is just the first step of many. So just having the search engine, is I think good to provide a service to the internet. But where we can really leverage it is those next steps we already talked about, which is really building out the API and integrating the API with the WordPress admin to make it easily accessible within people’s dashboards. And the Gutenberg blocks to embed these images, quickly and easily, and with all the proper credit and everything. And then the next step, which was probably the one I’m most excited about, which is enabling folks to contribute to the Creative Commons. And by that, I mean the Commons of Images, which have open licenses and are encouraged for reuse and remixing and all those sorts of great things. And I think that anything we can do to increase more of that stuff on the internet also enables a lot of creativity and innovation.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  21:10

All right. Well, that was an excellent conversation. I am really excited about this. I want to, for my work, just say a huge welcome to the folks over at CC Search and our brand new group around Openverse, and a big thanks to the folks over at the Creative Commons group. Matt, do you have anything else you want to share with any of our audience?

Matt Mullenweg  21:39

No, I feel great that we could support the Creative Commons, keep this going for the open internet, and so excited to work alongside the folks who have been working on Openverse and take it to the next iterations and the next level. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  21:56

Beautiful. Well, Matt, thank you so much for joining me today. This was a wonderful conversation. My friends, this has been Matt Mullenweg, WordPress project co-founder, and project lead.

Matt Mullenweg  22:08

Thank you so much for having me.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  22:17

Thank you for tuning in today to the WordPress Briefing. I hope that conversation made you as excited as I am about this new adventure that we’re embarking on with CC Search and that whole team. I’m going to put in the show notes a few links to where you can find them, where they’re doing their work, what you can collaborate on, and also some notes about the tech stack that goes into it. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy.Thanks again for joining me and I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.

by Chloe Bringmann at May 10, 2021 12:00 PM under wp-briefing

May 08, 2021

Gutenberg Times: Introduction to Global Styles, Block-based Themes and Two weeks of virtual WordPress events – Weekend Edition #168

Howdy, my friends!

Hope you are all well. This week was a little less hectic, nevertheless again lots of information to digest about the block-editor and the upcoming WordPress 5.8 release.

Today, you’ll find some great actionable tutorial, articles and tools. Again, I marvel at the extraordinary generosity of the people in the WordPress community from around the World. If you find something that’s useful to you, please let the authors. Most of them have a Twitter account that’s linked with the link to their contribution.

Be well, be safe!

Yours, 💕
Birgit

Updates from the Gutenberg and Core Teams

Anne McCarthy posted the summary of finding of the Query Quest. This time, a 3 or so dozen user from Japan took part in this call for testing. Members on the Italian Polyglott team translated the call, too. The circle of people testing has expanded quite a bit.

McCarthy also had two reminders for you:

  • The second round Call for questions is still open – send in your FSE question and concerns. Deadline is May 12, 2021
  • The next call for testing will be published on May 12, 2021 on the Make blog of the Test team, so clear out an afternoon in your week and reserve it for the next WordPress testing round. You’d be helping improve software, used by many, many millions of users.

Hector Pietro, technical lead on the Gutenberg project Phase 2, published the focus post for the team for May 2021. There are no particular surprises listed, as the focus is getting a few projects ready to be merged with Core, but this post also aims beyond the feature Freeze on May 19 for block-editor features, RC 10.7. For Theme builders and developers, he also has a section on what particularly we all need to be aware of.


In anticipation, that the Widget block editor will land in WordPress Core, contributors Tonya Mork and Andrew Ozz published the Classic Widget Screen plugin, that allows you to opt-out of the new feature. Plugin and Theme developers can opt-out via this code snippet remove_theme_support('widgets-block-editor'). Connect via GitHub for issues and contributions. Justin Tadlock took the plugin for a spin and wrote a review: Classic Widgets Plugin Disables WordPress 5.8’s Upcoming Block-Based Widgets System.

🎙️ Episode #43 is now available with Show notes and transcript Greg and I discussed Gutenberg 10.5, the Block Patterns Directory and a Call for Testing for WordPress 5.8 Release.


Subscribe to the Gutenberg Changelog via your favorite podcast apps!
🎙️ Spotify | Google | iTunes | PocketCasts | Stitcher |
🎙️ Pod Bean | CastBox | Podchaser | RSS Feed 

If you have been a listener, please write a review on iTunes, Stitcher, Podchaser or Castbox. We would love to read from you, and more reviews help with the distributions.

Speaking of podcasts: Grzegorz (Greg) Ziokowski and I talked with Maciek Palmowski of WP Owl, about Contributing to WordPress, the inaugural episode for the new podcast WP Owlcast. We talked about the ins and outs of contributing to WordPress – about the various teams, how to get started, how to pace yourself, Five For the Future and so much more.

 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2021” 
A chronological list of the WordPress Make Blog posts from various teams involved in Gutenberg development: Design, Theme Review Team, Core Editor, Core JS, Core CSS, Test and Meta team from Jan. 2021 on. The index 2020 is here

Building block-based Themes

Adelina Tuca of Themeisle interviewed Tammie Lister, design co-lead of Phase 1 of the block editor, now design lead at Extendify. “We Made Themes Become Plugins by Forcing Them to Have Functionality That Shouldn’t Be There“, Lister is quoted. It’s a great discussion around the reset on how themes are developed with the block-editor and how it will not only change the creativity and productivity, but also user experience for content creators.


Riad Benguella posted an Introduction to WordPress’s Global Styles and Global Settings. You can learn more about the thoughts behind the theme.json implementation for connecting your theme with all the block-editor features. For the first time in WordPress there is now a standard way for plugin block builders to be considerate about the theme developers design decisions and tap into its settings and styles. Be aware, although the theme.json implementation with come to WordPress core with 5.8, the Global Styles will still be experimental, so if you use them, they might change.

Carolina Nymark turned her block markup snippets into VS Code extension with it, you can add blocks to your full site editing templates faster by typing the name of the block and have VS Code auto-complete it for you.

Need a plugin .zip from Gutenberg’s main (trunk) branch?
Gutenberg Times provides daily build for testing and review.
Have you been using it? Hit reply and let me know.

GitHub all releases

Block Editor for Content Creators

If you are just now evaluating if the block editor is mature enough for your future client projects, or the right tool for your content production processes, Sam Wendland for WordPress VIP has some more in depth information: “How the WordPress Gutenberg Block Editor Empowers Enterprise Content Creators”.

Block building for Developers

Mark Wilkinson of Highrise Digital share the 10 lessons he learned from developing WordPress sites with the block editor in this video. He also posted a Thread on Twitter


Kaspars Dambis from XWP describes how to manage dependencies when creating your Gutenberg blocks in his post: Managing Javascript Dependencies for WordPress Blocks


In his tutorial Convert Shortcodes into blocks Milan Petrovic explains how to reuse shortcodes code and develop blocks for the block editor with support for sidebar settings

Upcoming WordPress Events

10 – 14 May 2021
Page Builder Summit 2021
Gutenberg is part of it with the following sessions:

  • How to turn Gutenberg into a Page Builder with Stackable w/ Benjamin Intal
  • Don’t Compete with Gutenberg – Embrace It w/ Danielle Zarcaro
  • Google’s Core Web Vitals – Get Green With Gutenberg w/ Jake Pfohl
  • Creating newsletters in the Gutenberg block editor w/ Lesley Sim
  • Building Fast, Block-Based Landing Pages w/ Mike Oliver
  • Panel – Preparing for the future of WordPress – Supported by WordPress.com – Marjorie Asturias, Anne McCarthy and Donna Cavalier

 May 22-23, 2021
WordCamp Northeast Ohio Region
Two sessions and a Lighting talk about Gutenberg are on the schedule

  • Anatomy of a Block Theme for Full Site Editing w/ Daisy Olson
  • Web Components in WP, Gutenberg and as HTML plugins w/ Craig West
  • Lightning Talk: The power of reusable blocks w/ Daisy Olson

May 24-28, 2021
WordSesh 2021
The session schedule is now available, too. Here is the list of Gutenberg talks:

  • Blazing Fast Block Development w/ Lee Shadle
  • Building Custom Blocks w/ Rob Stinson
  • Block-Based ThemesThe Future Of Full Site Editing In WordPress w/
  • How the Block Editor Makes It Easier to Build Custom Websites w/ Danielle Zarcaro
  • Build your own Block-Based Theme w/ Daisy Olsen (Workshop)

June 7 – 9th, 2021
WordCamp Europe
A virtual event and contributor day. Call for sponsors is open.

June 20 – 26
WordCamp Japan
The schedule has been posted. Most sessions will be in Japanese, with exceptions, I think…

July 17 + 18th, 2021
WordCamp Santa Clarita
Calls for speakers (May 30th), sponsors, volunteers and organizers are open.

June 24 – 26, 2021
WordCamp Cochabama (Colombia)

July 23, 2021
WordFest Live The festival of WordPress
Call for Speakers is now open and submissions are due on May 24th, 2021

September 21 + 22, 2021
WPCampus 2021 Online
“A free online conference for web accessibility and WordPress in higher education.” Call for Proposal is up and proposal are due May 26, 2021


On the Calendar for WordPress Online Events you can browse a list of the upcoming WordPress Meetups, around the world, including WooCommerce, Elementor, Divi Builder and Beaver Builder meetups.

Featured image: “Tiny City Block Building” by Matt Henry photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Don’t want to miss the next Weekend Edition?

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by Birgit Pauli-Haack at May 08, 2021 08:23 PM under News

May 07, 2021

WPTavern: A Laptop and a Dream: Your Home Office Should Meet Your Needs

I began my journey into remote work while teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in South Korea. I was 23 years old at the time. By day, I spent my time wrangling elementary and middle-school kids. At night, I was writing tutorials, building themes and plugins, and taking any work that landed on my [figurative] desk.

My home office was my entire home, a spartan, one-bedroom/living/kitchen apartment. My workstation was a bed with several pillows piled up for back support.

My first client contract was signed, developed, and completed on that bed. I made a mere $300 for creating a per-post thumbnail system for a popular blog (yes, I way undervalued my work). This was long before WordPress launched its featured image system.

I was living the dream. Young and hungry, I took whatever odd jobs I could in preparation for eventually running my own WordPress-related business. Some nights, I would put in eight hours or more. On the weekends, I rarely actually slept in that bed. It had become my office chair. My lap was my desk.

In the back of my mind, I suppose I always thought I would get a proper office. It would have all the bells and whistles like separate monitors for different tasks instead of tabs on a single screen. I would have the best mic and speaker setup — including the kitchen sink.

After nearly a decade and a half, I realized I never needed all of that stuff. My laptop and I got along just fine. Of course, like many people, I tend to get stuck in my ways, looking for any excuse to not change.

When I see articles like “It’s been a year. Here’s what your home office should look like,” written by Kathryn Vasel for CNN Business, I tend to cringe before diving into it. There are some good takes in the article, such as getting natural light, taking breaks, and adjusting your posture.

My idea of “what your home office should look like” is that it should be what makes you feel comfortable with the tools that allow you to do the job. For some folks, that is a laptop and a standing desk. For others, it includes specialized audio and video equipment.

If you can afford it, I would at least recommend getting a good office chair. If you sit at a desk much of the day, skimp on the desk and other tools first.

On the subject of affordability, it is also good to be mindful that a home office is a luxury, a privilege that few have. Like that small-town Alabama boy with his $400 Walmart computer in Korea, sometimes people just have to get by with what they have on hand.

Now, 14 years later, I do have a home office. Like the first, it is spartan. It has the tools I need, and that is what I love about it. I do not spend all day in it. I prefer to move around from spot to spot.

On days like today, those with mid-70s temps (Fahrenheit for all the non-Americans) and a slight breeze in the air, I like to sit on the back patio. I enjoy the birds singing. It is a good time of the year to watch the little ones learn to forage their own food. I keep an eye on the squirrels, making sure their mischievousness is limited to sneaking a few nuts from the bird feeders.

It is also another reason I have always preferred a laptop over a desktop. Its utility allows me to lug it from the couch or desk to a spot outside amid nature.

While much of the world’s workforce is still figuring this whole remote, work-from-home thing out, many in the WordPress community have this down to a science. Or, at least, they know what works for them. I would love to hear and see (share pics in the comments — embeds are enabled) what your home offices are like.

by Justin Tadlock at May 07, 2021 10:23 PM under Opinion

May 06, 2021

WPTavern: Classic Widgets Plugin Disables WordPress 5.8’s Upcoming Block-Based Widgets System

Yesterday, WordPress released a core plugin named Classic Widgets. Core contributors Tonya Mork and Andrew Ozz created the plugin under the WordPress Contributors account. It allows end-users to disable the upcoming block-based widgets system. Support is expected through 2022 or as long as necessary according to the plugin description.

Decided last month by a small group of core leads following a demo, WordPress 5.8 will ship several sub-components from its Full Site Editing project. FSE encompasses several self-contained parts that grant users broader control over the design and layout of their sites. One of those pieces is an overhaul of the widgets system.

Widgets will one day become a legacy feature of the platform. However, they are not disappearing any time soon. During the transition from the pre-block era of WordPress to the eventual incorporation of all the sub-components of FSE, users and theme developers will sometimes need smaller stepping stones. Block-based widgets give users more ways to work with blocks outside of the post content area without diving head-first into an entire block-based experience.

This is the first time many in the larger WordPress user community will be exposed to blocks in a new context. The editor that launched in WordPress 5.0 focused solely on the post content. The widgets system in 5.8 turns classic sidebars into block containers.

In short, users will be able to stick any block in any sidebar.

Block-based widgets screen.

This is a welcome step in transitioning users in the long run, especially those who use classic themes, which is still the majority of all users. However, there are cases where the Classic Widgets plugin will be necessary. The biggest will be:

  • Broken themes or quirky output.
  • Users simply preferring the old system.

Whatever the case may be, the plugin handles the switch.

For those wondering why the core development team is not making sure block-based widgets work with all themes, it is because the two systems are not exactly alike. Plus, every theme design handles its sidebar output in its own way. There is no way to ensure 100% coverage.

Many themes will have no issues at all. Some sidebars, depending on the design, could entirely break down. More likely than broken, custom sidebar and widget designs could simply look “off” on the front end.

For example, compare a Heading block followed by the Archives block (first image) against the classic Archives widget (second image) when using the Twenty Fifteen theme:

The typography of the Heading is different, and there is too much space below it. That is not an end-of-the-world scenario. It is the sort of quirk that may be common with many themes, at least until theme authors have had time to push out updates.

What Happens When Activating the Plugin?

Classic widgets screen.

Classic Widgets has no settings screen or anything to configure. It is a set-it-and-forget-it plugin. Its goal is to simply return users to the traditional widgets system in which they are familiar.

If you start using the new block-based widgets system, you will lose all of your widget blocks upon activating the plugin. There is no going back, so be sure this is what you want. The former blocks will not reappear if you change your mind and deactivate Classic Widgets.

However, if you add traditional widgets to your theme’s sidebars while the plugin is active, you will not lose them. They will still appear on both the front and back end if you deactivate the plugin.

by Justin Tadlock at May 06, 2021 09:39 PM under widgets

May 05, 2021

WPTavern: Dark Mode Plugin Repurposed and Renamed to WP Markdown Editor, Change Leaves Users Confused

Last year, I asked Tavern readers if WordPress should notify end-users when a plugin’s owner changes. The post was not entirely based on theory. There have been some cases of real-world confusion. The consensus from the comments on that post seemed to be that, yes, such notifications would be welcome.

When I wrote that post, there was already another plugin changing hands. Dark Mode, which had grown in popularity in its earlier years, had a new owner, WPPool. There were no public notifications of this ownership change. A mere GitHub issue filed, a corner of the web that few users venture.

Fast forward a few months, and Dark Mode had not only changed owners, but it also had a new name and set of features unrelated to the plugin’s original promise. The plugin is now named WP Markdown Editor and bundles at least part of the commercially available Iceberg Editor plugin. It is also a limited version in which users are prompted to upgrade for the complete feature set.

WP Markdown Editor (formerly Dark Mode).

Iceberg is licensed under the GPL version 2, so it is legal for anyone to fork it. However, there does not seem to be any mention of the copyright, and only a few references to the original product remain in the source code.

While I did not perform a line-by-line comparison, it is clearly a fork when examining both plugins. However, the company has also built upon it with new features.

Iceberg Editor.

“We have recently added productivity sounds, new fonts (more legibility and one for Dyslexic users), which we think definitely adds value to new users,” said the WPPool Team[1].

WPPool announced the WP Markdown Editor plugin in November 2020. However, the post was written as if it was a new product. Technically, it was, but there was no mention of repurposing an existing plugin to launch the features.

The company reached out to the Dark Mode plugin owner in August 2020, which seemed to have changed hands a couple of times, at least. “The plugin was discontinued, lacking security updates, compatibility with latest PHP versions, and the project was abandoned,” said the WP Pool Team.” And, since the last few updates, it was apparent that Classic Editor is not going to stay the same. Gutenberg was the future, and we wanted to give users a Dark Mode for Gutenberg as well.”

WPPool was able to adopt the plugin. The company kept the Dark Mode feature original to the plugin. However, they eventually began tacking on new features.

“Our intention was to add more features on top of it,” said the WPPool Team. “Why not create a new plugin? Because the plugin was already being abandoned, and we thought why not add some more features, keep the old functionality intact as well, and put regular updates?”

The change clearly left some users frustrated and confused about what was happening with the plugin. Many had installed it in hopes of having a simple method of toggling on a dark mode for the WordPress admin interface.

Reviews after the change.

The plugin now has an “Only Dark Mode” setting, an option that users can enable to remove the additional features. It is disabled by default.

When asked about whether the addition of seemingly unrelated features abused user trust, the WPPool Team replied, “The problem was, since the last few updates of Gutenberg and Classic Editor — Classic Editor uses an iframe to load its content. It’s not possible for the Dark Mode plugin to serve the Dark Mode in Classic Editor anymore. That’s why some users were really frustrated. We really tried hard to restore that functionality to Classic Editor as well, but the way it is, we couldn’t find a way to invoke Dark Mode on Classic Editor.”

While some support questions and reviews indicate the frustration with losing Classic Editor support, many others questioned the addition of features that make little sense as part of a dark-mode plugin.

“This used to be a dark mode feature plugin, but now it’s been turned into a Markdown editor,” wrote Derrick Tennant, an earlier contributor to the plugin. “A complete bait and switch.”

Another user named rehoff had similar concerns, stating, “I still believe that it is not ok to so radically repurpose an otherwise popular plugin. I find it misleading.”

Back to the original question I posed last year, another user summed up the answer with a review titled “This plugin has been sold for sure.”

In private, one person has said that it feels like the team is capitalizing on the plugin’s active install base, which currently sits at 3,000+.

Adding to the potential confusion, the company has a separate and unrelated plugin named WP Dark Mode. A reviewer noted on that plugin:

This same developer had another plugin called Dark Mode. They apparently sold the plugin to someone and now it’s a random Markdown plugin with a terrible UI. All of a sudden, this random Markdown editor that I don’t want or need is on my site.

Who knows what this plugin will become when they get enough users and decide to CA$H IN AGAIN??

If you like having random plugins installed on your site, give it a whirl. Otherwise it may be best to look for a different solution.

This case is unique because the Dark Mode plugin was once a feature proposal for core WordPress. Daniel James, the original creator, started the process to make this a reality in 2018. There was support for the idea, but it never jumped the hurdles needed for inclusion or a more formal proposal.

James put the plugin up for adoption in 2019, stating that he was stepping back from plugin development but hoped that someone would pick it up. David Gwyer picked it up shortly after, eventually making two updates to the plugin. The plugin’s commit history shows that Tennant started contributing several months later before WPPool landed on the scene.

While Dark Mode was never officially endorsed by WordPress or given the green light for merging into the core platform, there was still a level of trust that some might expect from a plugin that was at least proposed as a feature.

Perhaps this is one of those cases where an ownership-change notification would have been warranted, but that notice would not have solved the issues that came months later.

The developers did note the new Markdown editor in the plugin’s change log: “New: Write post/ page with markdown syntax (Markdown Editor).” However, it is doubtful the average user read or understood what that meant. Maybe a more thorough disclosure system is necessary, and would such a system cover cases where plugins are repurposed?


1: I have attributed quotes to the “WPPool Team” throughout this article. I was able to reach the company through their Facebook chat. However, the team did not provide a person’s name and role within the company for attribution. At the moment, I still do not know which employee(s) I spoke with directly.

by Justin Tadlock at May 05, 2021 10:51 PM under Plugins

WPTavern: Jetpack 9.7 Makes More Features Available without Connecting to WordPress.com

Jetpack 9.7 was released today with updates under the hood that ensure the plugin’s blocks are compatible with the full-site editing features coming in WordPress 5.8. It also changes how sites access features that require the WordPress.com infrastructure.

A pull request merged in version 9.7 changes the connection flow to make Jetpack active as soon as the plugin enables a site level connection, instead of requiring a user to authenticate with WordPress.com in order for it to work. This is what the Jetpack team has been referring to as “user-less” in development.

The copy has been updated for this step so that after Jetpack is connected on a site level, it says, “Jetpack is activated! Unlock more amazing features by connecting a user account.”

Jetpack users who connect their sites will immediately have access to Stats, Site Accelerator, most Jetpack blocks, widget visibility, SEO tools, Related Posts, Likes, and many more modules. Other features, such as Publicize, Activity Log, Monitor, and Backup require you to authorize Jetpack to perform these actions on your behalf.

A new documentation page details why a WordPress.com connection is necessary for certain features, bringing more transparency to what has been a contentious topic in the past. The new page outlines which features are available for site connections versus authenticated WordPress.com accounts. These specific updates in 9.7 do not change any of the data or activity that Jetpack tracks or uses.

The general public was not privy to the product discussion behind making more features immediately available to user-less accounts, but there are a few reasons this is a good business idea. It allows users to get started faster so they get hooked into using more features on their sites before being forced to connect to a WordPress.com account. This will likely reduce the number of users who install the plugin but decide not to move forward because of needing to connect an account.

Jetpack 9.7 also brings performance improvements to the Carousel feature, several bug fixes for Instant Search, and more. The full list of enhancements and fixes can be found in the changelog.

by Sarah Gooding at May 05, 2021 03:35 AM under jetpack

May 04, 2021

WPTavern: It Is Time for WordPress Theme Authors To Step Up Their Block Pattern Game

Going through my routine this week, I skimmed the latest WordPress theme releases and found a new project that supported the block editor. It even shipped a few custom patterns. While the design was nothing extraordinary, it was a solid theme overall. However, after spending the better part of today writing about it, I did not think I could move forward with the story. Something was bugging me.

It was the same thing I have felt with several others as of late. There were too many missed opportunities. The theme had the foundation, the underlying potential, to be more than it was.

The theme had a commercial “pro” version that users could purchase. However, nearly every pro feature relied on old-school tactics of upselling extra theme options. The one exception was a block-related feature that will be free as part of the Global Styles component likely to ship with WordPress later this year.

Where were the custom block styles? Where could a user snag some unique patterns? Extra nav menus, sidebars, color settings, and typography options are becoming less and less of a value-add for end-users. It is probably safe money right now, and I can understand the comfort of not taking too many chances.

Theme authors need to start shifting gears. Upsells need to come in the form of features that will not be available from stock WordPress. Right now, that means building unique block patterns and styles.

Exploring Pattern Ideas

In the last month, I have been tinkering with custom patterns. While I was in the design and development business for over a decade, what I was able to accomplish with the block editor alone — using no custom code — and a well-rounded block-ready theme is merely scratching the surface. We have far better talent in the WordPress community, and I want to see their artistry unleashed.

It all started with the WP Tavern Jukebox podcast — you should check out episodes #1 and #2 if you have not heard them already. Nathan Wrigley, the new host, pushed me enough to put my design-and-dev cap back on to implement some features that he needed. Over the years, I have not worked much with podcasting or any type of audio. This was new territory for me. Ultimately, the podcast inspired me to think about audio patterns.

What is possible with WordPress’s editor today?

I scoured the web for various layouts, looking for modern audio presentations. Numerous concepts were impossible for an end-user to implement from the editor alone. They would need extensive custom block styles from the themes themselves. And, there were several designs that I simply did not think could be done at all, but these typically had plugin-territory elements.

However, I did find ideas that I could run with and make my own. I started with a simple audio file from The Martian soundtrack — I had re-watched the movie the night before and was on a David Bowie kick.

Soundtrack single audio pattern.

It was simple. Just add Group, Columns, Image, Paragraph, Heading, Audio, and Social Icons blocks. I was happy with the result, and some of my Twitter followers responded positively.

Inspired by the support, I created an alternative layout. It was even simpler by adding Cover, Paragraph, Heading, Audio, and Social Icons blocks.

Audio embed pattern nested in a Cover block.

Based on the original pattern, I built one that used a SoundCloud embed instead of the Audio block. I also created another with some alterations that catered more toward podcasters.

SoundCloud audio and podcasting patterns.

As I dived deeper into this project, the more capable I became at creating layouts. I began to understand what some of the limitations were and piecing everything together around them.

One of the most problematic areas with the editor is that it does not hand over enough spacing control. Therefore, I had to make liberal use of the Spacer block, something I prefer not to use because it relies on pixel units and puts an extra <div> into the markup. To build some patterns, I had to become a little less of a purist and just use the available tools.

That change in mindset opened some more possibilities. I built a couple more audio-related block patterns. They were, again, simple layouts, but I wanted to make them stand out visually with imagery that end-users could add. The goal is to give users one-click access to pre-designed sections, starting points where people can showcase their own creativity.

DJ and musician block patterns.

The next step was to start thinking beyond audio patterns. There is so much more others can do in that space. I wanted to venture out a bit more.

I have since built several other patterns like the following news-type article header that I would love to use on the Tavern in the future:

News or data-driven article header pattern.

I could share more concepts, but this seems like an ideal place to stop. The goal is not to showcase my portfolio of patterns. It is to inspire our theme design community in hopes that they build something far better. I also wanted to show how easy it was to pop out a few patterns. Instead of hours of development time, many ideas were cut down to mere minutes. That is the power the block system provides today.

When I wrote about the block system creating commercial opportunities for theme authors in January, it was a theoretical post. This is a follow-up that puts it into a little more practice (without the actual selling, of course).

Imagine, as a theme company, you are building a freemium theme for musicians. You might want to include a few base patterns for users to choose from. However, there is an endless number of alternatives you could offer as part of a pro package.

I am sure there is already a theme author/company out there right now with a multi-purpose theme concept in mind that will eventually have hundreds of patterns. I can only hope that they have a solid categorization system or offer separate packages or imports.

The block pattern directory is slated to land alongside WordPress 5.8. At first, it will primarily be core patterns. However, others will be encouraged to contribute over time. This is a welcome feature for the platform, but it will never match every theme design perfectly. Each theme has its own design nuances. Each has different methods of solving problems.

The best patterns will come from theme authors themselves, especially when combined with custom block styles, packaged and marketed as part of their theme’s experience. Developers can wait until the entire market catches up or jump ahead of the game.

by Justin Tadlock at May 04, 2021 11:08 PM under block patterns

WordPress.org blog: The Month in WordPress: April 2021

As WordPress grows, both in usage as a CMS and in participation as a community, it’s important for us to shed the idea that software creation is only about what literally can be done to code or what literally can be done to core or what literally can be done to the CMS. 

That was Josepha Haden Chomphosy on the “Your Opinion is Our Opportunity” episode of the WP Briefing Podcast, speaking about the importance of co-development and testing for the continued growth and maintenance of WordPress. This month’s updates align closely with these ideas. Read on and see for yourself. 


WordPress 5.7.1 is launched

WordPress security and maintenance release – 5.7.1 came out in April. The release fixes two major security issues and includes 26 bug fixes. You can update to the latest version directly from your WordPress dashboard or by downloading it from WordPress.org.

Want to contribute to WordPress 5.8? Check out the 5.8 Development Cycle. To contribute to core, head over to Trac, and pick a 5.8 ticket –– more info in the Core Contributor Handbook. Don’t forget to join the WordPress #core channel in the Make WordPress Slack and follow the Core Team blog. The Core Team hosts weekly chats on Wednesdays at 5 AM and 8 PM UTC. 

Gutenberg Version 10.3, 10.4, and 10.5 are out

Contributor teams released Gutenberg version 10.3 on April 2, version 10.4 on April 14, and version 10.5 on April 30! Version 10.3 improves the block toolbar and the navigation editor, whereas version 10.4 adds block widgets to the customizer and improvements to the site editor list view. In version 10.5, you will find a set of new block patterns and enhancements to the template editing mode, along with the ability to embed PDFs. 

Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core Team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Make WordPress Slack. The “What’s next in Gutenberg” post offers more details on the latest updates. If you are unfamiliar with the Gutenberg plugin, learn more in this post.

Full Site Editing updates

Following the Full Site Editing (FSE) feature demo hosted by Matías Ventura, the project leadership decided that WordPress 5.8 will only include some FSE features, such as a template editor for pages/blank templates, a widget editor screen, and the theme.json mechanism. Other features like the Global Styles interface and Site Editor (managing all templates) will be made available later. The team has started working on the next steps in shipping these chosen FSE features with version 5.8.

New to FSE? Check out this blog post for a high-level overview of the project. You can help test FSE by participating in the latest FSE Outreach Program testing call –– leave your feedback by May 5th. Want to participate in future testing calls? Stay updated by following the FSE outreach schedule. You can also submit your questions around FSE right now.

WordCamp Europe 2021 is on the calendar

One of the most exciting WordPress events,  WordCamp Europe 2021, will be held online on June 7-9, 2021! Event organizers have opened up calls for sponsors and media partners. Free tickets for the event will be available soon — sign up for email updates to be notified when they are out!


Further Reading

Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it using this form.

The following folks contributed to April’s Month in WordPress: @andreamiddleton @cbringmann @chaion07 @hlashbrooke and @jrf 

by Hari Shanker R at May 04, 2021 03:00 PM under Month in WordPress

May 03, 2021

WPTavern: A WordPress Voting Guide to the Webby Awards

The People’s Voice voting for the 25th annual Webby Awards closes in three days on May 6, 2021. Since 1996, the Webbys have recognized excellence on the internet among what is now seven major media types: websites, video, advertising, media and PR, social, apps, mobile, voice, games, and podcasts. After nearly 13,500 entries were submitted from 70 different countries, the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences selected fewer than 10% as Nominees and opened voting on April 20.

WordPress is well-represented among nominees and honorees in the website category. In fact, nearly every single sub-category of five nominees includes at least one WordPress site. If you want to vote for the WordPress sites linked below, click on the category name to view the five nominees and vote for your favorite one. Just remember that you can only vote for one site in each category to win the Webby People’s Voice.

In the Government & Civil Innovation category, 4 out of 5 nominees are powered by WordPress. The current front-runner, WhiteHouse.gov, was built by the Wide Eye agency with help from 10up, and a team of many others. The website uses the block editor with a highly customized site editing and management experience.

Update: WordPress actually sweeps this category with 5/5 nominations, as we just learned the XQ Super Schools site is a headless WordPress + Gatsby + WPGraphQL site. The Political Playlist site is also a is headless WordPress site using NuxtJS + WPGraphQL.

10up has another competing site in that same Government & Civil Innovation category, The California Grants Portal. The company designed and built a web portal for state agencies to submit their grant data.

10up also worked on another nominated site, The Undefeated, which was recently migrated to the block editor. The site is contending in the Cultural Blog/Website category against two other WordPress-powered sites: The New York Review of Books and Culture Type.

Web developer Daniel Schutzsmith shared in Post Status’ Slack that a site he built custom Gutenberg blocks for is up for a Webby under the Professional Services & Self-Promotion category. The site, audouy.com, is a portfolio for production designer François Audouy.

Real estate has been a hot industry over the past year and 2 out 5 nominees in the Real Estate category are running on WordPress: Tri Pointe Homes, a US-based builder site, and Zillow’s “What Moved Us” site. Zillow is currently in 2nd place with its WordPress-powered landing page that details visitors’ search behavior. It also displays surprising facts from this past year of sales and searches, such as “In 2020, 1 in 8 people made an offer sight unseen.” The page is beautifully illustrated and looks just as good on mobile as it does on desktop.

In the Activism category, Amnesty International’s WordPress-powered Tear Gas investigation website is leading the way in 1st place right now. Visualize NYC 2021, the other WordPress site in this category, is currently in 5th place. Both are powerful examples of primarily black and white design created to evoke a response from the visitor.

In the Charitable Organizations/Non-profit category, 3 out of 5 nominees are using WordPress, including Everytown, Antisemitism Uncovered, and the Photography 20/20 Compendium. Each design is wildly different from the next and it’s tough to tell that these are WordPress sites without viewing the source code. Everytown, a gun violence prevention organization, leads the pack in this category, followed by Antisemitism Uncovered in 2nd place, and the Photography 20/20 Compendium in 5th place.

The Law category is also dominated by WordPress sites with 3 out of 5 nominees using the software to create compelling designs. Gilleon Law Firm, which handles sexual harassment cases, is currently in first place by a wide margin, followed by two other WordPress sites, Ashcroft and Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel P.C., in 2nd and 4th place. If you build websites for attorneys, these sites should provide some solid design inspiration.

One thrilling byproduct of the Gutenberg project can be seen in these nominations: As more of digital forerunners adopt the block editor and explore its limits, WordPress site designs have become less predictable and more vibrant.

These nominations are just a handful of the best WordPress sites nominated for a Webby, and the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences site is also running on WordPress. If you find more WordPress site nominations or want to share one you worked on, please leave a link in the comments. Webby People’s Voice voting closes on May 6, 2021, so there is still time to help your favorite websites take first place. Winners will be announced on May 18, 2021.

by Sarah Gooding at May 03, 2021 06:22 PM under webby awards

May 01, 2021

Gutenberg Times: New Era for WordPress Themes in 2021 – Updates and voices around WordPress 5.8 release – Weekend Edition #167

Howdy,

Happy May 2021! We are a third into 2021. Phew.

I can’t tell you how relieved I feel that my husband and me as well as many US friends got vaccine shots. It’s also bitter-sweet and sad. In other places of the world there are again lock-downs. Hospitals are filling up fast. Hundreds of thousands new infections. People dying. Distribution of vaccines is slow, if there is any available at all. The WordPress community spans all around the globe. We are not out of the woods. We still have friends and business partners in places of crisis. The team of the New York Times curated this list: “How to Help India Amid the Covid Crisis“. Consider donating and ask your employer if they have matching programs.

How are you and your communities weathering the epidemic 14 months later? Please share in a reply!

Hang in there, my friends. Stay safe. 😷

Yours, 💕
Birgit

WordPress 5.8: Four weeks to Feature Freeze:

The Gutenberg and WordPress Core team is gearing up for the next major release 5.8 in July 2021. We are less than four weeks and two more Gutenberg plugin releases away from feature freeze.

Goals of Gutenberg updates for the next major WordPress release

In the last two or three weeks, I listened to the interviews and Q & As. I learned the team working on the block-editor pieces for this release has two goals:

First, to release enough stable tools for developers and designers to start using aspects of Full-site editing in their themes, via theme.json and hybrid constructs for classic themes. The hope is that by the time the rest of Full-Site-Editing interface is released to the users in December 2020, there are plenty of block-based themes and block patterns available from the community of extenders.

Second, to introduce the new page template feature. It’s a new way to use the block editor to create and modify page templates for landing pages. This will be the first time in WordPress that a content creator or site owner would be able to change headers and footer for single pages. This takes a bit of a switch in the publishing / producing mindset. Gutenberg developers are hoping here for plenty of user feedback to make sure that the new blocks and in their new context, the user-facing elements are clear enough to handle in this smaller scope of a single page before the expanded version of Full-site editing is released in December 2021, that allows users to create and modify site-wide templates, template parts and to build new themes.

Block-Editor Features to come to WordPress 5.8

After the Go/NoGo meeting and decision, technical lead Hector Prieto published Full Site Editing Go/No Go: Next steps with more details around the full scope of the block editor pieces for WordPress 5.8

  • Gutenberg plugin releases 9.9 – 10.7
  • First version of theme.json for theme builders of block-based themes.
  • Theme Blocks (Query, Navigation, Site information)
  • Template Editing with the post editor
  • Widget Editor and block widgets in Customizer
  • Persistent List view in the post editor
  • Duotone (Image filter) block supports
  • Gallery block refactor

In the post you’ll find links to issues and pr for even more details.


Increased Buzz about Full-Site Editing

On the WordPress News site, there were a few posts regarding the block-editor and Full-Site Editing. Using the WordPress News space to published more frequently about the ongoing development and ideas is one part of the stronger communication outreach planned for this new feature release. The more intense communication about Full-site editing from the core team is a direct result from the feedback from the WordPress community after the first Gutenberg release in 2018.

Curious about Full-Site Editing by Josepha Haden Chomphosy. A short article on what Full-site Editing is and how it will affect different kinds of users. You have been following Full-site Editing for a while now. So it’s not necessarily for you. It is a great first article to share with WordPress users and co-workers that hear about Full-site editing for the first time. The resources share are good starting place to catch up.


The second article wasn’t about Full-site editing, so much but about the Gutenberg. Anne McCarthy posted Become an Early Adopter With the Gutenberg Plugin, and tackled the various terms, we have mostly used as synonyms between Gutenberg, block-editor etc. Also, a good place to start, if someone likes to dive deeper into Gutenberg beyond the WordPress Core implementation.


The latest article in the WordPress News section, is the tutorial Getting Started with the Figma WordPress Design Library by James Koster. Learn how to quickly create design prototypes for WordPress UI in Figma, a collaborative interface design tool. The tutorial is quite comprehensive and not only shows you how you work with it. Being knowledgeable about Figma can also jump start contributing to WordPress as it’s the tool of choice by the WordPress design team.


WP Briefing is the new podcast hosted by Josepha Haden Chomphosy. In her fifth episode, she was Talking Full Site Editing with Matías Ventura (ICYMI). Josepha and Matías answered user questions, from “is full site editing a standalone plugin?” to “will full site editing break my current site?”. The episode comes with a transcript.

Gutenberg Release and Block editor updates

In Core Editor Improvement: Refining the Block Toolbar, Anne McCarthy elaborates on the refinement and standardization implemented for the Block Toolbar with the goal to simplify the hierarchy of the block, to make it more predictable what goes where. Below graphic is part of the newly updated Best practices for Block Design page of the developer handbook.


This week Gutenberg 10.5 was released and in short succession v 10.5.1, v 10.5.2 and v 10.5.3. to fixing regression bugs. Ajit Bohra wrote about What’s New In Gutenberg 10.5. 15 new block patterns made it into the release and template editing is now also available for classic themes. For the latter, exercise optimistic caution should you use the Gutenberg plugin in productions. Many, many more changes came to the block-editor. Grzegorz Ziolkowski and I recorded our take on it for the Gutenberg Changelog podcast yesterday, and it should come to your favorite pod catcher over the weekend.


Justin Tadlock shared his experience in his post Gutenberg 10.5 Embeds PDFs, Adds Verse Block Color Options, and Introduces New Patterns

 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2021” 
A chronological list of the WordPress Make Blog posts from various teams involved in Gutenberg development: Design, Theme Review Team, Core Editor, Core JS, Core CSS, Test and Meta team from Jan. 2021 on. The index 2020 is here

Block Pattern Directory

Speaking of Block Patterns, Kelly Choyce-Dwan posted the Block Pattern Directory Update from the Meta team. She invites you to follow along on the site that is a red-hat zone for now, but it already gives you a good idea on how it is going to work. Check it out on wordpress.org/patterns. The patterns are arranged in squares in five categories: Buttons, Columns, Gallery, Header, Text. You click on the square to see a details page with a larger representation and a button “Copy Pattern” or add them to your ‘Favorites’. Although, Kelly wrote that the copy button doesn’t work yet, I quickly tested it, and you can just paste it into your next post, even if you are not in code edit mode. 

The meta team is now working on the process for WP.org users to submit patterns into the directory, and the accompanying automated evaluation and moderation feature. WordPress users will be able to find block patterns right from the block editor inserter and add them directly to their post or pages.

Ultimately, the core block patterns will be removed from Gutenberg and made available through the Pattern directory only.

Testing Full-Site editing: The outreach program

The Full-Site Editing Outreach program is in full swing.. Anne McCarthy and dozens of people contribute to WordPress by testing the new feature.

Since the last Weekend Edition, there were quite a few updates coming out of the program.

🗓️ Upcoming FSE Outreach Program Schedule – Synch your calendars! 😂

For anyone who wants to learn more about the program, Anne McCarthy was a guest on the WordPress Jukebox podcast last month. Nathan Wrigley, host of the revived WPTavern podcast Jukebox, discussed with her How Full Site Editing Will Impact WordPress and why the program and its participants are an essential part for a successful implementation of the new features.


In Building a Restaurant Header Summary you can read a curated list of outcomes and finding from the 4th Call for Testing.


In this week’s Hallway Hangout: Discussion on Full Site Editing Issues/PRs/Designs, participants in the FSE program talked through the findings of the last call for testing with Anne McCarthy, Marcus Kazmierczak and Sabrina Zeidan. Using screen sharing and video the groups was able to discuss some of the interface challenges much easier than when just reading through a blog post. This was already the second of this Video chats. The first Hallway Hangout chat took place on April 8th, 2021, when Caroline Nymark, Paal Joachim Ramdahl, and Olga Gleckler joined Anne and Marcus.


You have until May 5th, 2021 to participate and comment on Testing Call #5: Query Quest.


If you have questions that still need answers, Anne McCarthy started the second round of collecting questions to bring back to the team and get you answers. Bookmark this page, so you can open it quickly when you have another question. If you want to read up on the answers for the previously submitted 47 questions, follow this link to previous posts of Q & A

Need a plugin .zip from Gutenberg’s main (trunk) branch?
Gutenberg Times provides daily build for testing and review.
Have you been using it? Hit reply and let me know.

GitHub all releases


Developing for Gutenberg

Jem Turner, a reluctant adopter of Gutenberg, has six things she does to make developing websites with Gutenberg easier. It’s a great mix of developer and content creator processes.


Will Morris posted How to Create a Custom Gutenberg Block in WordPress (In 3 Steps) on the Torque Magazine site and helps you how to extend your WordPress site with the Genesis Custom Blocks, one of the few ‘almost’ #nocode block building tools.


Do The Woo podcast, co-hosted by Bob Dunn and Mendel Kurland, discussed WordPress Core and Gutenberg Blocks with Grzegorz (Greg) Ziolkowski. They talked about the opportunities of working with blocks in an eCommerce context and beyond full-site editing. Grzegorz explained how micro templates and blocks are the building material for more complex implementation and the advantages of the standardized interface for users and extenders in WordPress Core. 

Plugins for the Block Editor

Speaking of WooCommerce: Jamie Marsland shared his Top 10 Blocks for WooCommerce – Plugins mentioned:

New Era for WordPress Themes

Anders Noren, Swedish theme developer and co-author of the WordPress Twenty-Twenty theme, sees A New Era for WordPress Themes. In 2021, we will “see the introduction of the most significant change to WordPress themes since the modern theme system was released in version 1.5 of WordPress, 16 years ago.”. He has great explanation and insights, and embraces the new era and is happy about the slow release this time around, so theme developers can get familiar with the new tools. “Developers will have plenty of time to create fully block-based themes by the time the Site Editor and Global Styles are released in WordPress 5.9. And no excuses if they don’t.” Last month, Anders released a new free theme called Eskell. Read Sarah Gooding’s review on WordPress Tavern.


The 47th edition of the Gutenberg + Themes roundup by Maggie Cabrera from the Themes team, lists all FSE related issues and PRs from the Gutenberg repository that need your attention, your opinion and your comments. The post also provides a list of resources if you are just now getting into block-based theme development. One issue caught my eye specifically: Presets used in patterns: register them as user presets? in it Andre explores a way how block pattern could be used across a theme change and still keep their styling. Reading through the comments from the Gutenberg contributors, it’s clear that there are a few questions still unanswered, when users can change colors. This applies to a few other elements of the themes and blocks, when classes don’t survive a theme change, and designs in navigation or group blocks lose their background colors. There are quite a few of these discussions that need your input and ideas.


In his latest post, Chris Wiegman walks us through the process of reducing WordPress themes to the bar minimum and still be able to render blocks. Creating A Minimal WordPress Theme In The Era Of Gutenberg. This minimalistic and sustainable theme is available on GitHub


If you are looking to share your future block-based theme in the WordPress.org repository, Carolina Nymark has a proposal for you: Removing blockers for block themes on the Themes team. I am quite surprised that it hasn’t received any feedback from the community yet.


In his post Themes Set Up for a Paradigm Shift, WordPress 5.8 Will Unleash Tools To Make It Happen Justin Tadlock took a tour around the upcoming WordPress 5.8 features and took them for a spin and a first evaluation. “Themes are not going the way of the dinosaur. All of that overly complex PHP code work necessary in the past might just be. The shift is putting themes back into their proper place: design. Previously available tools such as patterns and styles coupled with the new pieces like theme.json and template-related blocks will be the backbone of the new system. It is all starting to come together.” he concluded.

As a former Theme developer, Justin Tadlock keeps his ear to the ground of theme development. I very much appreciate the tremendous effort he puts into his Theme reviews. I learn something new every time.

WordPress Events

10 – 14 May 2021
Page Builder Summit 2021
Gutenberg is part of it with the following sessions:

  • How to turn Gutenberg into a Page Builder with Stackable w/ Benjamin Intal
  • Don’t Compete with Gutenberg – Embrace It w/ Danielle Zarcaro
  • Google’s Core Web Vitals – Get Green With Gutenberg w/ Jake Pfohl
  • Creating newsletters in the Gutenberg block editor w/ Lesley Sim
  • Building Fast, Block Based Landing Pages with Mike Oliver

May 24-28, 2021
WordSesh 2021

June 7 – 9th, 2021
WordCamp Europe
A virtual event and contributor day. Call for Sponsors is open.

June 20 – 26
WordCamp Japan
The schedule has been posted. Most sessions will be in Japanese, with exceptions, I think…


Don’t want to miss the next Weekend Edition?

We hate spam, too and won’t give your email address to anyone except Mailchimp to send out our Weekend Edition

Thanks for subscribing.

by Birgit Pauli-Haack at May 01, 2021 10:15 PM under Weekend Edition

April 30, 2021

WPTavern: Alpha Particle and Flowspoke Acquire Kanban for WordPress for $15K

Digital consultancies Alpha Particle and Flowspoke have acquired the Kanban for WordPress plugin, a tool that puts Kanban boards into the admin to measure progress on a goal. The plugin is used for agile project management, sales tracking, editorial scheduling, and other planning purposes.

WordPress developer Corey Maass created Kanban for WordPress in 2015 but struggled to market it enough to grow beyond 2,000 users. In 2020, he saw Alpha Particle CTO Keanan Koppenhaver post on Twitter that he was looking to acquire a plugin business and jumped at the chance to sell Kanban for WordPress. Koppenhaver wanted a plugin that already had $1k-$12K annual revenue and wasn’t tied in with Beaver Builder, Elementor, Divi, or any other page builders. Integration with WooCommerce or other third-party software was a plus.

“I’d burned out on the project so I’d thought about selling for a while but didn’t do anything about it,” Maass said. “When Keanan posted he was looking, I inquired because I’d met him and knew he was solid. After a chat I knew he was the right buyer because his approach to WordPress was similar to mine – not too detached, not too dogmatic.”

Maass had monetized Kanban for WordPress for the past five years through a $149/year pro version (the most popular price point) and a $499.00 lifetime support license. He said revenue had peaked around $20K/ARR but had dropped to about $10K/ARR due to his minimal involvement. During his peak revenue months there were some weeks he would work 40 hours and some that he would work no hours at all.

“I applied the ’12-18 months of revenue as a selling price’ rule, and sold it for $15k,” Maass said.

He also commented on the difficulty of finding a non-technical partner in the WordPress world. Maass searched for someone to market the plugin while he concentrated on the product but never found a match:

I interviewed non-WordPress people. No luck. I’ve found a few people in the WordPress eco-system, but most already have one more products they’re growing. It’s one of the quirks of the WordPress world – there are more devs than non-devs. Most everywhere else in the tech-business world, it’s the other way around. And of course most of the success stories of WordPress are tech founders that pivoted to marketing/biz dev, which a lot of devs can’t do, myself included.

The teams at Alpha Particle and Flowspoke saw potential to grow the Kanban for WordPress plugin business with their combined design, marketing, and development skills.

“As WordPress continues to become an even more full-featured platform, we think there’s a demand for great applications to be built inside WordPress,” Alpha Particle CTO Keanan Koppenhaver said. “And Kanban is a perfect example of that. It’s already proven useful for a lot of people and we want to take even more of the features from other project management tools and integrate them tightly with tools WordPress folks are already using, like the Block Editor and WooCommerce, to help add to that unified WordPress experience.”

Although Alpha Particle and Flowspoke already have in-house products they are working on, they wanted to acquire a business where they could immediately start experimenting.

“With a plugin that already has some traction, it just makes it a lot easier to try new things and get quicker feedback on new features and new ideas,” Koppenhaver said. “Since there’s already an engaged user base, we saw the opportunity to take the things we tell our clients to do with their projects and apply them to a product of our own. I think that long-term this wouldn’t be the only one we acquire, but we’ll be on the look out for the next right opportunity. We’re excited about the long-term roadmap we’ve laid out for Kanban, too, and ready to put in the time to focus and make that vision a reality.”

Alpha Particle and Flowspoke plan to release the long-awaited version 3 of Kanban for WordPress in the near future. It has been completely redesigned and rewritten from the ground up. They will also be building in tighter integration with WordPress where users will be able to link posts to cards and automatically have cards moved to the “Published” column after publishing. Kanban for WordPress already has integrations for Gravity Forms and Ninja Forms but the team has more third-party integrations on the roadmap and is also taking suggestions.

by Sarah Gooding at April 30, 2021 05:14 PM under acquisitions

April 29, 2021

BuddyPress: BuddyPress 8.0.0-beta1

BuddyPress 8.0.0-beta1 is now available for testing! 🥁

Please note the plugin is still in development, so we recommend running this beta release on a testing site.

You can test BuddyPress 8.0.0-beta1 in 4 ways :

The current target for final release is June 2, 2021. That’s just five weeks away, so your help is vital to making sure that the final release is as good as it can be.

Please note BuddyPress 8.0.0 will require at least WordPress 4.9.

We repeat it each time we announce a beta release : testing for bugs is VERRRY important. Please make sure to test this pre-release using a testing configuration which is very close to the one you are using in production. If you find something unusual (aside from the great new features below), please report it on BuddyPress Trac or post a reply to this support topic.

Here are the three hottest 8.0.0 features to pay close attention to while testing (Check out this report on Trac for the full list).

👫 BP Members Invitations

Whether you allow open registration or not you can use this opt-in feature to let your community grow itself. Once enabled from the BuddyPress Options Administration screen, your members will be able to invite their network of friends, co-workers, students, developers, well possibly anyone, to join your site 📈.

✍ Selectable xProfile sign-up fields

Until now, only the Primary group of xProfile fields was displayed on the registration form of your community. 8.0.0 gives you the freedom to choose any field from any field group to add to your site’s registration form 💫.

Include WordPress user fields in your BuddyPress member profiles

8.0.0 introduces 2 new xProfile Field types. The WP Textbox can be used to include the user’s first name, last name, Website link or any potential WP contact methods. With the WP Biography field you can display the Biographical Info in the group of xProfile fields of your choice 🙌 .

And so much more such as the new Welcome BP Email, the terms of use acceptance profile field, improvements to the BP Nouveau template pack & to the BP REST API…

We’ll tell you more about all these soon into our developer notes.

by Mathieu Viet at April 29, 2021 11:30 PM under releases

WPTavern: Gutenberg 10.5 Embeds PDFs, Adds Verse Block Color Options, and Introduces New Patterns

I reach over to grab my phone to check the time. I am debating whether I should stay awake and watch one more episode of The Walking Dead — it would be my fourth, maybe fifth, binge of the series.

11:12 pm.

I noticed that Slack was blowing up my phone. I had it on silent, so I had to catch up. One message stood out above all the rest:

No matching template found.

That was the front page of the Tavern last night as it updated to Gutenberg 10.5. I knew it was related to the Full Site Editing (FSE) changes in the latest release. I had seen that error enough in local testing and needed no more information to know what to do — deactivate the plugin. Then, I could get back to my internal debate of staying up for an hour past my bedtime for TV.

Sometimes, such is life on the bleeding edge, or at least life when running the fortnightly releases of the Gutenberg plugin with automatic updates enabled. It presents a challenge or two or a hundred. I had let my guard down after a smooth 10.4 release, and I knew better. After several prior releases of fixing issues on the backend, the development team gave me a break. It was almost as if they were saving up for something big.

Gutenberg now explicitly declares that anyone running the plugin is on a block-based theme, despite whether their theme actually supports block templates. It should generally fall back gracefully if there none. This seems to be centered on a change that allows classic users to create custom block templates. However, with the plugin activating a “theme-supported” feature automatically, it triggers a chain of events that overrides the template system. Any theme with a custom template hierarchy could break. I created a code snippet on Gist if anyone else runs into the issue and needs to deactivate “block templates” support.

I like that we run the plugin. Daily usage means that we can effectively write about it — a practice-what-you-preach sort of thing.

Sometimes, Gutenberg, you break my heart. You will find few enthusiastic cheerleaders more loyal than me. I believe in the project, but some days, you try your best to make it rough.

But, all is well. There are some exciting things about this release.

Template-editing mode is now enabled for classic themes. Despite this breaking the Tavern theme, it is a feature that I look forward to as a necessary transitional feature toward FSE. Another quick highlight is the work the team has done in making the Columns block more accessible. Each column now has a numbered label that is read aloud via screen-readers.

Embedded PDFs

Inline-embedded PDF.

A decade ago, I had one theme user in particular who needed to embed PDFs. As a young developer, it was just the sort of challenge I needed to build for an audience of one out of 100,000+. So, within the day, I wrapped up a solution similar to what the Gutenberg team did in version 10.5. It is nice to see WordPress finally catching up.

Only the block system makes such embedding much nicer. Drag a PDF into the content canvas and let it work its magic.

There is one caveat: many mobile phones and tablets will not show an embedded PDF. The File block does make a note of this. It also allows users to disable the inline embed and control the height.

This feature offers the best of both worlds. Visitors can read the PDF directly on the page, and they can also click the download button to snag a copy of the file.

Color Options for the Verse Block

Verse block with custom colors.
Poets can rejoice at last
The time of the Verse being a second-class block lies in the past
Users can add subtle colors or those that clash
A tweak here or there can give their words the flash
they need
to breathe
to exceed, all expectations
Text, background, and links are fair game
Unreadable if they were all the same
A splash of color is what it takes to tame
the words…

I will stop there and let the pros handle actual poetry.

Gutenberg 10.2 added the standard block color options to the Verse block. Perhaps all blocks will get the same treatment down the road. I am still waiting on colors for the Quote block too.

New Block Patterns

The latest plugin update removes all 10 of the default WordPress block patterns and replaces them with 15 fresh designs. The new set is an attempt to better showcase the editor’s capabilities.

Testing new block patterns.

For end-users who might be worried about losing their old patterns, this will not affect your content. Because patterns are merely predefined sets of blocks, it is the blocks rather than the patterns that actually get inserted into the content canvas and saved.

The removal of old patterns with replacements of new ones was always a part of the plan. Web design changes over time, and the patterns system allows core developers to keep pace. Perhaps the old patterns will live in the upcoming block directory for those users who still want them.

Gutenberg 10.5 also introduces a few opinionated Query block patterns: Post Grid, Large Title, and Offset Posts. The ultimate goal is to provide an array of options for users as a starting point.

“Large title” Query block pattern.

There is still an open call for the designers to pitch in, contributing custom Query patterns to the project. It is an opportunity to give back that requires almost no JavaScript or PHP programming knowledge.

by Justin Tadlock at April 29, 2021 04:41 PM under gutenberg

WordCamp Central: Making a great online conference experience at WordCamp Prague

My name is Jan, I am a Toolset developer at OnTheGoSystems. For the past several years, I have been actively involved in the Czech WordPress community. On Saturday 27th of February 2021, we held an online conference WordCamp Prague 2021.

Switching an interactive, in-person event to the online format while keeping most of its magic has been difficult but certainly not impossible.

As this year’s lead organizer, I want to share pieces of this sometimes arduous but extremely rewarding journey, together with some crucial ingredients that made it a success beyond our wildest expectations.

Let’s just face the truth: If I knew what I was actually getting into, I wouldn’t have said yes. But I am deeply grateful that I didn’t know. Even after being on the team two years prior to this one, the experience of being a lead organizer is pretty much non-transferable.

Even so, I — a backend software developer with questionable social and team management skills — was very reluctant about taking such a huge responsibility.

One of the things that convinced me — besides the fact that, apart from the then lead organizer, nobody else from our team was willing to take the role — was that this time, we were going to do an online conference.

This unique situation meant two things that removed most of my anxiety. First, nobody knew what to expect from an online WordCamp Prague: It was a completely new thing, an experiment, even. Let’s do our best and see what happens.

Second, the budget was no longer nightmare-inducing, compared to previous years (especially the fact that we were never sustainable without sponsors, and every time, we worried if we would manage to secure enough funding).

With the pandemic foreseeably about to wreak havoc on our small country, with all the uncertainty, and with me in strict isolation until a vaccine is available, a fully online event was the only realistic way we could actually make it happen.

And so we did.

Specifically, by “we”, I mean the fourteen of us: My fellow WordCamp organizers, most of whom have been on the team for years (many of them previous lead organizers), some new faces, and a small recording studio owner who demonstrated superhuman patience during the whole process. Even with this amount of people, it took considerable effort, and without the dedication, good teamwork, and communication, this wouldn’t have worked at all.

Part of the WordCamp Prague 2021 organizer team at the closing speech

The Recipe

My goal since the very beginning was to make it very interactive and to emulate the experience of a physical conference — where, as everyone who ever attended one will testify, the true magic of WordCamps happens — as closely as possible.

A great source of inspiration was WordCamp Europe 2020, which had to be hastily switched to an online version just a couple of months before (and I deeply empathize with its organizers, it must have been an extremely hard blow for them, much harder than for us who have “just” booked a hotel in Porto or already bought non-refundable airline tickets). I got some ideas from there that we copied and also some things I knew I wanted to avoid.

So, here’s our “online WordCamp recipe”, if you will:

A local target audience

From the get-go, we decided to explicitly focus on the Czech and Slovak audience, and we didn’t accept any English talks whatsoever (some of the speakers who applied will be talking at our monthly meetups, though).

The reasoning behind this was what I call online conference fatigue. Attending an English-speaking WordPress event is very easy these days, with WordCamps or meetups happening every couple of days or weeks. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course.

But, considering that many of our fellow citizens aren’t fluent English speakers — the language barrier is still rather high, unfortunately — and that we were told there are no other WordCamps planned in the Czech Republic or Slovakia for the upcoming year, we found ourselves in a unique position to kind of fill this niche (side note: Czechs and Slovaks understand each other very well) and to effectively add some value to the WordPress ecosystem in our region.

In the end, I believe this was one of the main reasons for such a high attendance (over 650 registered attendees, 595 of which showed up).

A proper online conference platform

WCEU — and other WordCamps as well — went with a combination of YouTube Live or Crowdcast for presentation tracks and Zoom for networking or virtual sponsor booths. While that is affordable, relatively easy, and accessible (and once again: I cannot blame WCEU for this choice due to the time pressure), I was not entirely satisfied. The result felt a bit confusing, constantly switching between browser tabs or different applications.

We put a lot of effort into finding a good platform, and we eventually settled on Hopin. It wasn’t without its quirks and little obstacles, it definitely wasn’t for free. But it worked great for the attendees. It allowed us to have a main “stage”, networking rooms, sponsor booths, even the schedule all in one place. It was immersive.

Front page of the event on Hopin

One track only

I have to admit that the two-track experience of WCEU (which also meant two networking rooms on Zoom) was pretty overwhelming. I can be an information sponge and I had a hard time deciding what I want to see or where I want to be the most.

Also, we didn’t have enough resources to effectively run multiple tracks for WordCamp Prague. To cover one track for a whole day, you need at least two hosts and then two other teammates who will stay in the networking room (we called ours “foyer”). We were very lucky to find our two hosts and we decided to go for quality instead of quantity.

From the feedback we received, this was a good choice. Even with keeping presentations to only one track, many people still struggled with wanting to be both in the main track and in the foyer at the same time.

Pre-recorded talks, live Q&A

One of those things that I truly liked about WCEU — and that we’ve easily agreed upon — was that our speakers’ talks would be pre-recorded and then they would join together with a host for a live Q&A session.

With fourteen speakers, the risk that something somewhere would go wrong was considerable. This way, the worst that could happen would be losing the Q&A.

The approach had some unexpected secondary benefits too: Our hosts could see the talk in advance and prepare for the Q&A much better. We knew when it would end, so we could plan our timetable accordingly. The speakers knew they really had to submit their completed talk a couple of days before the event. And so on.

Networking with the speaker afterward

If I had to pick one key aspect that made the most difference, this would be it. Also inspired by WCEU, after every talk (ca. 20min + 5min for Q&A), the speaker was invited to join the foyer (networking room) where the attendees could catch up with them either by asking further questions in the chat or by connecting with their audio and video and talking to them directly.

This ended up being very popular, there were always a couple of dozen people in the foyer. Sometimes, the conversation had to continue in a newly created room after the following speaker had finished their talk and joined in as well.

We had two of our team members always present, ready with some of their own questions for the speaker, to help start the conversation if needed.

Virtual sponsor booths with schedule

The highest two tiers of our sponsor program included a virtual sponsor booth. We suggested the sponsors pick one hour on the schedule and hold their presentation then, instead of having to attend for the whole day.

It was also practical for the attendees, I believe, to know what’s the best time to visit and ask questions.

When not active, the virtual booth was in a “presentation” mode with a sponsor’s slideshow on repeat.

Happiness bar and afterparty

No WordCamp is a proper WordCamp without these two things.

We implemented the happiness bar as another virtual room (same as the foyer) and two to three volunteers were always present to answer any attendees’ questions about their WordPress sites.

As for the afterparty, we created four different “tables” – virtual rooms. One of them also for English speakers, since some of our sponsors’ representatives wanted to attend as well.

To my surprise, two of those tables stayed active for a pretty long time, and when we concluded the afterparty around 10 PM, there were still about twenty, thirty people around. Perhaps we’ve become more used to online socializing because of the pandemic endless lockdowns, but some of the feedback we received went along the lines of “it felt almost like a physical WordCamp.”

Interviews with speakers

In years past, before the conference itself, we usually did write interviews with speakers and then shared the articles on our social media to bring attention to the event. It was usually quite difficult to produce these interview articles: The speakers rarely found enough time for this and we often got late submissions or content that was not wordy enough. Then, the text had to be polished and reviewed before publishing.

This year, instead, someone had the brilliant idea to just do live interviews via Zoom. The advantages were numerous: It was fast to make, we immediately had the final product (videorecording) with minimal post-processing, and it was also fast to view and more attractive on social media than a long text.

A strong, positive organizer team

I can’t stress enough how well my team managed to self-organize and how dedicated the vast majority of us were to deliver a great result. Even under time pressure, we’ve always done our best to keep the spirit up.

After all, we should all remember, it’s a WordCamp, a volunteer-organized event that should be interesting and fun, not a question of life and death. Everything doesn’t always have to be perfect. It’s important to keep that in mind.

WordCamp Prague 2021 organizers

Looking back

In retrospect, the whole experience was intense, difficult at times, but ultimately rewarding beyond expectation.

I find myself struggling to compare it with previous years. The physical event is really something else, and my perspective was dramatically shifted in my new role.

But I will say this: We keep building on the work of previous years. Be it our visual presence, the experience of individual team members with their agenda, or the way we organize and carefully handpick and balance the content of the whole event. It seems that we manage to move the event forward every year, and that’s ultimately what matters.

The most challenging part was time management — no surprise there. Because of the pandemic, everyone was kind of busy with their lives and we started seriously organizing only towards the end of September. In combination with the already somewhat problematic timing, we set ourselves up for quite a wild ride.

If you want to do the event before the main conference season, that also means that you have less than two months from confirming speakers to make everything happen. Practically nothing gets done during December, and the speakers will not plan that far ahead as to apply in November already.

This timing is kind of set in stone for us and we will have to handle everything that we can beforehand so that the run to the finish line is without unnecessary obstacles.

Also, with my limited experience, I would say that organizing a team of — albeit very motivated — volunteers who have different daily jobs is quite different from any sort of project management at work. The primary occupation or other things often have taken precedence over WordCamp and can easily mess up the team’s schedule in a bad way. That’s why we always have to strive for asynchronous communication.

Looking forward

And what’s next? I might apply to lead the next year as well, especially if my teammates decide to continue as well. The idea of starting with a physical event organization around May feels downright ridiculous at this point because of the situation in our country. And since I already have experience with leading an online event, I might as well exploit it.

For the next year, I want to again iterate on our know-how, keep what has worked, and replace the things that didn’t — simply, to move the whole project a couple of steps forward.

Most importantly, my great desire is to make the preparations run smoothly, do things in advance, reduce the amount of stress for the whole team.

Apart from that, we’ll be also focusing on monthly WP Pivo meetups and other activities of the community, but that is a topic for another time.

If you have any comments or questions, I invite you to reach out to me.

WordCamp Prague mascot, The Wapuu King

This post was originally published on onthegosystems.com.

by zaantar at April 29, 2021 08:53 AM under wordcamp prague

WPTavern: Pattern Directory Targeted to Launch with WordPress 5.8

Last month WordPress contributors published the initial designs for the upcoming pattern directory, which will host community-submitted patterns that can be installed with one click from the block inserter in the editor. A live prototype of the work in progress is available at wordpress.org/patterns.

The previously planned masonry style, which accommodates variable thumbnail heights, has not been implemented yet. Clicking on the individual pattern reveals a live preview with a handy resizing bar for trying it out on different screen sizes. The copying and favoriting features are not yet fully working. I was able to copy and paste patterns into the editor, but the previews aren’t yet very accurate.

The project is clipping along and contributors are aiming to have the new directory ready to launch in tandem with the upcoming WordPress 5.8 release. Features planned for the first version include browsing and searching patterns, live preview of patterns, and the ability to copy the block code. Users signed into WordPress.org will be able to create and submit patterns to the directory using a set of curated images and media. They will go through a basic moderation process and patterns will be available for download directly through the block editor.

Once the directory is launched, contributors plan to add support for internationalization, forking and iterating on patterns, expand the available media for use in pattern creation, and add a pattern browsing UI to the editor.

WordPress 5.8 is expected to land in July 2021 with the new Query, Site Logo, and Navigation blocks, template-editing mode, and the block-based widgets screen and customizer integration. The availability of pre-made patterns will be a beneficial accompaniment to the first round of full-site editing features added to core in the next release, enhancing the basic page building experience.

by Sarah Gooding at April 29, 2021 04:25 AM under pattern directory

April 28, 2021

WPTavern: Gravity Forms 2.5 Launches With an Overhauled UI and Focus on Accessibility

The Gravity Forms team formally announced version 2.5 of its form plugin yesterday. The product, owned by Rocketgenius, promises an overhauled experience that is more in line with the core block editor. The team also wanted to put accessibility at the forefront of this release.

The design is fresh, ditching pieces of the older WordPress UI in favor of cleaner lines and branding. The update should make current users feel like they are getting an overhauled product that still offers all the tools they are accustomed to. It should also feel more attractive to new customers.

“Our big push with 2.5 is to update our editor so it looks more like Gutenberg, added more enhancements to using it in the block editor as well as doing our level best to make Gravity Forms the easiest form plugin in the ecosystem to make accessible,” said James Giroux, Community Experience Manager at Rocketgenius.

Comparison between new and old Gravity Forms editor screens.

While much of the new UI looks and feels like the block editor, there are differences in the user experience. Instead of a block inserter, form fields can be clicked or dragged and dropped from the right sidebar. Users more accustomed to slash commands will not be able to work directly from the content canvas. Even with the differences, building forms felt natural.

“The native WP editor experience is changing a lot, and things are continuing to evolve there,” said Giroux. “One of the things we’ve worked really hard on with this latest release is to be as consistent as we can with our UI without being completely identical to the editor. This gives us the freedom to adapt to our users’ needs without being constrained by the timelines and development priorities of the WP editor. Our previous form editor was designed to fit in with the look and feel of the editor of the day, and I expect we’ll continue to be influenced and shaped by what the community designs and creates for Core.”

Gravity Forms always carved its own path, leaping when others were still learning to crawl. Building entirely with native WordPress methods could hinder their goals, and the block system is still rapidly changing.

“We’re very excited about the new UI patterns that the block editor has introduced,” said Giroux. “It gives us a blueprint to create with consistency that we believe will lead to better user outcomes. The legacy WordPress Dashboard was not opinionated by design. The Block Editor and now Full Site Editing workflows, however, are giving us a lot more that we can apply. This will make Gravity Forms more familiar to WordPress users, and that’s probably the biggest way the new editing experience has shaped our approach.”

Forms management screen.

“The Block Editor is a great tool for users,” said Giroux. “If we can find ways to give more functionality on a per post or per-page basis that will maintain the stability and performance that our users have come to expect, I don’t see why we wouldn’t move in that direction. For now, there is a lot of opportunity for us to explore the existing options available within the editor that keep development complexity to a minimum, and we’re keen to do that and provide more value to Gravity Forms users via the block editor.”

On accessibility, the primary lesson the team learned is that there is no magic switch to make a site WCAG compliant. It takes a holistic approach. WordPress, themes, and plugins must each do their parts to make this path easier for users.

“What we have done is invest in learning as much as we can about accessibility, the challenges of accessible forms, and worked with Rian Rietveld and the team at Level Level to make creating accessible forms easier and faster,” he said.

Gravity Forms 2.5 introduces new tools to enable accessible forms and outputs warnings when a user is configuring a form in a way that would pose an issue. The team also has extensive documentation on accessibility and a blog post covering it in the context of version 2.5.

“We’ve committed ourselves to making accessibility and accessibility testing a part of our development process,” said Giroux.

Outside of mentioning that the current release is the foundation going forward and excitement over new ideas, he remained tight-lipped about specific features in the pipeline for version 2.6 and beyond.

Competition and the Forms Market

Extensions from the Certified Add-On program.

For years, few developers or companies could afford the time and monetary investment of creating visual builders, for forms or otherwise. It is no small feat to accomplish what Gravity Forms and others have done in the past. However, the block system is a set of APIs that could take some legwork out of the equation. Eager developers might see this as an opportunity to carve out their own slice of the market.

Even while Gravity Forms is taking cues from core WordPress, the block editor could level the playing field, introducing new competition.

“I’m very excited by what we’re seeing plugin developers do with the functionality in the WordPress editor,” said Giroux. “Giving users common patterns that work the same regardless of the developer, I believe, will only help further adoption of WordPress and the plugins that capitalize on the power of the editor. Gravity Forms is more than just a form builder, it’s a platform for building some pretty exciting workflows which can be challenging to adapt to the pace of change in the editor. As the development cycle matures and becomes more predictable, I’m eager to see how more complex plugin ecosystems like ours adapt to it.”

The Gravity Forms team looks at forms as “just the tip of the iceberg,” seeing value in helping web professionals solve problems with different types of business data.

Even in an increasingly crowded space, they have tripled their team size in the past two years, launched a Certified Developer program, and upgraded their support and user feedback system.

“We are committed to being the most reliable, secure, and accessible form solution, and I think that’s what keeps us relevant,” said Giroux. “The WordPress ecosystem is maturing, and while it is harder to stand out today than perhaps a few years ago, there is still a lot of opportunity for great ideas and great innovation, just like we’re seeing with the WordPress editor.”

by Justin Tadlock at April 28, 2021 09:44 PM under gravity forms

WordPress.org blog: Getting Started with the Figma WordPress Design Library

Created by James Koster, (@jameskoster)

As the name suggests, the WordPress Design Library is a library of WordPress design assets, enabling anyone to quickly create design prototypes for WordPress UI in Figma.

These tools are useful for designers when creating new UI and for anyone looking to contribute ideas, enhancements, or even solutions to bug reports. Sometimes pictures really do speak a thousand words.

In this post, we’ll talk about some key features of Figma before diving into a practical example that demonstrates some of the WordPress Design Library utilities.

What Is Figma?

Figma is a collaborative design tool that members of the WordPress project’s design team have been using for several years to work on and share design concepts. It offers a variety of handy features such as: in-browser access, rich prototyping tools, component libraries, code inspectors, live embeds, inline commenting, plugins, and much much more.

Perhaps best of all, it is totally free to sign up and start playing around. If you join the WordPress.org Figma organization (instructions below), you’ll gain access to the WordPress Design Library enabling you to design WordPress UI in no time.

What Is the WordPress Design Library?

In Figma, you can share components and styles by publishing them, transforming your file into a library so that you can use instances of those components in other files.

Figma.com

It may be easiest to think of the WordPress Design Library as a visual representation of all the javascript components that compose UI in the WordPress codebase. As an end user of the library, you can use those components in a self-contained environment to create new interface designs. It’s kind of like a big LEGO box containing all the UI pieces (buttons, form inputs, etc.) that you can use to create and try out new designs.

Creating designs with these assets enables rapid ideation on new interfaces by removing mundane processes that one would ordinarily have to work through. Nobody wants to repeatedly double-check that the button they made perfectly matches the buttons rendered by the code! And on the flip-side of that coin, anyone sharing a design with others will generally endeavor to make specific elements (like buttons) match what exists in the code as closely as possible. The WordPress Design Library solves both these headaches and more.

An additional benefit to these assets visually matching what exists in the codebase is that any designs you create with them will inherently make use of the latest WordPress design language and consequently feel like WordPress with almost no effort required. Passing such designs on to developers makes them easier to interpret and implement too.

Figma Fundamentals

Before getting into the practical section of this post, let’s quickly cover some of the fundamental features of Figma libraries. This will help prepare us for working with the WordPress Design Library.

Components

As we touched on above, the library consists of “components” that serve as visual counterparts to their code-based equivalents. That is to say, there is a Button component in Figma, and a matching Button component in the WordPress codebase.

But what is a Figma component?

Components are elements you can reuse across your designs. They help to create and manage consistent designs across projects.

help.figma.com

Let’s quickly explore some of the properties of Figma components to understand the ways they help when working on our next design.

Variants

Some Figma components offer variants. One example is Button(s) which all have the following states:

  • Resting
  • Hover
  • Focus
  • Disabled

These can be manipulated via the variants interface in Figma:

Other examples of components with variants are form inputs and menu items. Variants are a new feature in Figma, so we’ll be adding more over time.

Overrides

Although any components you insert are intrinsically linked to the master component in the library, it is possible to override some properties.

While working with an instance of the Button component, you can change things like the label, or even the background color, while maintaining the link to the master component in the library. If you’re familiar with git workflows, this is kind of like creating a local branch. Any changes you make can easily be reset in a couple of clicks.

Overrides made to your local instance will persist even when the master component is updated. So if your design calls for a button with a green background, you can apply that override safely with the knowledge that even if the master component is updated, your button can inherit those updates and remain green.


We’ve only really scratched the surface of components here. So I would recommend the official Figma documentation for more advanced information.

Figma Styles

In addition to components, styles are also published as part of the WordPress Design Library. They have similar properties to components in that a master style exists in the library and can be utilized in your local Figma file. Just like Components, Styles will receive updates when changes to the library are published.

Styles are used to define colors, typographical rules, and effects like drop-shadows present in the WordPress codebase. They enable you to apply things like text or background colors that will match other UI parts.

Using Styles from the library, you ensure that your creations match existing UI elements, making it easier to implement.


To learn more about styles in Figma, I recommend the official documentation.

Views and Stickers

“Stickers” are simply arrangements of Components and Styles that have been combined to represent common UI elements. They are not good candidates for full componentization due to their frequent customization needs. Examples of Stickers include the Inspector sidebar and the block inserter:

Their utility is simple: find the sticker you need, peel (copy) it from the WordPress Design Library, and stick (paste) it into your local file before customizing as needed.

Stickers are not Figma features like Components and Styles, but any stickers you copy to a working file will stay up to date by virtue of their underlying assets.

Views are arrangements of components, styles, and stickers.

Designing a Block Using the WordPress Design Library

Okay, now that we have a handle on the basics of Figma libraries and their features and the utilities of the WordPress Design Library like Stickers and Views, let’s work through a practical example – designing the UI for a brand new block.

Getting Started

All you need to get started is a Figma account added to the WordPress.org Figma organization.

Once you’ve signed up at Figma, simply join the #Design channel on the community Slack and request an invite. Include your Figma username, and a friendly community member will help get you set up in no time.

Now the fun begins!

To create a fresh new design file in Figma, visit the Gutenberg project and click the “+ New” button.

Now let’s include the WordPress Design Library in our working file so that we have access to all the goodies we’ll need:

  1. Open the “Assets” panel and click the little book icon to view the available Team Libraries.
  2. In the modal, toggle the WordPress Design Library on. You can leave the others off for now.

After closing the modal, you’ll notice a number of components become visible in the assets panel. To insert them, they can be dragged on to the canvas:

It’s kind of like inserting a block 🙂

Creating a Pizza Block 🍕

I love to eat pizza, so for fun, I’m going to design a new block that simply allows the user to display a delicious pizza in their posts and pages. I want the block to include options for a total number of slices and different toppings.

Work Out the Flow

I always like to concentrate on individual flows when designing blocks. That is to say, the linear steps a user will take when working with that block. In this case, I want to create visualizations of the following steps/views in our Figma file:

  1. Inserting the block from the Block Inserter
  2. The Pizza Block placeholder state including options in the block, its Toolbar, and the Inspector
  3. The configured Pizza Block settings
  4. The end result – a delicious pizza sitting comfortably on the canvas

Sketch the New States

Thanks to the WordPress Design Library, I’ll be using as many existing UI components as possible, but I still need a rough idea of how they will be composed in the new interfaces that my Pizza block will require. I normally find it helpful to sketch these out on paper.

Here’s the placeholder state which users will see when they first insert the block. This should be all I need:

Prepare the Views and Stickers

Helpfully, there are Views in the WordPress Design Library I can use for each of the steps in the flow outlined above.

I open the library, navigate to the Views page, find the views I need, copy them, and paste into my working file.

It is very important to copy (not cut) Views from the library so that they remain intact and other people can still access them. If you cut them, they’ll be gone forever, so please don’t do that 🙂

I’m also going to need a block placeholder sticker, so I navigate to the Stickers page, copy the one that most closely resembles my sketch from before, and paste it into my working file.

As with views, please only copy stickers; do not cut them.

Gather the Components

Referring back to the placeholder state I sketched out on paper (it can be helpful to import this into your Figma file), I can see that I’m going to need some form elements to realize the design.

I navigate to the Assets panel, locate the components I need, and drag them into my file:

Helpful tip: Once a component has been inserted, you can transform it into another component via its settings panel. Sometimes it is easier to copy/paste a component you already inserted and transform it this way, rather than opening the assets panel over and over.

Arrange the Views, Stickers, and Components to Create a Coherent Design

Now that we’ve gathered all the individual pieces we need, it’s simply a case of arranging them so that they resemble each of the steps of the flow we outlined before. This is done with simple drag and drop.

If you’re familiar with software like Photoshop, Sketch, and others, this should feel very familiar.

Once everything is in place, our flow is complete:

I still find it incredible that we’re able to do this in just a few short moments.

Hook up the Prototype

With each step of our flow created, the last piece of the puzzle is to connect them and form a clickable prototype.

I switch to the Prototype panel and create click behaviors by selecting a layer, then dragging the white dot to the corresponding frame.

There are a variety of behaviors that the Figma prototyping tools support, such as a hover, drag, and click. It is even possible to create smart animations. Perhaps that’s something we can explore in another tutorial, but for now, I will refer you to the Figma documentation for more advanced prototyping.

Now that I’ve connected all the appropriate elements, I am able to take my prototype for a test drive by clicking the Play ▶ icon:

You can try it too; just click here.

That’s All, Folks!

I tried to keep this tutorial fairly simple and concise; even though we only really got to grips with the basics here, you can see the power of Figma and the WordPress Design Library when it comes to trying out new designs.

by Chloe Bringmann at April 28, 2021 05:52 PM under Uncategorized

WPTavern: Creative Commons Search to Relaunch on WordPress.org

The Creative Commons search engine will soon be part of WordPress.org, as Automattic will begin sponsoring several members of the CC Search team to maintain it. The engine currently offers over 500 million images, audio, and videos, under Creative Commons licenses or the public domain, aggregating more than 45 different sources.

Matt Mullenweg announced the acquisition on his personal blog, saying that CC Search would be “joining the WordPress project.” It is a major benefit to the community, providing a valuable resource for finding GPL-compatible images for use in WordPress-derivative products like themes and plugins. Mullenweg hinted at a long-term plan where deeply integrating CC search into WordPress.org is just the first step:

I am eager to give a new home to their open search product on WordPress.org in continued commitment to open source freedoms, and providing this community resource for decades to come. This is an important first step to provide a long-term, sustainable challenger to proprietary libraries like Unsplash.

The reference to Unsplash follows the company’s controversial licensing changes, where it abandoned CC0 licensing in 2017 after making a name for itself by offering images originally shared to the public domain. That body of work was hidden away by Unsplash’s refusal to use its API to differentiate these CC0 images going forward. In July 2020, the controversy was renewed after Unsplash launched its official WordPress plugin. Some users are apprehensive about the company’s willingness to change its license and terms in the future, especially after Unsplash was acquired by Getty Images.

Creative Commons search remains one of the few places to find CC0-licensed images that are compatible with the GPL. It will be interesting to see how this news of CC Search finding a new home on WordPress.org will affect Automattic’s relationship with Pexels, another image library with even more restrictive licensing than Unsplash. Access to Pexels was added to WordPress.com in 2018 and is also integrated with Jetpack.

“When I started CC Search, I always hoped it would become part of the infrastructure of the Internet,” former Creative Commons CEO Ryan Merkley  said. “Matt Mullenweg and I first talked about CC Search in 2018, and he immediately saw the potential. I’m so happy to see this happen. It’s great for WordPress, and great for the Commons.”

Mullenweg’s announcement said he anticipates CC search will be live and and running on WordPress.org in a few weeks. The new Automattic employees who were hired from Creative Commons will have their contributions sponsored by the company as part of the company’s Five for the Future commitment.

by Sarah Gooding at April 28, 2021 04:42 AM under creative commons

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May 17, 2021 04:15 AM
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