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June 14, 2021

WPTavern: Toolbelt Tidies WordPress Plugin and Theme Admin Notifications

It’s a tale as old as, well, WordPress. Ben Gillbanks noticed a conversation where someone thought that admin notices were getting out of hand. Enter another developer’s attempt to address this problem. With a few code additions to his Toolbelt plugin, he had a working solution to stop the madness: the Tidy Notifications module.

Despite the early promise of the WP Notify project last year, it still feels like we are no closer to addressing the overuse of the current admin notice system in WordPress. In reality, it is not so much a system as a hook that developers can use for literally anything. It is the Wild West of the WordPress admin. No rules. No order. And no proper API for standardizing how notices work.

WP Notify still exists on GitHub and continues to move along at its own pace, but there is no guarantee that it will ever land in the core platform. Sometimes, the best thing a developer can do is solve the existing problem and hope that WordPress follows along down the road with a better solution.

I am already tidying admin notifications with Toolbelt on my development install. My primary use case is to hide the non-dismissible notice from the Gutenberg plugin that I have a Full Site Editing theme installed — is there not a guideline against such notices? I did not suddenly forget that I was using such a theme between the 999th and 1,000th time the reminder appeared on every admin screen of my installation.

Notifications expand when clicking on the bell icon in the toolbar.

The Tidy Notifications system in Toolbelt neatly tucks all admin notices under a bell icon in the admin toolbar. It also displays the number of notifications.

It makes the WordPress admin so clutter-free that I do not know how I have lived without it before. I cannot imagine going back.

The only problem with Toolbelt’s solution is that there is no way to distinguish between essential notices and those that should be tucked away. WordPress letting you know that your post was successfully updated is an important notice that should not be hidden. However, a plugin author drumming up five-star reviews, yeah, that should not be front and center.

Having two systems would be beneficial. The existing admin_notices hook in WordPress should be used for letting users know the outcome of their actions or actions that they should take. The post editor, which does not use page reloads or make the hook available, has replaced this with the snackbar popup system. These necessary notices have their place.

However, WordPress has no built-in system for non-essential notices. This leaves plugin and theme authors with two options: bundle an entirely custom notification apparatus with each extension or just use the admin_notices hook. The latter is the more efficient use of developer resources.

Of course, we have had this conversation before. Just shy of a year ago, I wrote a post titled Are Plugin Authors to Blame for the Poor Admin Notices Experience? In the comments, WordPress project lead Matt Mullenweg posited that the solution to unwanted notifications is not to build an inbox, comparing WordPress to cell phones. He said that app store guidelines were likely more impactful to user happiness. In general, I agree with that concept. Setting down a few directory UI and UX rules would not hurt.

Given the more recent push to loosen guidelines for the theme directory, that does not seem to be in the cards. Admin notices were not one of the guardrails, the safety net of “must-haves” from the Themes Team.

The admin notice spam WordPress users see today most commonly comes from plugins and not themes. Why? It is not because theme authors care more about user happiness levels. It is because the theme review guidelines over the years have been strict. Anything too flamboyant gets the hammer.

The WordPress Themes Team even has a custom guideline-friendly, drop-in class that themers can use.

The plugin and theme directories have taken far different stances on admin notices, and it shows. When the Themes Team moves to minimal checks, there may not be anything to stop themers from competing for the most obnoxious admin notice award. Game on, plugin authors.

“Unwanted” notifications may even be the wrong terminology. Often, they are “unwanted right now.” Sometimes, folks might want to read a message — just later. I am still holding out hope that we will have a notifications/messages inbox in WordPress one day. One that is entirely controlled by the user.

Until then, I may just stick with the Tidy Notifications module in Toolbelt. There are many other handy components in it too.

by Justin Tadlock at June 14, 2021 10:54 PM under Plugins

WPTavern: Wordfence Now Authorized as a CVE Numbering Authority

Wordfence has been authorized by the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE®) Program as a CNA (CVE Numbering Authority), which allows the company to directly assign CVE numbers for new vulnerabilities in WordPress core, plugins, and themes. The authority is granted by Mitre Corporation, a federally-funded US non-profit that manages research and development centers. Wordfence anticipates that the ability to create CVE assignments will expedite its security research.

“As the Wordfence Threat Intelligence team continues to produce groundbreaking WordPress security research, Wordfence can more efficiently assign CVE IDs prior to publicly disclosing any vulnerabilities that our team discovers,” Wordfence threat analyst Chloe Chamberland said. “This means that a CVE ID will be immediately assigned with every vulnerability we discover rather than waiting for an assignment from an external CNA.”

Not having to wait on a CVE ID is a major advantage for the company, especially when working with enterprise installations where WordPress is used in combination with other software. It also helps security personnel prioritize and act based on the potential severity of threats.

“Our efforts to become a CNA had these individuals, institutions, and enterprise personnel in mind, as well as WordPress’ reputation as a whole,” Chamberland said. “Now, those tasked with securing WordPress will be able to quickly reference the CVE ID from our blog posts when reporting vulnerabilities throughout their organization and handling security update prioritization. We also hope that by being a CNA, Wordfence will receive even more direct reports from security researchers.”

Becoming a CNA simplifies a security company’s process of submitting vulnerabilities. Wordfence is the second company to become one, operating within the scope of WordPress and related vulnerabilities. In January 2021, WPScan was granted CVE Numbering Authority status. Prior to becoming a CNA, assigning CVEs for every vulnerability in WPScan’s database would have been too time consuming.

“Becoming a CNA has allowed us to help security researchers to verify and triage their vulnerabilities,” WPScan founder and CEO Ryan Dewhurst said. “This has helped grow our WordPress vulnerability database and keep WordPress users secure. But it is just one source of vulnerabilities among many others that we use.”

The process for Wordfence to become a CNA was surprisingly simple. Chamberland said the company filled out a registration form with a few questions.

“Once we were approved and agreed upon a scope, you are required to watch a series of onboarding videos that explain the processes required of a CNA,” she said. “After that, we had an onboarding meeting to ensure our team was fully trained on CVE Program protocols. It took Wordfence about a month to get authorized as a CNA once they received our registration form.”

Historically, the WordPress ecosystem has been a magnet for those looking to exploit vulnerabilities, due to its large footprint on the web. That trend is likely to continue. Chamberland believes there is room for multiple CNA’s in the WordPress space.

“We’ve had a great working relationship with WPScan over the years, and we expect that this relationship will continue as we have a similar mission in helping secure the WordPress community,” she said.

“As WordPress grows, it becomes a larger and more attractive target for malicious actors. The more hands we have on deck, and the better we collaborate and adhere to industry standard security practices, the safer WordPress will be.”

Attracting more researchers to report vulnerabilities is a major benefit to security companies that gain CNA status, since they are essentially in the business of selling vulnerability protection data. They give their paid customers early access to patches that are not yet available to the general public. Becoming a CNA has the potential to increase the value their businesses can provide.

“With this growth in WordPress, we expect to see more security researchers in the WordPress space,” Chamberland said. “As such, we are bound to see an increase in CVE ID requests. Having multiple CNA’s that can assign CVE IDs to WordPress core, plugins and themes make sense to improve the speed in which security researchers can obtain CVE IDs, and provides researchers with multiple sources for CVE IDs.”

by Sarah Gooding at June 14, 2021 09:44 PM under wordfence

Matt: Day One at Automattic

I’m not sure when I first came across the critically acclaimed Day One product, which is the best private blogging and journaling app out there, but I began seriously using it daily in 2016 when my father was in the ICU and later passed. Having a private, safe place to write what I was going through kept me sane and helped me process everything.

Writing has always been a salve for me, and I’ve had local or private WordPress installations pretty much since 2003 to capture and archive writing that wasn’t fit for the public web.

Day One not only nails the experience of a local blog (or journal as they call it) in an app, but also has (built) a great technical infrastructure — it works fantastic (when) offline and has a fully encrypted sync mechanism, so the data that’s in the cloud is secured in a way that even someone with access to their database couldn’t decode your entries, it’s only decrypted on your local device. Combining encryption and sync in a truly secure way is tricky, but they’ve done it.

This is a long intro to say, as you can read from Day One’s founder and CEO Paul Mayne, from Eli at WordPress.com, and on Tumblr, that Paul and the team are joining the team at Automattic. For many years I’ve talked to anyone who will listen about my vision of making Automattic the Berkshire Hathaway of the internet, and Paul’s decision to continue to grow his amazing business as part of Automattic is a great validation of the way we’ve been building our culture and long-term orientation in our business. Day One is a beloved product, and bringing it into the fold is a responsibility I take very seriously and comes from a deep respect for what’s been built and a belief that working together we can create something for users better than we could working apart.

Great software takes time, and the Day One team has been at it for about a decade now, I can’t wait to see what they accomplish in the coming decade and beyond. If you haven’t tried out Day One yet, please check it out in the Apple or Google’s app store.

by Matt at June 14, 2021 08:53 PM under Asides

June 13, 2021

WPTavern: WordPress 5.8 Beta 1 Released: New Blocks, New Widgets Screen, and Pattern Directory on Deck

WordPress 5.8 beta 1 is ready for testing. This upcoming release makes major strides towards solidifying WordPress’ site building capabilities, along with improvements to features users have enjoyed since the launch of the block editor. It is one of the most feature-packed releases in recent history and as such requires all hands on deck for testing.

New blocks in 5.8 include Page List, Site Title, Logo, Tagline, Query Loop, and Duotone. I decided to take each one for a spin this weekend on a test site, putting myself in the shoes of someone trying these blocks for the first time.

I was surprised to learn that the template editor will be available to sites using any WordPress theme, since all the previous FSE testing rounds have called on testers to use the latest version of the TT1 Blocks Theme. It will be interesting to see how users respond to this and if it works well with older themes. Users can now create and edit custom templates for pages and posts using blocks.

The template editor includes the new List View panel that gives an overview of all the sections and blocks in the template.

Most of the new blocks in 5.8 are intended to work within the context of the template editor, but they also work in the post editor.

The Page List block magically populates a list of all the pages on a site as soon as it is inserted. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to delete a single page from the list. If you try to delete a page the entire block disappears. This seems like a bug and is a frustrating experience in the context of the post editor. It may be more useful in terms of building navigation but this seems like a rough first pass.

The Query Loop block comes with some different designs for how the loop could be displayed. Once a basic layout is chosen for a starting point, users can further customize the blocks within the loop, including typography, color, length of excerpt, and more.

The Site Title, Tagline, and Logo blocks all seem to work as expected but I found previews to be unreliable for things like alignment and spacing. At this point in time, it seems like template editing will be better suited to users who are more adventurous and experimental when it comes to new features.

Duotone is a fun new core block that you can see in action below, demonstrated by WordPress documentation contributor Milana Cap. The block adds images effects that can be used in media blocks. Theme and plugin developers can also employ and customize the effects for their own particular use cases.

Hello New Widgets Screen!

WordPress users will be greeted with a new block-based widgets screen in 5.8. It allows you to use blocks in any widgetized area. It wasn’t until I saw how this works that I realized how rigid our old widgets system was. Whatever functionality you were trying to insert had to be readily available as a widget or shortcode. Now any block from the vast world of blocks can be added to widgetized areas.

Justin Tadlock wrote a post about how users can disable it with the Classic Widgets plugin. Should you disable it? Not unless you are forced to because of using a theme that doesn’t support it very well. Using blocks in widget areas is going to give you much more flexibility for what you can insert. You can even continue to use the old style widgets via the Legacy Widget block. Users may need a little time to adapt to the new interface but it’s worth it to have access to the growing world of innovative blocks.

Pattern Directory Will Be Integrated with WordPress 5.8

The new Pattern Directory will launch on WordPress.org along with the 5.8 release. Justin Tadlock recently amplified the Design Team’s call for pattern contributions that would be available to users right away. Several have already been submitted via GitHub issues for the directory and the creativity here is energizing. In addition to introducing an exciting new avenue for designers to put their work out into the ecosystem, the Pattern Directory stands to become a valuable resource and inspiration to users who are designing their own websites.

A “How It Works” pattern submitted by Lax Mariappan

At launch the directory will only contain patterns that use core blocks but using blocks from WordPress.org may also be a possibility in the future.

“There have definitely been some discussion of allowing any blocks from the Block Directory to be used and that they would be auto-installed if someone inserted the pattern,” Shaun Andrews commented in response to a theme studio inquiring about submitting their own patterns that use free blocks. “I believe this is possible, and something we should do, but there simply hasn’t been any work done to enable it yet.

“We’re focused on getting the first iteration of the Pattern Directory launched, and then we plan to continue improving things.”

Pattern transformation is a new feature launching with the new directory, which allows users to convert a block or collection of blocks into different patterns. Patterns can also be recommended and selected during block setup, which should make product onboarding easier.

These are just a few features coming in WordPress 5.8 that need testing. Check out the 5.8 beta 1 release post for a more comprehensive list of all the improvements that are on deck. The official release is scheduled for July 20, 2021.

by Sarah Gooding at June 13, 2021 02:07 AM under pattern directory

June 12, 2021

Gutenberg Times: Over 50 Patterns in the Pattern Directory, Learn Full-site editing, WordCamp Europe – Weekend Edition #173

Howdy,

After three and a half years, it was time to replace the WordPress theme on the Gutenberg Times. The trigger: I wrote about Core Web Vitals for a different project and used the Gutenberg Times as a test project, using Google’s Lighthouse via an incognito browser window. The desktop version performed very well, all circles in the green range, but the mobile version really crawled over the Internet, ranking in the low 40ties.

Google announced earlier this year that they start rolling out new page experience update in this month, and start using Web Vitals as another ranking factor for organic search results. I also noticed that GT had a very high number of visitors via the desktop, but not many on mobile, which I found odd. Now I know why.

Anders Noren’s Eksell is our new theme. I love the typography, the clean design. and its graphics. I just started exploring it. Nothing gets things done faster than working on the live site. 😊

The content mostly converted well, except there are no widget areas, so I would need to add the widget via the Legacy widget block. It was hit-and-miss. This exercise turned out to be a great test for the new block-based Widget screen, which will come to a WordPress instance near you in the 5.8 release on July 20th, 2021.

From the discussions, I learned that the Gutenberg team is leaning towards an opt-out rather than an opt-in implementation. Testing sites with this week’s WordPress 5.8 Beta 1, is definitely recommended. If you don’t have time to test all the site you are working on, rest easy, there is a Classic Widget plugin you can install to keep the old Widget screen.

What else happened this week? WordCamp Europe! It was a great virtual conference. Kudos to the organizers, speakers, sponsors and attendees! If you missed it, you can watch the recordings on YouTube.

The video with the Gutenberg Highlights is available for those of use who missed the Conversation with Matt Mullenweg. Matias Ventura wrote: “The video is wonderfully narrated by Beatriz Fialho, and it was a great opportunity to celebrate all the incredible work that contributors are doing around the globe to improve the editing and customization experience of WordPress”. I will update my earlier WCEU post with links to videos and resources over the course of next week.

As always, I am so glad you are here, reading the eNews every week. Thank you!

Yours, 💕
Birgit

Join us for our next Live Q & A on June 24, 2021, at 11am EDT / 15:00 UTC

Theme.json for Theme Authors or building themes for full-site editing in WordPress.
Host: Birgit Pauli-Haack
Panel: Daily Olson, Tammie Lister and Jeff Ong Register Now


WordPress 5.8 Release Cycle

WordPress 5.8 Beta 1 was release on Tuesday. You can use the official Beta Tester Plugin to test this version. If you haven’t used it before, the Core Team share information and instructions in their handbook.

You can read more about the development cycle of WordPress 5.8 here. Feature Freeze for this upcoming version was May 25. We are right now in the beta phase of the cycle. It will be used for testing and to fix bugs. That is to last until June 29, 2021, when the first Release Candidate will be released. That’s also the deadline for Dev Notes and Field Guide. It also comes with a hard-string freeze. That’s the moment the Polyglots team starts with translations.

Features and updates for WordPress 5.8

Speaking of DevNotes, the Gutenberg team tracks their progress on the DevNotes via this GitHub issue. You can get a head start on “Block API Enhancements” by Grzegorz Ziolkowski or “Contextual patterns for easier creation and block transformations” by Nik Tsekouras before they are published on the Make Core blog.

Anne McCarthy posted about other Block Editor Enhancements:

On the WordPress News Blog, you found earlier: Coloring Your Images With Duotone Filters by Alex Lende. Yes, I am in love with it, that’s why I mentioned it again. Gutenberg 10.7 also brought the methods to disable duotone via the theme.json file. The details are in this Lende’s PR.

Adam Silverstein published WordPress 5.8 adds WebP support dev note. It’s not directly a block editor update but crucial for content creators and developers alike, especially in context of the Core Web Vitals when speed is becomes of the essence.


Gutenberg Changelog

It’s been two years since Mark Uraine and I started the Gutenberg Changelog podcast, and he was my co-host for the first 40 episodes. Grzegorz Ziolkowski joined me as co-host with episode 41. In February 2021, we celebrated the first 10,000 downloads. Now four months later, we passed the 26,000 mark of downloads. For such a narrow niche show, these are mind-boggling numbers. It is very humbling. We are very grateful for our faithful listeners! Thank you all very much.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski is back from vacation, and we recorded episode 45. We covered Gutenberg 10.7 and 10.8 releases, WordCamp Europe and WordPress 5.8. It will be published later this weekend. The similar t-shirts? Mere coincidence!

Gutenberg 10.8

Gutenberg 10.8 was released this week. It had quite a few enhancements, and a ton of bug fixes and underlying code change for quality and tooling. Sandip Mondal work on his first release and published the release notes: What’s new in Gutenberg 10.8? (9 June).

Justin Tadlock has more details Gutenberg 10.8 Adds New Typography Controls and Block Previews

The enhancements for full-site editing and theme design controls are already for the next WordPress release (5.9) in December and require more testing before they are available for WordPress Core.

Block Patterns

Kjell Reigstad posted an invitation for the WordPress community to submit Block Patterns to the official WordPress directory. In his post Initial Patterns for the WordPress.org Patterns Directory, he explained the details of the submission process.

Justin Tadlock, a big fan of block patterns, wrote about the invitation on the WordPress Tavern and showcased some of his creations. Ana Segota, co-founder of Anariel Design shared her submissions via Twitter.

You can review the list of submissions on GitHub and learn from the comments on by the design team. Brian Gardner, Tammie Lister, Mel Choyce, Kjell Reigstad and Beatriz Fialho also contributed patterns to the directory.

Block Patterns on WordPress.org submitted by members of the design team and from the WordPress community.

In total, I counted 54 block patterns available to WordPress users. What a great start!


Full Site Editing

At WordCamp Europe 2021, the Panelist Danielle Zarcaro, Grzegorz Ziółkowski, Koen Van den Wijngaert and Milana Cap discussed Full Site editing and what it means for the broader WordPress community. We have the recording and the transcript for you


We added the Blockbase Theme to the list of available FSE themes last week. Kjell Reigstad published Using Blockbase for a theme experiment on the ThemeShaper blog and take you on a journey on creating a child theme of Blockbase. He wrote “Overall, I found that the benefit to using Blockbase was peace of mind. Compared to starting fresh or using emptytheme, Blockbase ensured that I had a fully functional block theme immediately.” Kjell also shared his code on GitHub.


The WPMarmite Team publish the results of their Full Site Editing Study: Will WordPress theme shops embrace this new paradigm? They studied the involvement in the current FSE development of 127 Theme shops.

At first glance, these seemed to be a little premature, considering that only architecture for themes supporting FSE is coming to WordPress at the end of July. It certainly sets the base numbers to see what will happen until December. These are the numbers to watch changing in the next half year, and it will answer the original questions.

  • 57% of theme shops feature their Gutenberg compatibility.
  • Only 17% of theme shops offer custom Gutenberg blocks.
  • 3% of theme shops provide block patterns.

The team also talked to 22 theme shops about their intentions regards full-site editing. You need to read the article to learn more.


Fränk Klein at WPDeveloper Courses, released his new course: Building Block-Based Themes. If you want to learn how to build a real-life example theme and all the ins and outs for a theme using the full-site editing capabilities and theme.json.

On Fullsiteediting.com, Carolina Nymark has been offering her Full Site editing course for free, but that might change soon.

Joe Casabona at CreatorCourses is also working on an update of his Gutenberg Theme course.

My take-away from the acquisitions of Atomic Blocks, Co Blocks etc. is that early adopters found it quite worth their while to deal with the ever-moving goal posts while developing along site Gutenberg developers. The future is yours!


Upcoming WordPress Events

June 6, 2021 7:00 pm EDT / 23:00 UTC
WordPress Meetup Philadelphia
Full Site Editing Review and Test-a-thon

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 10th, 2021
WordPress “Mega Meetup”: Plugins That Keep Websites Running

June 20 – 26, 2021
WordCamp Japan
The schedule has been posted. Most sessions will be in Japanese, with exceptions, I think…

June 24, 2021
WPEngine Summit 2021
The digital breakthrough conference released their schedule. Personally, I am very much looking forward to the Keynote talk with Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code and Marshall Plan for Moms at 12:55 EDT / 16:55 UTC. I also hope to see talks with Rob Stinson, Carrie Dils and Chris Wiegman. There are also deep dive talks listed into Headless WordPress. Enterprise WordPress is definitely heading down that route.

June 24 – 26, 2021
WordCamp Cochabama (Colombia)

July 17 + 18th, 2021
WordCamp Santa Clarita
Calls for speakers ends TODAY!

July 23, 2021
WordFest Live The festival of WordPress

August 6 + 7, 2021
WordCamp Nicaragua

September 21 + 22, 2021
WPCampus 2021 Online
“A free online conference for web accessibility and WordPress in higher education.”


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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Featured Image: Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

by Birgit Pauli-Haack at June 12, 2021 06:39 PM under News

Gutenberg Times: WordCamp Europe: Full-Site Editing Panel discussion

It was announced as a discussion panel about the present and future of WordPress with Full Site Editing.

The panelists, highly involved in this new feature, discussed many topics about FSE and how it is going to be a new revolution in the WordPress ecosystem.

The Panelist were Danielle Zarcaro, Grzegorz Ziółkowski, Koen Van den Wijngaert and Milana Cap

Jose Ramon Padron and Lesley Molecke moderated the discussion.

Torque Magazine did an outstanding job live tweeting.

The transcript and table of contents


José Ramón Padron: Hello, Lesley.

Lesley Molecke: Hey, Moncho.

José Ramón Padron: I’m laughing, because this is the moment my neighbor started to do this at home. I don’t know. I hope it doesn’t sound through the microphone, but I’m hearing a hammer quite hard on that building. I hope it’s not-

Lesley Molecke: I can’t hear anything, but listen, I’m ready for this next session. I can’t believe that we’re already here. It’s already the final session of the day, and it’s going to be a good one. 

Introduction of the topic and the panelists

José Ramón Padron: Yes, it’s true. It’s going to be a good one, because we have a lot of good people talking about a quite good and hot topic inside the WordPress community. One of the things we are going to have, really near in, I don’t know, in 5.8, in the next version of WordPress, full site editing?

Lesley Molecke: Yes. We would like to welcome our panelists. This is a panel presentation, so it should be a good conversation with a number of experts speaking. So they will join us here on stage in just a moment. Hello, hello. Hi, everybody. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Hello.

Koen Van den Wijngaert: Hello, there. 

Lesley Molecke: Will you please introduce yourselves? 

Milana Cap: Which order?

Lesley Molecke: As you wish. 

Milana Cap

José Ramón Padron: So let’s start with Milana, just for talking.

Milana Cap: Because I’m the loudest. Well, you said expert. I’m here just for the cookies and to bribe contributors to come to documentation. Also, I’m here as documentation team co-rep. And I’m the docs focus lead for a new release, 5.8. I should be knowing what’s happening, hopefully soon. I’m Milana from Serbia. 

Lesley Molecke: How about you, Danielle?

José Ramón Padron: Thank you so much.

Danielle Zarcaro: Sure. I’m having an issue too. I don’t know whether he’s blowing leaves or mowing the lawn? I don’t know what’s happening. 

Danielle Zarcaro

Lesley Molecke: We can’t hear it, it’s okay.

Danielle Zarcaro: Good. I’m Danielle. I’m from the US. I am the head of paperback web development. We build custom WordPress websites and maintain them, and maintain existing websites, and all that that comes with. We just launched overnightwebsite.com. So that’s mostly what I deal with is the old and the new of WordPress. So it’s the whole range.

José Ramón Padron: Thanks, Danielle. Let’s go with Koen.

Koen Van den Wijngaert

Koen Van den Wijngaert: Hey, hi, there. Is this thing on? Hey, Good evening. I’m Koen. I’m a WordCamp and meetup organizer from Belgium. I run my own company called NEOK IT, where I provide software consultancy, partly around WordPress. I’ve been working with WordPress for a few years now. I like to learn things, as well as challenge myself while doing it. 

So for a while now, I’ve been casually contributing to Gutenberg, as a way of giving back and mostly getting more accustomed to the ins and outs of the project. So that’s me. 

ImageGrzegorz Ziółkowsk

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: It looks like it’s me now. So my name is Grzegorz Ziółkowski. I live in Oleśnica, Poland, and I work at Automatic, where I spend all time contributing to the WordPress core. My main focus is Gutenberg. I was helping to merge changes from the plugin, Gutenberg plugin to the WordPress core for the upcoming WordPress 5.8 release, which won’t contain all the necessary pieces of the full site editing. However, there is a lot of new goodies coming that will be ready to use on the site. 

Lesley Molecke: Excellent. So Moncho and I have come up with a bunch of questions for you. They go from really basic, and then they work up and get more and more exciting and interesting. So we’re going to start with the first one, which is actually, this is my question, because I don’t know the answer to it yet and hopefully you will educate me. What is full site editing and where did it come from? 

What is full site editing and where did it come from?

Koen Van den Wijngaert: Maybe if I can start, maybe the best thing to say at first is that full site editing is not just a big monolithic heap of a big function. It’s better to think of it as a collection of a lot of features that come with Gutenberg, as part of the second phase of the Gutenberg roadmap. Maybe someone else can pitch in now, so I don’t do a monologue.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: If you don’t take a bigger picture, so full site editing is part of the Gutenberg project, there are four phases. And we are reaching this year, the end of phase two. The first one was introducing the building blocks for editing content. Now, we will be editing a full canvas of the sites. And the next two phases are collaborative editing. So to let people collaborate when they are changing websites or writing content. And the fourth one is multilingual support.

Koen Van den Wijngaert: What everyone is waiting for, I believe. That’s going to be a big one. 

What problem does Full-Site Editing solve?

José Ramón Padron: Anything else? Anything else? Because one of the things inside of Lesley’s question is, what problem does it solve? Which is, I think, very interesting. What do you think?

Milana Cap: I think that the problem it’s trying to solve is to give the user one unique workflow to edit everything. Because at this moment, you have post, you have page, and you go to block editor. Or if you are not brave enough, you’re still using classic editor and you edit your content there. 

But then you want to change your logo, then you have to go to customizer. But then you have some theme options. And it depends on theme from theme, what will you edit and where? I believe the idea is to release end user from need to know everything about the theme, you just go there and you just edit. 

And if you want to edit footer, and you’re on the post and you’re editing post, and then you realize the menu is not correct, you edit menu. You don’t need to know, because nobody cares is it customizer or whatever? People care to know where it is. And it’s a good thing that you can see how it looks on the front end, which I think was the initial idea for Gutenberg. But who knows? Maybe I’m wrong.

I think that’s a huge problem that will be fixed, and solved with full site editing. For us who are building websites, I know that for every website, I have to create a ton of tutorials and everything, to show clients how to use it. And this will solve all that. So we will be out of job.

Koen Van den Wijngaert: I also like to think that it brings a lot of power and more freedom and flexibility to end users of a website. Because in the traditional way of doing things, there’s a few ways one can have a WordPress website. He can have an agency, have a website built for him. Or he could be using some sort of a theme builder, or he could have installed a theme from the theme directory or maybe it’s even a custom theme.

But now end users are able to have so much more power about editing templates, and editing all sorts of aspects of their website. I think that’s really exciting to look forward to. 

Danielle Zarcaro: I think it solves a couple of problems, to add to that. It takes away some of the ambiguity around how to edit each individual thing. So WordPress’s whole thing is to democratize publishing. There were areas of the websites that were just not available to edit to anyone who doesn’t know code. 

So there’s the ease of use gap that came about, that you can’t edit the 404 page, you can’t edit the header or footer, unless an option is available. Is the theme using the site logo that you upload in WordPress, or you’re going to upload the image and then theme isn’t going to show it. It gets rid of those, however the theme developer decided to do it that day, and it streamlines a lot of that process to do some expected behavior to make it easier for anyone to hop into a site and edit it, and it democratizes publishing on a whole new level. 

Koen Van den Wijngaert: That’s a nice way of saying it. Yes. Because right now there’s this huge fragmented world of all different ways of themes that came up with our own way of editing site features and headers and customizing things. But there’s no real standard way of doing that. So it just makes it harder to step out of that particular ecosystem, I think. I’m looking forward to the standardized way of doing theming in WordPress.

José Ramón Padron: Grzegorz, I think you had something. Yes.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: I wanted to add some more to it. Because I think it’s important to note that it’s not only about unifying everything, but it’s also to giving the power to users to change those little bits that annoy them, like the color of the header, or the font size. 

Before, you would have, or either learn CSS or learn HTML just to edit that. But now you will have tools that will allow that, and you won’t have to call your site administrator to do a simple change. So maybe you could tell that, remove the job from those people who maintain those sites, but on the other hand, they will have more time to work on expanding their offering and improving their own products or services, just to use the time.

So this is something that sounds scary, but on the other hand, it opens a lot of possibilities. Because the idea of blocks also gives you the power that you can create your own blocks that you can use in several websites, and give additional functionality out of the box for your customers.

What happens to websites that are live (in production) when WordPress 5.8 is released?

José Ramón Padron: So regarding that this is something new, something is going to happen from 5.8, as far as I know, what happens to the WordPress websites that are already live and in production? Must they be rebuilt in order to use full site editing? Or they’re going to work in the way they are? 

Milana Cap: They have to be rebuilt completely. It will crash. No, it won’t.

Koen Van den Wijngaert: It will just crash when you update. 

Milana Cap: No, it won’t.

Lesley Molecke:That’s big news. 

Koen Van den Wijngaert: Oh, we were not supposed to say that, sorry.

Milana Cap: No, they will not be crashed, they will not have to be rebuilt completely. As you all know, WordPress always build in mind with what is already out there, not to crash anything. And in 5.8, not everything will get in. So if I’m wrong, please correct me, but I think that in 5.8, you will have to install a Gutenberg plugin to actually use full site editing. So not everything will be there, but it will be foundation for the next releases when everything else will come in. 

But still, we will have some nice things coming in and nothing will break. You can go part by part and rebuilding it and adapting for a complete editing experience. 

José Ramón Padron: Thanks, Milana. Anything to add ?

Koen Van den Wijngaert: Maybe Grzegorz can do it. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: You can go. 

Koen Van den Wijngaert: Okay, but you can just… Well, some of the full site editing features will be added to 5.8, I think, but Grzegorz will probably be able to say which one exactly. I’m hearing feedback. 

José Ramón Padron: An echo. There is an echo.

Koen Van den Wijngaert: So it’s not some monolithic feature, like we said before, but it’s more like a collection of features and they won’t be turned off all at once by default, by just upgrading to WordPress 5.8. You do need to have a full site editing team to enable all features, but some of them will also be available for non-block based themes. 

Things like the template editor blocks, the site logo, the tagline, the query blocks, posts, posts related blocks, like post title, post [inaudible 00:14:45], they will all be made available in the post editor. And as well as that, I think it was also possible to also not edit, but with add new templates to a normal theme and edit those in the template editor. It’s pretty awesome. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: So the first step is to allow people to change, use the block-based paradigm on a single page. So think about that, about previously you would have to create a PHP file to change a single page view. And now you will be able to do that to through UI, and that will create an override that you would be able to delete later. But as a user, so it’s more like empowering people who have access to the sites, rather that’s a feature for the team designer.

So that’s one thing. And everything like that is optional, so there will be a flag to disable that. So site owners or theme authors we will say that, “I don’t want that,” and they can remove that. 

The one big change is that not necessarily related to full site editing, but is somehow in the same area is the widget editor, which will be… I don’t know what’s the final decision, but it will be depending on the feedback from the testing, either an opt-in or opt-out.

So the idea would be that you will be able to use the same blogs you use in your content to use also in site, when you would previously use widgets. So that’s a nice change. If you have your own custom blocks, you would be able to put there as well, which will open those new possibilities, and also somehow unify the interface. 

But as you could hear, there is a lot of new blocks coming. But it’s just addition, it’s not something that you have to use. It’s just there if you want to try them out, that will be perfect time to do that after 5.8 is out. And there is a-

Koen Van den Wijngaert: That will be released tomorrow, by the way. So if you want to test it, please do so. It’s by a lot of users that can test and provide feedback on the new update that we can improve upon those things, and decide what can be added and what should be skipped. So go install it tomorrow.

Lesley Molecke:Yes, we should acknowledge that, that everyone here is actually working really hard right now to create the new release, while also attending WordCamp Europe and being here on this panel and contributing on track too, and y’all are everywhere. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your time. 

What does Full Site Editing change for the various WordPress stakeholders

My next question has to do with stakeholders. So obviously, a big change like this to WordPress has multiple stakeholder groups. It has the end users, the users of WordPress websites down the road. It has the editors of WordPress websites. It has the companies who build themes and the companies who build plugins, and the people who contribute, all of these different groups. 

I’m interested in talking about the theme creators who currently primarily rely on offering block patterns with their own header and footer and sidebar management. So how does that work with full site editing?

Danielle Zarcaro: Well, it works the same way. You can offer whatever you want. I think it’s a misconception that by giving the users the ability to do what they want means that they’ll be able to do anything they want. If you are someone like me who’s creating custom sites, you can actually more easy put options and make it so that you don’t have to install a whole extra plugin to add a couple of extra options. You reserve that for the bigger projects that you’re doing.

And it’s up to the theme creators, if they’re creating a theme on a wider scale, instead of just an individual client, that’s up to them to decide how they want it to work. They just opt into stuff, they add stuff, they add their custom options, but it’s all working within the same ecosystem, and we’re all speaking the same language now instead.

So if you don’t want to make it so that your header and your footer and your sidebars are manageable in the block editor or in full site editing, then I guess you don’t have to. You can hard code whatever you want, you can do that now, you don’t have to make any options available. 

But then at some point, you’re going to start to fall behind, in terms of what you’re able to do. So it’s going to work the same way, just with more possibilities. That’s how I go about looking at it. 

Koen Van den Wijngaert: You’ll be able to turn off or on, or even tweak some of the configuration options just by providing a single JSON file for those things. But also, I like to think that with full site editing, a theme developer or theme designer can benefit from a more solid foundation that is standardized and optimized for things like accessibility, usability and performance. 

That way more of their time and energy can be spent into building things that actually add value to their customers, all the while benefiting from the existing full site editing features and even tweaking them to their liking. So that’s a big plus, I think. So they don’t have to go and reinvent the wheel every time they build a new website.

José Ramón Padron: There is something related to the last major change we saw in WordPress, when Gutenberg appears, when Gutenberg finally was born in 5.0. And now you can see that there is a plugin that is the old editor. And at this moment, we this kind of legacy, we can call it legacy, but it’s still available there. 

Why will Full-Site Editing be in Core and not a plugin?

My question is about why there are things that can sit in the core, and a different one can be set as a plugin? For example, why put the full site editing in the core when it is something that the majority of users at this moment don’t know? And we hope all of them are going to use it, but as everything that comes new in WordPress, there is always a time for getting used to it. 

So what do you think is the main reason full site editing is in the core and not, for example, in a plugin and people can choose if they want it or not?

Milana Cap: I think that now that we have Gutenberg in core, and full site editing is obviously expansion of what we were using in core by now, I think it would be silly not to have it in core and have it as a plugin, when you can use… This is just a foundation to put all the blocks that you already have. So it’s not like the structure that you still don’t have, you have. There is Gutenberg and now you will just expand it to the whole website.

And there is benefit in having everything standardized, especially for people who are using themes from our repository. So when you switch theme, you have all those available, things to edit, you know where it is, and you have all the blocks available.

José Ramón Padron: Makes sense.

Milana Cap: So that’s a huge benefit. I love that theme in wordpress.org is insisting on idea that people will change themes, and they cannot lose anything. I love that idea. I think this will really help having that. 

So when you have custom themes, and people have different ways of editing right now the header, the footer, or they don’t have it at all, so you’re afraid to change the theme. But with full site editing, you will have all that available.

Now, as far as not knowing how to use it goes, we didn’t know many things, how to use. And the thing that we really need right now is, here comes my pitch, documentation. So we really, really need to document everything good, because when you don’t have documentation, people don’t know how to use it and then they don’t interact with it enough. They don’t find bugs, they don’t contribute. They don’t think ideas how to expand it, and you don’t have contributors, and there is no cycle for open source. So first, we need to do a good documentation. 

We did fail a bit with Gutenberg getting in, and we can still feel it. We can still feel developers who are frustrated and don’t know how to work with it and how to build on that. I’m asking everyone to come and help. While doing documentation, you will actually learn how to do it. 

I’m not afraid of new things. I don’t think anyone should be afraid, especially because this is not a really new thing, like Gutenberg was a new thing. We didn’t know what it was. Now we know, full site editing is what we already know, it’s new, but expanded, so it’s easier to learn. And if we do enough work, and we are doing… people make WordPress themes are doing great job.

Just mentioning few, Anne is doing the testing, great job, and Carolina even have a website for full site editing where you can read everything. So it’s doing better, and we can learn and there are resources, so there’s no need to be afraid of it. 

Koen Van den Wijngaert: And if I’m not mistaken, there’s even seven milestones added to the full site editing milestones. It’s called gradual adoption. So that it focuses solely on making sure that full site editing features are being adopted better and more gradual. And that work is being put into actually making sure that the documentation is on par, and that the dev notes are up to date, and all of that kind of thing. So that’s also important. That’s also part of the work that’s now being done after the feature freeze for the 5.8 features. 

Danielle Zarcaro: I think from my perspective, as someone who’s working with it and working with people, no one’s going to use it if you make it optional. People are going to do what they’re going to do, if you let them. 

I think WordPress itself has never, it’s been very transparent about where it’s going. We’ve all been able to use Gutenberg for years now. We’ve been able to install the plugin, and then we’ve been able to use the block editor in core for years now. So it’s like we’ve had this getting used to period.

So we’re just going in the direction that we said we’d go in, and people can still find ways to go backwards. They can still install the classic plugin for sites that need it, they can install the classic plugin for certain things. They cannot enable the block editor for custom post types. There’s all kinds of stuff that you can do to counteract some of that. 

But like I referenced before, and I’ve talked a lot about this in the past, at some point, you have to embrace the tool that you’re using. So you’re either going to embrace the fact that we’re all working towards the same goal, or you’re working against it and basically forking your own version and working on your own, which is fine. But then you can’t offer the latest stuff. 

I think it’s up to you as a developer to, on some level, work with things, and meet WordPress where it is. You have to give up. WordPress is open source. You have to allow yourself to go with the tide a little bit. 

And when you have new users who come into WordPress, who are installing things, they’re not going to know that there was an old WordPress. They’re not going to know that, oh, I have to install this other plugin to enable all of these awesome features. You have to think forward. So you have to allow these new users to start installing it, and use all the cool latest stuff. 

If someone wants to go backwards for a bit, then they can put the work in to do that. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: It’s also worth mentioning that the full site editing, it’s soon to be included in the core, it’s always something that we wanted to have. It’s not something that came, because there was the 5.0 release and the block editor. It’s the other way around.

So we took the smallest step possible to enable people to start using this block paradigm, start learning UI. We got a lot of feedback. And if you look at the iterations that worked, how the editor looked two and a half years ago and how it looks now, it’s a completely different product.

And also the way, how we people started thinking about building content with blocks is different. It’s not longer, building small custom blocks, but rather combining a lot of existing blocks into block patterns, into having UIs, having ways to change a big portion of the page with solutions. Like now it’s coming to the query block that allows you to switch the list of blog posts will be displayed on the page.

So we are constantly trying to make it easier for users to provide the infrastructure, also for plugin authors, for theme authors, so they can build upon that, and have the unified experience. So people, once they learn how to write a post, they will know how to change the template of the page, because it’s exactly the same paradigm. 

It’s even in the same UI interface. You just go from one page to another, without the page reload. Everything can happen, you can go back, you can revisit how it looks when you compose everything together. It’s no longer you need to go to the preview of the page and see another tab to see, oh, it looks good, but now something broke outside of the post content. I need to go find customizers and go to this template, or call the theme author on the support and change that for me. 

So this is a huge project, and has so many layers on top of that. We want to bring as much as possible, I would say, what makes sense to most of the users, but not all of them. Because there is always room for extenders to build their own solutions on top of that, and give this unique perspective and look and feel for the customers.

What will be the role of existing page builders?

Lesley Molecke: I feel like we’re tiptoeing closer and closer to this question. I’m just going to ask it, just get it out there on the table. What do you all feel is the big role for the online page builders, the Divi, the Elementor, these big guys, taking into account that we’re moving into full site editing, block patterns, all of these things that are being built into WordPress core? What is the role of these page builders that so many of us use? 

Danielle Zarcaro: I think that’s up to them. I think ultimately, they were there to push the envelope. They were there to bring us to where we currently are. I think without them, we might not have had this extra push. Maybe it would have taken a few more years to put all this into core. These builders saw this hole and filled it. 

And ultimately, they’re going to have a different UI anyway. So they’re going to do have their fan base, they’re going to have their whatever preference to editing things, maybe certain things are dragging and dropping. Whatever they make available, they’re going to extend WordPress. So that’s up to them to decide how they’re going to go about it. 

So they’re all already currently working with the block editor, all the major ones anyway are. If they’re concerned at all about future proofing themselves, they’ve already looked into how to integrate themselves with the block editor. I think it’s only going to enhance everything to see how they go about integrating themselves into the new ecosystem. 

I really love, as a developer, I love the way Oxygen goes about it, where you can build stuff, and then go and edit it in Gutenberg. So that’s a really cool take on it. And so it’s just a new way to innovate, and they’re going to have their place.

I think it’s cool that we now have these established things. We have these people to look to, to see where are the new holes in WordPress? Where can we go from here? And they’re going to continue to just push the envelope. I love the diversity that’s out there. 

When you talk about builders, there’s at least four that come to mind and that’s awesome. And I hope that it stays that way and grows. And that’s only going to help us. And so hopefully, it’ll take away some of that, Divi does this way and Elementor does this way. So some things are going to hopefully become uniform, and then they’ll branch out in other ways. 

Koen Van den Wijngaert: Exactly. Because now, there’s a few big ones indeed, and they all seem to have their own ecosystem surrounding them, which is okay, because as you said, they all implement and provide their own stream of users to the WordPress platform. So it’s definitely interesting to look at, and observe how they will interact with WordPress and Gutenberg.

I know most of them already have some sort of a way to either include a new template view or something as a block, or even toggle between Gutenberg and their own editor. But the thing I’m actually quite looking forward to is whether or not they will start using the new default way of doing things. So that they can actually merit from how it is now going to be supposed to be done, and add on top of that their own set of features and new value-adding stuff. 

Like the cadence theme, for example, is doing. In my eyes, it’s quite a nice way of implementing Gutenberg the right way. I’m very interested to see how they will be going to implement full site editing things in the near future, because now it’s all in the customizer, of course. So, interesting. 

What is going to happen with the rest of the open-source solutions like Joomla, Drupal?

José Ramón Padron: We were talking about how full site editing can affect the own WordPress ecosystem, talking about for example, what happens with the builders, builders like Divi, Elementor, et cetera. But what do you think, taking account you are developers, designers, you are on the technical side, contributors, what do you think is going to happen with the rest of the open source solutions like Joomla, Drupal? How do you think it’s going to affect? So it’s going to make WordPress better than the rest, it’s going to be a real advantage in front of the rest, like Wix, like the other ones, not only in the open source reality, but outside WordPress? What do you think is going to happen with full site editing?

Milana Cap: They will all take Gutenberg. Drupal already do it.

Koen Van den Wijngaert: But Drupal also has a [crosstalk 00:37:15]. But there’s not like this CMS is better than the other one. They all serve different purposes. And it’s like using the right tool for the right job. And having more competition in the game is pretty good actually.

I think the biggest reason that we, as WordPress, have the biggest market share to date in the CMS market is because of the low threshold to start building websites. And that’s partly thanks to all of those theme builders. I think it’s important to reach out and make sure that we all keep using WordPress and not just fork off their own version of WordPress, because it’s open source, they can do that. 

So if we all collaborate, we can build pretty nice things, I think. 

Milana Cap: I think we already saw this many times in history, but let’s just take a look at Internet Explorer 6. It was so bad that we got this good Chrome and Firefox. And it was so difficult to create posts for some people in WordPress, that we got page builders. So this is happening. There is always this kind of competition between WordPress and Joomla and Drupal. 

But the truth is, they all have their share. Ours is a little bigger than theirs, but they will continue to exist, and I hope they will push, they will invent something new. And then we will be jealous, and we will do something better, because that’s how it works. Human mind compares. So that’s what we do.

I’m proud that 12 years ago I have selected WordPress and now it’s 40%. I think I’m smart, because I did that. But I don’t like just one way of doing things. I like things messing up. I like people inventing new things. That makes us all better and everything makes better. 

I’m really looking forward to see what other CMSs will do, but also what will page builders do. I have never used page builder, as someone who builds website and some of you uses website. I cannot say anything. 

But I’m seeing in our WordPress Serbia Facebook group, I’m seeing people asking questions about it. I know what they are doing and how, and I really hope to see they invent something insane, so we will have to push Gutenberg again and just pushing forward. 

Koen Van den Wijngaert: Even better.

Danielle Zarcaro: I think it’s going to blur the line a little bit. Because I just recently had to go into a Wix site and it is no longer Wix or Weebly. It is Wix or Webflow. Webflow popped up as an in between to Weebly and the GoDaddy builder and WordPress.

I think it blurs the line a little bit, where you can now visually edit things and you can now edit those parts, like I said, the 404. All these other things, you can just do now. And so I think it blurs the line and WordPress can now fit into more categories as well.

So maybe it’s not a Squarespace, which is a template machine that you stick a bunch of stuff in and it’s easy, but it does open it up to a whole nother market. Instead of just, oh, you got to have somebody on your side, it now opens the door for more people. And then now they’re ready to grow, and now they come to you and are familiar with WordPress. 

So there’s the three or four other markets that’ll pop up as well. So it blurs a little bit and makes it a little more accessible. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: There’s also one thing that I’m looking forward to, is the blog patterns directory, which should enable a quicker creation of websites, instead of going, changing everything yourself. If you don’t have, like me, skills for designing, you just pick something that someone crafted very carefully. And maybe pay some fee for that and have unique experience for all the use cases you have.

It’s no longer you need to use one theme, and hope that it has all the solutions you need. Instead, you can combine from different sources and build the best experience you need. So that’s one thing.

One thing that I’m looking forward to is how I’m seeing the growth of headless. It’s getting a lot of attention at the conferences in the WordPress community. And that interaction with full site editing, I’m looking forward how that will evolve. Because at the moment, if you want to use headless solutions you need to build from scratch the front end side.

However, if you combine that with what Gutenberg can produce and reach that, that will open a new set of possibilities. And that will bring big companies looking at WordPress, because now they will be able to build completely custom solutions, and also use whatever WordPress provides in its core, rather treating it as a source of the content only.

José Ramón Padron: I’m glad to read that question. 

Lesley Molecke: Koen, you have one final thing to add, before we sign off?

Koen Van den Wijngaert: I was going to say that one obstacle might be that a lot of back end developers have mostly skills in writing PHP and stuff. But most of the new features, you really do benefit more if you have a JavaScript back end. I think we should also focus on helping those developers transition into more and more adopting JavaScript and active development to develop even better new solutions.

Milana Cap: And documentation. 

Koen Van den Wijngaert: Most importantly, of course. 

Lesley Molecke: Yes. Well, thank you, thank you, thank you all for this really interesting conversation. I now know more about full site editing than I do before, thanks to you. But also, I think our audience does as well, which is fantastic.

And again, thank you for taking the time to join us, even though you’re also so, so busy working on the new release, and working on this massive change to WordPress. We’re really grateful to you and your time. Enjoy the rest of the conference. We will see you later and thank you. 

Will you be heading over to the Q&A room to talk with the audience? Does that sound like a familiar thing to you? All right. 

Milana Cap: We can, if there are questions.

José Ramón Padron: There will be.

Lesley Molecke: People can also make meetings with you and see you in other rooms and things.

José Ramón Padron: There will be more content related full site editing during WordCamp Europe, in each day, I think, or also in the number two track. So this is not the last time we are going to talk about full site editing. 

Another thing is to say thank you for accepting our invitation, more or less in the last minute. Thank you. Thank you so much.

Lesley Molecke:Thank you all.

Milana Cap: Thank you, bye. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Thank you.

Koen Van den Wijngaert: Thank you. Very nice to being here. 

José Ramón Padron: See you around. Ta-ta.

by Birgit Pauli-Haack at June 12, 2021 06:31 PM under WordCamp

WPTavern: Gutenberg 10.8 Adds New Typography Controls and Block Previews

On Wednesday, Gutenberg 10.8 landed in the WordPress plugin directory. The release includes new typography options for controlling the Heading block’s font-weight and the List block’s font family. The Audio and File blocks now show preview content in the inserter.

Gutenberg 10.7 felt like it introduced flashier features than 10.8. But, this was still a solid release. Sometimes the things that you do not see are just as important as those that you do. Full Site Editing (FSE) components continue to move along at a swift pace. Most changes were bug fixes rather than enhancements.

One of the primary theme-related FSE upgrades allows developers to set the padding for nav menu links via theme.json. This may be a small win, but it is unlikely to address the numerous issues with styling navigation items and nested lists. The change also does not affect the Page List block links, which can be set as a nav menu item. The Navigation block will be one of the toughest nuts to crack before site editing is a possibility. Enhancements like this help, but it is a long and winding road to a solution that satisfies both theme authors and users.

Users should see the post title in template-editing mode. The template details modal also includes more detailed information, such as how to best name custom templates.

New Typography Options

Gutenberg 10.8 enables the font-weight control for Heading blocks. This allows theme authors to define the default weight via their theme.json files, and users can override this via the sidebar panel in the editor.

Testing font weights for the Heading block.

The control displays all nine possible weights:

  • Thin
  • Extra Light
  • Light
  • Regular
  • Medium
  • Semi Bold
  • Bold
  • Extra Bold
  • Black

While each weight is selectable, it does not mean all fonts support a specific weight. For example, users will see no difference between Extra Bold and Black with the Twenty Twenty-One theme.

In the long term, this should be coupled with the font family control. This would allow theme authors to define which weights are supported by a specific family, making those the only options for users.

The List block is jumping ahead of others with its support of the font family option. Generally, we would see the Heading or Paragraph blocks gain such features first.

Setting a custom font family for a List block.

The Site Title, Site Tagline, and Post Title blocks all currently support the font family control. It is a welcome addition to see expanded typography options, but I look forward to the day they are offered across every block.

Theme authors can also define custom letter spacing for the Site Title and Site Tagline blocks. However, the feature does not currently appear in the block options sidebar, which would allow users to customize it. There is an open ticket to address this missing piece of the UI.

Audio and File Block Previews

Audio block preview in the inserter.

The development team added new previews for the Audio and File blocks in the inserter. This is a nice-to-have enhancement, adding long-missing previews of some of the remaining core blocks, but it is also a bug fix.

In previous versions of the block editor, users who attempted to upload media via the Audio or File blocks would get a duplicate upload. This only happened in situations where their theme or a plugin registered a custom block style. Adding a preview apparently fixed this odd bug.

This change also nearly gives us a complete set of previews for the pre-WordPress 5.8 blocks. Classic, Spacer, Shortcode, and Legacy Widget do not have them, but they are unique cases. The upcoming theme-related blocks also lack previews.

“Archives” Label Now Shown for Archives Dropdown

Duplicate archives heading and label.

When using the Archives block as a dropdown, it now outputs a label titled “Archives.” While it is a seemingly trivial change, it could impact how themes typically present this block.

This enhancement changes some existing expectations. The primary use case throughout WordPress’s history has been to show the Archives dropdown in a widget. In that case, there is almost always a widget title with the “Archives” text preceding it. I expect most other use cases would follow a similar pattern. This essentially creates duplicate text.

Themes Team representative Carolina Nymark had an alternate suggestion:

What if the label was visible by default, but there was an option for hiding it? Similar to the search block, except there would be an actual label hidden with a screen reader text CSS class when the option is toggled.

That would have been my suggestion too if I had seen the ticket earlier. For now, theme authors who need to hide it should target the .wp-block-archives-dropdown > label class in their CSS.

by Justin Tadlock at June 12, 2021 12:50 AM under gutenberg

June 11, 2021

WPTavern: WordCamp Europe 2021 Gutenberg Demo: “The Block Editor Gets Ready to Become a Site Builder”

Matt Mullenweg and Matías Ventura joined WordCamp Europe to chat about what’s happening with the Gutenberg project and celebrate the progress contributors have made over the past four years.

“For me, 2020 was the year that really felt like people started to see the vision of Gutenberg from four or five years ago, when it was very abstract and they saw it as kind of like the old WYSIWYG editor with some extra lines on it or something,” Mullenweg said. “The first 17 or 18 years of WordPress democratized people putting text into a box. Now we’re democratizing design, allowing people to control the boxes.”

Ventura commented on how transformative patterns have been for making page design approachable for users.

“Perhaps it was a smaller part of the roadmap initially but it’s becoming a centerpiece – especially because it allows…world class designers to provide a starting point for users and users get to learn design as they are interacting with themes,” Ventura said. He began his WordPress developer journey by “tinkering with themes,” as many others did, and believes that blocks can unlock a similar experimental learning experience.

“I think we are getting into a chapter where people will be able to tinker with things that were sort of hidden for you in WordPress – more advanced things like queries and loops, that we can now expose through blocks,” Ventura said. “They can be stepping stones for people to learn how to work with WordPress.”

Mullenweg commented on how things that previously would have required a fairly experienced WordPress developer to do, like creating a home page with a column that shows five recent posts from a particular category, and another column that shows featured posts in a different category, you can now do with just a few clicks.

“It’s no code – it’s like expanding the layers of accessibility of what people are able to do with WordPress,” Mullenweg said. “That, to me, is very core to our mission.”

Mullenweg and Ventura debuted a new “Gutenberg highlight” video that covers current and new features coming to the block editor, as it “gets ready to become a site builder.” These kinds of marketing videos are so valuable because users don’t always know what is possible, even if the tools are approachable for anyone to use.

The video demonstrates new design features for different blocks, including the transform live previews, dragging media into container blocks, inline cropping without leaving the editor canvas, the template editor, duotone image filters, more customization options for navigation, improvements to the list view browser, and the new global styles design that is coming soon.

Check out the video below and you can also watch Mullenweg and Ventura’s conversation that was recorded during the event.

by Sarah Gooding at June 11, 2021 08:11 PM under gutenberg

WordPress.org blog: Gutenberg Highlights

During WordCamp Europe this past Wednesday Matt and I gathered to discuss the latest developments of Gutenberg and to share a video with some of the current and upcoming highlights. The video is wonderfully narrated by @beafialho and it was a great opportunity to celebrate all the incredible work that contributors are doing around the globe to improve the editing and customization experience of WordPress. For those that weren’t able to attend live it’s now available for watching online.

Matt also opened a thread for questions on his blog, so be sure to chime in there if you have any!

by Matias Ventura at June 11, 2021 11:03 AM under WordCamp

WPTavern: A Progress Bar Block Plugin Done Right by the Tiles Team

I have been on the hunt for a decent progress bar solution for a while now. Most of them are bundled in large block libraries, requiring me to install another 20 or 30 blocks in which I have no need. Others seem to miss the mark entirely with odd configurations and block options. Some of the remaining plugins still use shortcodes and widgets, but it is 2021. I am looking for a block.

A couple of days ago, the Tiles Progress Block landed in the directory. It seems to be a smaller piece of a larger project named Tiles. I have been keeping an eye on the team’s work since its initial design and patterns framework plugin launched last week. That project is still in beta, and only time will tell if it becomes a competitive project in the block space.

However, the team’s new progress bar block was just what I was looking for. Other than one bug, which I reported to the developer, I found no serious issues.

The plugin does what it says on the tin. It registers a Progress Bar block:

Small and Large progress bars with default colors.

Out of the box, it includes Small and Large styles, allowing the user to adjust the size of the bar.

Its strength is that — I cannot stress this enough — the block’s content is editable within the editor canvas area. This includes the label and percentage. This is a refreshing change from the many others that require users to jump back into the block options sidebar to change simple text. Because the block uses Rich Text fields for its label and percentage, end-users can use inline formatting tools like bold, italic, and more.

The block also uses the standard typography and color palette controls from core WordPress. This provides access to the theme’s font sizes and colors.

Adding custom labels, percentages, and colors.

Plus, users can choose wide and full-width layouts, an often overlooked feature in block plugins.

Overall, I am digging this block plugin. If I had one feature request, it would be to add a border-radius option. By default, the progress bar is rounded, but some users might prefer squared corners.

Extending the Block

In theme previews, I almost always see progress bars showcased alongside how much PHP, HTML, and JavaScript the demo’s faux developer has learned. It is rarely a real-world representation of progress bars. How do you quantify how much of a coding language you have mastered? I have been doing this for nearly two decades and cannot answer that.

Progress bars should be of measurable things. For example, steps someone has taken in an online learning course, percentage of total donations received, and any number of things that can be counted are far more realistic.

My favorite use of progress bars also happens to be on my favorite novelist’s website. I like to keep an eye on Brandon Sanderson’s work, looking forward to getting my next literary fix (yes, I am a fanboy).

Brandon Sanderson’s writing progress.

Currently, Tiles Progress Block does not handle that exact layout. However, because it is built on the block system and does not do anything out of the ordinary, theme authors can change that with custom styles.

And that is just what I did. My Sanderson-esque book progress bars (rough, unpolished code available as a Gist):

Progress bars with custom block style.

The thing I love about the block system is that themers can extend blocks in this way. There is no needless checking for active plugins, loading additional per-plugin stylesheets, or figuring out each plugin’s unique system.

If a block is coded to the current standards, theme authors merely need to hook in with their own styles. Users can then select those styles via the editor and even make them the default.

I want to see more of this from the block plugin ecosystem.

by Justin Tadlock at June 11, 2021 02:48 AM under Plugins

June 10, 2021

WPTavern: WordPress 5.8 Introduces Support for WebP Images

WebP support is coming to WordPress 5.8. This modern image file format was created by Google in September 2010, and is now supported by 95% of the web browsers in use worldwide. It has distinct advantages over more commonly used formats, providing both lossless and lossy compression that is 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs and 25-34% smaller than comparable JPEG images.

WebP is currently used by 1.6% of all the top 10 million websites, according to W3Techs, and usage has increased over the past five years.

W3Techs: Historical yearly trends in the usage statistics of image file formats for websites

Adding WebP support to core won’t make all WordPress sites instantly faster, but it will give every site owner the opportunity to reduce bandwidth by uploading WebP images. In the dev note, Adam Silverstein suggested converting images to WebP using command line conversion tools or web based tools like Squoosh, but there are also many plugins that can perform conversion on upload.

WebP Express uses the WebP Convert library to convert the images and then serves them to supporting browsers. It is used on more than 100,000 WordPress sites. Imagify is one of the most popular plugins in use with more than 500,000 active installs. It has a Bulk Optimizer tool that can convert previously uploaded images with one click. The EWWW Image Optimizer plugin, used on more than 800,000 websites, also has support for automatically converting images to the WebP format.

By default, WordPress will create the sub-sized images as the same image format as the uploaded file. More adventurous users can experiment with Silverstein’s plugin that offers a setting for specifying the default image format used for the sub-sized images WordPress generates. A new wp_editor_set_quality filter is available for developers to modify the quality setting for uploaded images.

“The media component team is also exploring the option of having WordPress perform the image format conversion on uploaded images – using WebP as the default output format for sub-sized images,” Silverstein said. “We are also keeping our eyes on even more modern formats like AVIF and JPEGXL that will both improve compression and further reduce resources required for compression.”

WordPress 5.8 is expected to be released on July 20, introducing WebP support for uploads. The new release also adds information to the Media Handling section of the Site Health screen, showing the ImageMagick/Imagick supported file formats for the site in case users need it for debugging.

by Sarah Gooding at June 10, 2021 04:27 AM under WebP

June 09, 2021

WPTavern: Original Dark Mode Developer Relaunches Plugin After the Apparent ‘Cash Grab’ of the New Owners

WordPress dashboard screen with Dark Mode 2.

Daniel James, the original Dark Mode WordPress plugin creator, is stepping back into WordPress development after a two-year pursuit of other projects. His new plugin: Dark Mode 2.

It is a response to the recent change to the original Dark Mode plugin for WordPress. Last month, I reported that the WPPool repurposed the plugin to include the commercial Iceberg editor, a feature entirely unrelated to providing a dark viewing mode for the WordPress admin. It is now called WP Markdown Editor.

After the change, several plugin users left one-star ratings. However, its user base was small compared to that of ProfilePress (formerly WP User Avatar), which continues getting drenched in low ratings. Still, the change did not sit well with James.

“After finding out that Dark Mode had been passed on to multiple people, I was disappointed to see so many people say they’d take it on without actually bothering to do anything with it,” said James. “It became even more disappointing when I learned the latest developers to have hold of it had ripped out the original functionality in favor of something completely different as a means of selling a product.”

The Dark Mode plugin was once a feature proposal for WordPress. James began the process in 2018, but it never moved much beyond the initial stage. In 2019, he put the plugin up for adoption. It changed hands a couple of more times before WPPool became the owner.

In hindsight, James said he should have just abandoned the plugin. At the time, he was stepping away from WordPress entirely to pursue other projects, including building applications with the Laravel PHP framework. However, he never stopped using WordPress completely and has kept an eye on the community.

“I think there is more things that WordPress.org maintainers could do, specifically the Plugin Review Team,” he said. “I think more checks need to be done when plugins change ownership and/or are updated. As someone who used to put a lot of time into WordPress, I know how demanding it can be, so having volunteers tasked with more work is always a tricky thing to handle.”

However, he said he did not have the solution to the problem. “When you take Dark Mode and, more recently, WP User Avatar having their code changed for what appears to be a cash grab, all it does is hurt developers, agencies, and site admins.”

The repurposing of his former work was the catalyst that he needed to rebuild a solution from scratch. Now, Dark Mode 2 is on the scene.

A New Plugin and a Fresh Take

Manage posts screen with Dark Mode enabled.

James says Dark Mode 2 is still early in its development lifecycle. However, he does not think it is far off from where the original plugin would be if he would have continued it. Maybe just shy an extra setting or two.

“I’ve finally got it to a point where it’s ready to be used and replace the classic Dark Mode plugin,” he said. “The great thing about starting again is that it’s easier to style the WordPress dashboard. There is so much going on in the various wp-admin stylesheets that starting over was the only way. It means it supports the latest version of WordPress and cuts out any outdated styling that was previously there.”

The plugin currently only has one setting, which individual users can set via their profile page. It is an option between “Light” and “Dark” viewing modes.

Configuring Dark Mode from the user profile screen.

There are several features James is eager to work on going forward. One of the most requested from the “classic” Dark Mode days is styling the WordPress editor. At the moment, the plugin steers clear of it.

“I’ve always been hesitant to do that because of theme editor styles,” he said. “However, lots of themes tend to style the editors in a very basic fashion, so I’ll be looking at adding in ‘support’ styles for those that want a fully dark dashboard.”

One of the other features he is working on is scheduling when Dark Mode is active or inactive. This would primarily work based on a user’s system preferences if they have their OS set up for light or dark mode at different times of the day.

“For something that appears to be quite a basic plugin, there’s so much you can do with it,” said James.

This time around, the plugin developer is making Dark Mode 2 a commercial-only plugin. He is pricing it at £25 (~$35.28 at today’s exchange rate). This includes lifetime updates with no installation limits. James said he wanted to keep the price low and not have people worry about another renewal fee every year while also still being supported for his effort.

“I’m not going to make millions from this plugin, and that’s okay,” he said. “That’s not my goal. My goal is to make a plugin that helps people and makes it easier for them to manage their website. Plus, it’s about time WordPress got a proper Dark Mode!”

by Justin Tadlock at June 09, 2021 11:20 PM under Plugins

Matt: WCEU Open Thread

I just wrapped up a fun session with Matías and Brian, and though we covered a lot of ground we weren’t able to get to all the questions from the audience. Starting at 2:58:

So this is an open thread, if you have any question from the talk please drop it in the comments here, and myself or someone in the community will respond! We’ll keep this open for a day or so.

by Matt at June 09, 2021 05:30 PM under Asides

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.8 Beta 1

WordPress 5.8 Beta 1 is now available for testing!

This software is still in development, so it is not recommended to run this version on a production site. Instead, we recommend that you run this on a test site to play with the new version.

You can test the WordPress 5.8 Beta 1 in two ways:

The current target for the final release is July 20, 2021. This is just six weeks away, so your help is vital to ensure this release is tested properly and as good as it can be.

Keep your eyes on the Make WordPress Core blog for 5.8-related developer notes in the coming weeks, breaking down these and other changes in greater detail.

So what’s new in this 5.8? Let’s start with some highlights.

Highlights

Powerful Blocks

  • Discover several new blocks and expressive tools, including blocks for Page ListsSite TitleLogo, and Tagline. A powerful Query Loop block offers multiple ways for displaying lists of posts and comes with new block patterns that take advantage of its flexibility and creative possibilities.
  • Interacting with nested blocks has been made easier with a permanent toolbar button for selecting a parent. Block outlines are shown when hovering or focusing on the different block type buttons. Block handles are now also present for drag and drop when in “select” mode.
  • Introduces the List View, a panel that can be toggled and helps navigate complex blocks and patterns.
  • Reusable blocks have an improved creation flow and support for history revisions.
  • A cool new duotone block adds images effects which can be used in media blocks or supported in third-party blocks. Color presets can also be customized by the theme.

Handpicked Patterns

Patterns can now also be recommended and selected during block setup, offering powerful new flows. Pattern transformations are also possible and allow converting a block or a collection of blocks into different patterns.

New collection of Patterns and an initial integration with the upcoming Pattern Directory on WordPress.org.

Better Tools

  • New template editor that allows creating new custom templates for a page using blocks.
  • Themes can now control and configure styling with a theme.json file, including layout configuration, block supports, color palettes, and more.
  • New design tools and enhancements to existing blocks, including more color, typography, and spacing options, drag and drop for Cover backgrounds, additions to block transformation options, ability to embed PDFs within the File block, and more.
  • Includes improvements to how the editor is rendered to more accurately resemble the frontend.

Internet Explorer 11

Support for Internet Explorer 11 is ending in WordPress this year. In this release, most of those changes are being merged so use the Beta and RC periods to test!

Blocks in Widgets Area

Looking for a change and can’t find it? There are more improvements listed after the break.

How You Can Help

Do some testing!

Testing for bugs is an important part of polishing the release during the beta stage and a great way to contribute.

If you think you’ve found a bug, please post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We would love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac. That’s also where you can find a list of known bugs.

Thanks for joining us, and happy testing!

Props to @audrasjb, @cbringmann, @youknowriad, @annezazu, @matveb, and @desrosj for editing/proof reading this post, and @chanthaboune for final review.


Full Site Editing
Coming at the end of year
But first, Beta 1

Improvements in this Release

  • Improvements to Reusable blocks, Cover block, Table block, List View, Rich text placeholder, Template Editing Mode, Block Inserter, and Top Toolbar
  • Query loop block that uses a query/filter to create a flexible post list based on templates. Best used with patterns.
  • Parity refinement between editor and frontend, Standardization to block toolbars organization
  • Block widgets in the Customizer
  • Introducing the Global Styles and Global Settings APIs: control the editor settings and available customization tools and style blocks using a theme.json file.Template editor opens inside an iframe to more accurately resemble the front end.
  • Ability to transform Media and Text into Columns
  • Embedded PDFs within File block
  • Spacing options for Social Links and Buttons, Spacer block width adjustments
  • Twemoji has been updated to version 13.1, bringing you many new Emoji.
  • Editor performance improvements
  • Hide writing prompt from subsequent empty paragraphs
  • More descriptive publishing UI
  • Added capability to set the default format for image sub-sizes as well as WebP support
  • Added widgets block editor to widgets.php and customize.php
  • Added block patterns to default themes
  • Added ability to mark a plugin as unmanaged
  • Enable revisions for the reusable block custom post type
  • Enqueue script and style assets only for blocks present on the page
  • Abstracted block editor configuration by deprecating existing filters and introducing replacements that are context-aware
  • New sidebars, widget, and widget-types REST API endpoints
  • Added support for modifying the term relation when querying posts in the REST API
  • Site Health now supports custom sub-menus and pages
  • Themes now display the number of available theme updates in the admin menu
  • Speed up cached get_pages() calls
  • Underscore updates from 1.8.3 to 1.9.1

To see all of the features for Gutenberg release in detail check out these posts: 10.0, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, and 10.7. In addition to those changes, contributors have fixed 215 tickets in WordPress 5.8, including 88 new features and enhancements, with more bug fixes on the way.

by Jeffrey Paul at June 09, 2021 02:47 AM under 5.8

June 08, 2021

WPTavern: Open Invitation To Contribute to the WordPress Block Pattern Directory

The upcoming block pattern directory is launching alongside WordPress 5.8 in July. The goal is to make several high-quality designs available for users right off the bat. However, the official submission process will not open until the directory launches. In this chicken-and-egg scenario, the Design team is asking for early contributors to submit their pattern candidates via GitHub.

“The project needs a collection of high-quality, diverse, community-designed patterns to populate it with during development,” wrote Kjell Reigstad in the announcement post. “These patterns will set the tone for quality in the repository and will make the directory useful for folks upon its launch.”

Alongside Reigstad, Beatriz Fialho and Mel Choyce-Dwan have already added several block patterns. They are available through the Gutenberg plugin now.

Several of the current block patterns.

The trio has also submitted the majority of the 18 current potential patterns. While they have produced solid work thus far, the directory needs a more diverse set of designs from the community to launch with a bang.

Creating a pattern requires no coding skills. It is possible directly via the block editor. Just design, copy, and submit. The team already has a GitHub template in place for submitting patterns. Be sure to use CC0 (public domain) images if they are a part of your creation.

Copying a pattern from the WordPress editor.

I have somewhere between 40 and 50 patterns lying around. You could say that I have been doing a bit of dabbling in the art of block-pattern design in my free time. Many of these patterns rely on custom block styles, so they are not suitable for the directory. However, I have several that are general enough for submission.

As always, I try to pay it forward when possible. Therefore, I cleaned a couple of patterns today using the Twenty Twenty-One theme and submitted them for inclusion.

The first was a three-column section of “about me” or “connect with me” boxes. This has been one of my favorites to play around with.

About me boxes.

It is not on par with my original design, but I like how it turned out. If you have read any of my past posts on blocks and patterns, I will sound like a broken record. However, I must say it for those who did not hear the message the first 100 times. The main limiting factor for block patterns is the lack of spacing options on almost all blocks.

Blocks like Group and Column have padding controls, which are a nice feature. However, vertical margin options are must-haves for the directory to be as successful with its goals as it intends to be.

A prime example is in my first pattern. My original mockup closes the gap between the heading and subheading. In my submission, I tightened the space by setting the line height, but I needed an option for zeroing out the vertical margin.

If you compare it to the original idea built with some features not yet available, you can see how much improved the overall layout’s spacing is.

Original about me boxes with tighter margin control.

I ran into the same issue with my second pattern, Team Social Cards, between the Image and Separator blocks. The gap there has more to do with Twenty Twenty-One’s inconsistent spacing.

I may revisit the giraffe photo, but it is growing on me. It is fun. Plus, end-users are meant to actually replace it.

I will probably submit one or two more during this early phase, and I will definitely contribute more once the pattern directory is officially open. For now, I want to see our talented design community giving a little something back to the WordPress project. This is such an easy way to contribute that has no coding requirement — just a little time.

by Justin Tadlock at June 08, 2021 08:53 PM under block patterns

WPTavern: Review Signal Publishes 2021 Hosting Performance Benchmarks on New WordPress-Powered Site

Kevin Ohashi has published his 2021 WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks report. The annual report is broken down into six different hosting tiers, from the most economical <$25/month, to the $500+ enterprise level. This is the second year the stats include WooCommerce-specific hosts as a separate category.

After eight years of measuring peak performance and consistency for WordPress hosts, Review Signal has relaunched benchmarks on wphostingbenchmarks.com, a WordPress-powered site.

Review Signal started using sentiment analysis to capture consumer reviews of hosting companies on Twitter in 2011 and launched in 2012. Ohashi added a WordPress blog but said it never really integrated well with the code and design of the rest of the site. He launched the benchmarks in 2013, publishing the first handful of tests via a simple blog post.

“In 2020 it was dozens of companies, 6 full price tiers of competition, and a separate WooCommerce group as well,” Ohashi said. “It really has become its own product, and creating a dedicated site for them at WPHostingBenchmarks.com is recognition of that fact. It also opened the door for a rebranding effort and a much better presentation of the results.”

Results on the new site are much easier to understand at a glance with honorable mentions and top tier companies denoted by a half star and full star. Visitors can click through to get more specific information about each host’s performance on the tests.

Top tier performers in the <$25 tier included 20i, CynderHost, EasyWP by Namecheap, Eco Web Hosting, Green Geeks, Lightning Base, RAIDBOXES, and WPX, with a handful of honorable mentions. In the Enterprise tier (shown above), RAIDBOXES, Scaleforce powered by Jelastic, Seravo, Servebolt, Servebolt Accelerated, and WordPress VIP capture the top tier spots.

Now that the new site is database driven, Ohashi can publish faster and reduce the amount of work it takes going forward.

“It also lets me auto generate pages from the data – for example company profile pages,” he said. “I attempted to write a blog post in the past about companies that did well, but it was never really a success. Now, I can display all their historical results, pull up analysis, compare them all by year, etc. So I am happier, companies are (hopefully) happier, and most of all – consumers get better insight into the results.”

WooCommerce Benchmarks Expanding

WooCommerce benchmarks have expanded since their first time to be included separately last year. Five out of the 11 companies tested scored top tier results, including Lightning Base, Pressable, Servebolt, SiteGround, and WordPress.com.

Servebolt scored 99.999% Uptime and the fastest Load Storm average response time, along with the fastest wp-login, Buyer and Customer profiles and second fastest Home profile. Pressable reprised its top tier status with perfect uptime and the second fastest Average Response Time on WebPageTest. WordPress.com posted perfect uptime, the second fastest K6 average response time, and a solid Load Storm test. On the WebPageTest results WordPress.com took 10/12 of the fastest response times and posted the fastest WP Bench scores Ohashi has ever recorded and the second fastest PHP Bench.

In 2021, SiteGround slipped to honorable mention status in every other tier where it was tested, with the exception of WooCommerce. Lightning Base maintained its top tier status with a 99.99% uptime rating, very good flat Load Storm and K6 results, and no problems with the tests.

“For WooCommerce I had seven companies participate last year and this year had 11 companies, which is a 57% increase,” Ohashi said. “The traditional WordPress benchmarks grew from ~29 companies last year to 35-37 depending on if you differentiate Automattic brands (VIP, WP.com, Pressable) which is at least a 20% growth in participation.”

Ohashi said he is pleased with the mix of new entrants and companies that have participated for years, but the pandemic has slowed Review Signal’s business.

“It’s been a bit slow revenue wise,” he said. “I don’t sell any products and don’t think I’ve found any advantage during the pandemic to make what I do stand out relative to what’s happening to the world. That is another motivating reason for creating WPHostingBenchmarks.com, I wanted to take that extra time I have and make the biggest change for Review Signal in years.”

Review Signal’s benchmarks are one of the most thorough and transparent evaluations of hosting products in the industry. This is because Ohashi doesn’t accept any hosting sponsorship. Each company pays a small, publicly documented, fee for participation to cover the costs of the tests. These fees are standardized based on the pricing tier of the product entered into the testing. Consumers in the market for a new hosting company will find WPHostingBenchmarks a solid resource for comparing how companies perform at different pricing tiers.

by Sarah Gooding at June 08, 2021 04:06 AM under woocommerce

June 07, 2021

WPTavern: Spice Up Your Food or Recipe Blog With the Nutmeg WordPress Theme

Last week, Dumitru Brînzan announced Nutmeg Plus. It is the latest commercial theme offering through his ILOVEWP brand. Earlier today, the free version of Nutmeg landed in the WordPress theme directory. The theme is built for food and recipe bloggers and is another solid example of building on the block system.

As is typical of his style, Nutmeg rests on a foundation of clean lines and readable typography. It pulls elements from some of Brînzan’s previous work, such as the featured pages section of Photozoom and the two-column intro from Endurance. Reusing code is one of the cornerstones of smart development.

The theme never gets too flashy, nor is it a bold step forward in design. However, it has a timeless layout that is hard to go wrong with.

Where it shines is in its use of block patterns and styles.

Recipe post built with Nutmeg.

Sometimes, theme authors surprise me with, in hindsight, simple solutions. Nutmeg’s List block styles had me asking, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Last month, I challenged theme authors to build out patterns that are often created as custom blocks. In the post, I showcased an example of how themers could provide pricing columns for their users. The Nutmeg theme is a perfect example of that same concept, only applied to recipes.

The unique aspect is that Brînzan did not make it complex. With a few simple styles for the List block, he had all the makings of the typical “recipe card” seen on many food blogs. Is it as advanced as a fully-featured recipe card plugin? No. But, that should not be the goal. If users need more advanced recipe-related features and functionality, that is where plugins make sense. The theme even recommends a few like WP Recipe Maker, Recipe Card Blocks, and Delicious Recipes for those who need more.

However, for bloggers who are just starting, undecided on recipe plugins, or simply do not want another dependency, the theme has built-in solutions for them. It is tough to discount the value in that.

Adding instructions and ingredients.

With a starting point of the Recipe Info, Ingredients List, or Ingredients + Instructions patterns, users can quickly pop these sections into their content. Or, they can go the alternate route of starting with the List block and selecting one of four custom styles.

Theme authors should be able to build unique and complex combinations of blocks with custom styles. Users should be able to just make it look like the demo.

Block Patterns Will Change Everything

It was March 2020. The Gutenberg development team had just pushed block patterns into the plugin, but the feature would not land in core WordPress for months. I do not want to call myself a prophet. It was plain enough for anyone to see: block patterns would eventually change how end-users interact with the editor and build their sites.

Patterns were the answer to elaborate homepage setups. Instead of jumping back and forth between non-standard theme options, hoping for the best from a theming community that never learned to entirely leverage the customizer, users could simply click buttons and insert layout sections where they wanted.

Recreating Nutmeg’s homepage demo was easy. By just picking a few patterns and adding some custom images, I was up and running in minutes. No tutorial necessary. No half-hour session of figuring out a theme’s custom options setup.

  1. Select the custom homepage template.
  2. Add the Cover with Overlay pattern and upload an image.
  3. Drop in the Opening Message pattern and customize.
  4. Insert the Featured Pages pattern and add images.
Homepage built from patterns.

Simple setup processes like this are the exact thing that theme authors have been repeatedly asking about for the better part of a decade. Except for a powerful Query solution, which is arriving in a limited form in WordPress 5.8 (the Post Featured Image block is the weak point), the tools are mostly in place. The feature set is only growing with each release.

One of my favorite solutions in the theme is the use of the Cover block’s inner container. The plugin has several styles for moving this inside box around and creating a featured section.

Customizing the Cover block with styles.

One improvement I might suggest is to provide “width” styles for the inner container here. Core already provides an alignment matrix option. Styles for 25%, 50%, and 75% width (100% being the default) would offer more variety when coupled with the existing alignments.

The only things that felt out of place with the theme were its alignment block styles for Heading and Paragraph blocks. WordPress already provides alignment options for these blocks. I am not sure if there is a use case that I am unaware of for the styles, but they were definitely confusing.

The theme is worth a test run for any food or recipe bloggers who need a dash of Nutmeg to spice up their site.

by Justin Tadlock at June 07, 2021 10:54 PM under Themes

WordPress.org blog: People of WordPress: Tijana Andrejic

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.

This month to coincide with WordCamp Europe, we feature Tijana Andrejic from Belgrade, Serbia, about her journey from fitness trainer to the WordPress world, with the freelance and corporate opportunities it introduced.

Tijana - portrait picture

As a professional manager with a college degree in Organizational Science and a certified fitness instructor, Tijana is nothing if not driven and goal-oriented. 

Following her time as a fitness trainer, Tijana moved to work in IT around 2016. She first explored content creation and design before focusing on SEO and becoming an independent specialist.  

Tijana was hired as a Customer Happiness Engineer for a hosting company, where she discovered the benefits of having a team. She realized that having close working relationships with colleagues is helpful for business success and accelerates personal growth.

Tijana hopes that by sharing her story, she can help others who are either starting their career or are moving roles. She describes the opportunities she discovered in the WordPress community as ‘a huge epiphany’, especially in the world of freelancing.

She highlights 5 things that helped her to start a new freelancing career. Let’s dive into them.

What motivates me?

“Why am I doing this?” is the first question that Tijana asks herself before starting anything new. This self-review and honesty, she feels, allows her to determine her priorities. She also benchmarks options around her motivations of wanting a flexible schedule and to grow professionally. 

She lists the reasons to make a particular choice, like being a freelancer, to help her choose the right job, pathway, or identify alternatives. 

She recommends that others can take a similar approach. If freelancing is still the best solution after examining all their goals and motivations, Tijana believes a good next step would be to learn WordPress-related skills.

WordCamp Europe 2019 group picture

Develop WordPress related skills

The next question you may ask: “Why WordPress?”

WordPress is used by more than 40% of websites in some form and offers various roles, many of which are not developer-specific. Tijana highlights a few: 

  • web developer (coding websites, themes, and plugins)
  • web implementor (creating websites from existing themes without coding)
  • web designer (designing website mock-ups, editing images, or creating online infographics)
  • client support professional (helping people with their websites)
  • website maintenance (WordPress, themes, and plugins are maintained and backed up regularly)
  • WordPress trainer (helping clients with how to use the platform or teaching other web professionals)
  • content writer
  • accessibility specialist (making sure standards are met and suggesting solutions for accessibility barriers)
  • SEO consultant (improving search outcomes and understanding)
  • statistics consultant, especially for web shops
  • WordPress assistant (adding new content and editing existing posts)
  • website migration specialist (moving websites from one server to another)
  • web security specialist
WCBGD group picture

Tijana emphasized: “Another reason why WordPress is great for freelancers is the strong community that exists around this content management system (CMS).” WordCamps and Meetups are a way to get useful information and meet people from a large and very diverse community and get answers to many questions straight away. 

In the past year, these events have been primarily online. However, the contributors who run them continue to make an effort to provide an experience as close to in-person events as possible. The biggest advantage to online events is that we can attend events from across the world, even if sometimes during these difficult times, it is difficult to get enough time to deeply into this new experience. Since Tijana’s first Meetup, she has attended many WordPress community events and volunteered as a speaker.

Plan in advance

Becoming a freelancer takes time. For Tijana, success came with proper planning and following her plan to ‘acquire or improve relevant skills that will make you stand out in the freelance market.’ She strongly believes that learning and growing as a professional opens more business opportunities. 

If you are considering a freelance career, she advises improving relevant skills or developing new skills related to your hobbies as ‘there is nothing better than doing what you love.’ In cases where no previous experience and knowledge can be used, she suggests choosing ‘a job that has a shorter learning curve and builds your knowledge around that.’

Tijana started as a content creator and learned to become an SEO expert. However, she highlights many alternative paths, including starting as a web implementer and moving to train as a developer. 

She suggests to others: “It would be a good idea to analyze the market before you jump into the learning process.” She also recommends people check the latest trends and consider the future of the skills they are developing.

Visit the new Learn WordPress.org to see what topics are of interest to you. In this newly established resource, the WordPress community aggregates workshops to support those who want to start and improve their skills, provides lesson plans for professional WordPress trainers and helps you create personal learning to develop key skills. There is also material on helping you be part of and organize events for your local community.

Tijana highlights that there are many places for freelancers to find clients. For example, the WordPress Community has a place where companies and individual site owners publish their job advertisements  – Jobs.WordPress.net.

Hurray, it’s time to get a first freelancing job

As a pragmatic person, Tijana recommends: “Save money before quitting your job to become a full-time freelancer. Alternatively, try freelancing for a few hours per week to see if you like it. Although some people do benefit when taking a risk, think twice before you take any irreversible actions.” 

She shared some possible next steps: 

  • use a freelancing platform
  • triple-check your resume
  • professionally present yourself
  • fill up your portfolio with examples
  • use video material

“By using video material, your clients will not see you like a list of skills and previous experiences, but as a real person that has these skills and experiences and that provides a certain service for them.”

She adds: “Have a detailed strategy when choosing your first employer. Choose your first employer wisely, very wisely. I can’t emphasize enough how important this is”.

When Tijana took her first freelancing job, she considered the following:

  • how was the employer rated by other freelancers who worked for him previously
  • how does the employer rate other freelancers
  • how much money had they already spent on the platform
  • the number of open positions for a specific job and the number of freelancers that have already applied 

“The first job is not all about the money. Don’t get greedy on your first job. If you get good recommendations, your second job can pay two to three times more. And your third job can go up to five times more. That was my experience.”

Take responsibility as a freelancer

Tijana reminds us: “Freedom often comes with responsibility; individual responsibility is key when it comes to freelancing.”

She advises others not to take a job if you can not make a deadline and have someone reliable who can help you. 

Missing deadlines will cost your client money and affect the review the client will be willing to leave about your job, and this can have a big impact on your future opportunities or freelance jobs.

She adds: “This can start a downward spiral for your career. However, we are all humans, and unpredictable things can happen. If for some reason you are not able to complete your work in a timely manner, let your client know immediately so they can have enough time to hire someone else”.

Tijana emphasizes the importance of making expectations clear before accepting a job, both what the client is expecting and what you can expect from the client. 

Lastly, she points out that if you are working from home, your friends and family should treat you the way they would if you were in an office. She advises: “Let them know about your working schedule.”

She hopes that these basic guidelines will be useful in launching freelance careers, as they did her, even though there is no universal recipe for all.

Tijana highlights: “It’s just important to stay focused on your goals and to be open to new opportunities.” Freelancing wasn’t the only way she could have fulfilled her goals, but it was an important part of her path, and it helped her be confident in her abilities to make the next big step in her life.

As a freelancer, she was missing close relationships with colleagues and teamwork, which she has now found in her current firm. Her colleagues describe her as a: “walking-talking bundle of superpowers: sports medicine and fitness professional, SEO expert, blogger, designer and a kitty foster mum”.

Conference reception

If you are considering starting your career as a freelancer, take the courses offered at learn.wordpress.org, reach out to companies that you would be interested in working with, and remember that there are a whole host of opportunities in the WordPress project.

The WordPress.org Teams – what they do, when and where they meet

Learn WordPress resource – free to use to expand your knowledge and skills of using the platform and learning about the community around it.

The 3-day WordCamp Europe 2021 online event begins on 7 June 2021. You can discover more about being a contributor in its live sessions and section on ways to contribute to WordPress.

Contributors

Thanks to Olga Gleckler (@oglekler), Abha Thakor (@webcommsat), Chloé Bringmann (@cbringmann), Surendra Thakor (@sthakor), and Meher Bala (@meher) for working on this story. Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune) and also to Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe) who created HeroPress. Thank you to Tijana Andrejic (@andtijana) 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

by webcommsat AbhaNonStopNewsUK at June 07, 2021 10:00 PM under HeroPress

WordPress.org blog: WP Briefing: Episode 10: Finding the Good In Disagreement

To Agree, disagree, and everything in-between. In this episode, Josepha talks about forming opinions and decision-making in the WordPress project.

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

Credits

Editor: Dustin Hartzler

Logo: Beatriz Fialho

Production: Chloé Bringmann

Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod

References

10/10/10 Rule

The Eisenhower Matrix 

The Maximin Strategy 

WordCamp Europe

WordCamp Japan

WordPress 5.8 Development Cycle

Transcript

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:10

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of some of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project and the community around it, as well as get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Joseph Haden Chomphosy. Here we go!

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:40

For anyone who has ever organized something, whether it’s a social event, a school project, or an annual family gathering, you know that there are many different opinions. The more opinions you have, the more likely people don’t see eye to eye. And before you know it, you’ve got some disagreements. Some things make disagreements worse, like imbalance of information, lack of showing your work, and sometimes just “too many cooks in the kitchen,” to use a regional phrase. Frankly, sometimes it seems like the second you have more than one cook in your kitchen, you’re going to get some disagreements. But I think that’s a healthy thing. WordPress is huge. And there are huge numbers of people contributing to WordPress or any other open source project you want to name. So there’s a lot of stuff available to disagree about. If we never saw anyone pointing out an area that wasn’t quite right, there would probably be something wrong. If you, like me, think that a healthy tension of collaborative disagreement can be useful when approached thoughtfully, then this quick start guide is for you. 

Step one, prepare to host a discussion. This is, by the way, just the hardest step out there. You have to take a little time to figure out what problem you’re solving with the solution you’re suggesting, any goals that it relates to, and then figure out what the bare minimum best outcome would be and what the wildest dreams magic wand waving outcome would be. And you have to be honest with yourself. 

Step two, host the discussion. The venue will be different for different discussions, but you see a lot of these on team blogs or within the actual tickets where work is being done. Wherever you’re hosting it, state the problem, state your idea for the solution and ask for what you missed. If you’re hosting a discussion in person, like in a town hall format, this can be hard. And generally, hosting discussions in an in-person or voice call or zoom call kind of way is hard. So if you have an opportunity to start doing this in text first and level your way up to in person, that’s my recommendation. 

Step three is to summarize the discussion and post a decision if possible. So organizing a big discussion into main points is a really good practice for the people you’re summarizing it for and yourself. It helps you to confirm your understanding, and it also gives you the chance to pair other solutions with the problem and goals you outlined in step one. If a different solution solves the same problem but with less time or effort, it’s worth taking a second look with less time or effort. There’s something that I say to WordPress contributors frequently, and that is there are a lot of yeses. There are a lot of right ways to do things and only a few clear wrong ways to do things. So be open-minded about whether or not someone else’s right way to do things could still achieve the goals you’re trying to accomplish with your solution. A note on step three where I said, “and post the decision if possible.” Sometimes you’re the person to make that decision, but sometimes you are not the person who can give something the green light, and so you’re preparing a recommendation. Whether you’re making a decision or a recommendation, sometimes you may experience a little decision-making paralysis. I know I do. So here are a few of the tools that I use.

If you’re avoiding the decision, use the 10/10/10 rule; it can help you figure out if you’re stuck on a short-term problem. If there are too many good choices, use the Eisenhower Matrix that can help you to prioritize objectively. If there are too many bad choices, use the Maximin strategy. It can help you to identify how to minimize any potential negative impacts. 

Okay, so you’ve considered your position. You’ve discussed everything. You summarized the big points. Maybe you also worked your way through to a recommendation or a decision. What about everyone who disagreed with the decision? Or have you made a recommendation, and it wasn’t accepted? How do you deal with that? That’s where “disagree and commit” shows up. This phrase was made popular by the folks over at Amazon, I think. But it first showed up, I believe at Sun Microsystems as this phrase, “agreeing, commit, disagree and commit or get out of the way.”

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:34

Disagree and commit as a concept works pretty well when everyone agrees on the vision and the goals, but not necessarily how to get to those goals. We’ve had moments in recent history where folks we’re not able to agree, we’re not able to commit, and so then left the project. I hate when that happens. I want people to thrive in this community for the entire length of their careers. But I also understand that situation shows up in the top five learnings of open source when you no longer have interest in the project and handed it off to a competent successor. So there it is – disagreements in open source in WordPress. 

As with so many of the things I discuss on this podcast, this is incredibly complex and nuanced in practice. Taking an argument, distilling facts from feelings, and adjusting frames of reference until the solution is well informed and risk-balanced. That is a skill set unto itself. But one that increases the health of any organization. I’ll share that list of references and general materials in the show notes, including a link explaining each of those decision-making tools that I shared. I’m also going to include the contributor training module on decision-making in the WordPress project. It’s got excellent information. It’s part of a series of modules that I asked team reps to take and sponsored contributors. I don’t require it from anyone, but I do hope that it is useful for you. Also, speaking of useful for you, if you are just here for leadership insights, I included some hot takes after the outro music for you. It’s like an Easter egg, but I just told you about it.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  07:33

And that brings us to our small list of big things! First off, WordCamp Europe is happening this we; I hope that everybody has an opportunity to attend. If you still haven’t gotten your tickets, they are free, and I think there are still a few left. I will include a link in the show notes as well. There’s going to be a little demo with Matt Mullenweg and Matias Ventura on the WordPress 5.8 release that’s coming up. And then kind of a retrospective discussion between Matt and Brian Krogsgard. I encourage you to join; I think it’s going to be very interesting. 

There’s also WordCamp, Japan coming up June 20 through 26th. I mentioned it last time –  it has a big section of contributing and contribution time. So if you’re looking to get started, some projects are laid out, and I encourage you to take a look at that as well. 

The new thing on this list, and I don’t know how new It is, in general, I hope it’s not too new to you, is that WordPress 5.8 release is reaching its beta one milestone on June 8th, so right in the middle of WordCamp Europe. I encourage every single theme developer, plugin developer that we have, agency owners that we have to really take a look at this release and dig into testing it. It’s a gigantic release. And I have so many questions about what will work and will not work once we get it into a broader testing area. We’ve been doing a lot of testing in the outreach program. But it’s always helpful to get people who are using WordPress daily in their jobs to really give a good solid test to the beta product to the beta package. And put it all through its paces for us. 

So, that my friends, is your small list of big things. Thank you for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing. I’m your host Josepha Haden Chomphosy, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  10:09

Hey there, you must be here because I told you about this totally not hidden easter egg about my hot takes on organizational health; I have three for you. And if you’ve ever worked with me, none of this will surprise you. But if you haven’t worked with me, hopefully, it kind of gives you some idea about how I approach all of this a bit differently. So, number one, critical feedback is the sign of a healthy organization. And I will never be dissuaded from that opinion. A complete lack of dissent doesn’t look like “alignment.” To me, that looks like fear. And it goes against the open source idea that many eyes make all bugs shallow. 

Tip number two, a bit of tension is good, a bit of disagreement is good. The same thing that I say about women in tech, we’re not all the same. And if we were, then we wouldn’t need to collaborate anyway. But diversity, whether that’s the diversity of thought or of a person or of experience, just doesn’t happen without some misunderstandings. It’s how we choose to grow through those misunderstandings that make all the difference for the type of organization we are. 

And hot take number three, changing your mind isn’t flip-flopping or hypocritical. I think that’s a sign of growth and willingness to hear others. I like to think of my embarrassment at past bad decisions – as the sore muscles of a learning brain. And I, again, probably won’t be dissuaded from that opinion. Although, you know, if I’m sticking true to changing your mind some flip-flopping or hypocritical, maybe I will, but you can always try to, to give me the counter-argument for that, and we’ll see how it goes. Thank you for joining me for my little public easter egg.

by Chloe Bringmann at June 07, 2021 12:22 PM

June 05, 2021

Gutenberg Times: Themes for Full-Site Editing and Getting ready for WordPress 5.8 – Weekend Edition #172

Howdy,

It’s the eve of the second virtual WordCamp Europe. Tickets are still available for another awesome three days with talks, workshops and contributor events. This year, the organizer decide to sprinkle contributor event into the rest of the schedule and have for all three days, a mix between techtalk, business talks and contributor presentation and discussions. There are quite a few events around the Block editor, Full-site-editing and block-based themes. I compiled a list for you. And just because I am so focused on Gutenberg, doesn’t mean you have to. 😎 Check out the schedule and get your tickets now.

Hopefully, it will be the last virtual conference and we will see each other at an in-person WordCamp Europe in 2022. I am still hoping for Porto, Portugal. At this state of withdrawal from meeting WordPress friends in person, it doesn’t matter where it will take place, thought. It’ll be a Hug-Fest.

Last week, I mentioned the next Gutenberg Times Live Q & A in the subscribers-only section of this newsletter. Now we have a full panel. Registration is officially open. I am thrileed to host Daisy Olsen, Jeff Ong and Tammie Lister for our show on How to get started on Theme building for Full-site Editing and using the Theme.json file to configure your theme, and its interaction with the block editor. The Theme.json file will be introduced with the release of WordPress 5.8 in July 2021. Get a head start and join us!

Grzegorz (Greg) Ziolkowski will be back from vaction next week and we will record our next Changelog episode on Friday 11, 2021. I am so excited and can’t wait until Grzegorz is back! If you have questions or suggestions or news, you want us to consider, hit reply or send them to changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. We now have consitently 500 – 800 downloads per week. It’s humbling, mind-boggling and inspiring. And if YOU are a listener, Thank You! If you have a minute or two, consider writing a review of the podcast. We’d be grateful and might read it out loud on the next show.

Alright, that’s the news around Gutenberg Times. Below you’ll find what else happened in the Gutenberg universe. Enjoy!

Yours, 💕
Birgit

PS: Hope to see you at WordCamp Europe. Don’t forget to join the #WCEU channel on WordPress Slack and meet speaker, sponsors, organizer and attendees like you and me.


Full-Site-Editing & Themes

Anne McCarthy published the Stick the landing (pages) Summary. This post is a summary of the sixth call for testing for the experimental FSE outreach program, which also was translated into Italian to reach more of the non-English audience. Earlier calls were also translated into Japanese. The group of FSE testers is much bigger now, thanks to the persistent efforts by Anne to reach out to the community and stay on top of all the issues around the template editor.

A reminder: You can still join the the seventh call for testing: Polished Portfolios – The deadline for your feedback was extended to June 16th, 2021.

If you read this before Sunday night, you can participate in the Full Site Editing Review and Test-a-thon Sunday, June 6th at 7 – 8:30 pm with the WordPress Meetup group in Philadelphia.


Reading through the summary, I am stuck on trying to understand the difference between a template built by the site-owner and a theme template. What will happen with their templates when the site-owner decides to change the overall theme of their site? There is still plenty to be figured out. How edited block templates are linked to themes is topic of the discussion on GitHub. The Gutenberg team would appreciate some thoughts from folks familiar with these APIs (theme mods, performance, database).


Kjell Reigstad posted again acomprehensive list of issues and discussions regarding block-based themes and Full-Site Editing: Gutenberg + Themes: Week of May 31, 2021. Any of the listed items are worth checking out and consider commenting. The more the team knows the better the next iteration of Full-Site editing and block-based themes becomes.


WordPress 5.8 release preparations

From the meeting notes of this week’s Dev Chat: “Docs needs the most help with end user documentation. For block editor in particular. Some changes from 5.6 and 5.7 are still not published and we had a significant drop in number of contributors due to pandemic situation. Anyone interested in getting involved please ping Milana Cap  (zzap on Slack). 

The summary of needed DevNotes for new features in WordPress 5.8 is available on GitHub and could use contributors. There is also a “needs dev note” label for pull requests.

The widget screen could use some more testing. As a reminder, please read Help Test the Widgets Editor for WordPress 5.8 by Andre Draganescu

Block Patterns

Hector Pietro wrote in his post What’s next in Gutenberg? (June 2021):

“Since Gutenberg 10.7, block patterns displayed in the inserter are fetched from the WordPress.org Pattern Directory. This opens the door to having a big amount of wonderful patterns available in the inserter, which will require iterating on the pattern insertion experience.

For more updates on the Pattern Directory, stay tuned for Block Pattern Directory updates and check the most recent design iterations for the Pattern Directory.”.


Plugins for the Block Editor

Featured Box Plugin with this plugin “you can highlight a image with your key features” wrote Sumaiya Siddika on WordPress.org. Justin Tadlock took it for a spin.


JetFormBuilder — Form Builder plugin for Gutenberg from the plugins stable at CrocoBlock. The developers Andrey Shevchenko and Oleksandr Ivanenko also added an extensive Post action hook system that allows you to daisy chain actions and integrated with 3rd party systems. I haven’t tested it yet, but it looks promising. Crocoblock has been building plugins and tools for Elementor and has now started supporing Gutenberg with their products as well.

Another new plugin is the JetEngine for Gutenberg a dynamic content plugin that lets you build a complex websites fast and cost-effectively.

Themes for Full-Site Editing

A few people ask about Themes that are already working with the Full-Site Editing system and Site Editor. So I put a list together of those I know about. Now before you use them, you need to be aware that they are all built while Full-Site Editing is still under active development, hasn’t been released yet and ergo many features are still experimental. Do not use in production or live site.

If you find any missing, let me know.

Gutenberg related Business Updates

This week’s big WordPress business news is the aquisition of Eliots Condon‘s plugin Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) by Delicious Brains. With over more then 1 million active installs ACF is one of the widest used plugins. Thousands for developers depened on it in the last ten years to build complex WordPress sites.

Stepping away from ACF has not been an easy decision to make. The reasoning behind it comes from a place of humility. As the number of installs have grown from thousands to millions, the needs of the product have outgrown my ability to develop solutions. The last thing I want to do to this amazing community is unintentionally hold back the project, so something needed to change.

Elliot Condon, ACF

Early on into the development of the block editor, Candon was also developing a php way to build blocks and integrated it into Advanced Custom Fields Pro starting with the version 5.8. This effort certainly helped developers even more. Now they could use their existing tools and offer their users Gutenberg compatible sites withouth learning ES6 JavaScript or ReactJS.

Delicious Brains also caters to WordPress Developers with products like SpinupWP (💕), WP Migrate DB and more. Their team seems to be the right fit to pick up the torch and put ACF on an even stronger path for future growth.

You can learn more about the aquisition via


Join us for our next Live Q & A
on June 24, 2021 at 11am EDT / 15:00 UTC

Theme.json for Theme Authors or building themes for full-site editing in WordPress.
Host: Birgit Pauli-Haack
Panel: Daily Olson, Tammie Lister and Jeff Ong Register Now

Upcoming WordPress Events

June 6, 2021 7:00 pm EDT / 23:00 UTC
WordPress Meetup Philadelphia
Full Site Editing Review and Test-a-thon

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 10th, 2021
WordPress “Mega Meetup”: Plugins That Keep Websites Running

June 20 – 26, 2021
WordCamp Japan
The schedule has been posted. Most sessions will be in Japanese, with exceptions, I think…

June 24, 2021
WPEngine Summit 2021
The digital breakthrough conference just released their schedule. Personally, I am very much looking forward to the Keynote talk with Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code and Marchall Plan for Moms at 12:55 EDT / 16:55 UTC. I also hope to see talks with Rob Stinston, Carrie Dils and Chris Wiegman. There are also deep dive talks listed into Headless WordPress. Enterprise WordPress is definitely heading down that route.

June 24 – 26, 2021
WordCamp Cochabama (Colombia)

July 17 + 18th, 2021
WordCamp Santa Clarita
Calls for speakers ends TODAY!

July 23, 2021
WordFest Live The festival of WordPress

August 6 + 7, 2021
WordCamp Nicaragua

September 21 + 22, 2021
WPCampus 2021 Online
“A free online conference for web accessibility and WordPress in higher education.”


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.


Don’t want to miss the next Weekend Edition?

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Featured Image: Photo by Xavi Cabrera on Unsplash

by Birgit Pauli-Haack at June 05, 2021 07:32 PM under News

Gutenberg Times: WordCamp Europe 2021 starts Monday

WordCamp Europe 2021 will be one of the largest virtual WordCamps again and the schedule has some great talks for every WordPress users, developers, site builders, theme designers, DIY site owners and content creators.

We looked through the schedule and spotted very forward-looking Gutenberg related talks, workshops and discussions. Before you study the list, I would recommend the site Time Zone Converter to help you convert the listed times from Central Europe Summer Time (CEST) to your local time. Once in a while I get confused by time zones, and that’s my favorite site to set me straight.

Fabian Kägy, developer at 10up:
Building great experiences in the new editor

Description: Starting out building blocks or experiences for the WordPress block editor can be a bit daunting. Where do I start? Custom blocks, block patterns or just styling core blocks. In this talk, Kägy will walk through the different options and share the benefits and downsides of each while talking about overall good practices for building great editorial experiences.

As a sidenote: Almost exactly a year ago, Fabian Kägy was a presenter at a Gutenberg Times Live Q & A together with Grzegorz Ziolkowski, and demo’d how you can use and extend the official WordPress create-block scaffolding tool.

Monday, June 7th, 2021, at 10am EDT / 14:00 UTC / 16:00 CEST


Full-Site Editing Panel Discussion

The names of the panelist are still a secret, and I will update the post when we know more.

If you’d like to get a jump start here are few resources:

Monday, June 7, 2021 at 12:34 pm EDT / 16:34 UTC / CEST: 18:34


Workshop: A walkthrough of Full Site Editing with Herb Miller, Web developer in UK,

Description: Herb Miller will give a short tour of Full Site Editing (FSE) in this workshop from his perspective as a contributor to the outreach experiment for this major development in WordPress.

He has created a learning resource which attendees can use to follow on during the workshop.

Herb will give attendees an overview of:

  • how to get started
  • the components of the Site Editor
  • example templates and template parts
  • some blocks used to create FSE themes
  • example themes
  • a very few code samples
  • some answers to FAQs
  • how to become involved
  • and many links to other resources

Tuesday, June 8th, 2021 11am EDT / 15:00 UTC / 17:00 CEST


Lee Shadle, web developer Blazing fast block development

Lee Shadle wrote in his description: “I’ve been OBSESSED w/ building blocks since before Gutenberg was released. I’ve built a BUNCH of custom block plugins over the years. In this workshop I’m going to share the framework I’ve been using for quickly building custom block plugins for WordPress.”. Shadle recently also held a talk at WordSesh and demo’d his create-block-plugin scaffolding tool and it was inspiring. This is definitely not a talk to miss.

Tuesday June 8, 2021 12:00 EDT / 16:00 UTC / 18:oo CEST


The Future of Themes in WordPress

The future of themes will be a topic of this panel discussion. Stay tuned or follow WordCamp Europe on Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).

Join us for our next Live Q & A
on June 24, 2021 at 11am EDT / 15:00 UTC

Theme.json for Theme Authors or building themes for full-site editing in WordPress.
Host: Birgit Pauli-Haack
Panel: Daily Olson, Tammie Lister and Jeff Ong Register Now


Conversation with Matt Mullenweg

Matt Mullenweg is the co-founder of WordPress and the CEO of Automattic. The conversation should be the highlight of the WordCamp Europe

Wednesday, June 9th, 2021 – 11:42 EDT / 15:42 UTC / 17:42 CEST


This edition of the WordCamp Europe also offers interesting Sponsor talks. Look for them on the schedule, too.

by Birgit Pauli-Haack at June 05, 2021 04:00 AM under WordCamp

Gutenberg Times: So, You want to talk about Full-site Editing?

As we’re nearing 5.8, there’s an increasing demand for people to speak about Full Site Editing and this post should help act as a resource guide to enable more people to do so. As always, I would love contributions from the wider community to build this out into an even more comprehensive resource! While this post covers a lot of content, see it as a go to place to mix and match as you’d like for your own presentation rather than something you need to know every detail of. For example, if you’re presenting to theme authors, you can use this to get a sense at a glance of what might be relevant from what to demo, what resources to share, what GitHub issues to highlight, and more.

Join us for our next Live Q & A
on June 24, 2021 at 11am EDT / 15:00 UTC

Theme.json for Theme Authors or building themes for full-site editing in WordPress.
Host: Birgit Pauli-Haack
Panel: Daily Olson, Tammie Lister and Jeff Ong Register Now

Resources

Key points to cover around 5.8:

  • FSE is a collection of features and not a monolith.
  • Because FSE is a collection of features, Core can be flexible in shipping what is both stable and adds the most value.
  • 5.8 is focused mainly on bringing tools to extenders with limited changes to the user experience. This includes theme.json, new theme blocks, design tools, and template editing mode.

Demo ideas

Depending on who you are and who the audience, the following are your best bets for demo content:

Helpful GitHub issues

Helpful Posts

Conversation Starters

  • What would you like to see done as part of the gradual adoption milestone
  • What would make you more inclined to use Full Site Editing? On the flip side, what would make you less inclined? 
  • Are there any key people or resources like podcasts, courses, documentation, etc that have helped you explore Full Site Editing? 
  • How do you think Full Site Editing will change the WordPress ecosystem? What excites you there? What makes you nervous? 
  • What do you think is most helpful to communicate about Full Site Editing right now to put more people at ease and build excitement? 
  • What are you still confused about when it comes to Full Site Editing?

FAQs

These are the top questions you can most likely expect to get asked with high level answers to get you started in the right direction. For a more comprehensive list of questions and answers, check out the FSE Outreach Program’s roundups.

What is Full Site Editing and what value will it bring?

Full Site Editing is a collection of features that bring the familiar experience and extendability of blocks to all parts of your site rather than just post and pages. In terms of value, it depends on who you are:
User: empowerment to customize what you want to your liking without needing to dive into code.
Themer/developer: focus less on coding thanks to various design tools and more on creating a compelling experience with your theme.
Agency: greater control and consistency over what you offer clients including things like setting custom branding colors or locking down various aspects of the site such as typography settings.
When you see or feel this value depends on who you are, how early you adopt features, and when stable features land in Core. Thanks to FSE being a collection of features, some independent and some interdependent, there’s wonderful room to ship what’s stable.

What is going to happen to themes and what kinds of pathways are being created?

In the long run, it should make theme development much easier and simpler with design tools ready to tap into allowing theme authors to focus less on coding and functions and more on design expression and aesthetics. Because Full Site Editing requires a block based theme, this makes themes extremely important to get right! As a result, lots of pathways are being created including the ability to use theme blocks in a classic theme, exploring how to use the customizer and site editor as part of a “universal theme”, unlocking the ability to create a new block template in a classic theme, allowing classic themes to adopt the block widget editor, and more.
Key: Themes are a key part of the FSE experience, lots of work is being done to allow for a breadth of options going forward, and we need feedback from theme authors to make the transition easier. 

What about page builders/site builders?

FSE is being built in a way that site builders, if they choose to, can build on top of what’s being created. Overall though, FSE is being built partially so people don’t get locked into one site builder over another. While the goals shared between FSE and site builders are similar in terms of empowering users and give better tools to customize a site, the main difference is that we are developing tools that work for users, themers, and hopefully also page builders by expanding how WordPress uses blocks as a whole. Since Core has to strike a nice balance, it’s expected that future plugins will play a role here in exposing more/less depending on user needs.

How will restricting access to these features work?

This will depend on who is asking the question (a user, a theme author, a developer, etc) but some of the GitHub issues referenced above should help. For users, I’d focus on the fact that they would either need to seek out a block theme to use or their current theme would need to ship specific updates. For a themer/developer, I’d share that there will be various options to opt in and out of this work (for example with creating block templates). Upcoming 5.8 dev notes should address this for any new features.

Will upgrading to 5.8 cause FSE to take over my site like the Core Editor did in 5.0?

No. 5.8 is focused on giving tools to extenders first and foremost before more user facing changes are launched going forward and integrated into themes. In terms of user facing features, you can expect to see

Anne McCarthy published this post on her personal blog and gave us permission to republish it here as well.

Join us for our next Live Q & A
on June 24, 2021 at 11am EDT / 15:00 UTC

Theme.json for Theme Authors or building themes for full-site editing in WordPress.
Host: Birgit Pauli-Haack
Panel: Daily Olson, Tammie Lister and Jeff Ong Register Now

by Anne McCarthy at June 05, 2021 12:50 AM under News

WPTavern: Jetpack 9.8 Introduces WordPress Stories Block Alongside Forced Security Update

Jetpack 9.8 was released this week, introducing WordPress Stories as the headline feature. The Story block, which allows users to create interactive stories, was previously only available on mobile. It can now be used in the web editor. Stories went into public beta on the Android app in January 2021, and were officially released on the mobile apps in March.

Version 9.8 also included a security patch for all sites using the Carousel feature. The vulnerability allowed the comments of non-published pages/posts to be leaked. It was severe enough for the Jetpack team to work with WordPress.org to release 78 patched versions – every version of Jetpack since 2.0. Sites not using the Carousel feature were not vulnerable but could be in the future if it was enabled and left unpatched.

In a rare move, WordPress.org pushed a forced update to all vulnerable versions, surprising those who have auto-updates disabled. Several Jetpack users posted in the support forums, asking why the plugin had updated automatically without permission and in some cases not to the newest version.

Jetpack team member Jeremy Herve said the vulnerability was responsibly disclosed via Hackerone, allowing them to work on a patch for the issue. After it was ready to go, the Jetpack team reached out to the WordPress.org security team to inform them of a vulnerability impacting multiple versions of the plugin.

“We sent them the patch alongside all the info we had (a PoC for the vulnerability, what features had to be active, what versions of Jetpack were impacted),” Herve said. “They recommended we release point releases for older versions of Jetpack as well.

“We created those new releases, and when we were ready to release them, someone from the WordPress.org team made some changes on the WordPress.org side so folks running old, vulnerable versions of the plugin would get auto-updated, just like it works for Core versions of WordPress.”

Jetpack team member Brandon Kraft estimated the number of vulnerable sites at 18% of the plugin’s active installs. He said that Jetpack was not part of the discussion about the pushing out a forced update.

“What probably adds to the confusion is that WordPress 5.5 added a UI for plugin (and theme) autoupdates,” Herve said. “That UI, while helping one manage plugin autoupdates on their site, is a bit different from Core’s forced update process. Both of those update types can be deactivated by site owners, just like core’s autoupdates can be deactivated, but I don’t believe (and honestly wouldn’t recommend) that many folks deactivate those updates.”

Brandon Kraft dug deeper into the topic and published a post that explains the differences between auto-updates and forced updates. It includes how to lock down file modifications if you don’t want to receive any forced updates in the future. Forced updates, however, are exceedingly rare, and Kraft counts only three for Jetpack since 2013.

In this instance, the Jetpack team followed the official process for reporting a critical vulnerability to the plugin and security teams who determine the impact for users based on a set criteria. Users who received an email notification about an automatic update from Jetpack, despite having the UI in the dashboard set to disable them, should be aware that these forced updates can come once in a blue moon for security purposes.

Tony Perez, founder of NOC and former CEO at Sucuri, contends that forcing a security update like this violates the intent users’ assign when using the auto-updates UI in WordPress. He highlighted the potential for abuse if the system were to become vulnerable to a bad actor.

“The platform is making an active decision that is arguably contrary to what the site administrator is intending when they explicitly say they don’t want something done,” Perez said. “Put plainly, it’s an abuse of trust that exists between the WordPress user and the Foundation that helps maintain the project.

“My position is not that it shouldn’t exist. That’s a much deeper ideological debate, but it is about respecting an administrators explicit intent.”

by Sarah Gooding at June 05, 2021 12:04 AM under security

June 04, 2021

WPTavern: Create Per-Post Social Media Images With the Social Image Generator WordPress Plugin

It was a bit of a low-key announcement when Daniel Post introduced Social Image Generator to the world in February via tweet. But, when you get repped by Chris Coyier of CSS-Tricks and the co-founder of WordPress uses your plugin (come on, Matt, set a default image), it means your product is on the right track.

I am not easily impressed by every new plugin to fly across my metaphorical desk. I probably install at least a couple dozen every week. Sometimes, I do so because something looks handy on the surface, and I want to see if I can find some use for it. Other times, I think it might be worth sharing with Tavern readers. More often than not, I consider most of them cringeworthy. I have high standards.

As I chatted with Post about this new plugin, I was excited enough to call Social Image Generator one of those OMG-where-have-you-been? types of plugins. You will not hear that from me often.

Post quit his day job to venture out earlier this year, creating his one-man WordPress agency named Posty Studio. Social Image Generator is its first product.

“I kept seeing tutorials on my Twitter feed on how to automatically generate images for your social media posts, but unfortunately, they all used a similar approach (Node.js) that just wasn’t suitable for WordPress,” said Post of the inspiration for the plugin. “This got me thinking: would it be possible to make this for WordPress? I started playing around with image generation in PHP, and when I got my proof of concept working, I realized that this might actually be something I should pursue.”

In our chat over Slack, we actually saw the plugin in action. As he shared Coyier’s article from CSS-Tricks, the chatting platform displayed the social image in real-time.

Auto-generated image appearing via Slack.

Maybe it was fate. Maybe Post knew it would happen and thought it would be a good idea to show off his work as we talked about his project. Either way, it was enough to impress the writer who is unafraid to call your plugin a dumpster fire if he smells smoke.

Post seems to be hitting all the right notes with this commercial plugin. It has a slew of features built into version 1.x, which we will get to shortly. It is dead simple to use. It is something nearly any website owner needs, assuming they want to share their content via social networks. And, with a $39/year starting price, it is not an overly expensive product for those on the fence about buying.

How the Plugin Works

After installing and activating Social Image Generator, users are taken to the plugin’s settings screen. Other than a license key field and a button for clearing the image cache, most users will want to dive straight into the template editor.

At the moment, the plugin includes 23 templates. From Twenty Seventeen to Twenty Twenty-One, each of the last four default WordPress themes also has a dedicated template. After selecting one, users can customize the colors for the logo, post title, and more — the amount of customization depends on the chosen template.

Browsing the plugin’s templates.

Aside from selecting colors, users can choose between various logo and text options. They can also upload a default image for posts without featured images.

Editing a template from Social Image Generator.

When it comes time to publish, the plugin adds a meta box to the post sidebar. Users can further customize their social image and text on a per-post basis.

Social image preview box on the post-editing screen.

Once published, the plugin creates an image that will appear when a post is shared on social media.

On the whole, there is a ton that anyone can do with the built-in templates. There is also an API for developers to create their own. For a first outing, it is a robust offering. However, there is so much more that can be done to make the plugin more flexible.

Version 2.0 and Beyond

Thus far, Post said he has received tons of positive feedback along with feature requests. Primarily, users are asking for more customization options and the ability to create and use multiple templates. These are the focus areas for the next version. With a 1,718% increase in revenue in the past month, it seems he might have the initial financial backing to invest in them.

“I’ve started building a completely overhauled drag-n-drop editor, which will allow you to create basically any custom image you want,” he said. “It will be heavily inspired by the block editor, and I want to keep the UI and UX as close to the block editor as possible.”

The new template editor would allow users to create multiple layers, an idea similar to how Photoshop, Gimp, and other image-editing software works. The difference would be that it can pull in data from WordPress.

“For example, an ‘Image’ layer will have options such as height/width and positioning, as well as some stylistic options like color filters and gradient overlays,” said Post. “A ‘Text’ layer can be any font, color, and size and can show predefined options (post title, date, etc.) or whatever you want. You can add an infinite number of layers and order them however you’d like.”

He seems excited about opening up new possibilities with an overhauled editor. Users could potentially create social image templates for each post type. A custom layer might pull in post metadata, such as displaying product pricing or ratings from eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce.

“The prebuilt templates will still exist, similar to Block Patterns in the block editor,” said the plugin developer. “They will, however, serve as a starting point rather than the final product. I’ll also try to implement theme styling as much as possible.

“The possibilities here are so endless, and I’m incredibly excited for this next part.”

by Justin Tadlock at June 04, 2021 11:59 PM under Plugins

WPTavern: Building Featured Boxes With the WordPress Block Editor

It is a new day with another chase for that elusive block plugin that will bring a little joy into my life. Today’s experiment comes courtesy of the Feature Box plugin by Sumaiya Siddika. It is a simple block that allows end-users to upload an image and add some content to an offset box.

The plugin’s output is a typical pattern on the web. As usual, I am excited to see plugin authors experimenting with bringing these features to WordPress users. I want to see more of it, especially from first-time plugin contributors.

I was able to quickly get the block up and running, adding my custom content. The following is what the block looked like after entering my content and customizing it. I envisioned myself as a recipe blogger for this test.

Inserting and modifying the Feature Box block.

On a technical level, the plugin worked well. I ran into no errors. Everything was simple to customize. However, it never felt like an ideal user experience.

The first thing I immediately noticed is that image uploading happens in the block options sidebar. Core WordPress blocks have a dedicated button in the toolbar for adding images and other media. I also found myself wanting more direct control over individual elements. How could I change the heading font size? Where were the typical button styles like Outline and Solid Color? How do I insert other blocks, like a list?

None of those things were possible. Like many other blocks, the developer has created a system with specific parameters, and the user cannot move outside of them. There are times when that rigidity makes sense, such as when building custom blocks for clients. However, more often than not, publicly-released plugins should be far more open.

This tightly controlled block is reflective of how WordPress worked in the past. It was often inflexible, leaving users to what theme and plugin developers thought was best for their sites.

The block system is about tossing out these overly rigid concepts and giving users power over their content. The job of plugins and themes is to define the framework the user is operating under. They set up some rules to more or less keep things from breaking, but the users get to strap themselves into the driver’s seat. Their destination is their own.

The block would have been far more well-rounded if users could control all of the content in the box. Ideally, they could put whatever blocks they wanted into the “content” area of the Feature Box block. The design would match their theme better too.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post titled You Might Not Need That Block. The premise was that users could recreate some blocks with the current editor and that themers could make this easier by offering patterns.

I knew replicating this particular block would be impossible without at least a little custom code. WordPress’s editor does not have a feature for offsetting a block’s position.

A theme author could easily duplicate this functionality. Typically, I would create a custom pattern, complete with all the existing pieces in place. However, I wanted to approach this with custom block styles. This would allow end-users to select the content offset from the sidebar and switch it around if needed.

Note: For those who wish to learn how to create custom block styles, Carolina Nymark’s tutorial is the best resource.

The Cover block made an ideal candidate for this. Because it has an existing “inner wrapper” element, it meant that I could target it with CSS and move it around. The following is a screenshot of the Offset Left style I created:

Offset Left Cover block style.

I simply replicated the code and changed a few values to create an Offset Right style immediately after. The code is available as a GitHub Gist. It is a simple proof-of-concept and not a polished product. There are various approaches to this, and several Cover block options are left unhandled. Theme authors are free to take the code and run with it.

These block styles looked far better because they matched my theme. Everything from the spacing to the border-radius to the button looked as it should.

Offset Left and Right block styles.

The big win was that I had design control over every aspect of the content box. I could select the button style I wanted. I could change my font sizes. The default spacing matched my theme as it should.

The problem I ran into with the block style method is allowing users to control the content box’s background color. The Feature Box plugin wins in the user experience category here because it has an option for this. The block style I created inherits its background from the Cover block parent. It may not be immediately obvious how to change it.

The other “problem” with the block style is that it does not handle wide and full alignments for the Cover block. That is because I did not take the experiment that far, only replicating the plugin’s layout. I will leave that to theme designers to tinker around with. There are many possibilities to explore; don’t wait for me to provide all the ideas.

My goal with this post and similar ones is to show how I would approach these things as both a user and developer. As a user, I want flexibility in all things. As a developer, I want to provide the solutions that I desire as a user.

I also want to see plugin and theme authors thinking beyond their initial use case when building blocks, patterns, styles, and more. Lay the groundwork. Then, expand on that initial idea by thinking of all the ways that users might want to customize what you have built.

by Justin Tadlock at June 04, 2021 05:07 AM under Plugins

WPTavern: Delicious Brains Acquires Advanced Custom Fields Plugin

Delicious Brains, the company behind WP Migrate DB Pro and SpinupWP, has acquired the Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) plugin from its creator, Elliot Condon. After 10 years, the plugin has more than 1 million active installs and a thriving business based on the Pro version. It has become an indispensable part of the workflow for thousands of WordPress developers around the globe.

The plugin allows developers to easily customize WordPress edit screens and custom field data. In 2019, the Pro version introduced ACF Blocks, a PHP-based framework for developing custom blocks. This came as a great relief to many developers who did not know how they were going to keep pace with learning the JavaScript required to use WordPress’ Block API.

General reaction to the news was positive, as ACF fits in neatly with Delicious Brains’ suite of well-maintained developer products. The company’s founders also possess a genuine appreciation of ACF and its importance to the WordPress developer community.

“I don’t think WordPress would be where it is today without ACF,” Brad Touesnard said on a recent episode of the Delicious Brain Waves podcast.

Condon cited the scale of the project and “technology complexity and user expectation” as factors in his decision to sell ACF. As a one-person team, he was unable to keep up with the growth of ACF over the years.

“Stepping away from ACF has not been an easy decision to make,” Condon said. “The reasoning behind it comes from a place of humility. As the number of installs have grown from thousands to millions, the needs of the product have outgrown my ability to develop solutions. The last thing I want to do to this amazing community is unintentionally hold back the project, so something needed to change.”

Delicious Brains’ announcement stated that the company will be reviewing Condon’s roadmap for the product in hopes of fulfilling his vision moving forward.

“Two of our greatest strengths that we’ll bring to ACF are design (UI/UX) and developer education,” Touesnard said. “We’ll be focusing our initial efforts in those areas. I have a few UI/UX improvements in mind that would make a huge difference to users. We also see a significant opportunity to produce developer-focused content focused on effectively using ACF in your WordPress projects.”

Touesnard also confirmed that Delicious Brains will not be making any drastic changes to ACF or ACF Pro, nor do they plan to adjust the pricing of the product anytime soon.

“If we ever decide to update pricing in the future, we won’t force existing customers onto the new pricing,” he said.

After the initial announcement, there was some confusion surrounding lifetime licenses that originated from a hasty response to a customer inquiry. Delicious Brains has since updated the post to clarify the company’s commitment to ACF Pro’s lifetime customers.

“We are committed to honoring lifetime licenses forever,” Touesnard said. “Lifetime license holders will get all ACF Pro software updates forever.”

More information on how the acquisition happened, as well as what customers can expect in the future, is available on the most recent episode of the Delicious Brain Waves podcast.

by Sarah Gooding at June 04, 2021 03:35 AM under deliciousbrains

June 03, 2021

WordPress.org blog: A New Design is Coming to WordPress News

After many years of a tidy, white-space filled design on WordPress.org/news it’s time to bring new life to the way we present our content. So much has changed since this site was first created: the people who read it, the type and variety of what is published, even the way WordPress works has changed.

Which means it makes sense to change our theme.

Earlier this year, Matt requested a new design from Beatriz Fialho (who also created the State of the Word slides for 2020). The design keeps a clean, white-space friendly format while incorporating a more jazzy, playful feeling with a refreshed color palette.

More detail on this modern exploration have been posted on make.wordpress.org/design. I encourage you to stop by and read more about the thoughts behind the coming updates; and keep an eye out for the new look here and across WordPress.org!

by Josepha at June 03, 2021 08:47 PM under Updates

WPTavern: Forks and Alternatives: Custom User Avatar Plugins for WordPress

You know what one of the great things about open source is? Others can use a project’s code, share it wholesale, modify it, and/or distribute their changes. These are the pillars upon which WordPress stands. It is a beautiful thing to watch in practice.

Most often, it means we can build off the shoulders of those giants who came before us, continually improving the software for ourselves and others. It is how WordPress got its start nearly two decades ago as a fork of the b2/cafelog blogging system.

Sometimes, it just means having the freedom to give your friend a copy of something you love and letting them use it. Other times, it is the gateway for a budding developer learning how functions or classes work for the first time, ripping apart a project to see what makes it tick.

Every so often, the promise of free software means that others can decide to go their own way when they do not like the direction a project is heading. They can fork the code, carving a new destination for its future.

This is what happened when ProfilePress overhauled its WP User Avatar plugin, turning it into a full-fledged membership solution. While its average user may not be able or willing to dip their toes into the depths of the development waters, when you have a 400,000+ user base, a few of them are bound to be programmers. Or at least tech-savvy enough to create a copy of the previous version and distribute it directly.

It did not take long — mere days — before ex-users began sharing their forks. The beauty of open source is that they have the power to do this without some corporation cracking down on them. I wanted to acknowledge what they accomplished by jumping into a messy situation and making quick alternatives for many users who felt abandoned. This is my symbolic handclap. 👏

It is not often that we get to mention WordPress’s license without gearing up for battle. However, the GPL played a crucial role in making these forks possible. The license protected the plugin’s user base, giving them multiple alternative paths to take.

Without further preaching the merits of open source, the following are the current forks of WP User Avatar:

  • One User Avatar by Daniel Tara (One Designs). It already has nine translations and is available on WordPress.org.
  • Custom User Avatar by David Artiss. It is currently available on GitHub, but it appears he plans to add it to the plugin directory.
  • Orig User Avatar by Philipp Stracker. This one is also only available on GitHub.

Each fork looks like a straight port of the latest version of WP User Avatar before version 3.0. There are some necessary code and branding changes. The first two also remove all advertising from the plugin.

For anyone looking to return to the exact same functionality as the old plugin, any one of these will do the job.

Alternative Solutions

Straight ports are nice to have, especially for those who need to keep their data intact for many user accounts, but this could also be an opportunity for others to look at alternatives. And, custom user avatar solutions are a dime a dozen. There is a little something for everyone out there.

The following is nowhere near a comprehensive list. I have either tested or used most of these in the past couple of years. I encourage anyone to share plugins I did not include in the comments.

Simple Local Avatars

Topping any list of custom avatar solutions is Simple Local Avatars by 10up. The WordPress company is one of the most respected in the community, and its employees contribute heavily to core development. 10up tends to put together solid plugins.

Simple Local Avatars does just what it says on the box. It allows users to upload custom avatars to their site. It also generates requested image sizes on demand. It works alongside Gravatar, a feature that can be enabled or disabled. It also has built-in options for site administrators to grant permission to non-authorized roles to upload their photos.

WP User Avatars

WP User Avatars by John James Jacoby, a lead developer for bbPress and BuddyPress, is another simple plugin. Like many similar solutions, it adds a form for users to manage their avatar from their profile pages.

It is unique in that it works alongside a suite of other user-related plugins that Jacoby offers. While it can work on its own, it is at least worth checking out his WP User Profiles plugin, which overhauls WordPress profile pages. It and his other user-related plugins work in conjunction with each other. Plugin users can pick and choose which they wish to install.

User Profile Picture

There seems to be a pattern emerging here — users tend to love these simple avatar solutions. User Profile Picture by Cozmoslabs is another that fits this mold. It also includes a block to allow post or page authors to output any user’s profile (avatar, name, description, and posts link) on the site front end.

Users without permission to upload an image cannot add an avatar with this plugin alone. By default, this is the Administrator, Editor, and Author roles. Site admins will need to install either a permissions plugin or Cozmoslabs’ Profile Builder for the extra capability.

Pixel Avatars (Toolbelt)

Pixel Avatars is a privacy-first Gravatar replacement. It takes a different route than similar options by not providing a method to upload a custom avatar. Instead, it automatically generates unique avatars for each user with a bit of JavaScript. It is a fun twist on the typical avatar system.

Technically, this is not a standalone avatar plugin. The Pixel Avatars system is a sub-component of the Toolbelt plugin. Created by Ben Gillbanks, it is a collection of tools that he uses for most of his WordPress projects. It may be overkill for many, but each plugin module can be enabled or disabled based on user needs.

Local Gravatars

This plugin is also different from other solutions because it does not allow local avatar uploading. However, it is a solid alternative for those who just need faster load times, especially on posts that display dozens or hundreds of Gravatar images in the comments.

Local Gravatars by Ari Stathopoulos is a caching system. It stores Gravatar images on the user’s server for a week before flushing them out. This can make for a performance boost instead of hitting the Gravatar CDN for each image.

by Justin Tadlock at June 03, 2021 01:33 AM under Plugins

WPTavern: WordCamp Europe 2021 Online Schedule Announced

Mark your calendars for the next major WordPress event coming up at the beginning of next week. WordCamp Europe is just five days away and will run from June 7-9. In July 2020, organizers announced that in-person events would not resume until 2022. At that time, attendees were deeply disappointed but resigned to the necessity of online events due to the pandemic.

One of the advantages of scheduling a virtual event so far in advance is that organizers have been able to eliminate a great deal of uncertainty for attendees and their travel arrangements as well as have more time to create a better online experience. This is one of the few times in WordCamp Europe history where all attendees will be joining virtually, on equal footing from wherever they are in the world.

WCEU 2021 organizers have announced the speaker lineup and schedule for the upcoming three days of 30-minute sessions, 10-minute lightning talks, workshops, discussion panels, and interviews. Two tracks will run simultaneously.

The schedule includes some big-picture topics like full-site editing and the future of WordPress themes, as well as more technical topics such as how to quickly build custom blocks, setting up a WooCommerce data hub, headless WordPress, and accessing APIs using OAuth on the Federated Web. At the close of day 3, WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg will join the event for a virtual chat.

Business owners, project managers, designers, and other professionals will all find topics related to their work and interests. The schedule has a built-in favoriting tool so attendees can mark the sessions they plan to attend and then print or email to themselves for a personalized schedule. Every hour or so there will be 10-minute breaks so attendees will have time to talk with others and socialize. WCEU organizers are planning to host virtual networking rooms where attendees can meet sponsors and take part in product demos.

Registration is free and attendees will receive online goodiebags. Tickets are still available but organizers expect it to be another “sell out” year.

by Sarah Gooding at June 03, 2021 01:07 AM under WordCamp Europe

June 02, 2021

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

It’s really fun to contribute to something larger than yourself.

Matt Mullenweg’s words in “The Commons of Images” episode of the WP Briefing podcast exemplify the core philosophy of the WordPress project,  especially as we inch closer to the next major release (version 5.8). This post covers exciting updates from the month of May.


WordPress turns 18

WordPress celebrated the 18th anniversary of its launch on May 27, 2021. To celebrate 40+ releases and WordPress’ support of 40% of the web, the team released 40 milestones to celebrate the anniversary of the software. Here’s to the next 18 and beyond! 

CC Search joins WordPress and is renamed to Openverse

Creative Commons Search has officially joined the WordPress project. Creative Commons Search (CC Search) is a CC0 image search engine with over 500 million openly licensed images. The search product, which is being renamed to Openverse, will eventually live on the URL: https://wordpress.org/openverse. Contributors working on CC Search will continue their work as part of a new dedicated Make team: https://make.wordpress.org/openverse. Check out “The Commons of Images” podcast episode for more information.

WordPress 5.7.2 released

WordPress version 5.7.2, a short-cycle security release, came out on May 13. Get the latest version directly from your WordPress dashboard or by downloading it from WordPress.org.

Want to contribute to WordPress core? Check out 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 versions 10.6 and 10.7 are out

Gutenberg version 10.6 and version 10.7 were launched this month. Version 10.6 features experimental Duotone filters (which are shipping with WordPress 5.8), block pattern suggestions in placeholders, and enhancements to the table block. Version 10.7 adds a responsive navigation block, block design tools, and the ability to load block patterns from the directory.

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 latest “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

Don’t miss the latest Full Site Editing (FSE) Outreach program testing call on building portfolio pages using the Template Editing feature shipping with WordPress 5.8! The deadline is June 9. The team has published a recap of the Query Quest FSE Testing call, which shares some interesting results. The answers to round two of FSE questions are also out.

Countdown starts for WordCamp Europe 2021

The countdown to one of the most anticipated WordPress events, WordCamp Europe 2021 (Online), has started! The full schedule of the event is now available, and the team has exciting plans! Don’t miss this event: get your tickets now before they run 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 May’s Month in WordPress: @meher and @chaion07

by Hari Shanker R at June 02, 2021 06:23 PM under Month in WordPress

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June 15, 2021 04:45 PM
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