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January 15, 2022

Gutenberg Times: Level Up with Query Block, FSE for Classic Themes and more – Weekend edition #199

Howdy,

Yes, I am so happy to be back in Florida, and I enjoy the warmth of the sun, and the palm trees. ☀️ ⛱️ 🌴. Earlier this week, I was sitting outside chatting with my girlfriendsin Naples, FL, squinting into the setting sun. After sunset all we needed was a normal sweater to keep us comfortable as opposed to the 15 pounds of clothes, I had to put on in Whistler to spend five minutes outside.

Alas, the break is over. It’s down to the wire. We are a little over a week away from the WordPress 5.9 release on January 25th, 2022. If you haven’t caught up with all the new features, the Field Guide is now available on WordPress.org. Last week, I also published a reading list on block themes and full site editing for End-users, site builders and theme developers/designers.

The training team around Learn.WordPress released a ton of additional Social Learning events, that should make it easier for users to learn more about the Site editor, the Theme Blocks and the Styles interface. You’ll find the list of 12 upcoming event at the end of the newsletter. Big Thank you to Destiny Fox Kanno, for researching and compiling the list!

With that I leave you to the rest of the news around the Block editor.

Yours, 💕
Birgit

PS: Join us on Monday night at the virtual WordPress Meetup Boulder event about What’s new in WordPress 5.9 and a panel discussion with Brian Garnder, Courtney Robertson and yours truly.

Table of Contents

General Information on WordPress’ Block Editor

The founders of WPExperts.io, Saad Iqbal and Ahmed Salah, put on their magic hats and explained in their post “How Gutenberg will revolutionize the WordPress industry in 2022“.


Anne McCarthy joined DocPop and Nick Diego on the Torque Social Hour. They discussed WordPress 5.9 delay of the release, about accessibility, locking Blocks and also how the customizer is to work for with block themes or not.


On the WPTavern, Justin Tadlock gave an overview of What Are Block Themes? What You Need To Know Before WordPress 5.9 for those WordPress users, who only heard recently about Block Themes and Full site editing. It’s a great post to share with your clients, and users, that are just now getting interested in the WordPress 5.9 features.

 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2022” 
A chronological list of the WordPress Make Blog posts from various teams involved in Gutenberg development: Design, Theme Review Team, Core Editor, Core JS, Core CSS, Test and Meta team from Jan. 2021 on. Updated by yours truly. The index 2020 is here

Tools for Site Builders and Content Creators

Justin Tadlock at WPTavern reviewed Automattic’s Livro Is a Minimal Block Theme for Writers. Is a minmalistic block theme. It also is a bit opinionated on certain features and designs, but nothing that wasn’t possible to fix within the new site editor.


Jamie Marsland was a guest at the latest Do The Woo Podcast and discussed with Anne Maria Radu and Bob Dunn BobWP Woo Product Pages wtih Blocks and Full Site Editing customizations


Also, in Customizer Will Disappear for Some Block Theme Users With WordPress 5.9, Tadlock outlines how the Customizer is not going to go away.
Only when you activate a Block Theme. And only if you don’t have plugins installed that tap into the Customizer for additional feature settings. If you don’t change your theme, all your customization will stay in place and you won’t loose any Custom CSS code.


The first FSE course is live on Lean.WordPress.org: Simple Site Design with Full Site Editing. “This course will review the interconnected features that make up full site editing (FSE) and how they are going to help you create beautiful site designs without needing to use any code.” Check it out!


In her post What to expect in WordPress 5.9 from Gutenberg, Tammie Lister gives you a high-level overview of the features that make up Full Site Editing and will arrive at a WordPress instance near you, provided you activate a Block Theme.


In this video WooCommerce and Full Site Editing Jamie Marsland gives you a first look at what the team at PootlePress has been working on for the past two months. You get a sneak peak of the Single Product template that comes with the WooCommerce Blocks plugin.


Extendify launched a new pattern library plugin by the same name. It’s theme agnostic and includes a “library of reusable website patterns and full page layouts can be assembled to rapidly build beautiful websites.” You can read a longer review on the WPTavern site


Claire Brotherton published post Gutentor: A Popular and Powerful WordPress Page Builder Plugin. She reviewed building full page layouts with this plugin for various purposes and explains their screens. You can try the plugin yourself for free and install it directly from the WordPress plugins repository.


Between the holidays, Anne McCarthy expanded her Connecting the Dot YouTube Series with the video Level up with Query Loop block. This video focuses on how using the Query Loop block can both help you level up your content and streamline your workflows, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. “In this case, I recreated a page from a site I run letslifechat.com/lifechat-starters/ and showed off some of the neat things you can do to customize what I created further. ” McCarthy wrote.


Justin Tadlock reviewed in his post Creating Speech Balloons With the WordPress Block Editor the Liquid Speech Balloon plugin available in the WordPress repository. Its feature help you create conversations or quotes mimicking the text message interfaces. It’s a neat little add-in to the block editor. Tadlock offers a lot of detail and use cases. Check out his review

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

GitHub all releases

Theme building for Full Site Editing.

The recording of the first session Creating a block-based theme with Daisy Olsen and Ryan Welcher is now up on YouTube.

Topics covered:

  • Theme.json – 00:10:58
  • Parts/Templates/Patterns – 00:13:00
  • Starting the theme + theme.json – 00:23:00
  • Creating our first template + custom page template – 00:29:30
  • Defining a color palette, available fonts, Default font – 01:02:39
  • Finding CSS variables defined by theme.json – 01:15:50
  • Setting the site background color + primary text color- 01:18:30
  • Styling elements – 01:26:08
  • Talking about the Query Block – 0:1:29:43

Bookmark the playlist, session 2 and 3 follow.


Dave Smith gave a technical overview for the new Navigation block, that will be released with WordPress 5.9. Specifically he covered how the block saves its data and how decoupling this from the block’s presentation helps to make the block more powerful. You’ll find full details in the DevNote, also composed by Dave Smith.


Carolina Nymark updated her post on how to add full site editing features to classic themes with the latest information and tools. “The only two features not available to classic themes are the site editor and the global styles interface. You can add template editing to the theme and keep widgets and the customizer.” she wrote.

Extending the Block editor and building Custom Blocks

Fabian Kägy, developer with 10up, core contributor and friend of the Gutenberg Times, published a proposal on GitHub Discussions Proposal for opening the editor interface to more extensibility and asked for our input ideas and insights. Kägy list examples for suitable extensions, like allowing Posts without titles, allowing for semantic settings next to core settings or greater controls for the placement of panels in the sidebar of the editor. I learned quite a bit from Riad Benguella’s comment, especially about the fact that any extensibility feature built now also has to promised backwards compatibility for the future and that might hold the current development and explorations of the editor back.

If you are a plugin developer, it would be great if you could chime in on the GitHub discussion especially if you haven’t found a way to tap into the code base of the block editor as you used to with the Classic Editor.


Jason Bahl walks you through the latest update of his work on supporting Gutenberg Blocks in WPGraphQL and demos in his video the Query on post and block data. The code for the new WPGraphQL Block Editor integration can be found on GitHub. As Bahl mentiones in his video, this integration is in very early stages but he will explore some more to support Gutenberg blocks for Headless WordPress.


A long-standing request for an API that allows for locking blocks and patterns is now coming to WordPress 5.9. Read more from Sarah Gooding in here post WordPress 5.9 to Introduce New API for Locking Blocks with links to DevNote and documentation.


In the post React For WordPress Developers, Lax Mariappan recounts his story learning ReactJS, the Why of the investment of time and about the resources that are available.

12 WordPress Social Learning Events (and Meetups)

January 17, 2022 3 pm ET / 20:00 UTC
Advanced Layouts with the Block Editor with Wes Theron via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

January 17, 2022 8 pm ET / 1:00 UTC
What’s coming in WordPress 5.9 Panel discussion with Brian Gardner, Courtney Robertson, and Birgit Pauli-Haack via WordPress Meetup Boulder, Co

January 19, 2022 3:00 PM ET / 20:00 UTC
Zero to Block Theme Series #2: theme.json with Daisy Olsen and Sarah Snow via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

January 20, 2022 – 7 pm ET / 00:00 UTC
WordPress “Mega Meetup”: Block Patterns, WordPress 5.9
South Florida WordPress Meetup Group

January 21, 2022 – 7 pm ET / 00:00 UTC
Breaking it Down: Blocks, Patterns, And Templates with Roxy Kohilakis via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

January 23, 2022 – 4 pm ET / 21:00 UTC
WordPress: the Next Generation with Sallie Goetsch via The East Bay WordPress Meetup Group

January 24, 2022, 6 pm ET / 23:00 UTC
What Will WordPress 5.9 Mean for You? with Ray and Peter Ingersoll via WordPress Hartford, CT

January 26, 2022, 6 pm ET / 23:00 UTC
Intro to Templates and Template Parts (Full Site Editing) with Wes Theron via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

January 28, 2022, 3 pm ET / 20:00 UTC
Demo: Build Your Homepage Using Full Site Editing with Roxy Kohilakis via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

February 4, 2022, 3 pm ET / 20:00 UTC
Beginner’s Guide to Full Site Editing with Roxy Kohilakis via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

February 11, 2022 – 3 pm ET / 20:00 UTC
Breaking it Down: Blocks, Patterns, And Templates with Full Site Editing with Roxy Kohilakis via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

February 14, 2022 – 4 pm ET / 21:00 UTC
Exploring Theme Blocks with Wes Thoren via WordPress Social Learning Spaces


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by Birgit Pauli-Haack at January 15, 2022 02:47 AM under News

WPTavern: WordCamp Birmingham Postponed Due to Rising Local COVID-19 Infection Rates

WordCamp Birmingham’s organizers announced today that the in-person event planned for the first week in February is now postponed until April or May. Organizers had been planning the event since August 2021 and had just announced the last group of speakers a week ago.

“In the last 30 days, our local COVID-19 numbers have risen dramatically as a result of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant,” lead organizer Ryan Marks said in the announcement.

“The WordPress community is bigger than any single WordCamp. We cannot in good conscience continue forward with our event, given the current risk, since this decision could negatively impact other in-person WordCamps currently in the planning stages.”

Marks said all attendees will be automatically refunded within the next few days. WordPress Community Support administrator Angela Jin has prepared an official letter for those who need proof of cancellation for getting travel refunded.

WordCamp Birmingham organizers are looking at dates in April or May, 2022, but said that rescheduling will depend on local infection rates and venue availability. Their contract with the Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema allowed organizers to cancel without any loss of deposit as long as they gave more than seven days notice.

The event’s COVID-19 safety protocols, which were written before Omicron was spreading in the area, came under greater scrutiny a week ago. Shortly thereafter, organizers updated the guidelines to have a more rigid masking requirement, but some attendees and sponsors had already decided not to attend due to current conditions.

While WordCamp Birmingham organizers worked to update the COVID-19 safety protocols, more concerned community members condemned the gathering as “irresponsible” at a time when hospitals have been pushed to the brink.

Organizers continued to monitor the situation, hoping for the opportunity to hold a safe event. After assessing the timing of the event and the level of community spread, they unanimously decided to that it was necessary to postpone. They had also reached the point where some of their payments would have been nonrefundable and needed to act in stewardship of their funds.

“We knew that being the first in-person US WordCamp was both a risk and a responsibility,” lead organizer Ryan Marks said. “If we could do it safely, other WordCamps in the US could do the same. If lots of people got sick, we’d set back US WordCamps such as Montclair, NJ, and Buffalo, NY, and possibly the global program as a whole from moving toward having safe in-person WordCamps. 

“We saw news reports and estimates indicating Omicron cases would be peaking right as we were hosting WordCamp. That was sufficient for our organizing team to make the call to postpone. Pushing the event a couple months could mean a much safer event for everyone.”

Alabama has the second lowest percentage of vaccinated residents in the US, with just 48.1% fully vaccinated. The state currently has an average positive test rate of 37.4%. More than 25% of Alabama students have shifted to remote learning as more school systems have had to close due to record-breaking COVID rates.

“Our problem is we just don’t have enough adults to safely and effectively operate the school…in some cases, now we’re seeing up to 35% of the faculty report that they have COVID, or they’re close contact,” Alabama State Superintendent Eric Mackey told AL.com. The local mitigation efforts are not working to slow the spread of Omicron in the Birmingham area right now.

Many attendees communicated their disappointment about the postponed WordCamp on social media but were supportive of the organizers’ decision.

When WordCamp Birmingham’s organizers began planning in August, they had no idea that a new more transmissible variant would be making its way across the world just as the in-person event was set to kick off. The timing is unfortunate, and the stakes are too high to risk pushing forward.

WordCamp Birmingham’s previously selected speakers will be invited to speak at the rescheduled event, pandemic conditions permitting. The 200 people who signed up to attend will need to buy their tickets again and reschedule their accomodations.

“Our goal is to have the same great event we have currently planned, just a bit later,” Marks said.

by Sarah Gooding at January 15, 2022 01:32 AM under wordcamp

WPTavern: Wicked Plugins Launches UI-Based WordPress Block Builder

Last week, Wicked Plugins launched version 1.0 of its Wicked Block Builder. I have kept my eye on this plugin since its November 2021 beta release. The project promised that developers would be able to “effortlessly build custom blocks,” and I was finally ready to put that to the test.

In the past two months, I have activated the plugin every so often. I knew a review of it would take me a while, and I would deactivate it before diving in. I kept feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of it — there are tons of settings to configure. The holiday season did not help either. I wanted to sit down with a clear head and decide whether this plugin was something developers in the WP Tavern audience should put in their toolbox.

The short answer: yes.

Or, at least you should give it a spin to see how it compares to similar plugins. This is a version 1.x project, so there are still some missing pieces. However, it will make client builds easier to put together without writing anything more than CSS for custom blocks.

When I first began using the plugin, I seemed to hit issue after issue. Like always, I was trying to run before I could walk. I like to test new plugins at full speed and often forget to stop and RTFM. With complex projects like Wicked Block Builder, I must remind myself that it is OK to seek help from the docs.

The plugin has a bit of a learning curve if you want to do anything advanced. My suggestion is to do the opposite of what I did. Start with a simple use case.

Fortunately, the plugin development team has a tutorial video that will have you building custom blocks in less than five minutes. I recommend following along when creating your first.

Once I hopped over that initial hurdle, using the plugin was a breeze.

The plugin allows developers to add blocks, block categories, patterns, and pattern categories. I primarily focused on block creation. The plugin worked in much the same way as other pattern builders.

Following along with the tutorial video, I created a Resource Card block. It included an image, title, summary, and button.

Building the editor view for a custom block.

There are multiple tabs for developers to build out their blocks. Aside from the primary Settings tab, most of the work will happen under Attributes and Editor View. The Front-end View is only necessary if the block’s output does not match what it looks like in the editor. The screen also has a Styles panel for adding custom CSS, which is loaded for the editor and front-end.

The UI seems mostly straightforward when following along with the tutorial. However, there are tons of options, and it is easy to get lost once you start digging into them all.

Once I pieced together my custom block, it correctly appeared in the inserter. I also tested a slash command for /resource card to ensure it worked.

Inserting custom block into the editor.

A couple of missing features I immediately noticed once inserting my block was a custom icon and example/preview. Both are relatively simple to add when creating a block type from code, so I hope they are on the agenda for a future version.

While searching for the custom block type via the inserter worked, I would also welcome an option to create custom keywords.

I filled in the details of the Resource Card block and saved it.

Block content customized.

To my surprise, I did not break anything. I began wondering, Could creating blocks be this easy?

I ran through a few other simple block ideas, and the experience was enjoyable. While I no longer work with clients, I could see how this could save hours. Pairing it with template locking would also be a routine use case so that clients would only need to plug in their content and publish.

There are some block-supported features that I would like to see added. The plugin currently allows devs to enable alignment and wide alignment. However, others like spacing, typography, and color would be easy wins.

I tested the free version of the Wicked Block Builder. For simple blocks, it worked well. For more complex use cases, developers will need to upgrade to the pro version. It runs between $49 and $299 per year, depending on the number of supported sites.

While I have not tested the pro version, it does offer post and term selects, repeater fields, conditional logic, and inner-block support. After exhausting the basics, these will likely be necessary on some projects. However, the free version can still get you pretty far.

by Justin Tadlock at January 15, 2022 12:42 AM under Reviews

January 14, 2022

WPTavern: Creating Speech Balloons With the WordPress Block Editor

I do not know how I overlooked LIQUID SPEECH BALLOON. The plugin is less than a month shy of being three years old, and I follow block-related projects religiously. This one slipped through the cracks, at least until I haphazardly stumbled upon it when searching for something else entirely.

It is also relatively popular for a single-block plugin. There are not that many with more than 10,000 active installs. I had to know what it was doing to draw such a crowd.

In the comments on yesterday’s post about Automattic’s Livro theme, Nick Hamze wanted to know where all the fun theme designs were. Perhaps it was fortuitous timing that I also happened to be playing around with a plugin that might fit the bill. Sure, it is not a theme, but it can definitely be used to spruce up an otherwise boring or plain design.

So, I spun up a few Speech Balloon blocks and just had fun creating a chat with a some cartoon animals:

Inserting and customizing multiple Speech Balloon blocks.

I tend to gravitate toward clean, open-canvas themes because they allow me to add all the fun elements via the post content. That is why I love finding plugins like LIQUID SPEECH BALLOON. They add that visual flair to pages that can sometimes be boring.

Using the plugin’s Speech Balloon block is straightforward. It presents users with a single section for inserting rich text content.

Default Speech Balloon block.

In the block options sidebar, users can choose an avatar. They can also make several design adjustments, including background and text colors.

The block is falling slightly behind the times, though. Since the plugin’s release nearly three years ago, WordPress has added several new design components that could be used to make its block even better, such as padding, border, and typography controls.

The plugin can also be used for testimonials or other types of reviews. It works well enough for more business-friendly layouts if that is the sort of thing you are after.

Creating testimonials with the Speech Balloon block.

The plugin’s biggest failure is in how it handles avatars. It is also why it does not make for the best option for testimonials. Users cannot add avatars directly via the block. Instead, they must register them via an entirely separate admin screen. Then, they can select from their saved avatars list within the block.

Under the Settings > LIQUID SPEECH BALLOON page, the plugin presents users with several rows of fields. They can add a name and image URL for each avatar.

Plugin’s avatar settings.

This is where the user experience falls apart a bit. There is no way to upload avatars on this screen. Instead, users must upload them via their media library, copy the URL, and paste it into the image URL field.

The plugin provides the necessary documentation and links to work through this process. The overall experience is simply lackluster.

However, if users only need a limited number of avatars, the system works well enough once everything is uploaded. The images are always available whenever inserting the Speech Bubble block — no need to search through the media library or upload a new one.

I am not sure if this will go in my plugin toolbox. Outside of a few stylistic elements, such as the speech bubble’s tail, users could readily recreate something similar with a few blocks, as shown in the following screenshot:

Custom speech bubbles pattern.

Within a few minutes, I created this with what is already available in core WordPress, and I actually had several more design choices by doing so. I could see keeping a block pattern on hand for such a layout in the future.

For those who want a quick and easy solution without all the fuss of mixing and matching blocks, LIQUID SPEECH BALLOON would be the better option.

by Justin Tadlock at January 14, 2022 02:22 AM under Reviews

January 13, 2022

WPTavern: Automattic’s Livro Is a Minimal Block Theme for Writers

Sometimes the sweetest things in life are the simplest. Automattic’s latest block theme landed in the review queue yesterday, and I had to give it a spin. What I found was a minimally-elegant design that I fell in love with.

Really. I even dedicated an entire demo post on my install to it:

Single post with gallery and pull-quote.

Well, that and Valentine’s Day is a mere month away. It felt like the right time to mix up my install’s test content anyway.

Let me preface the rest of this review by saying that I hate dark themes with a fiery passion. However, every now and again, one comes along that makes me rethink my position. Livro is one such theme. I may dislike it in a week, but I have genuinely loved using it for two days.

The theme’s most impressive feat was using a single font family, Newsreader, across the entire design. It never felt like it needed anything else to separate body copy, secondary text, and headings.

Livro will not meet everyone’s needs — not by a long shot. However, it is the sort of theme that will appeal to those who do not like any bells and whistles whatsoever. The type where content reigns supreme, where a few words and pictures are all that is necessary to make a point.

I did not immediately hop on this whirlwind affair with Livro at first sight. Things started a bit rocky. The theme managed to implement my top three pet-peeves:

  1. It displays post content instead of excerpts on blog/archive pages.
  2. It shows the featured image at the top of the page on single posts, creating duplicate image output when that same image is used in the content.
  3. Its navigation menu lists all of my site’s pages by default. All 90+ of them.

One extra issue I noticed with the post content on the blog and archive pages was that wide and full-aligned blocks were the same width as normal content. I do not know if that is a WordPress or theme-specific issue. Since I planned on switching to excerpts, I did not look too deeply into the code.

The Navigation block issue is, in part, a problem with WordPress itself. It will fall back to the core Page List block in specific scenarios. However, theme authors can also address this via the block_core_navigation_render_fallback hook, introduced in Gutenberg 12.1.

Fortunately, all of these issues are dead simple to correct in the world of block themes. The site editor is just a click away, and users are no longer bound to the oddities of otherwise solid theme designs. In moments, I was able to customize how things looked.

Removing featured image from single posts via site editor.

The theme bundles 15 block patterns in total. Eight of them are for headers, and five are for footers. Most of these are variations on the same concept, primarily changing the position of the default elements.

I was a little disappointed to not see more variety for page or general-use patterns. The theme ships one for an About page and another for a Contact page. They both use an offset-column design that I hope one day gets dropped into the black hole where other web design trends go to die.

The nav menu’s “x” close button is on the far right edge of the screen, but the open icon is on the far left. This is more of a problem with WordPress’s handling of the Navigation block than the theme. Nevertheless, it is still irritating trying to find the close button. Ideally, the open and close buttons would always be in the same place.

One way to mitigate this issue is to use the “Header with site title on left and button on right” pattern — yes, all the short names were taken on header-pattern naming day.

Using a pattern to change the header design.

Users can switch it by modifying the Header template in the site editor. It puts the nav menu open button on the right side of the page. The close button will still be slightly off, but it is a better experience than the default.

For a theme that I claim to love, I did focus on its downsides in this review. Part of that is to show that such issues need not always be the reason to overlook a block-based theme. If they are relatively minor problems, it does not take a programmer to make those adjustments. All of the design elements that I enjoyed about the theme were already there. It just needed some coaxing to make it perfect for me.

I would still like to see the Automattic Theme Team add a few patterns to the mix. Livro’s clean canvas seems to invite a mashup of media and text blocks.

by Justin Tadlock at January 13, 2022 01:46 AM under Reviews

January 12, 2022

WPTavern: Extendify Launches New Pattern Library Plugin

Extendify has simplified access to its pattern library with a new plugin that offers patterns and full-page layouts for WordPress sites using Gutenberg-friendly themes. The company has high expectations for the product, publishing it under the name “Extendify” as its flagship free plugin in the official directory.

Although a different version of the pattern library is included in Extendify’s popular Gutenberg Template Library & Redux Framework plugin, which has more than a million active installs, this new plugin is focused simply on site design tools.

“If you’ve tried out the Extendify Library previously, then you’ll find this new version is completely refreshed,” Extendify’s Head of Product Rich Tabor said. “We rebuilt the library, and all our patterns/layouts, from the ground up — with a focus on augmenting the editing experience of both existing and new themes.”

Extendify functions as a SaaS connector plugin that uses a custom API to fetch block patterns and page layouts from the company’s servers. Once installed, the plugin has no separate settings page. Extendify adds a “Library” button at the top of the editor to launch a modal with patterns and layouts.

If you haven’t selected a “Site Type” in the sidebar of the modal, all the patterns and layouts will be black and white. Selecting a Site Type will update the previews to show insert industry-specific copy and pictures with color.

If you find a page layout that you like, it’s easy to get a beautifully designed page in a matter of seconds. However, the way it is set up at the moment, free users only have access to five imports. Subscribers can get unlimited imports for $49.50/year for one site.

Users who are not planning to upgrade must be judicious about the patterns and layouts they choose to preview on the page. The plugin will warn free users about the remaining number of imports before proceeding. This mode of limitation may slow the plugin’s adoption, because users have to be careful about trying too many patterns and layouts on their sites. The plugin’s FAQs state that “Each user receives a limited number of imports completely free” but users would be better served by knowing that it’s a total of five imports before installing.

One of the good things about the plugin is that it is theme-agnostic and the patterns and layouts should still work nicely, even if you decide to change themes.

“All our patterns and layouts are built completely with core blocks, infused with a clever utility design system (which lets us have neat patterns like this one and are built to be Full Site Editing / Block Theme first – although we support most themes that support Gutenberg properly),” Tabor said.

Previously, Extendify’s pattern library was only available as an SDK inside the company’s other related Gutenberg projects. This plugin makes it more accessible for site builders who only need the pattern/layout capabilities.

“This effort was geared towards lowering that barrier and bringing the best of what we have to offer to anyone interested in building sites with the block editor,” Tabor said. “The new Extendify plugin is really the first big push in this direction, but we’re also leaning in on other ways to augment the editing experience to better empower both small business owners and site builders alike.

“Block themes are where the future is and we’re aiming for the pole position with this newest effort.”

by Sarah Gooding at January 12, 2022 11:16 PM under patterns

Post Status: Impossibly Knotted Together: Meditations on the WordPress Community

What might “WordPress Community 4.0” look like?

This article is part of a conversation we'd like you to join.

What were the good and bad features of the first three versions of the WordPress community? What were the major bugs? What should the Post Status community look like in 2022 — and beyond? What should leadership in this space look like? What are the principles that should drive it? What are your own questions and What Ifs?

You can leave a comment here or get in touch on any Post Status channel, on or off the record. Blog about it. Tweet about it. Write for us. Help start this needed conversation.

WordPress Friends

I first meet J as she’s staffing a table at a WordCamp. We talk about what brought us there, what we did before being involved in the WordPress community, what we hope to get from the day. There’s a problem she’s working through and I mention someone who has been through something similar, in case it helps. She tells me about a resource I hadn’t heard of, and I’m excited to check it out.

Over the years that follow, J and I remain WordPress friends. At various times we encounter each other at events, in elevators, at receptions, across hallways, during meals, in Slack. The conversation picks back up where it left off. “How’d that thing go?” “You did an awesome job navigating that conflict!” “How’s your new team at work?” “Congrats on that cool thing you launched!” Being a part of the WordPress community gives J and me an anchor point, a foundation, and we build on it from there.

There are many WordPress friends. I may not encounter them for months or years, and the connections may not always be as wide or deep as other friendships, but they have a special place in my heart. I smile when I notice them, online or in person. I celebrate their successes. I cherish our shared experience of building something together.

Elders

We have to talk more about the role of elders in our community. Definitely not elder as in “old entitled men” but elder as in “someone with life experience and wisdom who can be looked to for guidance as the community evolves.” We are old enough as a community to have elders, whether we see them as such or not.

As communities go through transitions and face challenges, it’s often the elders who ground us and guide us. Not by wielding their power to keep order or fighting for the status quo, but by helping us weave the stories of our origins and past into our dreams for the future. This can happen in code, in community conversations, in documentation, or anywhere else. 

Elders can help us build relationships and connections across different parts of the community, promoting mutual respect and welcoming newcomers. Elders can pass down knowledge, teaching, and modeling cultural traditions and beliefs. Elders can deal with discrimination and oppression, using their standing to call out problematic behavior. Elders can help build sustainable infrastructure, making sure there are tools and services in place for the challenges we will face. Elders can help protect our identity while also helping us to adapt and evolve.

How do WordPress community elders see themselves and their role? If they aren’t being celebrated for committing the latest hotness to an upcoming release or giving an exciting WordCamp talk, do we let them just fade into the background? If they branch out into other interests beyond WordPress, do we still find ways to harness their experiences and wisdom? Do we take care of them as they take care of us?

Do our elders even know they are elders? Are you a WordPress community elder?

A Recipe for Community

Small enough that you can make a difference
Big enough that you can grow
Comfortable enough that you feel supported
Challenging enough that you stay flexible
Filled with people who want the best for you
Intentional places and spaces for celebrating
Just enough certainty to create a sense of purpose
Just enough uncertainty to keep us humble
Norms, ground rules and accountability
Patience and respect built on safety and care
Creative, kind and loving acts at the heart
When people get a taste, they wonder
Who created this, and how can I be a part of it? 

The Matt Factor

I was a WordPress user and developer for 10 years before I knew who Matt Mullenweg is. I’d bet that most WordPress users still don’t know who he is. And yet conversations about what Matt wants, what Matt thinks, what Matt is going to do sometimes play an outsized role in our community. People can worry when they think a thing they love or depend on is too much in the hands of forces they don’t know or understand. Nobody wants a broken heart.

For a time I ended up working for Matt, reporting to Matt. I discovered that he has a superpower: he can see around corners and beyond horizons in ways that few other people can. I’d suspect time travel is involved if I didn’t know better. Sometimes he has trouble bringing the rest of us along, like trying to show a 19th-century carpenter the schematics for a space station. Other times, I think it’s just too many hearts and hopes and dreams for one person to carry gently. But on the whole, Matt is responsible for leading us to some amazing milestones.

When things go well, Matt usually credits people in the community. When things aren’t going well, Matt usually gets or takes the blame. When we challenge him thoughtfully, he usually welcomes the growth and learning that goes with it. But Matt knows that WordPress and the WordPress community are bigger than him. I think he’s happy to be a part of building a thing that will outlive him, and probably all of us. He’s made it his life’s work. We can honor and celebrate that legacy without reservation.

As a community, we can also build for a future that does not depend on any one person. We can make sure there’s a plan for maintaining our “commons.” There are other superpowers out there; I bet you have at least one to contribute. If we do it right, a shared vision for our community’s future will come from everyone who loves or benefits from WordPress in some way.

Resilience

When intentional communities form in the real world, their members think about the characteristics that will make their community resilient, sustainable, and able to thrive. These characteristics might include:

  • Human scale
  • Control, influence, trust
  • Connection
  • Shared purpose
  • Continuity
  • Diversity
  • Collaboration
  • Welcoming and supportive
  • Clear decision-making processes
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Respect and pride
  • Safety
  • Good communication
  • Cooperative

We can’t always choose our fellow community members and software that powers a huge chunk of the web is hard to make small and local again. But what can we learn from intentional communities? When you examine the physical places and spaces in your world that feel most welcoming, thriving, and sustainable, what do you notice?

Do we want to create community experiences that are not so small as to preclude diversity, space, and freedom, but small enough to be accessible and not overwhelming? How can we make the daily experience of being in the WordPress community more personal, meaningful, and accessible?

If real-world communities have a distinct center, defined boundaries, smaller sub-centers of activity, and open areas flowing all around, what does that look like for the WordPress community? How can we make sure our community spaces evolve to support interactive and supportive social structures?

As pandemics and climate crises and polarization and uncertainty circle around us, what would it mean to feel grounded and safe in a resilient WordPress community?

Adapted in part from Chapter 4 of Norwood and Smith’s “Rebuilding Community in America” (1995).

We Are at the Beginning

Even with its wonderful diversity and global reach, I don’t think we’ve even begun to explore the WordPress community niches that exist out there. 

You could probably have a gathering for Canadian WordPress developers under 40 who specialize in funeral home websites and get a solid showing.

There could be an entire weekly newsletter devoted to tips for pet adoption and rescue organizations who use WordPress to help animals find their forever homes, and someone would still suggest it needs to come out daily.

The trials and tribulations of the Restaurants On WordPress scene are waiting to be chopped apart, lightly sauteed and served up with a side of Food Blogger Business Models.

There are WordPress sub-communities and sub-cultures and niches and nooks and crannies that would take a lifetime to begin uncovering and exploring. There are so many stories to tell, and so many of them are nothing like our own. If we are to appreciate the beauty of the WordPress community as a whole, we have to seek them out.

Beware anyone who tells you that they fully understand the WordPress community, or that they have their finger on the pulse of all things WordPress. Some of us have made more stops than others, but we are all travelers in a wonderful vastness that has no end.

by Dan Knauss at January 12, 2022 11:00 PM under Planet

Akismet: How to Stop Comment Spam in WordPress

Comment sections can be goldmines for engaging with your audience. Yet unmoderated comments can quickly descend into chaos. If you don’t keep an eye out for spam, it may overrun every comment section on your website. These messages can scare real readers away, and prevent them from interacting with other users (and with you).

In most cases, spam is easy to recognize. Users or guests will leave links to other websites without explaining why, or start talking about products and services that have nothing to do with your content. If you put measures in place to stop these messages, you can keep your comment sections protected and valuable to your audience.

In this article, we’re going to take a good look at how spam appears in a comment section. We’ll show you how to identify spam comments on your WordPress websites, and talk about how they negatively affect your website. Finally, we’ll show you eight ways to prevent comment spam in WordPress. Let’s get to it!

What is comment spam?

If you use the internet, you’re already familiar with spam. You probably get dozens of emails per week advertising fraudulent products and offers. But spam messages don’t just come in the shape of emails — they’re everywhere on the web.

Spammers tend to gravitate towards comment sections because they offer the opportunity to target a broad audience. On popular blogs, it’s not uncommon to have comment sections with dozens of users engaging in discussion. A single spam comment pointing to another website can easily get a few clicks, and even more so if it blends into the conversation.

Generally speaking, comment spam is any content with the sole purpose of pointing visitors towards other websites. Spam commenters may be trying to get people to buy or sign up for something, phish sensitive information from visitors, or install malware on their device. Occasionally you’ll see legitimate comments that point readers towards third-party websites, but these links have to make sense in the context of the discussion.

It can be tempting to simply ignore comment spam, but that can have a negative impact on your website. If you visit a site and you see that its comment sections are overrun with spam messages, you might not trust its content or the business that owns it. We’ll touch on other ways that spam can affect your site, but first let’s talk about how to spot this type of comment.

How to identify comment spam

Spam comments tend to be very easy to spot. In a lot of cases, bots — not actual people — are behind them. These bots are programmed to target comment sections that don’t require any type of verification and post messages that will lead readers to third-party websites.

If you’re ever on the fence about whether a comment is spam or not, there are several signs that you can check for. Signs of comment spam include:

  • The comment comes from a guest account or one with a generic name
  • The user doesn’t have an avatar
  • The comment includes links to third-party websites
  • There are mentions of products, services, and benefits to readers
  • The comment has little or nothing to do with the discussion at hand

Trolls vs spam

Sometimes, you might get comments in poor taste or that don’t add anything to the discussion. Those commenters may be genuine in their opinions and honestly think that they’re contributing to the community, or they may be trolling. But those comments are not necessarily spam.

There are a couple of key differences between trolls and spam. Trolls are real people and spam is most often spread by bots. Also, a troll’s main goal is to disrupt discussion, sow division, and elicit emotional responses from other individuals. The main goal of spam is usually some kind of financial gain, whether it’s an unethical (but genuine) marketing tactic, or an attempt to scam people.

Why are comment spam bots targeting your website?

If you’re working on your first WordPress website, you may think that spam bots have it out for you. Unfortunately, comment spam is something that almost every website has to deal with (unless you turn comments off entirely). 

Bots crawl the web looking for comment sections that they can target. They don’t differentiate between sites that are and are not relevant to the websites, products, and services that they’re promoting. For spammers, it’s all a matter of numbers. If they leave thousands of comments across many different websites, at least some readers will take the bait.

Some of those users will go on to share personal information or even payment details that spammers can steal. In some cases, spammers might benefit directly from making sales to users who aren’t aware of their underhanded practices.

Comment sections can be an incredible source for engaging discussions and ideas within your website. They can encourage users to look out for new posts and build relationships with other commenters. On the other hand, the price that you pay for having a comment section is needing to deal with spam.

Luckily, WordPress empowers you with several tools and features that make dealing with spam comments that much easier. We’ll explore those in a second, but for now let’s talk about the rest of the ways that spam comments can affect your website.

Four ways that spam comments negatively affect your website

1. Spam comments diminish trust 

If you come across a website that looks credible, but it’s full to the brim with spam comments, you might believe that the site is abandoned. At the very least, you’ll tell yourself that its owners might not care about cleaning up their comment sections, or that they don’t pay attention to comments at all.

The more obvious the spam is, the more negatively it will impact your website’s image.

Tech-savvy users might not judge you too harshly for having spam on your website, since they understand where it comes from. But not all of your audience will know that they should ignore spam comments.

Some users will see spam and think that since it’s on your website, you’re endorsing it or promoting the offers the comments include. If that translates to them making a scam purchase or sharing personal information online, it will diminish their trust in you.

If you have a website with a comment section, it’s your responsibility to keep it clean, and not just so that your site looks better. You have to consider that some of your audience doesn’t have the technical know-how to differentiate spam offers from real content, and it’s your job to ‘protect’ them while they’re on your site.

2. Real comments can get lost among spam entries

If you’re a user trying to have a real discussion in a comment section, navigating spam can be frustrating. Genuine replies to the topic at hand can easily get lost as bots overrun the comment section.

That frustration can lead to users deciding that commenting on your content is simply not worth it. Comments can be a great source for critical discussion about your posts, questions that can lead to new content, and even users simply thanking you for your efforts.

If you allow spam to run unchecked on your website, you lose out on a lot of the value that comment sections can provide. At that point, you might be better off disabling comments altogether.

3. Spam can impact your website’s search engine optimization (SEO)

Getting a website to rank well on search engines takes a lot of time and effort. Often, it can take months or even years to grow a website to the point where it’s getting decent traffic from search results. That process involves dozens of SEO tasks, tweaking your pages and posts so they’re well-optimized, and publishing better content than your competitors.

Unfortunately, spam comments can negatively impact your SEO if you leave them unchecked. Most spam includes links to external websites, and search engines can’t differentiate between those links and the ones that you include within your content.

From the search engine’s perspective, all they see is that your website suddenly includes a lot of ‘low-value’ links. Since links are one of the many signals that search engines use to determine rankings, spam comments can cause your site to plummet in the results. 

Considering how critical search engine traffic is to most websites’ growth, you can’t allow spam comments to linger on your site. That’s why you need to put measures in place to prevent spam, and to weed it out if it makes it past your defenses.

4. Spam can slow down your website

If you’re getting a lot of spam bots attempting to submit comments, these requests can affect your website’s performance. If your site is having to handle thousands of spam submissions a day, that can use up a lot of your site’s resources — especially if you’re on a budget hosting plan. Additionally, if you let spam comments pile up, you may end up with some serious database bloat, further slowing your site’s load times. 

If your readers have to wait a long time for your pages to render, they’re less likely to stick around to read your content, let alone leave a comment (unless it’s to complain about how slow your site is).

How to prevent comment spam in WordPress

At this point, we wouldn’t blame you if you’re very concerned. Spam causes a lot of problems, and it’s almost guaranteed that bots will try and post these types of messages on your site. So what can you do about it?

The good news is that WordPress offers a variety of ways in which you can prevent and filter spam comments from your WordPress website. In this section, we’ll explore all of the approaches that you can take to prevent spam and protect your comment sections.

1. Use a plugin to filter spam comments

The best way to deal with spam is to use a plugin that can automatically detect which comments are legitimate and which ones aren’t. That’s a lot to ask from a plugin, but it’s precisely what Akismet does.

When you use Akismet, the plugin analyzes each comment that visitors submit on your website. It accesses Akismet’s global database and checks to see if the comments match other known spam entries and sources.

All of that happens in the background, in a matter of seconds. If Akismet marks a comment as spam, it’s flagged and it doesn’t get published. Fortunately, you can also review these comments manually, to double-check that no real entries get flagged by mistake.

If you want to approve a comment, you can mark it for publication and it will show up on your website. But you save a lot of time by focusing only on the comments that Akismet flags versus reviewing every comment submission manually.

There is a free version of the plugin, which is perfect for most websites. On the other hand, if you’re running a commercial site or get a large volume of traffic, you’ll want to look into premium plans.

2. Disable WordPress comments altogether

If you want to stop spam altogether, you can disable comments throughout your website. This is an extreme approach, so we only recommend that you disable comments if you’re certain that they won’t contribute anything to your site.

To disable comments in WordPress, access your dashboard and go to Settings  Discussion. Look for the section that reads Default post settings at the top of the screen, and uncheck the Allow people to submit comments on new posts option:

That setting will disable comments for every post that you publish from now on. But comments will remain active for old posts and pages. To disable those comment sections, go into the Posts or Pages tab. Select a post or page, and click on Quick edit below its name. You’ll see an option that reads Allow Comments.

If that option is checked, disable it. Repeat this process for every page and post where you want to disable comments.

Depending on the type of website you’re running, disabling comments altogether might cost you some user engagement. Fortunately, there are other ways to reduce spam.

3. Force users to register before they can comment

One of the best ways to reduce comment spam in WordPress is to make it more difficult for bots to make submissions. Forcing bots to register and log in before they can comment can go a long way towards reducing spam entries on your posts and pages.

WordPress enables you to do that by checking a single setting on your website. Go to Settings Discussion and scroll down to the Other comment settings section. Tick the box for the setting that reads Users must be registered and logged in to comment.

By enabling that setting, you force spammers and bots to go through the registration process if they want to submit anything on your website. In a lot of cases, that can be enough to deter spammers. But since spam user registration does happen, you may have to implement a few more preventative measures.

4. Hold comments for approval before publishing them

By default, WordPress publishes comments as soon as users submit them. It also comes with a moderation queue where you can review comments and approve or reject them before they go live.

You can configure WordPress so that your website requires you to approve every comment manually. To do so, go to Settings Discussion and scroll down to the Before a comment appears section. Enable the setting that reads Comment must be manually approved.

There’s also another setting that tells WordPress it can automatically publish comments if you’ve already approved submissions from the same user. That setting can save you a lot of time, as you’ll only have to review submissions from each user once.

To access pending comments, click on the chat box icon in the top menu within the dashboard. That icon should display a number to its right, which shows the number of pending comments in the queue.

From this screen, you can review comments one by one and approve those that aren’t spam. If you see a spam comment, you can delete it permanently.

Generally speaking, there aren’t many situations where it makes sense for legitimate comments to include links. Your readers might want to point each other towards relevant content, but usually, comments that include links tend to fall into the spam category.

WordPress offers an elegant solution to that problem by enabling you to configure how many links a comment can include before it gets flagged as spam. You can find that setting on the Settings Discussion page under the Comment Moderation section.

By default, WordPress will flag any comment that includes two or more links within its body. If you want to play it safe, you can reduce that number to one link. This means any comments that include links will go into the moderation queue to await your approval.

This section also enables you to set keywords that WordPress will use to flag comments. If it detects those words within new comments, WordPress will hold them in the moderation queue. Some common keywords that you can set include:

  • Buy/sell
  • Make/earn money
  • Offer
  • Stock and shipment

All of those keywords are pretty good indicators of spam comments. You can be as aggressive as you want when it comes to choosing what terms to filter, but keep in mind that this means you’ll need to spend more time approving comments manually.

Rather than deciding what keywords to ‘blocklist’ on your own, you can also benefit from the collective experience of the WordPress community. For example, you might download the recommended Comment Blacklist for WordPress that’s featured on GitHub.

6. Add a CAPTCHA to your comment sections

You may have noticed that a lot of comment sections force you to solve a CAPTCHA before you can submit an entry. CAPTCHAs are simple tests designed to stop bots from posting and ensure that you’re a human. 

WordPress doesn’t include CAPTCHA functionality out of the box. The good news is that you can easily add this feature using a plugin like reCaptcha.

This plugin enables you to add CAPTCHAs to multiple elements within your website. You can add them to comment sections, registration and login forms, contact forms, and more.

If visitors (or bots) can’t solve the CAPTCHAs, they won’t be able to submit comments. But CAPTCHAs don’t always catch every spam comment. Bots become smarter each day and often find ways around even the trickiest of puzzles.  

7. Use a third-party comment system

The WordPress comment system works seamlessly and includes a lot of features to make your life easier. Yet it lacks things like social media integration and the ability for visitors to reply using images or GIFs, emoticons, and other options.

If you want to give your audience access to that type of functionality, you can replace the default WordPress comment system with a different one altogether. There are plenty of WordPress plugins that enhance your comment section:

  1. wpDiscuz: This plugin extends the native WordPress comment system and adds new options like custom layouts, live notifications, responsive comment sections, and more. 
  2. WP Social Comments: With this plugin, visitors will be able to use their Facebook account to leave comments on your website.
  3. Super Socializer: This plugin enables you to use the Facebook commenting system in WordPress and lets users log in with their social media accounts.
  4. Jetpack Comments: Visitors can log in using their social media accounts, like other people’s comments, and receive a notification when another user replies.

Comment plugins that include social media components offer a fantastic way to reduce spam in WordPress. By forcing users to log in through social media to comment, you make it harder for spammers to submit fake entries on your website.

8. Set up a web application firewall (WAF)

Using a WAF can help you prevent attackers from accessing your website. WAFs enable you to configure rules that govern who can use your site. That means you can block IP addresses, visitors from specific regions, bots that try to access your site repeatedly in short amounts of time, and more.

If you’ve ever run into a website that uses Cloudflare or Sucuri, then you’ve already seen WAFs in action. Most content delivery networks (CDNs) offer WAF functionality, since it helps them protect their users against malicious traffic.

Using a CDN will also help you improve load times throughout your website. Depending on which service you use, you might also get access to features like automatic image optimization, denial of service (DDoS) protection, and more.

Some CDNs will help protect your website against known bots and spammers. Simply enabling the CDN will block those known agents from accessing your website and being able to leave comments.

Spam is unavoidable, but it can be defeated

If you have comment sections on your website, you’re going to be faced with spam. Spam bots are everywhere, and if you ignore them, they can quickly overrun your comment sections with links to other websites and offers that will scare some of your real visitors away.

Fortunately, WordPress offers a number of ways to deal with comment spam. You can use built-in settings to make it harder for spammers to submit responses to your posts and pages. You can also use plugins that automatically filter out easily recognizable WordPress comment spam, add CAPTCHAs to your comment sections, or require visitors to log in using their social media accounts.

If you want a simple but effective solution, you can begin by setting up Akismet. This plugin will automatically filter spam comments on your WordPress website, so you don’t have to spend time going over your entire moderation queue manually. Akismet also integrates with some of WordPress’ most popular plugins like Jetpack, Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, Formidable Forms, and others.

by Simon Keating at January 12, 2022 10:09 AM under Spam

WPTavern: What Are Block Themes? What You Need To Know Before WordPress 5.9

WordPress 5.9 is set to launch on January 25, and many users will be in for a surprise. The upcoming release will be the most monumental shift in how the platform works since the introduction of the block-based content editor in 5.0. Block themes, global styles, and the site editor will kick-start a new future for WordPress.

For the average WP Tavern reader, this is not news. We have covered block themes here for over a year. For those out of the loop, there is a lot to catch up on within the next two weeks.

One of the complaints with the launch of the block editor in 2018 was that users could only opt-out of using it by installing Classic Editor or a related plugin. This is not the case for the new features in 5.9. Users can keep on using their current setup without any changes at all. Accessing the site editor and global styles is an opt-in process. It requires the activation of a block theme.

The upcoming changes will affect two primary groups of users. The first are those who prefer to run the latest default WordPress theme. The second will be those ready to try out the new system.

Currently, there are 35 block themes in the directory on WordPress.org, with more in the review queue. That limits the available options for now.

Block themes from WordPress.org.

After WordPress 5.9 launches and developers become more familiar with building on the new system, I expect that we will see a noticeable uptick in block themes in the coming months.

Note: this post focuses on user-facing changes. If you are a developer who wants to get started with block theme design, read Marcus Kazmierczak’s overview of building block themes for WordPress 5.9.

Twenty Twenty-Two

Twenty Twenty-Two theme about page template.

The latest default WordPress theme, Twenty Twenty-Two, will launch alongside version 5.9. While I have a few nit-picks about it, it might just be my all-time favorite default theme ever created.

WordPress 5.9 RC 2 was released earlier today. Now is as good a time as any to give it a test run. Twenty Twenty-Two is already bundled with this version.

As is often the case with default themes, it is likely to become the de facto standard in which developers build their own projects. It uses all the latest features and is one of the most up-to-date themes out there. This makes it the ideal starting point for users who want to test the new system.

The theme is merely one component of a broader system. For users, it can be something they set and forget. Or, they can take it to the next level and customize their front end until their heart is content.

Site Editor and Global Styles

Block themes are different than many traditional themes. In the classic era, users activated a theme and customized whatever options the developer made available. It was a rigid system that often did not give users much flexibility unless they knew how to write code.

Users can access a boatload of new features after activating a block theme. This is done via the site editor, located under the Appearance > Editor admin screen. Users can modify their theme templates directly on the canvas and customize their design through the global styles panel.

Site editor with global styles panel open (right).

The first experience with the site editor can be overwhelming. Some might prefer diving right in, while others take a different approach. Regardless of how you learn, I recommend going through the Simple Site Design with Full Site Editing course from Learn WordPress. The Training team has created a 15-lesson plan that walks you through everything you need to know. They also have a six-minute workshop on using global styles.

Using the site editor can be fun, but it can also be frustrating. This is essentially a “version 1.0” of the feature. It will not meet everyone’s needs with its launch in two weeks. It will take some time to mature and for theme authors to build on top of it.

I spent over a decade building themes professionally. One of the most common questions I got was, “How do I change the post meta area?” Users would want to remove the author, move the category list, and do numerous other things. No amount of theme options covered every scenario. I often resorted to walking non-coders through making changes to their theme templates.

Except in the most complex cases, this problem no longer exists. Through the site editor, users can choose what appears.

Custom post byline/meta.

I wish we had such a system a decade ago. It would have saved me hours of support work.

Of course, this is a simple example of what is possible with the site editor. Everything from changing bits of a template to creating an entire custom color palette is mere mouse-clicks away from reality.

However, the possibilities are not boundless. There are limitations that users will undoubtedly run into as they get more and more advanced with design ideas. Contributors have taken massive strides to get this first version ready for WordPress 5.9. And, there will be more to come.

Customizer, Widgets, and Nav Menus

The most shocking thing for those who have been out of the loop will likely be the disappearance of the customizer, widgets, and nav menus admin screens. These components are replaced by the site editor when using a block theme.

There are some known issues related to the customizer, such as no custom CSS option, live previews, or site icon setting. I covered this in more detail in a previous post.

Nav menus are now handled via the Navigation block:

Selecting a nav menu.

It could take some getting used to. While I am a fan of the block system, I, admittedly, still prefer managing menus via the classic screen. However, I am starting to come around. The contributors who have been working on the block have made the experience far better than it was just a few months ago.

As for dynamic sidebars and widgets, they are gone, at least in the traditional sense. Everything is a block now. Theme authors can create columns or containers that look like sidebars of the past, but they are all managed via the site editor. And, users can stick any block they want anywhere.

by Justin Tadlock at January 12, 2022 02:11 AM under Themes

January 11, 2022

WPTavern: WordPress 5.9 to Introduce New API for Locking Blocks

The advent of block themes delivers more creative power into the hands of users, but there are times when theme authors may want to lock down key elements of a design and its designated content areas. First introduced in Gutenberg 11.6, the upcoming WordPress 5.9 release will include a new API for locking blocks.

Template level locking has been available in Gutenberg for a few years, allowing developers to lock the template on the UI so that users can’t manipulate the blocks. This new API offers more granular control that can be applied on the block level and override template locking.

“Instead of applying a lock to all inner blocks, you can apply it selectively to individual blocks via the lock attribute,” Marcus Kazmierczak said in the dev note. “The block level locking would supersede the inherited templateLock value. You can choose to lock moving or removing a block.”

One of the primary use cases for locking individual blocks, cited in the ticket proposing the new API, is where one might lock the “post-content” block of a single template so users can’t remove it.

“Another use case that we’re building for is having a Checkout Block with different blocks that act as fundamental steps, we don’t want people to delete or move those steps since they’re fundamental and their order is also important, but we want to allow people to select them, access settings, and insert blocks in between them,” WooCommerce engineer Seghir Nadir said.

Kazmierczak’s dev note demonstrates how developers can lock a specific block in a pattern and explained how block level locking is not inheritable.

“If a block is locked from being removed, its children can still be removed,” Kazmierczak said. “If you want to apply locking on children as well, add templateLock to the inner block component, or templateLock attribute to supporting blocks.”

For more information on the new locking mechanism, check out the Block Editor Handbook and the code examples in the dev note.

by Sarah Gooding at January 11, 2022 09:01 PM under blocks

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.9 RC 2

The second Release Candidate (RC2) for WordPress 5.9 is now available! 

“Release Candidate” means the new version of the software is ready for release. It helps the community check that nothing is missed, given the thousands of plugins and themes and differences in how millions of people use the software.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed thus far towards testing and filing bugs to help make WordPress 5.9 a great release. WordPress 5.9 is slated for release in just two weeks on January 25, 2022. There’s still time to help! Since RC1 was released, six bugs have been found and fixed. There were 13 bug fixes backported from Gutenberg.

Testing the release

You can test the WordPress 5.9 release candidate in three ways:

Option 1: Install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (select the “Bleeding edge” channel and “Beta/RC Only” stream).

Option 2: Direct download the beta version here (zip).

Option 3: When using WP-CLI to upgrade from Beta 1, 2, 3, 4, or RC1, on a case-insensitive filesystem, please use the following command sequence:

Command One:

wp core update --version=5.9-RC2

Command Two:

wp core update --version=5.9-RC2 --force

Your help to test the second Release Candidate is vital: the more testing that happens, the more stable the release, and the better the experience for users and developers—and the entire WordPress community.

Thank you to all of the contributors who tested the RC1 release and gave feedback. Testing for bugs is not just a critical part of polishing every release, it is also a great way to contribute to WordPress.

How to Help

Help test WordPress 5.9 features – a guide to how you can take part.

Can you write in another language other than English? You can help translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! Release Candidate 1 marked the hard string freeze point of the 5.9 release schedule. Thanks to every locale that is already involved with translations.

Developers and those interested in more of the background to the features can find more in the Field Notes. More developer notes will be added as the release progresses to its final stage. You can also follow the 5.9 development cycle and timeline.

If you think you have found a bug, you can post the details to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums.

 If you are comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, you can file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also check the issue against a list of known bugs.

Props to: @psykro and @webcommsat, and @hellofromtonya, @audrasjb, @cbringmann and @marybaum for final review.

by Jonathan Bossenger at January 11, 2022 08:43 PM under RC2

Post Status: Post Status Excerpt (No. 41) — WordPress Community Versions: Past, Present, Future

“The Hippie times are going to end at some point.” —Bob Dunn

In this episode of Post Status Excerpt, David has an honest and deep dive with Bob Dunn into the “versions” of the WordPress community — something Bob covered in a recent blog post that has gotten some attention recently. They discuss what each “version” was like, how money can make a community act differently, and how people position themselves, for better or worse, in reaction to changes in the community.

Also: David asks Bob if certain changes are unavoidable once a community gets to a certain size and asks what is missing from the WordPress community today that existed in the early days.

Every week Post Status Excerpt will brief you on important WordPress news — in about 15 minutes or less! Learn what's new in WordPress in a flash. ⚡

You can listen to past episodes of The Excerpt, browse all our podcasts, and don’t forget to subscribe on Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, iTunes, Castro, YouTube, Stitcher, Player.fm, Pocket Casts, Simplecast, or by RSS. 🎧

🔗 Mentioned in the show:

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Transcript

David Bisset: [00:00:00] So as soon as I saw this particular post, which you did on November 23rd, it's called, are we in WordPress community version 3.0, as soon as I read this, first of all clicked with me and I knew I was going to talk to you about it, but you start off. It's a very simple post. It takes a minute to read it. If you are listening to this, now you should pull over to the side of the road, you know, stop watching your children.

Stop paying attention to the world. Take five minutes to read this and then come back to this because this is basically all we're discussing. So I'm going to allow you to, in your own words, to explain, I think the easiest would be version 1.0,

Bob Dunn: you know, as I thought about this and I'll just preface it a little bit.

This was after listening to Cory Miller and Josh Strebel. Talk about the acquisition of Pagely so I've listened to the podcast and they were talking about community. And I started thinking through, because I had thought about this before, so right away, I thought what version are, where app, because

David Bisset: and [00:01:00] version.You think version because we're into software, right?

Bob Dunn: I even do a change log for my website. I've gotten into change logs. Cause I think they're so cool. And they can be more than four erotic

David Bisset: I do change logs for my kids, but I mean, that's another subject, but yeah.

Bob Dunn: Yeah. And I love that it's so I thought, okay, the version, the first version is, yeah, it's when WordPress, it was before my time, you know, cause I didn't get into it till 2017, but I thought there was app time that WordPress was new and it was doing its thing.

It was you know, the little bit of glitter in Mullenweg's Eye. And you know, that was it. It was just as simple as that version. 1.0, is those first few years as this kind of found its legs

David Bisset: that would cover the years from about 2004, I think to about 2009. Yeah. Based on yours. And I use 2004. I don't know if anybody wants to go back earlier, but that's when [00:02:00] WordPress 1.0 was released 2004 to 2009 was the first generation.

And I can tell you that I was, I came into WordPress maybe around 20, like encountering the software itself around the version when themes came out. So I'm a little fuzzy on that. I was three, 1.3, 1.4. Maybe I'm going to say 2005, maybe 2006, somewhere around there. And my dates could be off. So whatever I wasn't in the community, I was just by myself and I really didn't get into the community until maybe 2000.

So I am kind of in the middle of that version 1.0, because word camp Miami was started. Like we got together in 2008, me, John James Jacoby, who was down here and a few other people got together 2008 is when we started rearing up WordCamp Miami, there was no foundation or anything like that. So version 1.0 was there was no WordPress foundation.

There was maybe a couple of word camps going on at the end of 2009 work. Our first WordCamp Miami [00:03:00] would have been over by then, but we had no rules. We had people nationally would come because there were just so few word camps existing at the time. And you just expected the entire WordPress community.

It wa it was that where it's like, are you going? It's basically there's nothing else to do for this month. Let me, let's get, let's go down to Miami. That's how I remember the WordPress community at the time. I remember any of the big contributors. There were very few names that you associate with WordPress contributions.

There was mark Jake with um, he was a big name that you would talk about during contributorship at that time, but it was a really big pioneering days. I remember WP candy. I don't know if you remember WP candy, Brian, I believe I remember they covered our first WordCamp Miami, and they were just a bunch of people typing on laptops in the back.

And I didn't know that I, if I, man, if I knew him at the time. And our first work in Miami actually had a lot of people from the internet community involved like people, you would probably not no longer see it eventual WordCamps because [00:04:00] it was just generally about blogging customization. I did my.first BuddyPress talk, but it was just a room, maybe of 50 people listening to my presentation, but there was the WordPress community at a time that was just so new young, you would probably anybody you saw at that camper, the fewer there's at that time, that was the WordPress community. In a nutshell, anyone else that was doing WordPress at the time was just fiddling with it. You could go up and literally ask someone about a core ticket and it would only be melt maybe a half a dozen people that you would go up to a recognize and ask about a core ticket.

And they were co and there wasn't like a big committee back then, or a big, there was a team back then, but basically you're the, most of the team was sitting in the same room as you. There was no com contribution. There are no contributor days or anything. The people were actually committing code, I think, to WordPress during the conference, during the talks.

So that's how like fly by the seat of the pants. It was. So that to me was word, press version 1.0. [00:05:00] Everybody kind of knew everybody else. It was like one giant meetup. Yeah. And a lot of the rules, the red tape or whatever it is you want to call it just simply didn't exist. Social didn't exist. Social networking really didn't exist.

Friendster, I think was the hottest thing in social media at the time. And then in the iPhone, didn't come out 2007. One of the biggest things was just seeing your website on an iPhone or a mobile device back then, too. So that to me was version one. And thank you for allowing me to indulge you, Bob, because I thought you were part of that and I just didn't see you because I've just taken it.

I've just assumed you've always been around. I've been feels that way. So version two, there is, so version two, according to your posts takes you from 2010 to 2018, and this is your Jen. This is your version, right?

Bob Dunn: Right. He is because when, so I started dabbling in WordPress in 2017 and. So I was coming from having run [00:06:00] a business, or I was still running a business.

I was in the, I think 15th year of it, a marketing design business. And I was looking at WordPress for blogging, for creating sites, you know, building sites. Cause I wasn't a developer during that time. So I was involved with like the business community in those years, which was in real life.

You know, you lived in the community and you related with other businesses. And in the early around that same time, there was a online site called dot com and it no longer exists, but it was a very unique one of the first endeavors in bringing people online and it started in Seattle and it actually grew nationally and was a bit international and it did a mix of in-person and online events and you'd network and you'd, you know, comment and talk to each other on it.

And it grew quite a bit. Yeah, I'm not getting the whole story of that, but that was where I started to learn more about, or actually delve more into [00:07:00] the online community. WordPress just segwayed into my life easily. Cause I was already, you know, thinking community, you know, there's some kind of community wherever you go, of course, open source is very different to me.

And it was very embracing and it was like, wow, this is cool. You know, people are so different because it's not these chamber of commerce meetings. It's just a different feel to it. And I, you know, me I just started diving into it and by 2010 I said, okay, Totally closed down our other business and I'm going to create this other brand that came up with Bob WP, which, you know, some people looked at me at that time said, you know, can I, why are you doing that?

David Bisset: It's like getting a tattoo. Right? It's like, listen, it seems cool now, but have you thought five years ahead?

Bob Dunn: And you know, I, when I [00:08:00] started WordPress I started WordPress at the age of 50. So I was kind of different, you know, I mean, I had a different perspective cause I was later on in life. So I was looking at something new and exciting.

And I think that time I look back at it and I didn't realize it until later on in the years when I would talk to a lot of people that had been in the space at the same time. And I realized that they all were saying, yeah, you know, when I really got involved with WordPress was around 2009, 2010, or that's when I started.

You know, there's all the big, you know, Yoast, gravity forums, all these ones that started around that period of time. And it just seemed like it was a time I came in at a prime time where there was this open innovation in WordPress where people were doing a lot of stuff and things are coming out left and right.

And it was just, it was fascinating and themes were, you know, growing more and more. And [00:09:00] it just, I just dove into it and I thought I've got to get into this community because it's just seems cool. I mean, the people, you know, who I've related to. So I think my first, I don't know if I did a word camp in 2010 by now I was in Chicago in 2011 and I spoke at that and I, again, just went full force into it and went to these, the first word camp, I word camp, and thought, wow, this is really cool.

Being able to, you know, meet these people. And there was such a natural I don't know what you want to call it, but everybody seemed together. It was like,

David Bisset: don't worry, we'll flesh it out. We'll flesh it out because this is part of the reason why I want to get into this overall, because I mean, I don't, you know, we'll go into each, we'll go into a little bit more depth on each one.

I was just trying to make, you know, for somebody who hasn't read the post is not listening to me and reading this first. We have, so, and here's also about that time period of two. When we say [00:10:00] version two was around 2010 right before 2010 is when Sandhills development. Awesome motive started 2009 is actually when WP beginner was launched by Syed.

So like we say, 2010. And I think that was a good cutoff time because I think in 2009, It needed a little bit of ramping up it didn't and a lot of other companies too, I'm just picking -. It's amazing Sandhills and Awesome Motive and WP beginner started around that time in late, I think, late 2009s.

So version 2.0, started in 2010. According to your post, it ran for about eight years, till 2018, which we'll get to why in a second. And between that time, like I said, it's when those companies that we, that the mergers that were acquisitions that we're hearing about today from quote unquote, big companies, a lot of them got their start at the beginning of the 2.0 era.

Bob Dunn: Yeah, exactly.

David Bisset: And yeah, so I think that's, that was a perfect time in your blog post to kind of, you know, make 2009, 2010, the next cutoff [00:11:00] point, because I think like earlier, when we just talked about everybody was just. If you had a problem with WordPress and people, weren't really starting to build really good businesses around WordPress in version 1.0, if you were building websites and if you were making good money, you usually just a big, good agency or you're just building websites.

But then 2.0 era started with the companies actually building commercial products with plugins or for tutorial sites. And that's how I think, that's how I saw reflecting back because I was too ignorant to realize what was going on at the time. How 2.0 started in that kind of, like you said, when you got into the game 2016, 2017 near the closing of that particular era, it was going full force by then.

I mean, there weren't really a lot of acquisitions happening in this era. It was just a lot of businesses being created.

Right. And there was a lot of people that I've met that weren't necessarily, you know, like. Doing the big business or doing the big [00:12:00] products, but they, I was still amazing. How many? Yeah, I started my agency around 2009, 2010.

So that, just that number kept coming back at me and I thought, wow, I made a lot of sense because it's how I felt when I got into it. It was like, okay, something's happened in here, you know, and I seem to got into this at a really prime point in time

that, that period too probably saw the biggest or maybe most noticeable jump in WordPress market share.

Also at the same time you had web 2.0, kind of take off in that same time period. So between the social between the boom and like the overall span of tech and I think this was when other competition from WordPress started to get a little further in the rear view mirror too. I think movable type was by this time period, probably.

Fading in terms, I believe, I can't remember exactly when they changed their business model, but I believe it was early during this time period where you had this other, you had your choices in Joomla and Drupal were still very strong in this era, but they were becoming, [00:13:00] it was becoming the big three in terms of CMS.

As in, at that time they were all the top three, they were open source. So that's and WordCamps to exploded. I think once we got to 2012, 2013, that's when you saw a lot of first-time WordCamps, startup and WordCamp, I think by the time that WordCamp Miami got to its fourth or fifth year, that's when we had to start coordinating with other word camps, you know, around the same time period to make sure we didn't have the lap and all of that.

So, and we had buddy camps and we had our first kids camp, I think it was in 2015 or something like that. So by the time that happened, And I forget what WordCamp Arizona. I think I went to my first word camp in Arizona was working in Phoenix. I believe that was in 2013. Maybe. I don't know.

I have to Google ice Luiz WordCamp and figure out what I'm really. I know. So that was 2.0, from 2010 to 2018. So Bob, when, tell us about what transition from version 2.0 to [00:14:00] 3.0 and your blog posts made you land on 2018.

Bob Dunn: You know, I think it was, there was a lot of, I mean, it revolved around, but we're pressing was doing technically, I mean, you know, Gutenberg 5.0, all that stuff, because there was that huge shift at that point.

I think that people just started, I don't know. The climate changed and how people looked at it. And there was a little bit more, you know, yeah, people were anti this or they were, you know, reluctant of this. And is this changing for the best? I feel like things were changing in WordPress that affected the community in a lot of ways positively.

And in some ways people were a little bit reluctant and things were starting to get more into that mix of at, you know, not the boom, like it is now with the acquisitions, but. We were starting to see, you know, let me explain it this way. And this is kind of a strange way to [00:15:00] explain it. Maybe people won't really get it.

I always say I used to work in the real business world and that was outside of WordPress. And I'm, it's a little bit of sarcasm there, but it's how, you know, regular business works, how it runs, how, you know, people get acquired corporations, all that stuff. I've dealt with it in the past. I felt like that was a time that WordPress matured and thus the community had to start to accept that in the sense of this is becoming big business.

Now, you know, this is becoming a bigger thing then. Sure. It's open source still. There's that community there's everything that WordPress is, but now more and more people are taking note of WordPress more and more people are wanting to get into WordPress and it just. From the, around that time, I think it's just as grown more and more that attitude, the you know, and it is it's a [00:16:00] lot of people have pivoted or changed their mind on WordPress during that time.

And you saw more of that, I think, and maybe it always was happening, but it was just vocalized more as far as, you know, oh, I don't like the direction it's going now or, you know, I don't agree with it. And the, and that was cool. That was fine. I mean, everybody's got a right to, you know, do that. And also the other thing I think is this was when you think of all those people that started in 2009, 2010, that really started, this might be the moment they start thinking of different transitions as well, because they've been in it for a while and that transition may be do an acquisition. They may be getting out of the space entirely moving on with their life in another direction. However, so I think we saw that bunch of people that were so in our view and in our, you know, that we saw them a day [00:17:00] in and day out, maybe after, you know, this period of eight years or nine years or whatever, they were ready to start slipping things a little bit in their own business or how they approach WordPress or how they approach their business.

David Bisset: Well, we're going to get into the community now more now that we know where, when we talk, we say version one, version two, version three, again, version one was from the beginning up to 2009 version. Two's kind of like 2010 to 2018 when Gutenberg was launched. And then version three is pretty much present quote unquote, present day.

Right. And who knows we may talk about another version. We'll see what. I'm going to open up our post status conversation we had in here, like a day or two ago too. But so let's talk about the community a little bit in terms of, and it sounds like to me, when you, when we, both of us are kind of old timers a little bit we're both remembering back when the businesses were just starting to get off the ground.

Would you define version 3.0 [00:18:00] as, as basically more commercial,

Bob Dunn: you know, in a sense it is, and it's probably viewed as more commercial because of the nature of open source. So bringing bigger businesses, bringing the model of, you know, business growth, acquisitions, how normal, I almost say normal, but how businesses in the real world that exists and how they.

Get together and how they merge now. They, you know, whatever direction they go. I think it's become a little bit more commercial, but I don't know if that's the exact word it's because it's, I think some people would say that I really think they would define maybe that and they would define it in the sense of a negative connotation to that commercial is become too commercial.

And that's kind of in the eyes of the viewer, you know, before, [00:19:00]

David Bisset: let me play devil's advocate for a second, because once money gets involved, it's like, whenever it's, how do I explain this? Like, if I have a good friend, I, and if I have a laptop, I'll give him the laptop. I won't sell him the laptop. Why?

Because he's my friend and I, if there's something goes wrong, I don't want anything to damage that relationship. So when money comes into the picture, closer relationships tend to get a little bit more complex in my experience. That's just my experience. So do you think part of the, and we'll get into the good old days slogan in a second here, but do you think part of the resistance or part of the, maybe just general uncomfortableness of this new version that you call it is because it is more commercial, therefore money, you know, money hiring acquisitions, all of that is together.

So therefore when you go up and talk to someone at a WordCamp, or you don't, you know, you have to be careful what you say. You have to be careful of how you talk outside of a conference room. You [00:20:00] don't want to say the wrong thing or be viewed as this type of person, which makes it a little more awkward, which makes limits it a little bit of your freedom, which makes, again, goes back to you being a little bit more comfortable.

Do you think that has anything to do with some people reactions?

Bob Dunn: You know, I think you, I think that's a. I think it's pretty spot on because it is it's, you know, there is that level of walking the thin line. Sometimes you don't want to, you know, you maybe felt you didn't have to walk that so much before you could be a little bit more open and now there's too many buyers that could ignite, I think the money.

Yeah. When people see now, I don't remember ever back the valuation or what you would think of, you know, we don't know often what, how much these businesses are being bought for, but the reality is, yeah. Now we're seeing that there is some tied dollar value to these businesses that have done amazing stuff for, you know, close to a decade or less.

[00:21:00] And yeah, that money kind of gets you like, whoa, you know, this is all feeling, not the same, you know, and it can be for some that it can be kind of a creepy feeling. You know, they feel like money is corporate and money is commercial and, you know, money talks and that's what drives everything.

You know, lots of people are doing their businesses and that what drives them is to actually make a Duff to survive and have a decent life

David Bisset: or because, or somebody on stage talking about a certain subject because they have some sort of financial gain indirectly, perhaps, but even there. So sometimes I feel like some people don't take, I'm trying to find the right words here.

And I swear, I'm not going to edit this part out because I want people to hear the awkwardness in this conversation. Exactly. It's well, that person is doing that or broadcasting that because they have a business to run or their business is doing this in the WordPress space. And you know, that.[00:22:00]

You know, that can be understandable in other industries, but for WordPress, I think it's kind of new if you've been around it a long if you've been in since version one or the early days since version two I don't know. I've heard it. We'll talk about offhand comments in a little bit, but I pieced together some of the comments from Twitter, some things I hear over my shoulder word camps and, you know, and it's a very fine and respectable group still, but I know that, you know, I put on working at Miami for years and sometimes I get questions, like, why is this person on at this time?

Sometimes it's purely coincidental often it's purely coincidental, but I get asked, you have to be more conscious of that back now than you were 10 years ago. And because I think it all boils down to money and companies and expansion and all of that but, you know, and which kind of leads me to my next question for you, Bob, in terms of money, just, you know, even if you put money in.

You know, we're both community managers not just with not just with me with [00:23:00] WordCamps, but you know, w my, my, my daughter and my wife, they hold other communities and I've seen communities grow over the years. I handle the local meetups along with a few other people too. I've seen things grow.

I'm also, I here's a side note for you. I use apple pro I use apple products. I wouldn't consider myself an apple super fan, but I've used apple products for a long time. Like since I was in high school. And I've done PC and windows over the years, but I mainly, I've mainly been an apple person, but I've noticed through the years, even before the iPhone came about, this was way before the iPhone apple came out with the iPhone when they were almost a bankrupt company, I've been with them.

But I noticed over the past decade as the company has gotten bigger, and this happens with other companies too, but in particular with apple, my experience they've gotten, people have gotten more outspoken. More bold in their comments and click baity to an opinionated and whether or not that some of that is based on truth and you know, apple like any other company is not perfect, but [00:24:00] it seems like the bigger you get, the more criticism gets thrown at you in, regardless of what I can't think of a company that has gotten bigger over, you know, given enough time over the last 10 years, it has not had criticism leveled at them.

And I feel that once you get to a certain size from a community standpoint, not really from a business company standpoint market share, but that obviously has a factor into it too. Once you get to, once a community gets to a certain size and grows and you start to see bad actors just because maybe it's the scale and it's, and maybe when it's smaller, they were always there, but there was just harder to see for them to blend into the mass.

For example, and we'll take this, we'll take this as an example, bad actors. What do you mean by bad actors? There's always people that want to scam other people or users and in when the WordPress was in version one very few times, have you saw people trying to scam other people? Because the community was so small, right?

The, it didn't seem to happen [00:25:00] very often. And in same thing for like apple and WordPress community, didn't seem to be a lot of people trying to take advantage of trying to steal this. And, you know, cause you know, windows was the big one durability. You want it to target cause a lot of people used it.

I, so here's my question for you. Do you believe that any community wants to reaches a certain size is going to have certain problems? Like not just bad actors that want to scan, but just critics that just maybe feel like they need to, they feel like their job is to probably call. Accompany once it gets to a certain size, what do you think about that?

Bob Dunn: Oh, I think that's right on, I mean, is it's so obvious because it's like success breeds.

I don't know if there's actually a saying, but success breeds craziness or something

David Bisset: I'm gonna use that quote

Bob Dunn: yeah. Yeah. Success breeds crazy days because it does, the more you become the bigger you become, the more of a tar more touch points you have and [00:26:00] you become that target. You do. And more people are going to be attracted.

Cause there's some people that they live for, that they live for the big names or the, they want to be in the limelight in that community, but in a different limelight as a backnet bad actor, because that is it just, you know, Reproduces itself is going to, it's going to attract people and all it takes us, you know, a few to start it and more and more are going to enter it.

And that's what know, I I've thought over the years is this is growing into what probably every community does grow into. It's huge. How can we not avoid? I think of, I could step back to the time when I was, you know, not online. I was in a business community that was a real life community town.

And as that town grew bigger and bigger, more businesses moved in and there were more that early. [00:27:00] That were running businesses and we'd come in and they would always be there at whatever meeting or something criticizing something. So it's not anything new. I think it's very, I don't want, I hate to use the word natural, but I think there's no way around it.

I think with growth, you're just going to, that's going to happen and you have to know, the best you can do is it's, you know, as, as long as we, and you don't want to ignore, but you don't want to, I want to fire.

David Bisset: Right. And I want to make a good distinction here because not everything I say, negative things about WordPress all the time, too.

In fact, I have created memes around certain things in WordPress. That's still annoying me to this very day. And you know, you know, like the number of admin notices on a dashboard has gotten me more likes on Twitter than I probably know what to do with. So. What, one of the natural things that comes when you, when your community grows is [00:28:00] that there is more to criticize.

So there is, you know, it goes perfectly along with, yes, a lot of the criticism that's leveled against WordPress is legitimate. And everybody has different viewpoints in they're coming at it from certain angles. Somebody from this industry is obviously gonna feel stronger than someone who comes from this industry and so forth like that.

But I just think that part of this, I think what has been a staple I've I think in the version 3.0 is just the, has been maybe a little bit more cynicism than that I saw in the previous two versions. Exactly. Yeah. And as much, and like I told you, I think that comes with, I write that off as scale.

Like I said, when you're dealing with. In terms of like, you know, they were just a bunch of people, friendly people helping each other out on forums and all of that back in the day, just like we were like in the very early days of WordPress. And now there are so many people and because I guess a lot of people [00:29:00] have so much writing on WordPress too, that sometimes naturally it does come off as well.

If my entire business of my entire life is running off of WordPress or companies like automatic that in my mind influence WordPress to a certain degree, then I should be the one or I should be in a position to say what I want or be critical of this or that in terms of leadership and ownership and all of that.

And I'm not saying leadership and ownership, isn't a bad stuff in and of themselves, but it's not something that we saw in previous versions of WordPress.

Bob Dunn: Right. And I think we also look at WordPress where it came along in the, in history. I mean, you know, short history, but we are, if you think of back from 2010 to now, how social has brought on the aspect of being able to vocalize yourself and it has brought out peoples that wouldn't normally, you know, you would, I mean, I could [00:30:00] look back at again, I'll go back to way back, you know, at a chamber of commerce meeting, we're all sitting around in person, nobody's going to jump up from different table to table say, Hey, you know, that business sure does suck.

Or, you know, why are they doing that? Or why did they buy them? Why is this all going on now? We're to a point where we're all

behind journalists,

we all got an opinion. And we got to, we got a place to make that opinion. So that has grown just historically in technology. I mean, you know, that has happened.

So that then right along with it, WordPress has grown. So it's almost like this. There are both on the same level. Yeah, more people are able to get online and say exactly how they feel are most people are not shy about doing it.

So what do you think here's a thinking question for your Bible. What do you think the WordPress community has today that it didn't have back in the early days?

Boy, that's a, wow. That's a good question. I think there's [00:31:00] just more,

Wow. That's a tough one because I think it has okay to two things. One is it has more voices in it and I'm not seeing voices as far as negative and positive and neutral voices. I'm talking about voices, worldwide diversity countries, all the different cultures that are coming in. I think that. Really has changed things. And I think it's changed for the better obviously.

And again, kind of historically, you know, hopefully getting where there's more, you know, things are a little bit more equal. I know they're far from being equal, but

David Bisset: yeah, there's a table, right. Everybody gets to come to the table and hopefully that table has grown in size with more chairs available to fit.

Bob Dunn: Exactly. Yeah. I think it's that. And I think innovation, I think is just, I think people feel, even though sometimes we feel that it's, there's so much stuff go, you know, there's so many plug-ins how can we do more [00:32:00] plugins? How can we do this? But again, naturally over time, I think we have a lot more at our disposal as far as.

Be more innovative with WordPress then, you know, back then, and that again is not necessarily the word press or the community is just how technology has evolved. So I think we, I think WordPress benefits from the time it's in, because of everything that keeps turning and sure we there's changes. And maybe some we don't like, and some we do, like, I think, you know, in the end they're still all going in the right direction.

And now those changes are technically within WordPress should hopefully reflect on the community and they feel like, okay, we're going in the right direction because we got to continue to grow.

David Bisset: Okay. Was it, you said two things, was that both of them or do you remember?

Bob Dunn: It's really, it's kind of that feel of the community and the [00:33:00] diversity and that, and then it's an actual, more of innovation.

I think the technology now we have the, I really feel like the opportunities are. More open to everybody in the WordPress space, even though, you know, we think it may be overcrowded. I think there's still a lot.

David Bisset: Okay. So here, I asked myself that same question in the shower for unluckily for me, it was a 45 minute shower cause I wasn't leaving until I got an answer.

I think the communication from the quote unquote, the source has gotten better over the years. Unless you heard Matt Mullenweg speak from a word camp or in his blog, sometimes you were a bit, a little bit confused in the very on maybe late version 1.0 early 2.0 days in terms of heck maybe even further on to 2.0 days, what was happening with the project or what was happening with the direction of WordPress.

And this was before Gutenberg. You know, there were improvements. You could talk to people on contribute, you know, charter contributors and all of that. And there were new [00:34:00] sites keeping up. But I think once we started getting into what you call the version three, once Gutenberg ramped up.

But I think, especially, I think maybe I'll say six months, it seemed like six months after Gutenberg was launched. It seemed like the communication was improving. I think Josepha, I'm not sure when she became, she took her role and Incorrectly state her role here, because I don't want to do that. But she is, she has acted like a director or a pro like an overall project manager.

I'm not saying that's her role, but she's been acting like that. She has been part of for a key part of the communication. Now for a while, in terms of trying to translate what the WordPress project is, the general direction of where it's going. And, you know, Matt did do that to a certain extent, but I don't think it was as often or as regular and as consistent as they're doing it now with the blog posts and Josepha, and there's even podcasts now with Josepha on them and so forth.

So for me the communication and the openness about especially about [00:35:00] core is what we, I think we have today that really wasn't there too much in the early days, because there just wasn't enough time to talk about it. Now don't hate me. Oh, wait. There's a podcast is still young here. I'm going to flip the question around.

So what do you think is missing today from the WordPress community? But one looks back in the early days and say, oh, wow, that existed there. Or I even missed that. Fill in the blank. I

Bob Dunn: need a long shower for that one.

David Bisset: This is going to be weird. Intermission music, but sure, sure. So by, so maybe stalling you a little bit here, you know, when you buy a car and you get that new car smell.

Yeah. Okay. So it's gone and then your car can still be exciting. It can be wonderful. There's that honeymoon period. But what, and I'm not pushing you into a negative or positive territory here, [00:36:00] but what do you think was existed in the early days that you can remember the works community that you don't see.

That you don't see today as much.

Bob Dunn: I miss a little bit of the and that I want to say it's the warm and fuzzy feeling. Cause that's not fair to say. It's kind of a little bit of the tighter community that was there when I first got into it. And what I mean by that is, and let me give you an example.

This was very interesting and I get to bring up the, say the word smaller group. And I saw Matt Mullenweg in a different lens. At that event. He was walking around. I mean, it was a smaller group and he was really interacting with people and laughing. And he was kind of more in his element because he was with his eye.

Sounds weird with his peeps. I mean, instead of this huge, you know, multi hundred or a thousand person conference, and sometimes I [00:37:00] miss that. And it's not an exclusive thing either, but those smaller times, I go back to a meetup. I remember the meetups I used to do in Seattle in the early two thousands.

We'd get like 70, 80 people and everybody was so happy and energized and it was fun. And you were meeting new people and there was this just constant energy that was going. And I think is just like probably anything in it's younger. I mean, even us as humans,

David Bisset: every time you go to a WordCamp, you'd meet a ton of new people, a ton.

Bob Dunn: Yeah, you do. And I kind, kinda miss that and maybe it's, you know, it's just that smaller. I miss the meetups. Like they used to be. I, and I know that is just, I, and not even this put us COVID aside. It's not even that it's just that I miss that [00:38:00] smaller local community that used to thrive. I think a lot more, that's got segmented and it's been segmented just because of the growth and because of the community is so big.

And there's so many people you're meeting, you know, another countries across the globe. There's a little bit of that I miss now, whether that could really come back. That's the thing, that's a big question. I don't know if it's really necessary to be needed, right. Again, but some I wish there was some way to still have those smaller groups and they don't have to be, you know, WordCamps on, I don't even know what they are, you know, and that would, of course would have to be, you know, when the time comes that you can actually do that, but there was something that was just a little bit different. That part of it, I miss, and I don't know there was there was the energy, maybe that was it.

David Bisset: It's kind of hard to put into words. You've attempted to do that two days ago. I'm going to share a link in the show notes for a slack conversation we [00:39:00] had. And I put up on purpose prior to this both Eric and Natalie said something about 2008, 2009, 2010. There was definitely. Definitely those were big years.

There was some generations based on what people came into the community and what they were doing there. And then you said something around 2010 or so was very generational. There was huge pivots in the space around space, around growth during that time. And then someone responded and says that time was very unique.

It felt like anyone with the ambition and drive could learn to create something special with WordPress. It wasn't something reserved for only a small group of corporations. And it looks like Eric made that comment there. So I guess it was you know, it was a gold rush period, but not just to make money, but also to make like relationships.

And here's the key when you said that earlier and forgive me if I'm mispronouncing your name. Dave is David Lutes who says, yep. The hippie times are over. And it's not meant in a bad way. In my opinion, this is him still talking quote. It already has started a few years before Gutenberg, when more and [00:40:00] more sponsored contributors raised up.

Also people became paid from day one when they stepped brand new into the WordPress community. And like he said, it's not bad. It's an evolution. It's got all the way to it's. He says it's all got gotten. Translating here, all gotten too big to handle, and I have tremendous respect for the pure volunteers out there.

So hippie times are over or according to Dave loots here. And we'll put all of those links in the show notes. And by the way, just to remind you what you said, a response, you said you could be very well, right? The last decade could easily have pushed out three instead of two versions when you get down to the nitty gritty.

So, yeah. Wow. Yeah. Hippie times are over. So like I'm always never, I'm not that old to appreciate the hippie times of the sixties, but I've read about it enough and I can see where there was a time I've heard that phrase repeated elsewhere in terms of, okay, the hippie era is over and now I actually have to have a real job and a real business.

And that whole time of peace and love was great, but we were young. And [00:41:00] do you think maybe that's part of what maybe is missing a little bit from WordPress

Bob Dunn: and it's that, yeah, it is that time of having that. It a freedom. I mean, and especially if you had the experience of it, you know, if you did, you were, you came in at some point there, it is nostalgic and I'd love Dave's, everything you said in there because it's true.

It's like anything. I mean, hippie times never, you know, except for some people that are stuck being hippies for their entire life or something they're going to end at some point and they're nostalgic and they're good. And you probably know it, won't go back to that. You know, you know that in your heart, but

David Bisset: seems like the harder you fight it.

Yeah. The change is inevitable. And I think for the rest of those, I think for the rest of the lifetime of WordPress, there's going to be a healthy dose of criticism that follows it. So w so as WordPress grows is going to be scrutinized by some people for how it grows [00:42:00] and when the market share stops. Or there's less contributions or something noticeable starts to slow down.

There'll be another round of WordPress criticism problem. You know, like the apple is doomed or WordPress is doomed by probably those same people. Right. Do you think people should accept the generational changes in the WordPress community? Or how should they look at it?

Bob Dunn: Yeah, I think it's really, I hate to say it's both ways.

I mean, you got to accept it as globally. You got to accept that this is, you know, if he can't be a bit flux flexible, then you shouldn't be in any part of the tech space. You know, you got to have some flexibility and you've got to not become the old grumpy man and saying, this is how it was and why we'll never be that way again, you know, so globally you need to accept it.

In your own community, because how we're all defining communities is going to be different. How you define it. Maybe one way somebody else defines another way. Somebody may [00:43:00] have 200 people they think of as this is my WordPress community. You can still make changes within the smaller community that can blossom out into different ways into the bigger community.

I mean, you're not, you know, if we're talking WordPress community, every builder, then that's a lot, every builder and user, then that's an exponentially a lot. So I think that you can make small changes and I don't think you should ever say, I'm just going to roll over. And you know, if I don't think this is right, you know, you don't have to nag and moan and groan on Twitter day after day, but you can fight.

Creative and useful ways to try to work towards, you know, if something really, if you think it needs to be changed, I would never say people should back down you know, unless it's really detrimental to the community, then that's maybe when you want to step back. Okay.

David Bisset: I, a lot of times the, [00:44:00] if there are people that rubbed me a little bit, the wrong way and listen, it's be honest.

I mean, there are people that do that. It's human nature, right? It's not what they say is sometimes their approach to it. And I have a lot of experience sometimes working and talking with people because we're cam Miami has allowed me to be like, sometimes I would deliberately put people in WordCamp, Miami lineups to offer those opinions.

And sometimes. It's just their personal nature. Sometimes it is you know, I, if I run a, if I wanted to write a tell all book, just on what I know about certain people on working in Miami, it would be controversial. A lot of people probably wouldn't like me, but that's fine. But there are some people that like, feel their message is so important.

They, it boosts their ego or it boosts their, like, they feel like this message is so important. They need to get outside the lines to be able to tell it whether how effective that is or whether that strikes the right chords or not. I mean, go you do you, you know, that's not really my, you know, I'm not in charge of WordPress messaging.

But you know, if you want to, if you [00:45:00] feel something so important that you communicate it, I mean, as long as you're not hurting others, I mean, feel free to give it a shot, just watch on any reaction or reaction to that. But it's also funny too, that some people, when we talk about the WordPress community, some people says I'm leaving WordPress, I'm leaving the WordPress committee.

Or they stop or stop using WordPress oftentimes in my experience, and this is over 10 years, this is not any particular case, but over the 10 years where people have said that you still see them on Twitter, or you still see them in the WordPress community, talking with the same people, almost like nothing ever happened.

And I, and sometimes I think these people, whether the legitimate reasons or not you know, they're trying to make a statement. It says I'm leaving WordPress, but they're not really leaving WordPress. WordPress is the community and of itself, regardless of like, maybe you're not using the software or you put your pretty much, nothing else has changed.

So if you're using it to make a statement, whether you're using WordPress or not, congratulations, you've made. Or maybe you're taking a break, you know, those people that make the big announcements, I'm taking a break from Twitter and they're making a big hoo ha about it. Like maybe celebrities or something like [00:46:00] that.

And you're like, okay, maybe you'll be back. Okay. You know, once, once it's died down or whatever, but I think some people like to have their cake and eat it too, where like, I'm making this big statement, but I can't really, I don't really want to leave the community because there's some good things in it.

Yeah,

Bob Dunn: exactly. And I think they're trying to stand up there. They think that, you know, it gives a, it shows the side of their strength. They want everybody to think that, oh yeah, they've been there standing up for what they're really, you know, they've kind of walking the talk. Finally, they'd been saying all this, but then like you said, you see, oh yeah, they're still wandering around bed in there.

I still see them popping up here and there. And it's like, you know, you're just. Kind of toned down a little bit maybe,

David Bisset: and you know what that is within the right to there. Like I said, however you want to get that message out is however you do. But I just think that's so interesting that the community of it itself is more, is stronger sometimes than the software.

Bob Dunn: Oh, it is. It is. And I think that's what most, I [00:47:00] agree with you with a lot of people saying, you know, oh I'm going to leave the community, but you know, I couldn't quite leave this part of it or this part of it. And they're not saying they're not literally saying that, but they're doing that through actions.

You can see that they've gained a lot of great relationships with some people and they can't let go of that. And that relationship in turn still connects him with WordPress. So they, and connects them with the community. So, yeah it's interesting human. Nature's

David Bisset: interesting. Yeah. And of course there's always legitimate reasons.

Like if there's, if you like, you've people have felt like legitimately they've been neglected, abused, all of that stuff. That's not really taking care of that part cause that's kind of a toll different, totally different ballgame. So yeah. So do you feel, so here comes, our, here comes as we close out this conversation, which has been fantastic by the way.

I think we only mentioned WooCommerce only a few times. I haven't said it enough for something like WooCommerce to appear in a mirror or something like that [00:48:00] instead of three times, probably yet. But here's the two remaining questions I wanted to jam with you about one. What do you think version four would be?

Has it happened? Is it happening now or do you think we're not, we haven't seen that yet.

Bob Dunn: You know, that's weird because I know you had warned me that you might ask about that.

Yeah. And I have pondered on it a bit and I thought, you know, yeah, maybe I could have some, a wishlist of what I'd like to see, but you know, I think it's going to be.

Where this commercial part we've talked about, becomes a little bit more leveled out. I think four is where we don't get all excited and, you know, acquisitions no longer are like the biggest news in WordPress. They Almaz say they become everyday normal things and people will still talk about them.

But I think those moves that we've been [00:49:00] making to where we see that it's becoming a bigger thing. And I also see that 4.0 is, and it's already, maybe it is already happening. I see a lot of attraction even more so I'm more visibly from outside. Businesses, you know, that say, I want a piece of WordPress. I want a piece of WooCommerce.

I mean, I get this a lot through conversations and companies that reach out to me, you know, they want to get in on it. They want to get in on the action. So that's almost like an, and however people view that, you know, that they view that as positive or negative is not really the point that, but I think that is becoming people are companies are being a bit more visible.

And I think this will be part of 4.0 is in their interest in WordPress where it used to be WordPress is [00:50:00] open source and you know, it's not that big of a deal and stuff. And now it's like, they're flat out saying, Hey, we want in, how do we get in? We want to be, because

David Bisset: it's like we said, it's a little hot about the money.

Bob Dunn: Exactly.

David Bisset: Once you see these aquifers, I think, you know, like once you start seeing bigger acquisitions, they're taking headlights now in tech crunch, all these other things, people are starting to, I guess, pay attention. Oh wow. There is money to be made here. So I'm yeah. I mean, I want to I, wouldn't thinking about the same thing and I don't have a year in mind yet.

Of course, if I did, I'd probably play the lottery or something, but what I see are four potential factors for version four, if you want to call it that, and maybe they all are playing. One, I think we're in, I think we're version three still includes the acquisitions craze that we're going through right now, because I think the acquisitions, if you look back a little bit far enough after Gutenberg, I think launched. To me, it just seemed a lot more common.

It's really exploded the last couple of years. I don't think it's over, but I still think we're in the same general [00:51:00] time period acquisitions were happening before Gutenberg came out, but I think Gutenberg probably has triggered a lot of companies, smaller companies for, to be acquired by hosting companies and others because of the blocks, the themes and all of that.

And of course, we're not even going to talk about theme, you know, WordPress themes at all, or we're not even about WooCommerce or e-commerce, I'm not even going to talk about that stuff cause that's too much. But I think if I was to guess what a version four would be, and this is commute, this it's sad because I'm not talking much about the community.

I'm just thinking of the, community's going to react to these things. And that becomes version for the community outside investments. How we react to that outside investments might mean more people coming in from the outside, even if it's just from a business standpoint, but they would be part of the community.

I think too, it's possible than an aversion for maybe near the end of that. We will see acquisitions, maybe become normal, more normal. But I think we're also going to see market share eventually [00:52:00] level off. And that could be years from now. It's going to be hard to calculate it because they're shutting down Alexa, not that Alexa, the other Alexa next year.

And we don't know exactly how we're going to be able to determine them at the market share metric because we've kind of taken advantage and abuse it over the years. But I tend to see a general acquisitions being more of the norm market share, not as explosive as it used to be, because quite it's kind of like apple.

It's kind of, again, I go back to apple, they were selling iPhones one year. That would, their total sales of iPhones for one year would be all of the sales for the previous years combined. And they had that kind of explosive growth. Then it stopped because you couldn't sell that many phones anymore. But look at them today.

They're doing just fine. They're doing just fine. So I think that's going to be the way with WordPress. We're going to see market share slowed down because quite far, I mean, whether it gets to 50% or not, I don't care. It could be beyond that. It could be years from now, but eventually the market share has to slow down.

And then I'll ask you a [00:53:00] question about market share in a second. I think acquisitions nor market share slows down. We're going to get more, you know, outside investments. We'll see those. And then I think matt's master plan. Maybe I'm not sure what you would call this his plan of an open web.

If you looked at the acquisitions and I'm not sure if you had the read the piece by David Pierce yet on ma on mat, it was a click baity title. It was can Matt Mullenweg save the internet if you haven't read it because it basically folk you would think, oh, it's a piece about Matt WordPress and yes it is, but it goes along also the acquisitions automatic has taken over the past couple of years and individually by themselves were like, oh, that's neat. They have this little thing. But if you add them together, Matt is slowly accumulating like a collection of these technologies and these corners of the internet that I think needs to be maintained as open, like a diary app and a photos on creative commons.

And there's analytics, statistics company that they acquired that I can't remember the name of, but it's like, he's collecting almost one of each or automatic is collecting one of each of [00:54:00] everything. And I think that is going to change. Maybe it's making the community more open source minded than WordPress minded maybe, but I think there's a cat there.

There's going to be some change. There may be an, a version four, maybe a version five. However you want to split it where we're going to see, like we're going to be so more fighting for the open source or the open web. And WordPress is just going to be part of that. In fact, I think didn't Matt say that Gutenberg is going to be bigger than WordPress. Yeah. Yeah. That's a state of the word. So if I had to guess that's my version for, I don't know, that's it. And the

Bob Dunn: only other thing I'd add, and this is more around the people side of things. I'm really curious that by version four, if we will have a bigger turnover in who you really notice in the WordPress space.

I mean, we got all these people that I've, you know, kind of are the faces we've been around forever. We've seen them, is there going to be a new generation and a kind of influx of newer [00:55:00] people stepping up and taking over the roles in the bigger WordPress community. And some of the other people that have been in a while might be at that point in time.

And maybe again, we can't get 4.0 will start, but will they be stepping back and maybe doing other things with their lives? And it'll be this. This whole new kind of, even though each one has been a generation in its own, that might be a more pivotable generation. That with, when you look at the kids and what your kids are doing, I mean, what so many of them are doing that they could come in and just, you know, barnstormed the place and ,

, but you see it, like how many P how many original people of the original tech companies are still around Microsoft?

No bill gates has gone even his can't remember his name now developers, guy has gone. The original owners are starters of Google aren't there anymore. All of in fact, I think an apple of course, has a leader. They'll probably transition like, like the only person left is Zuckerberg is still a [00:56:00] Facebook.

Everyone else has had one or two leadership changes. Very recently, Jack is no longer Twitter. So we're seeing that, but also in the WordPress space you know, the advanced custom fields, Sandhill development these people that have been like the starters from day one, they're moving on, whether they're moving on retiring or they're moving on to other projects or other companies through acquisitions is up for debate or whether it's, they're doing, but we're seeing the same thing happen in the global tech community.

So exactly. So, yeah, I, wow. This has been a really deep conversation about community, but I didn't think, but it was all because of your all because of your blog posts really. And that's really

right. I wrote it and I wrote the, I titled it in a question because I thought, okay, this is just a little snap, a snapshot in my brain.

And I want people to think about this and I love that you did this. And I loved hearing on slack and hopefully, you know, this might. Inspire some some blog posts, cause I'd love to hear other ideas and stuff. [00:57:00] So, so, it did its job and that, that's what I wanted it to do. Get people thinking about

David Bisset: it. I know I've taken too much of your time already talking about this.

It's like, what else am I going to do? And we got to go out and do, let me direct you to one last thing earlier today, because I don't plan enough far enough in advance for half of our conversations. I put up a Twitter poll and that's going to run for another two days. So, while we've been talking about here, strangely enough, we've had at least 10 people vote on it and it's only been.

Three or four hours since I put the vote up has been over 40 votes on it so far, but for a Twitter poll for me, that's on a new year's Eve. That's pretty good. So I asked based on your post, where do people feel they belong in terms of what WordPress generation and I we've listed the version one version two, version three, and then whatever, if there's other than replying, the comments nobody's replied other yet.

So they pick one or two or three. So after 41 votes, let's see, just making sure I got my numbers, right. [00:58:00] 41 votes. So 39% responded version one. This is 36% version two. So that's 2010 from 2018 and 24% said two to 2018 and above for version three. Interesting. So it's, you know, it's only 40 votes if it was more evenly split between thirds the last time I saw it, but you are getting a little bit more.

A slightly older people are older versions. Yeah. So I just thought that was interesting. We'll link to this in the in the show notes as well. So by the time you hear this recording, this poll would have ended long ago. It should be interesting to see what it ends up being. Yeah.

That's fantastic. Was there anything else that we didn't cover about that post that you think we should have?

Bob Dunn: No, I think we, we dove into a deep, yeah, we

David Bisset: killed, we deep dive and killed it, buried it. We used every part of the Buffalo. Yeah. Bobby could be

Bob Dunn: and now, everybody else can chime in and create their own posts and create their own tweets.

And [00:59:00] then talk about this. Yeah. Yeah.

David Bisset: You know, besides Bob, other than my wife, you're the only adult I've spoken to in the last couple of days. Anyway. So maybe it's nice to have a good conversation. We don't have WordCamps anymore. This is the type of conversations I'd love to have. Right at word camps.

And it's the parts that, that I miss the most, but we can still do them up to this point. And I'm looking forward to that time where you and I can sit together and talking you know what? Version three is coming to a close, or maybe we'll say it probably a year after it's happened. Cause you know, retrospect is Einstein sights, 2021.

Anyway, Bob tell us where people can find you or version two, but on the web.

Bob Dunn: Okay. I'm version two. Best place I hang out a lot of on Twitter, you can either @BobWP or @dothewoo depending on what you want to do. Bob wp.com is I've kind of revived that blog. I took all the WooCommerce stuff off and I'm basically just talking about community.

So these kinds of little thoughts come to me and that's what I'm going to be putting there. And if you want [01:00:00] to, you know, again, woo commerce do the blue dot on.

David Bisset: Okay, great. Yeah, and like I said, check the show notes for this episode. We will throw Bob's link to his blog post in there, specifically this Twitter poll that I did and a few other tidbits as well.

Bob, it has been awesome. Thank you very much for sharing all this thoughts with us. And I really hope this at least brings a couple of ideas and thoughts into people's heads, not just ones that have come into the WordPress community recently, but also the ones that have been around with it since version one, maybe, or version two, we'll see where the poll ends up.

Bob Dunn: Cool. Thanks, David. This has been a blast. Thank you.

by David Bisset at January 11, 2022 04:55 AM under The Excerpt

WPTavern: WordPress Community Team Proposes Stricter COVID-19 Safety Protocols for In-Person Events in 2022

Mounting concerns about loose safety protocols at upcoming WordPress events, and the prevalence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, have prompted the Community Team to be more explicit in its COVID-19 safety guidelines. The team is proposing additional measures previously not required.

Currently, in-person attendees are required to be fully vaccinated, recently tested negative, or recently recovered from COVID-19. Every one of these requirements is vague and open to multiple interpretations. Recent spikes in infection in both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations has caused the Community Team to propose the following:

  • Mandatory masks for all attendees (even in regions that do not have a mask mandate at this time). 
  • More prominent messaging in WordCamp websites, emails, and social media posts about COVID-19 safety guidelines.
  • Mandatory temperature checks for all attendees at the event (if permitted by local authorities).
  • Accessible hand sanitizing stations in the venue.
  • Maintaining social distancing practices during the event (Larger meeting rooms and seating arrangements with good spacing can be a good way to implement this).
  • Having a plan for contact tracing measures in case of infections (can be done using WordCamp registration data, meetups are a bit tricker).

One of the concerns with imposing more mandatory safety measures is enforcement. WordPress events are generally hosted by volunteers who would now need to go beyond simply facilitating an event to being ready to confront and remove those who don’t comply with safety protocols. In a community of people with diverse convictions, what happens if some members decide that WordCamp is a good place to protest pandemic restrictions?

“I appreciate very much the heart behind wanting to keep the community safe, but have significant issue with how this is being proposed, and how it would be enforced, and how it shifts the burden of health and safety to a volunteer team of organizers who are not in any way trained or equipped to handle making medical decisions,” Ben Meredith said.

“Further, there are many jurisdictions where the proposed changes (like a mask mandate) are specifically prohibited by local law or executive order.

“Trying to make a policy from the international level (WordCamp central) that applies fairly and equitably to all local jurisdictions is a fool’s errand. What works in Los Angeles probably wont in Louisiana or Lagos. That’s why organizers are local.”

If the WordPress community is fixed on hosting events at this time, then there are many more responsibilities organizers are now obligated to assume in order to ensure the safety of attendees. Participants in the discussion on the proposal raised dozens of questions about how these new safety measures might be implemented.

“On temp checks, if someone reads high ( they may not even be aware) would we then refund their ticket to the event assuming we are talking a WordCamp?” Laura Byrne asked.

 WordCamp organizer and speaker David Ryan raised questions about masks, will the requirements outline what qualifies as a mask? (“Does a plastic face shield qualify as a mask? Are masks with ventilation valves acceptable? A bandana?”) Does the requirement include speakers while they are speaking? “This should be clear in advance for both speakers and attendees to make informed choices without surprises day-of,” Ryan said.

He also asked if the masking policies extend to other venues, such as the official event hotel and after parties, the way the Code of Conduct applies.

Refunds are another consideration. Will WordCamps refund people who test positive right before the event? Will the event refund if people arrive and are not comfortable or are asked to leave for not complying with the safety measures?

“In addition to these proposed guidelines, I also recommend that we remove our existing guideline of allowing recent-recovered community members from attending a WordPress event since new COVID variants like Omicron are known to cause reinfection,” Automattic-sponsored WordPress Community Wrangler Hari Shanker said in the proposal.

Laura Byrne urged the Community Team to clearly define this guideline.

“We are in for a boatload of trouble with the word ‘recent,'” Byrn said. “In other words, something along the lines of, ‘anyone who has tested positive for COVID may not attend a WordPress event until X days after they are no longer testing positive.'”

Some participants in the discussion see the additional safety measures as an overreach for WordPress events. It’s easier and more straightforward to recommend organizers stick with local requirements for anything related to health safety.

“Surely I’m not the only one thinking that the foundation shouldn’t be setting health guidelines at all?” Cameron Jones said. “Compliance with local regulations should be the only requirement.”

The problem with this is that many locations and regions do not have any kind of precautions in place, due to political differences, or are slow in recognizing emerging threats. Lax local guidelines for large gatherings may leave the WordPress community vulnerable to outbreaks.

“As a WordCamp organizer and speaker, and more personally as a recent cancer survivor and immunocompromised person, State of the Word was a troubling event to observe,” David Ryan said.

“Local legal requirements were met, but not proven event practices that eliminated or greatly-reduced positivity rate at larger gatherings in 2021 compared to the results of SOTW (namely, masks and testing). Planning, day-of and response afterwards didn’t inspire confidence this community was prepared to run safer and inclusive events — so this is an encouraging step towards remedying concerns many have expressed.”

Comments on the proposal are open until January 22, 2022. The Community team plans to assess the feedback and finalize the updated guidelines in time to publish them to the handbook in early February 2022.

by Sarah Gooding at January 11, 2022 04:27 AM under wordcamp

WPTavern: Customizer Will Disappear for Some Block Theme Users With WordPress 5.9

Nine years ago, the customizer had a rocky start among theme authors and users. Despite this, it has become the standard for modifying the look and feel of a website. Developers have become comfortable with the API. Users have grown accustomed to adjusting colors, fonts, and even internal WordPress options through it. However, it will disappear for many once a block theme is activated.

I began writing this post on the upcoming block-based theme system and site editor. However, I spent so much time explaining the customizer changes that I thought it best to focus on that aspect to let users know their options if they run into a snag.

It is also a follow-up to a post I published in October 2021 on the same subject. Since then, some things have changed.

WordPress 5.9 will launch with several of the final components of Full Site Editing. The centerpiece of these features will be a new theme system, which allows themers to build designs entirely out of blocks. Once such a theme is active, users can edit their site’s front end via the site editor and global styles system.

The site editor is, essentially, the next iteration of what the customizer aimed to do. The difference is that users can now customize every aspect of their site’s front-end and not just configure the options their theme author made available.

For many block theme users, the disappearance of the customizer will be a non-issue. However, three missing options have no exact equivalent:

  • A partial site icon (favicon) solution exists but not for every scenario.
  • The custom CSS box is not available.
  • There is no draft process before switching to block theme.

Technically, the customizer is available via /wp-admin/customize.php. Even though no links to it are shown in the admin, any user with the requisite permissions can access it via that URL. At the very least, the first two issues can be mitigated by editing options in this way. It is not ideal, but it will work in a pinch.

The Site Logo block has a “use as site icon” option. This is a quick and easy way to update the logo and favicon via the new site editor, assuming they use the same image.

New “Use as site icon” option.

If they are different images or if the user does not use a logo, the only built-in way to change the site icon directly is through the customize.php URL trick mentioned above. The Site Logo block also adds a link to the customizer option. Users can also opt for one of the dozens of favicon plugins.

A custom CSS solution in core WordPress is unlikely to be reimplemented in the site editor. The global styles panel and per-block design options are the future of styling. This makes many of the most common stylistic tasks much easier for non-coders. In the context of block-based themes, the average user is unlikely to need the CSS editor in the customizer.

Custom CSS section in the customizer.

However, there are situations where custom CSS is necessary. Again, the easy answer is to access customize.php once again. For a more dedicated solution, there are numerous plugins available.

There is currently no solution for live previewing and customizing inactive block themes. With classic ones, users can test customizations before activation. In the customizer, block themes will appear with a warning message.

Theme details with warning about customizer support.

Once a block theme is activated from the customizer, WordPress will return the user to the Appearance > Themes page in the admin. They can then modify their site via the site editor.

However, this can be problematic for some sites. Just about any theme change will mean there is at least some customization work in order, and most people will not want their visitors to see an unfinished site. Working from a dev or staging site before migrating the changes is ideal. However, that option is not always available or even easy to figure out for everyone.

Another solution is to install a maintenance-mode plugin if working on a live site. This way, visitors will at least know some changes are happening under the hood and that they can return later.

There is an open ticket for previewing and editing inactive block themes. As ticket creator Anton Vlasenko wrote as the proposed solution, “It’s simple: we need to implement that feature.” In the long term, this is a must-have feature.

There is one situation where the customizer will still be accessible via the admin menu and toolbar. WordPress will automatically detect when a plugin or theme hooks into the customizer and make links to it available. I like to think that my first post covering block themes and the customizer raised awareness of this issue. At the very least, we now have a fix in place.

Assuming there are no other changes in the next two weeks, this is how the customizer will function when paired with an active block theme.

by Justin Tadlock at January 11, 2022 12:22 AM under customizer

January 08, 2022

Gutenberg Times: Gutenberg Changelog #58 – Gutenberg 12.2 and 12.3, WordPress 5.9 RC and DevNotes for Full-Site Editing and Block Themes

Birgit Pauli-Haack and Grzegorz Ziolkowski talk about WordPress 5.9 release and DevNotes for Full-site Editing and block themes, and Gutenberg 12.2 and 12.3.

Show Notes / Transcript

Subscribe to the Gutenberg Changelog podcast via your favorite podcast apps!
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Show Notes

Listener Questions

Jessica Lyschik (Question tweeted)

[Paragraph Block] add font family support

Aditya Kane

Thank you to Jessica and Aditya for your great questions!

If you have questions about Gutenberg, Block Themes or Full-site Editing, email us changelog@gutenbergtimes.com or DM on Twitter @gutenbergtimes or WP Slack.

State of the Word Videos and Q & As

State of the Word 2021 on WordPress.tv

Q & A after State of the Word on WordPress.tv

Josepha Haden: State of the Word 2021 | Q&A

WordPress 5.9 Release + DevNotes

About Themes

Block Building and extending Gutenberg

New Blocks

If you need additional reading or if those are too developer centered for your taste, Birgit collected additional resource to a Reading List for developers, designers, site builders and content creators.

WordPress 5.8.3 Security Release Update Now!

Gutenberg Plugin releases versions 12.2 and 12.3

What’s in the Works or Discussed?

Proposal: Changes to JavaScript Coding Standards for Full Prettier Compatibility

January 17, 2022 8 pm ET / 1:00 am UTC
What’s coming in WordPress 5.9 Panel discussion w/ Brian Gardner, Courtney Robertson and Birgit Pauli-Haack via WordPress Meetup Boulder, Co

Stay in Touch

Transcript

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello, and welcome to our 58th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog podcast, the first podcast of 2022. Happy New Year, everyone. 

In today’s episode, we will talk about Gutenberg 12.2, 12.3 and even more features to customize sites, WordPress 5.9 release candidate and the available Gutenberg related developer notes for the upcoming release, and probably more. I’m Birgit Pauli-Haack curator of the Gutenberg times and developer advocate at Automattic. And I’m here with my co-host Grzegorz Ziółkowski, JavaScript developer at Automattic and WordPress School contributor. Happy new year to you, Grzegorz. How are you today?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Happy new year, Birgit. I wish you and all of our listeners a lot of exciting experiences with the Gutenberg blog during the 2022 year. I personally immensely enjoyed the slower pace at work in the last weeks when so many more WordPress contributors took well deserved, extended time off. And you were one of them. How was your vacation?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, yeah, I’ve been very well spending the holidays with dear friends in Vancouver, and a short trip to Whistler in British Columbia. We had -21 degrees Celsius and beautiful weather in Whistler on the second day. So we went up with the gondola to the mountain peak and yeah, what breathtaking view. It’s not something we see ever in Florida, where the highest peak is the I-75 overpass. I’m so glad to talk to you again, dear listeners, and Grzegorz. It’s been almost four weeks and we have a great show for you. Let’s dig in.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, there is a lot to cover today, so let’s start right away.

Listener Questions

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. We first have listener questions that we picked up on Twitter and from the email. Jessica Lyschick is a German front end developer and was part of the WordPress 5.6 release squad, tweeted the other day, “Is it correct that in WordPress 5.9, it is still not possible to change the font family for a paragraph on a per-block basis? I know it’s possible in the styles and theme JSON, but only globally and not for the individual block.”

Well our answer, indeed. Yes, it’s not yet possible with WordPress 5.9, but it’s already available in Gutenberg 12.3. It’s the PR 37586 in our change log today, if you want to look it up. The change helps site owners and content creators to handle paragraph-related topography and font family. One caveat is that the theme needs to provide a list of allowed font families, otherwise the settings will just follow back on the system font. Jessica, thank you so much for your question. And when you get a moment, play around with it, we’ll have the Gutenberg 12.3 plugin, and see if that matches your needs. And if there’s something quirky, please let the developers know via GitHub Issue, or just ping me again on Twitter.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, I think we will also cover the changes to the group block, which also added the same functionality. So that will give you a fuller depth. So if you have several paragraphs and you don’t want to change every one of them one by one, you’ll be able to do it in the Gutenberg plugin on the group level.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah, I haven’t seen that yet. Thanks putting that in.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. And we have a second question from Aditya Kane and she wrote, “While full site editing is already very exciting and we are looking at some cool things happening around it, and I do think it will start to become a viable product to pitch to clients after WordPress 5.9 release. But at what point do you see it measuring to the level where WordPress agencies could feel more comfortable pitching it to very large enterprise-level clients? Are there any great resources or places someone should watch or follow other than of course, Gutenberg Times?”

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well hi, Aditya. Thank you for sending us your question. Yes, it’s a very good one and it gets the obligatory “it depends” answer. So from what I see, the foundations for full site editing are in. That means the minimally viable product with a user interface, it’s only in the first version. I would not start pitch until 6.0 is out. That hopefully settles the interface quirks some more. I probably would even wait building sites based on FSE until the fourth quarter of 2022.

However, and I have been known to be a risk taker, so take this with a grain of salt, but however, if your clients don’t need site editing interface for most of their workflows, the theme JSON improvement for controlling the theme and the block editor is solid. And it allows for disabling many, many features a client might, with many members on the editorial staff, definitely won’t need, or don’t want. And you should be able to start working with it in the second quarter in 2022, considering that large projects have a long on-ramp time. So by the time you’re finished, maybe in late 2022, or even early 2023, it might have a much more solid base for you. So yeah, take it with a grain of salt. I think it’s moving fast, but it’s also something that everybody needs to get accustomed to. Grzegorz, what do you think?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, I’m still processing that, because full site editing means a lot of things. And as you already mentioned, theme JSON and all the capability gives to the site owners or even content creators. So definitely you will see a lot of new blocks if you enable a block theme. However, if you only are concerned about editing content, you still will receive a lot of enhancement and new features to all blocks. Like this global styles, this is something that you can control on the block level. And with the theme JSON you mentioned, you can fine tune to your needs.

So definitely you should check out those global styles features on the block level first and see how that works for you. And wait maybe a couple of weeks to, and I’m talking about enterprise, which is like, we talk about big money here. So in that case, it’s better to wait a few weeks and see how the committee responds to that. And definitely in the meantime you should try block themes that are showing up, and every week we see something new, exciting, and you will follow it closely and you definitely will have a recommendation for people if they want.

So, yeah. I mean, it’s very exciting and I’m personally more optimistic and I don’t think that we need to wait so long for everything, but I’m a developer and I like to live on the bleeding edge of technology, so.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So yeah, I really like that. So you got two optimists on that answer. Take it on a grain of salt, Aditya. Thank you for your question. And you had a second question in there, is where to follow along with all the changes. It definitely is the Make Blog Core where all the updates will show up with the release notes for every Gutenberg plugin. It definitely will help you gauge all the good things if you follow along with Gutenberg plugin and test things out.

Of course, thank you for the shout on the Gutenberg Times. We’ll keep you up to date on any changes that are significant for agencies and others. You will also find a few shout outs to plugin developers that also work on the workflows for site builders. Yeah, and also there is a series going on that Ryan Welcher and Daisy Olson, they are just starting with their live streams, taking a theme from zero to block. And that’s certainly something. And of course we will have the links in the show note. That’s certainly something to watch and share with your developers so they can get accustomed to it.

Now, listeners, if you have questions about Gutenberg blocks or full site editing, feel free to connect with us on Twitter, the WordPress slack, or via email. It’s changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. It’s changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. We’ll answer right away if we know the answer. And if we don’t, we’ll find someone who knows the answer and we will share the question and answer with all our listeners. So don’t be shy. We know that if you have a question, that many others might want to hear the answer as well, as they have secretly asked themselves the same question. So it’s definitely worth doing it and it helps us be a little bit more, or even more streamlined for your needs. That’s what we all want to do. Yeah. It’s kind of help you with the Gutenberg adoption.

Speaking of Q&A…

Announcements

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, so if you missed it, the new State of the Word talk by Matt Mullenweg and the live Q&A recording are now up on the WordPress TV. And Josepha Haden, the executive director of the open source project also posted on her blog answers to questions they didn’t get to during the event. You will also find the array of questions people sent in or posted in the YouTube livestream. Not all have answers yet, but the comments are filling up. And we will share all the links, of course, in the show notes. And yeah, now let’s go to the committee contributions.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Which we don’t have.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Oh, yeah. Right.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So let’s go to What’s Released, right?

What’s Released

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: And with that, let’s go the What’s Released section. Birgit, can you share the updates?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes. So there were quite a few things going on. So WordPress release candidate 1 for 5.9 was released on Tuesday, January 4th. And that signaled a hard string freeze. That’s when the translators go to work and prepare the release for hundreds of languages. It’s also the time to where developers start publishing the developer notes for the new version. And the block related dev notes are….

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: There is a lot of them.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: There’s a lot of them, yeah. It’s about the block theme, and it’s about new APIs. Even miscellaneous block editor changes that are not going into a full post. There’s a very interesting dev notes also on how to control the inner block areas for the block editor, on how to use multiple styles each for blocks, the post type and taxonomy changes. One dev note that has already been published in August is the gallery block refactor. Dev notes were listed again. And there are still dev notes in the works.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, at least today just before we started recording, there was a navigation block in WordPress 5.9 post published with all the explanations. And I think there are two more coming, and you should know more about them.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. It’s the theme related changes and the updated for the setting styles on theme JSON. But also I found in the Make Blog a post about WordPress 5.9 performance improvements. Do you want to talk briefly about that?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Oh yeah, sure. So that’s something that summarizes the work that was done over several WordPress major releases. So the post was by Anne McCarthy, but it was contributed by many more people from the community. And it was mostly about the performance related to the block editor, but also so related to how that translates to the front end. And there is an interesting table there that shows the features of the block editor and how all those metrics changes starting from WordPress 5.6, up to the upcoming WordPress 5.9 release. And in many of these places, we can see significant improvements. And with the highest peak, for instance, for the inserter opening that is faster. Like the metrics that has been reduced by over 70%, which is like mind blowing.

But yeah, the goal of the post is just to show that it’s something that is constantly on the radar. And the goal is to arrive in future releases at even lower numbers. So it’s not like a one-time initiative. It’s something that we strive for the better future and for the better performance of websites. And definitely some of the dev notes we mentioned about, one of them is, for instance, about style sheets. And so there are multiple projects that are interconnected.

So one of the things that with the block themes that come to WordPress 5.9, we have now this way of serving only CSS for the blocks that are actually rendered on the page, which was never a possibility. Like theme authors, they could add CSS styles and you wouldn’t say if that is needed or not, but it had to be always included. Now we can control that, and that’s another great improvement that the block paradigm allows. So definitely check this post to see how many benefits the Gutenberg Project brings. And all the work that people are doing on this, which is like… I would like to thank everyone for getting involved in the work and do that, and for all the people that help to summarize all that, which is like a lot of work.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I imagine it was a lot of work. Speaking of a lot of work for Anne McCarthy, she just posted this week ahead of the release, user documentation for end users about the new features so you can share them with your team, clients and content creators, about the new features that come in and can read up about how they’re supposed to function. Sometimes iteration misleads us, and sometimes we need to take up the manual.

At our household, we have a two-prong approach. Every time we get a new device, my husband disappears with the manual and I start pressing buttons. And sooner or later I’ve come to the end of my knowledge because, yeah, there is a whole new feature there that I don’t even know how it’s supposed to work. So having the user end documentation is a huge step forward. And we didn’t see that in the last four years. End user documentation was always behind the fast paced releases on the block editor. But for this release, there was this urgent need, and I’m so glad that it happened. That we have some of the end user documentation already there.

All right. So that’s, for now, all we have for you around the upcoming WordPress 5.9 release. The reading list is quite long for everyone and we are probably just 90 minutes ahead of you. But we had another release, right?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, there is more. So I think it was yesterday, or on Wednesday, right? On Wednesday. So on Wednesday we had WordPress security release. So we have now WordPress 5.8.3, which is the latest version. And the same changes were applied back to WordPress 3.7, which is what happens usually. And I checked the changes in the release. I didn’t notice anything related to the block editor, but there were a couple of changes fix it. So yeah, make sure you update your website to the latest one. I hope you already have auto-updates enabled because we asked you for it for so many times.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And if you don’t patch your site as soon as possible, we urge you. It’s a security release, so it’s definitely urgent that you do that.

Well, there were also two Gutenberg plugin releases during the holiday break. WordPress never sleeps. So we are all going to talk about it now. It’s not going into WordPress 5.9. Only features from Gutenberg plugins up until 11.9 made it into WordPress 5.9. And only a few bug and interface fixes from later versions have been back-ported to the WordPress 5.9 release. So when we talk about features and new blocks and everything, it’s not going to be in 5.9. It will be in 6.0. So Grzegorz take us into Gutenberg 12.2. I know you also worked on the new post comment blocks, a major feature to complete the blocks available for themes.

Gutenberg 12.2

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, that’s right. So first let me say that the Gutenberg 12.2, it was released on December 22 and the release was led by Antoine Vlasenko. And as you mentioned already, there is ongoing work on the still experimental comments query block. And in that release, we added support for pagination, which is the same concept that if you are familiar with the query block, that allows you to display a list of posts. So here it’s the same concept and it brings the pagination so you can split here. Or if you have a lot of comments, you can split them into pages, and then the navigation. The numbers are just the way of navigating between pages.

And the other work that was done for the same blog was adding support for nested comments, which some sites they can decide whether you can have threaded responses to comments, to have more granular discussions on some topics. So in general, this feature is now also included, which is the major difference between the query loop, which is just a simple list. And yeah, that’s something that was added and….

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm. I really like that that is now coming to WordPress, because comments, there was no granular control ever for a site owner for the comments except a few features on and off, and the bad word list kind of thing. But how to handle it with the pagination, with the nested or non-nested way, it definitely gives more control to the site owner that’s never been there for WordPress before. So thank you for working on that.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. So there’s a full team working actually. They are a team, so the component that they work on their own framework. All those great folks, they are now working on bringing the interactivity for comments into the WordPress Core, which is amazing. They are doing great job.

And one more thing that I wanted to mention in here is that you mentioned that the styling for comment, that was really hard. And extending them. There are a lot of filters and functions and helpers, but the way I see that everything, they had to redo it from scratch, and like write their own PHP implementation. And it will give a lot of flexibility for creators.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent. So another feature was that the team refactored the handling of the padding for the group and the columns blocks, which it’s a major improvement, especially for designers and theme developers, because now this refactor kind of lowers the… It’s a little bit technical, I’m sorry, but I think it’s helpful for the theme developers who are looking at using groups and column blocks in patterns. It lowers the specificity for the CSS, and now you can control padding for both blocks very easily by overriding the CSS in your theme. And an example of that is in the PR. It’s the PR 37356, if you want to look it up. 37356. The specificity for blocks CSS has always been one of the pain points of nested blocks and more complex blocks, so this definitely reduce it.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, there is also, if you talk technical, there is a change to the template part and there are now filters that allow you to change the loading behavior. Because as you know, like for template part, you can provide with the theme an HTML file, but it’s something that you can also override so it’s stored in the database. So this allows plugging authors to change how it behaves and provide their own workarounds, or like improvements.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And it seems that those hooks are also back-ported to 5.9. So that’s one of the features that made it into the release because it started very, very early in the release.

All right. The next thing we want to talk about, and believe me, there is a lot of port requests in the changes, so we are really cherry picking things. So the border controls are now how displayed in the tool panel to make it available to the site editor to control all the borders around things. And with this release, switching it to the tools panel, it makes it easier to put it into… The tool panels were introduced in Gutenberg in 11.3 and they offer a so-called progressive discovery options for all the block supports features. And they’re still working on improving the user experience. And I like it that it’s now not all in one display, but you can have sections. So one is the border controls, one is the typography, the other one is appearance or colors. And then there’s a slide out that gives you then the additional controls for that. So it’s a much better experience and you are not looking at all the controls all the time. Only when you need them. So that’s certainly part of it. And the border controls were wanted for so long from the community.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes. And they also changed the font size picker. So this component has so many enhancements over time. I think like a fifth version of how it behaves. So now we have a change if there is like a bigger number of labels, it shows now numbers. Like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and it’s like when you hover over it, then it shows the name. But the idea is that you can now simplify changing between them because you just move between numbers and just, you see how it looks like. And yeah, I don’t know how you feel about that as like something you need to test and see how it works for you.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I think it’s important to have end users or content creators look at that again and send us the feedback, because at one point it’s certainly easier to say, “Okay, I want the first level, second level, third level, fourth level, fifth level,” kind of in a… But it has, the numbers have nothing to do with the size of it in the pixel size. But it’s definitely easier to understand the hierarchy than the earlier ones with “small, large, huge, very large,” kind of where the labels were a bit arbitrary, but the hierarchy wasn’t really particularly clear. Yeah. It’s definitely a work in progress and it could use some user feedback there, definitely. Yeah.

Another feature enhancement was that most components are now iterated in getting to reducing the sidebar clutter, also in the tools panel includes now the custom color implementation that takes advantage of the new dropdown-based color picker. And it seems to be improving the UI quite a bit. And I like it very much. And now many of the components, many of the blocks are actually using that. And so we’ll see about that. That’s why it’s released in the plugin and not yet in WordPress, because the developers definitely need some user feedback in if it makes life easier and how to improve it.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. There are also some changes to the site editor. And if you weren’t aware, so when you have the block theme enabled, then you won’t see the customizer link in the appearance menu. However, there are some plugins that require that feature. Like woo commerce is one of them. So the change was to detect that case and show back this link to the customizer when it’s very necessary. I’m not sure if that was a big part of the WordPress 5.9. Yeah. I commented on the PR, so we’ll find out about that soon. But yeah, it seems like something that was missed in the process.

The other change is that before when you would like to switch between templates when being undecided. So for instance, when you were on the single post template and you wanted to go to the home template, then you would have to click and go to like have a full page refresh, go to another page, then load the list of templates, pick your template, it will refresh again, reload everything. Now it was vastly improved because it uses a client-side routine, so everything happens with JavaScript, which like speeds up the process a lot and is much more user friendly, in my opinion, at the moment.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, thank you. And so there was also a change in the scripts to enact fast refresh for the block development. I saw that and I thought that was also part of the changing how re-render from upon changes the components and the block editor work. Is that a fair assessment or am I missing something?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: No, it’s purely for blog development and that is still not published to NPM to the WordPress scripts tool and should happen in the upcoming days. But the idea is, because this is the feature that was implemented for react, which basically it’s a mix of few techniques. And the idea is that when you change something in your source code and you have built in the watch mode, so that means that it picks up all your changes from the code when they are saved. This allows you to, in the browser, to update the code on the fly and you don’t have to refresh anything. You will see all the changes immediately. And that applies to JavaScript, but also to CSS, which brings a really nice experience that, blog developers should take advantage of in the new future.

So yeah, I’m really excited about that one. And yeah, I can see for the feedback from people and how they like it, and how it should evolve.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent. Yeah. So increasing the developer experience is definitely a good way to, now that all the foundations are in, to get that even more prominent. 

Bug Fixes

And then there were a ton of bug fixes in the release 12.2. And we only wanted to point out one that is coming to the query loop, or that came to the query loop, that uses a used block preview component. And that fixes the alignment of the query loop block editor. So the block preview is that when you hover over the patterns in the placeholder, that you actually see how it all works and it’s now implemented for the query loop.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: So yeah, but this is something like, this is a place where there was a code reuse. The feature is excerpt from the inserter, but also in other places. And this particular it’s the query loop, so when you have a list of posts. And the issue was that sometimes when you had multiple inner blocks and that selecting them would have some bad side effects. In this particular, the alignment wouldn’t be properly applied. So when you would like pick for your query loop, wide alignment, but the parent alignment would be different, it didn’t quite work well. So that’s fixed now and this is going to be in the WordPress 5.9 release as well.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh good. Good, good.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Actually, there’s one more thing I want to talk about, which is in the site editor, there was an issue with the order of including templates. In the case when you would have a child theme, so it became a bit complex because you could have the case when your parent theme would have HTML template in the block theme, but your child theme would override that with a PHP file, like in the classic theme. So now it’s fixed that if your theme defines this PHP file, it will take precedence over the HTML, which is like, when you have a block theme, it’s the opposite. Like the HTML take precedence. So it’s like some complex edge case, but fortunately it was fixed sometime.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Excellent. Yeah. Thanks for pointing that out. And then I think there’s another one in the block editor where the team fixed the content loss when ungrouping template parts or reusable blocks. So there was some edge cases where content was lost when you changed the order of blocks, or make a group block disseminated into the single blocks. The same with reusable blocks. So that is definitely fixed and a lot of users will probably issue a sigh of relief for that, finally.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. You could always use undo button, but it’s always the worst experience when your content disappears suddenly and you don’t know why.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. It’s heart attack inducing. Yeah. Or at least adrenalin shots. Yeah. There was quite a few documentation updates. Nothing really stood out, but definitely go through the list. If you are missing some documentation, it might have been already issued. And I’m just only skipping over that because we have another release to go to and we are pressed for time in this. 

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah I think we can go.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: There is so big. I think we can go to Gutenberg 12.3, because we could spend a lot more time on that.

Gutenberg 12.3

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, definitely. And so Gutenberg 12.3 was released on Wednesday, January 5th and the release was led by Luis Herranz. And he also published a new post. And I know that you were also working more on the Gutenberg 12.3, Grzegorz. Do you want to start out with the new features there?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, sure. So this release was much smaller, mostly because as I mentioned at the beginning, so many people were away from keyboard, enjoying some time with friends and family. But still there was a couple of interesting features added. So some of them you know already, if you are listening to our podcasts. So to the group block, which also has the variation for the row, there was added gap support. Which gap support is the space that you can control between several blocks that are inside this block.

And the other feature is typographic support that I mentioned when we were answering the questions. So yeah, that is now possible. It’s quite nice. I like that. Especially the typographic ones. Like you can like change the typography for a couple of blocks and that applies not only to paragraphs, but to other things that support typography.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And one note is that the new gap setting is also available to the row variation of the group block, which was added in 11.5. But it’s added horizontally instead of vertically, so it gives you a lot more options to customize your layout. Then there was a new block. It’s the new author name block, and it’s part of the effort to split the post author block and to separate blocks to allow even more granular layout options for themes. And theme developers were kind of complaining that there wasn’t enough flexibility there, and it now has been released. This means you have extra options to customize the author name to your liking.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. And there is a plan to add author bio and author avatar, so that will give like more options. And this one was also inspired by the implementation of the comments query block, which got another two blocks which are related to the pagination. And one of them is next, and obviously the other one is previous. Although they might be renamed to “older” and “newer” because this is how you usually see them in the existing classic themes. And that was a very exciting milestone because that means that all blocks that were planned for this block are already in place and you can test all of them.

However, I just want to mention that it’s still experimental. It means that some of the features, especially for settings for the sites that exist already in WordPress are still being applied. And it’s quite complex task, so I expect that it might take some more time. However, it’s like the most important part, which is how to style those blocks is already there. So definitely check it out. If you don’t like the block that it’s called post comments block that is already there, that eventually will be replaced with the new one.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent. Yeah. Yeah, there is also a tracking issue available on GitHub with the upcoming changes. So there is the new and older that you mentioned name for the pagination blocks, forwards and backwards. And then also how the pagination is handled with comments with replies, that’s still in the works. There’s also something in the works for the block placeholders that will be created similar to the query loop. So you have different combinations that you can get out of the box. And a few bug fixes. So yeah, it’s definitely the first version. It’s a working version, but nothing is perfect and it can always be improved on.

Enhancements

So in the 12.3, there were also enhancements to the block library. And I want to point out the one for the site logo. And the site logo block now has an option to also set the site icon from the site logo block settings. That’s one of the features that actually were coming through the customizer and it’s very important to get some parity with it. Site icons, just in case you’re not aware of it, all the little icons that you see in browser bookmarks, or in tabs, or within the mobile app. So it’s quite of identify the site in open tabs. Which I have now open, I don’t know, 30 per window, and now having a site icon definitely helps me find the right one. 

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, this one is a little bit surprising for me the way it’s implemented, because this is a toggle button that is inside the sidebar. So when Luis was working on the release post, we discussed that one because we couldn’t quite understand how it works exactly. I mean, it makes a lot of sense how it ended up being implemented. But the confusing part was that when someone changes the site icon in a different place and that’s… You need to refresh the page to see that it’s no longer set as the default one. So that’s something that might confuse some people.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah, I can see that that’s happening. It’s always the time when you have the synchronization issues kind of….

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, between the classic and the new block editor. And I think there’s a similar problem, I would say, with the navigation block. When you have existing menus that coming into the navigation block, when you change them, it’s not going to change the existing one. It’s creating a new record and all that. I think there is no really good way to do this, but it will be at first a little bit confusing to some users. The same when you go back from block editor to classic editor in your post. It doesn’t work switching back and forth. So once you decide going one way, might want to stick to it.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. But because like, from my perspective, the biggest challenge is that when you see toggle, you expect that once you toggle it, it will remain like in this state, right?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: However, it’s not the case here.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. And you can change it through the customizer again, and then it’s not showing up on the side logo block. Yeah, that is a disconnect there.

The next feature, we already talked about. That’s the paragraph to add font family support. Again, shout out to Jessica who raised the question on Twitter. And I was so happy that we could point to this pull request.

Then the next one is the comments template now has also comments pagination. That’s all part of the comments query block in a template. So there’s, I don’t think more to talk about that what you already told us. 

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, I think when you insert the comments query loop, it’ll just show you all the available inner blocks. That’s the biggest change here. And in the future, I would expect that it’ll look more like the query loop, that you have this option to pick one of the existing quick templates, or just go to the pattern selector and just see whatever is there and pick the one that suits you best.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that’s wonderful. Thank you. And then one of the most popular blocks is the spacer block, and it now has custom units for height and width. So you can do it in EMs, in REMs. You can do it in viewport width and viewport heights. So a lot of people asked for that, especially theme builders or site builders that control their site through the interface and are not working with code.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I’m curious what’s the future of this block, because now we have all those spacing options that you could pick like top margin or bottom margin, and then this block might not have the future at all.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, I think it does because it’s an easy way to, so you don’t have to space out both of it. Yeah, you’re just going to put a space and continue working on your content. Just because when you’re having two blocks bump up against each other, you don’t have to think about which one do I have to change, and where do I change it? So you just going to put the space out block in there. It has a default of I think 40 pixels. You can change the default to 20 pixels, and then every time you use the spacer block, it’s the same.

So I think it has a future for fast power users that got accustomed to it. The custom units for height and width definitely help you also for the theme JSON to have default values for that. But other than that, a content creator definitely seems to love that because they’re not always in control of the theme. Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I know that is highly popular block. Like when I saw some stats a few months back, it was on the seventh place from the most popular blocks. Which was quite surprising, but now I get your point.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I was surprised when I saw that too, but that has been for the last four years. So it definitely is good that padding and margin controls are in, but they only came in in 2021. So that’s where also a lot of muscle memory is in there to use the spacer block just instead.

Bug Fixes

So, there are quite a few other enhancements. We will, however, jump over them and go to one of the bug fixes that restrict the navigation permission and show the UI warning if it cannot create it. So there was one in the testing of WordPress 5.9 that came out that the navigation block or menu is actually restricted for non-admin users, but the block editor wouldn’t behave well for that. And now it’s definitely clear that only admins can create navigation menus. And there is, instead of just a loading spinner that doesn’t go anywhere, it now has a UI warning that the permissions are not the right ones. So that’s definitely… and that was also patched back to WordPress 5.9, if I’m not mistaken.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. It would give you a false feeling that you can do too much, but it looks like… And more like the approach they took, that it only allows you to pick one of the existing menus is pretty nice.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. What else do we want to pick out from there? So there is an update in the multi-editing saving. Do you have any more information about that? On the post editor?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: No.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, when the publish button was clicked and not always the multi-editing. When multi-editing saving needs to happen, it wouldn’t then go further to the post publish panel to actually publish a post. It would just save the multi-editing, but not publish a post. I think that was a problem. Or when you want to switch off saying, “Oh, I changed the header. I didn’t want to do this.” And then you check it off in the multi-editing saving, and still wanted to publish it. I think that was a problem.

Documentation

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. And that brings us to the documentation section. And here we have a new page that was other than that one is for Core block. So now we have a new tool in place that generates some basic characteristics for all Core blocks that exist there. So that’s good for theme authors because now they can check all the blocks, and they can easily look for the features they have. Like all these block supports, like typography, spacing, borders, whatever. And yeah, I expect that this page will get much better over time, because this is just the beginning. But now that we have, feedback from everyone would be very much appreciated because it will help to shape that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And I can see that it’s not only usable for theme developers. Plugin developers are absolutely happy about that too, because they also see all the attributes that come with each block and can decide right there how the extensions would work if they want to extend existing blocks. And can have a complete, and I think that’s the operating, or the executive kind of word there. Complete block reference of all the Core blocks coming from the block JSON file in the block. So it’s definitely an improvement of the documentation.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. Now that we have that, it also would be great to include that information when block was included in WordPress Core. So people can have a good expectation, because some of those blocks are still in experimental phase. Some of them, they’re becoming new WordPress 5.9. And some of them exist from the very beginning.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Exactly. Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. And there was also a change in the handbook. So there is a lot of code examples, and so far they had two versions. One of them was called ES.Next and the other one was called ES5. And that has changed now, because the distinction that existed before was mostly because IE 11, it could support only older version of JavaScript. And these days, all the browsers that work with supports, they work with ES.Next, so this wasn’t working well. So now the distinction is between JSX, which also translates to the code examples that require a build step. And then other one is called plain, which basically you can copy and paste into your browser some of those examples, and they should just work. So, yeah. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Excellent. Yeah. So it lowers the barrier of entry for someone who’s not yet completely familiar or comfortable with JSX to see other code examples here. But JSX is mostly coming from the React framework, but you can also write blocks in plain vanilla JavaScript, as it’s called. I think that was the name I was trying to find. Okay.

So I think that concludes our dive into the change log of the 12.3 Gutenberg plugin release from this week. 

What’s in Active Development or Discussed

We’re coming to the section of what’s in active development. And I just wanted to give a shout to your proposal, Grzegorz, on changing… You were the one who published the proposal, but of course it comes from the Core JavaScript group, on changing the JavaScript coding standards. So Prettier, and can be used also out of the box instead of using the WordPress own version of it. Do you want to explain a little bit more about that?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. So first of all, Prettier, this is the tool that we use in the Gutenberg project to format the code so it looks the same no matter what your style preference is. So that helps us a lot to decrease the number of changes in the PRs that were purely about wide spaces or stuff like that. And also improve the speed of code review because now you can focus on the code. And, the thing is that it was, I think two years ago, when we introduced this tool. We couldn’t use the official one that is big open source project and is widely used by the JavaScript community because WordPress has different opinions about spacing around brackets and parents. So we respected that and we used form that automatic was maintaining.

But in the last year there were not any updates. And in the meantime, we started using that tool because it’s so powerful. It also works with CSS, markdown, XML, JSON, and the list is so long. There is even experimental version for PHP. We don’t want to go in the PHP route. Like it’s too much, but for other things, we started applying that and it’s so fantastic. Like makes everything so much easier. And for me, the biggest, the most like powerful thing is that when you format markdown files, it also can edit CSS, snippets, JavaScript snippets, and it applies formatting to them according to the rules you specify for this language. So it’s like, wow. So it can do that.

So yeah, we just need to use the full power of the tool. But it’s a hard decision because like nobody wants to change the coding styles that… I, myself, I’m familiar with this existing coding style for nearly seven years. And I’m fine with that. I’ve been using them for so long, so it’s not that I want that. It’s just like the benefits, in my opinion. And as far as the feedback goes so far, for many people the benefits are much bigger than, the need to change those styles and reformatting many projects. But it’s a hard decision, so we are waiting for the feedback from the community before we take any further steps.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes. And if you want to get even more detailed, we will have the link to it in our show notes. And also, yeah, comment and let the team know what you think about that. I find it, yeah, if it’s inclusion more JavaScript and gets WordPress more into what the bigger JavaScript community is doing, it’s one thing. It also takes care of TypeScript, I understood. And some of the underlying code of Gutenberg is written in TypeScript, so it helps also new contributors coming to the project.

Although I’m not that into that coding, but Prettier is definitely a nice tool, especially for beginners to make sure that your code is right, and to find all the quirks and syntax problems that you inadvertently introduced before you have a build done. So yeah, definitely all for it. And I need to add my comments to that as well. But yeah, so that is in the works. And how long is the comment? It’s about three weeks, I think. The comment time for that.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Okay. So initially I set the deadline for three weeks. However, there was a comment from Google that it should extended. And I’m fine with that. It’s like, whatever the committee decides. Let’s say a few weeks from now to make the decision.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent. Yeah. All right, so this concludes our Gutenberg Changelog episode 58. It’s 5.8. No, it’s 58, sorry. And I want to remind everyone there is actually, if you want to learn more about full site editing and what’s coming to 5.9, the meetup of Boulder, Colorado has a panel discussion coming up on Monday the 17th at 6:00 PM Mountain Time. That’s 8:00 PM Eastern, and 1:00 AM, sorry Europeans, UTC. And of course we have the link in the show notes. But the panel is Brian Gardner from WP Engine, developer advocate, and a theme developer by heart. Courtney Robertson, she is a developer advocate at GoDaddy Pro, and she’s also part of the WordPress training team that brings you all those nice new courses and workshops and social learning spaces. And yours truly. And I will be on the panel too.

So if you want to join us and get your questions answered, panel discussion, WordPress Meetup, Boulder, Colorado. January 17th at 6:00 PM, Mountain time, 8:00 PM Eastern, and 1:00 AM UTC. And if you have any things that you’re not able to go there because of the late night, just have your question or so in the comments on the meetup page, and we’ll take it in onto our panel.

Shout to Angela Bowman, who is the meetup organizer of that meetup. And I thank her for the invitation and the preparation for that. All right. Do you have anything that you want people to know, Grzegorz, off the top of your head?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: No, just when you said 5.8, a piece of number, just like I told that next in two weeks, we will be very close to WordPress 5.9 and we will be recording Gutenberg Changelog number 59, which is quite a nice coincidence.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah, you’re right. I didn’t realize that. So our next recording will be on January 21st. So that’s about four days before WordPress 5.9 is going to be released. All right.

So as always, if you listen to the shows and you like it, it would be really helpful to have a review on the places where you… like Stitcher, or iTunes, or Google. If you write us a review, it will be really fantastic because it also helps us with the distribution of the podcast. And we always want to get in contact with you.

Again, if you have questions, ping and Grzegorz on Twitter, or myself, or Gutenberg Times. @gutenbergtimes on Twitter. Or send us your questions or suggestions or news to changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. That’s changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. The show notes will be on gutenbergtimes.com/podcast. And this is, as we mentioned, episode 58.

So thank you, Greg, for another great show. We covered a lot, and I hope you have a wonderful next two weeks. And I will get back to Florida to the warmer weather, which I really like, and I really long for.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I can only imagine, yeah. So thank you everyone. Thank you, Birgit. And hopefully we see in two weeks, so we don’t have to wait so long to record the next episode.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right, you all take care. Bye-bye now.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Bye.

by Gutenberg Changelog at January 08, 2022 08:00 PM

Gutenberg Times: Block Template for Custom Post Types, Reading list for WordPress 5.9, Grainy Gradient block and so much more – Weekend edition #198

Happy New Year! 🎆 🙌 🎉🥂

I hope you all had wonderful time over the Holidays and you didn’t have to work. And if you had to work, that it was quiet time for reflection, catch-up and strategic planning. At Whistler, we encountered -21 °C (-5.8 °F) weather and this Florida Weather wimp had to put on about 15 pounds (ca. 7 kg) of layered clothes to feel warm enough to go outside. It is easy to forget what Real Winter feels like. I also was pretty amazed how fast one can adapt to anything, given enough time.

After a day and a half, we were ready to head up to the top of the mountain and all the suffering was definitely worth it. Look at the view!

Whistler – View from the Top (Photo by Birgit Pauli-Haack)

Before I get out of the way of the curated list of fabulous Gutenberg content, I want to express my wishes for you and the New Year: Good health, stay safe, prosperity, lots of laughter and loads of love for you and yours.

Yours, 💕
Birgit


Table of Contents

In the 39th episode of the Post Status Excerpt Podcast guest Anne McCarthy talked with David Bisset about the delay of WordPress 5.9, Automattic, COVID’s impact on contributors, Full Site Editing, and the future of the Customizer.


There’s a new Hallway Chats episode! Topher and Cate DeRosia sat with Tammie Lister, Senior Product Designer at XWP, and talked about what it means to be a web designer these days, as well as how Gutenberg and the WordPress editor are changing and growing.

About Themes

Block Building and extending Gutenberg

New Blocks

WordPress 5.9 Release Candidate was released on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022 and the version is on schedule to be released on January 25, 2022.

If you have a some spare time, Anne McCarthy has great instructions and topics on how you can Help test WordPress 5.9 Features. It’s a huge release and test can help.

A full reading list about the Block editor updates for WordPress 5.9 for developers, site builders and content creators is in the works. You can start reading here.

 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2022” 
A chronological list of the WordPress Make Blog posts from various teams involved in Gutenberg development: Design, Theme Review Team, Core Editor, Core JS, Core CSS, Test and Meta team from Jan. 2021 on. Updated by yours truly. The index 2020 is here


Gutenberg Plugin 12.2 and 12.3

Only Gutenberg features and enhancements until version 11.9 made it into the WordPress 5.9 version. Only Bug and UI fixes to existing features of later Gutenberg plugin version were backported to WordPress 5.9

Anton Vlasenko published the release notes: What’s new in Gutenberg 12.2? (22 December) and points out as highlight the following:

Justin Tadlock gave it a whirl in his post Gutenberg 12.2 Focuses on User Experience Improvements.


Luis Herranz released Gutenberg 12.3 and published the release notes on January 5th, 2021: What’s new in Gutenberg 12.3? (5 January).

Highlighted PRs are listed as follows.

The last bullet point references the new Handbook page Core Block Reference and it is a big step forward to a complete and updated documentation of the core blocks. The blocks’ block.json information feeds into this page automatically.

Justin Tadlock wrote about it in Gutenberg 12.3 Introduces New Blocks, Design Options, and a Complete Core Blocks Reference


Grzegorz Ziolkowski and I recorded the 58th Gutenberg Changelog episode on Friday, January 7th, 2022. We talk about WordPress 5.9 release and DevNotes for Full-site Editing and block themes, and Gutenberg 12.2 and 12.3. We also, answered listener questions, this time by Aditya Kane and Jessica Lyschik.

Developing for Gutenberg and Block Building

For those among us, who still rely on ACF for site data handling, Joey Farruggio built a command line tool to streamline the ACF blocks creation. You can read more about the context and the making of the CLI and what you can delegate to a script. The Create-ACF-Block CLI code is available on GitHub.


Speaking of scaffolding blocks, the official WordPress create-block received and update, too. Once you are done with developing your plugin, you can automatically assemble the plugin.zip that you can upload to WordPress or share with other users via the plugin directory. Here is a short blog post about it: Run plugin.zip for create-block.


In his tweet, Ryan Welcher pointed to the most recent Block Plugin Checker updates. When you submit your single block plugin to the directory, the Plugin Checker now validates against the block.json schema and also has a check for unique plugin namespaces as well. You can read about the details in this trac ticket: Block plugin validation tool UI improvements.


Only tangentially related to the block editor, Grzegorz Ziolkowski published for the Core JavaScript team a proposal on Changes to JavaScript Coding Standards for Full Prettier Compatibility. Several contributor and developers have already commented. Let you opinion heard.


In his post, How Advanced Custom Fields handle blocks, Carlo Bravo, discusses how you can create blocks with ACF (the plugin Advanced Custom Fields), what advantage is has and what downsides are for the users of such blocks. If you try to decide to invest in learning how to create dynamic blocks or ACF Blocks it’s a great article to start the process.


Marie Comet explains in her post Adding options and controls to an existing Gutenberg block, how to extend core blocks with an additional button in its Toolbar or more option controls in the sidebar. Sometimes extending existing blocks is faster than recreating features via Custom Blocks.

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

GitHub all releases

Updates for Designers and Theme Developers

Apart from the list of developer notes and reading list, Angela Jin published a Proposal for Approving Block Patterns Submissions to the directory. If you are a designer, or theme developer it might be interesting for you, and you might have an opinion how submissions should be curated on the official WordPress repository.


Speaking of the WordPress repository, Munir Kamal created his idea of a Theme directory via the Gutenberg Hub: Re-Imagined WordPress themes directory. I really like the way how themes details on color schema, typography, and block styles can be surfaced to a Theme directory page. Kamal was right when he wrote: “This makes it much easier to find the theme that’s right for you without having to download and test multiple themes.”

Justin Tadlock at the WPTavern also took a look and wrote: “In the dawn of the block theme era, the WordPress theme directory could use a reimagining.” The rest of the article is ready for your purusal.


Carolina Nymark, write and developer on Fullsiteediting.com has a tutorial for you on how to use a php template to create a block template for Custom Post Type. Given how often I see the question on what about Custom Post Types, this is a very timely tutorial for Theme Developers. Nymark wrote: “The main pain point is that people are expecting to be able to create this type of template via the new Site Editor interface. This is a reasonable expectation, unfortunately the feature is not complete yet and not included in WordPress 5.9.0.”. In her post she shows you a viable workaround, that doesn’t leave you with too much technical debt.


Carlo Daniele took a Deep Dive into Twenty Twenty-Two and WordPress Block Themes for Kinsta. The article describes the upcoming new WordPress default theme, that will be the first default block Theme. Kjell Reigstad and Jeff Ong worked on the design and development. The Theme will come out bundled with WordPress 5.9

Getting Started with Block Theme development

If you like to get started on block theme development, there are a few choices depending on how you want to learn.

The Developer Handbook on WordPress.org hold all the documentation about Block Themes. You start at the Overview page, then walk along the Create a Block Theme tutorial to learn more about the templates, template parts, template hierarchy and all necessary files. A primer on theme.json enables you to control the feature set and setting for Global Styles.


Marcus Kazmierczak‘s Devnote Block themes, a new way to build themes in WordPress 5.9 catches you up on the latest updates.


Another opportunity to is the Twitch live stream series by Ryan Welcher and Daisy Olsen Creating a block-based theme. Part 1 is available on Twitch, and will later be posted on YouTube. The start was a bit wonky with some audio issues that cleared up at the timestamp 14:32. The next session will be next week, Thursday at 10:30 am ET / 15:30 UTC


On January 12th, Daisy Olsen and Sarah Snow present the first installment of another series: “Zero to Block Theme Series: Foundations” at 1pm ET / 18:00 UTC.


Kelly Choyce-Dwan, core contributor on the meta team, takes you along her journey while switching to a block based theme. She shares with you her process and her challenges and how she overcame them. Choyce-Dwan also surfaced a few things that are bugs and some have already been fixed. She also noticed that there is no way to give buttons or links hover state/colors, and CSS is your fallback. In conclusion, she wrote: “It was a fun experiment to refresh this site, and I really see the promise of block-based themes for easy site building. It’s a new framework to get used to, and sure there are bumps to work through, but it’s going to be great.”

Tools for Site Builders and content creators

In her latest YouTube video Connecting The Dots: Level up with Query Loop block, Anne McCarthy is showing off a real-world example of the Query Loop block, and she demonstrates how it saves her time.


In his review Anariel Design Releases Bricksy, Its Third WordPress Block Theme, Justin Tadlock gives Ana Segota, designer at Anariel Designs, and her theme high marks on beauty and versatility. It sports 32 Block patterns and also supports WooCommerce. Certainly, worth checking out.


Alexandra Yap introduced you to a new feature from the team at Stackable: Their plugins now gives you the option to start your design process directly in the Site editor. Learn how you can use Gutenberg to wireframe a website.


Although the block editor can handle Markdown in and of itself, it’s not the most convenient Markdown editor. The MarkUp MarkDown plugin seems to change that although it gives me unwanted flashback to pre-block editor times. In his review, New WordPress Plugin Offers a Markdown Editor Solution Justin Tadlock, is of other opinion, so it was a worth a read for me.


Speaking of Flashback, read A Throwback to the Past: Retro Winamp Block by Justin Tadlock on his take on the block plugin that allows you to embed a Winamp player and skin into your 21st-century website.


Phil Webster created the Newspaper Column block, and interesting approach to have this block automatically display text over three or four columns automatically. It works best with paragraph and lists. Webster also plans to work on Accessible Block Collection to offer additional accessibility features for core blocks and build blocks that are missing for instance an Accordion block.

As a sidenote, here is a twitter exchange with Webster about what is best for the user: Single purpose blocks or bock collections. What has been the better experience been for you? And would you pay for a single block premium plugin? And more. I found it quite insightful.


Good news for site owners looking for high-quality block themes: WP Engine Acquires Brian Gardner’s Frost, Opens It to the Public – now available for free. Justin Tadlock has the skinny for you.


Kelly Choyce-Dwan released ‘a souped-up Spacer-type block’. With the Grainy Gradient Block plugin end-users can decorate the area with various gradient backgrounds and spruce up their content with interesting forms and color combinations. Justin Tadlock took it for a spin and shared ways he experimented with with the block on the WPTavern.

Upcoming WordPress Events

January 12, 2022, 1 pm ET / 18:00 UTC
Zero to Block Theme Series: FoundationsJoin this space via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

January 14, 2022 1pm ET / 18:00 UTC
Demo: All About Colors with Full Site Editing with Roxy Kohilakis via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

January 17, 2022 3pm ET / 20:00 UTC
Advanced Layouts with the Block Editor with Wes Theron via WordPress Social Learning Spaces

January 17, 2022 8 pm ET / 1:00 am UTC
What’s coming in WordPress 5.9 Panel discussion w/ Brian Gardner, Courtney Robertson and Birgit Pauli-Haack via WordPress Meetup Boulder, Co

January 20, 2022 – 7 pm ET / 00:00 UTC
WordPress “Mega Meetup”: Block Patterns, WordPress 5.9
South Florida WordPress Meetup Group

January 26, 2022, 6:00 pm ET / 23:00 UTC
Intro to Templates and Template Parts (Full Site Editing) with Wes Theron via WordPress Social Learning Spaces


Don’t want to miss the next Weekend Edition?

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by Birgit Pauli-Haack at January 08, 2022 08:50 AM under Weekend Edition

WPTavern: Microsoft Bing Releases New IndexNow Plugin for WordPress

In July 2020, Bing released its first official plugin for WordPress that allowed site owners to submit URLS and get their content indexed immediately, instead of waiting for the search engine to crawl the site. The IndexNow API, which debuted in October 2021, is the next evolution of the Bing URL submissions API, created by Microsoft Bing and Yandex.

Bing Webmasters has released a new IndexNow plugin for WordPress sites to take advantage of this new protocol. It makes it possible for websites to notify participating search engines whenever content is created, updated, or deleted, so that the site is indexed faster for updated search results. The Microsoft Bing Webmaster Tools team anticipates that it will minimize the need for crawling:

IndexNow is an initiative for a more efficient Internet: By telling search engines whether an URL has been changed, website owners provide a clear signal helping search engines to prioritize crawl for these URLs, thereby limiting the need for exploratory crawl to test if the content has changed. In the future, search engines intend to limit crawling of websites adopting IndexNow.

IndexNow is also an initiative for a more open Internet: By notifying one search engine you will notify all search engines that have adopted IndexNow.

The IndexNow WordPress plugin tracks changes in content and automatically submits the URLS in the background. It comes with a few basic features and configuration options:

  • Toggle the automatic submission feature.
  • Manually submit a URL to IndexNow.
  • View list of recent URL submissions from the plugin.
  • Retry any failed submissions from the recent submissions list.
  • Download recent URL submissions for analysis.
  • Status on recent successful and failed submissions

The IndexNow protocol is supported by Microsoft Bing and Yandex. Google is testing the protocol to see if it makes sense for a more sustainable approach to indexing the web.

Bing Principal Program Manager Fabrice Canel proposed WordPress core integrate the IndexNow protocol but contributors suggested Microsoft keep it as a plugin until it’s more widely adopted by major search engines and proves that it has a positive effect on reducing the need for crawling.

“By releasing this plugin, we aim not only to benefit right away WordPress websites adopting it, but also learn, tweak as needed to someday release IndexNow in WordPress core to benefit all websites and all existing and upcoming search engines adopting IndexNow,” Canel said on the ticket.

The IndexNow plugin already has 800 active installs but it’s a long road for Microsoft to prove that its API is effective at streamlining indexing for search engines. If Google agrees to support it after testing, the protocol may gain enough momentum to attract other search engines’ support.

by Sarah Gooding at January 08, 2022 03:14 AM under microsoft

WPTavern: Decorating Web Pages With the Grainy Gradient Block

Yesterday, Kelly Choyce-Dwan released a souped-up Spacer-type block. However, instead of just empty space on the screen, end-users can decorate the area with various gradient backgrounds.

Grainy Gradient Block is just the type of plugin that I look forward to tinkering with. It is not complex. It stays in its lane. And, it is just plain fun to use.

The block was inspired by the grainy gradient trend touted by CSS-Tricks in 2021. Now, users can use them directly in the WordPress editor.

The plugin’s single block has four variations, as shown in the following screenshot:

The variations are:

  • Default: Noisy/Grainy texture.
  • Horizontal Grain: Horizontal lines.
  • Vertical Grain: Vertical lines.
  • Blob Grain: An effect similar to lava lamps.

After far too much time attempting new design ideas with the plugin, I finally landed on something that I liked. I pulled a sunset image from WordPress Photos by Mark Westguard and used it within a cover block. Then, I applied a couple of different Grainy Gradient blocks over it.

Grainy sunset over a lake.

The goal was to give it an old, worn painting feel. I was happy with how it and several other variations I worked through turned out.

I wanted to see what I could do with some real-world art — I had paintings on my mind at that point. So, I grabbed a photo of a piece I completed a week or two ago and began anew.

This time, I used a similar process. I wrapped everything in a Cover block and applied a duotone filter over the image. Then, I placed the Grainy Gradient block inside and switched it to the Horizontal Grain variation.

Horizontal grain over an image.

It turned out similar to a poor photocopy of a hand-drawn piece. Essentially, it was better than my original artwork.

Do not let my imagination fool you into thinking this plugin is limited to just a handful of ideas. There are 1,000s upon 1,000s of variations users can create. For example, just dropping it in a column next to a text-heavy section can spruce up a page’s design a bit:

Blob gradient next to text column.

If I had one request, it would be to add grainy gradient backgrounds to the Group and Cover blocks. Both allow for gradients but not of the grainy variety. The effect is created via an SVG filter, which is how the duotone feature in core works. There seems to at least be some appetite for other filter types. Maybe we will see a more broad list of such options in the future.

For now, I think I will continue playing around with Grainy Gradient Block.

The development version of the plugin is also available via GitHub.

by Justin Tadlock at January 08, 2022 12:35 AM under Plugins

January 07, 2022

Gutenberg Times: What’s new in WordPress 5.9 – a Reading list on Full-Site Editing and Block Themes.

WordPress 5.9 Release Candidate 1 was released on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022 and the version is on schedule to be released on January 25, 2022.

The WordPress 5.9 release mostly introduces Full Site Editing to WordPress user. It’s the biggest release since the roll-out of the block editor in December 2018. The umbrella term Full-site Editing covers a multitude of editing features.

This reading list covers the latest publication of Developer Notes and User Documentation related to the Block Editor.

Also, see the WordPress 5.9 Field Guide with all DevNotes for the upcoming release.

Table of Content

About Themes

Block Building and extending Gutenberg

New Blocks

Learn more about the progress on performance improvement efforts coming to WordPress 5.9 Performance Improvements

User Documentation for Site Builders and Content Creators

Site editor

It is only available to content creators who are using a Block theme. When you are using the Site Editor, most changes here are made across your entire site.

Block Themes

A block theme is a theme that uses blocks for all parts of a site, including navigation menus, header, content, and site footer.

Styles Overview

This is a new feature in WordPress 5.9 that comes included in Block themes that allows you to customize your site as much as you’d like with different colors, typography, layouts, and more

Navigation block

The Navigation Block is an advanced block in WordPress 5.9 that enables you to edit your site’s navigation menu, both in terms of structure and design. The Navigation block can be used with a block theme or a theme that has support for template editing.

Template part block

The Template Part block is an advanced block introduced in WordPress 5.9 that can be used with a block theme or a theme that supports template editing.

Block-Based Themes, ready for Full-Site Editing.

Ready to Test? To date, you’ll find 34 block Themes already in the WordPress repository that are prepared for Full-Site Editing.

I often get the question: “What are the few themes you like?” Here is my list:

I received similar questions at meetup gatherings. Here are the themes of my response.

All three are from trusted theme designers, and were reviewed by Justin Tadlock at the WPTavern.

Automattic also published a set of themes, all focused on blogging and writing:

I am also a huge fan of the first WordPress default block theme, called Twenty-Twenty-Two. Carlo Danielle did a deep dive into the inner workings for Twenty-Twenty two. and takes you along for the ride in his post for Kinsta. Designer-developers Kjell Reigstad and Jeff Ong worked on it with other contributors. It will be released with WordPress 5.9. New WordPress site will activate it out of the box.

Share in the comments if you find a block-based theme that you like or built.

Courses

At Learn.WordPress.org the course Simple Site Design with Full Site Editing is now available online. It’s part 1 in a series of 2 or 3 courses to come out soon. It’s free of charge

At Fullsiteediting.com, Carolina Nymark, contributor on the WordPress theme team prepared two courses

Social Learning

Social Learning events around the new features. Register on Meetup.com


Featured Image: “Mitchell Library, Sydney (#24)” by Christopher Chan is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 found on OpenVerse

by Birgit Pauli-Haack at January 07, 2022 09:36 PM under Site Editor

WordCamp Central: Call For Speakers for WordCamp Europe 2022 in Porto is Open

Call For Speakers for WordCamp Europe (2-4 June, Porto, Portugal) is open and we are inviting you to apply!

Whether you have given thousands of talks in front of a large audience or you have moderate experience in public speaking, if you have the practical knowledge to share — please, do it, apply to speak!

WordCamp Europe organizers will soon be hosting an online Q&A session where you can ask questions and get guidance on how to raise the chance for your application to be selected. Keep an eye out on the WCEU website to be notified of the same.

We look forward to seeing your application soon!

by Sabrina Zeidan at January 07, 2022 07:32 AM under wordcamp europe

Post Status: Post Status Excerpt (No. 40) — Post Status from 2021 to 2022

“In 2022 at Post Status… we will be together and make the most of our online experiences.” —Cory Miller

In this episode of Post Status Excerpt, David and Cory chat about the key events for Post Status in 2021, including Cory's acquisition of Post Status from Brian in May, StellarWP‘s sponsorship of Post Status Slack to go pro, and the acquisition tracker. Cory also explains how his understanding of Post Status has changed since acquiring it.

Also: David and Cory also discuss what they hope Post Status can become in early 2022.

Every week Post Status Excerpt will brief you on important WordPress news — in about 15 minutes or less! Learn what's new in WordPress in a flash. ⚡

You can listen to past episodes of The Excerpt, browse all our podcasts, and don’t forget to subscribe on Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, iTunes, Castro, YouTube, Stitcher, Player.fm, Pocket Casts, Simplecast, or by RSS. 🎧

🔗 Mentioned in the show:

🙏 Sponsor: GoDaddy Pro

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Transcript

David Bisset: It may seem like [00:01:00] yesterday, but you know, we started 2021 with Brian's still at the helm of Post Status. You were a partner, but that changed in the middle of the year, around may or June and where you are fully acquired Post Status. So you remember that still.

Cory Miller: Oh yeah.

Vividly. We were just kind of prepared for this. It was just pulling me back and going. It's really good to reflect, you know, and review what's going on. And I don't take enough time for this instead of member huddle, but, you know, we didn't really talk about this linking back for posts specifically on, remember how that on some, I'm glad to do it because.

I think if I look back, it was me taking over full-time with Post Status going from what was kind of a part-time gig and a really fun gig to a very busy gig. And because we're growing the vision and it just I think there was, you know, if I can look back on the year related to Post Status for me, it was.

This light bulb moment of like, I can do anything. I want, not that I couldn't with Brian, it was just like, okay, I've got [00:02:00] full control of this. I don't know if a lot of people realize David, but at I themes, I actually wasn't the majority owner. And I start when I started in 2008, I met two, my, my two partners and they gave me some initial funding.

To to get started with iThemes. And so, I had partners all along and there's many pluses to that, by the way. But this magical moment that happened to me was over that summer and just realizing one day. This is all mine. Not to sound very selfish about it. You know, Dave, because I've tried to be very collaborative and share everything we're doing, but I go, I can do anything I want, what do I want to do?

Oh, wow. Like, yeah. And again, not that brian was holding me back at all. It was just, it was this moment of going, this is mine. And then another day, wake it up and go on everything I want to do I can do here. So those are huge light bulb moments for me looking back in this year.

And I hope everybody can see that my energy, like we're we were a [00:03:00] bunch of part-timers David you're part time Dan's part-time more or less. I was part time. Brian was part-time like, when we all we said, and I gather, we probably have a couple of full-time people here. But this was just different fitting for me this next adventure spirit Post Status.

And I'm, really pumped about it.

David Bisset: So obviously you saw potential in Post Status when you first joined Brian, I'm going to say sometime in 2020.

Cory Miller: Yes, January 2020, right before the pandemic. And he came out and we had a lot of cool plans that we're now gonna start doing, starting in February. Some of our in-person things, very small groups now with omicron going on and we'll see how everything goes, but we're going, we're pushing forward with our first in-person meetup.

Our partner summit in February in Oklahoma city. But yeah, that was pre printed. January, 2020. It's crazy to think our fastest.

David Bisset: So you cruise through and then May 2021 you acquired. [00:04:00] So what is the difference between how you're looking at Post Status and your goals when you acquired it from Brian then versus now, like what's changed in your mind?

What goals have changed? What potential are you realizing?

Cory Miller: You know, being very honest and reflective about all of this David it's just going we'll maintain cool stuff. That process was already doing. That was the previous mindset. The mindset today is now we're going to grow. We're going to do 10 times what we've done in the past.

We're going to take community to a whole new level. We're going to really blow out what we're doing at post-test and truly become and be, and showcase. We are the professional community of the open web. That WordPress leads in that we, as WordPress leaders are a part of that bigger ecosystem, but the whole point of we are Post Status.

It's an energizing, shared vision that rallies all of us together. And that's why I'm so energized about all of this, because it's, what I [00:05:00] love to do is help bring people together. And it's just funny, the artificial boundaries and barriers we've put on ourselves, but that's what I had. Previously, when I took over, I thought I will maintain this awesome community.

That was my, that was pretty much my vision. I'll do cool stuff. Get to work with cool people, get the, hang out with all of my friends. You know, now it's even a bigger vision and I've had a lot of. With that Jonathan Wald, yourself, Dan, or editor-in-chief Michelle Frechette. My wife Lindsay is always my number one partner in anything I do.

She's always there to help and support me. Now we have Felicia on full-time to take over operations here. Our first full-time employee. I don't know, I guess technically second, because you can count Brian in the past. So, Yeah. It's spark. You just got me all excited, just thinking about that, but that was on this truth.

That was, as far as I could see at that point, you know, was let's make them this cool thing. Let's don't do anything to break it, [00:06:00]

David Bisset: right? Yeah. When you inherit something precious, the first thing I do is like, don't break anything. Don't don't mess up. And then eventually you're like, okay, how can I expand this without breaking it?

Now I wrote down, you know, Your better journalist and I am, but what I did was I wrote down, I tried to write down the top three Post Status moments of the past year. And frankly, I think palpably, since you took over, I think has before, you know, with everything going on, I can barely remember the last six minutes, let alone six months.

So we're starting from you, acquiring from may have going forward. So one of those was actually something you touched on before, and I think it caught a few people, maybe not delight, surprise, but something that, what is this. You, you mentioned an open source manifesto, or you talk to, you mentioned about seeing Matt and talking about open source, the open source manifestos on our site right now at poststatus.com/open-web-manifesto.

And it says Post Status seeks to grow WordPress economy in three [00:07:00] ways, guide, connect, and elevate. Was this an idea that you and the in the team had, you know, when you acquire Post Status or when did this come into real clear picture? They feel like, oh, I know I'm going to talk to Matt about it.

Oh, I'm going to, we're going to put this together, put on our website and what, you know, what was the, what was, what were you trying to get out of this by posting this Manifesto?

Cory Miller: Yeah, that was you know, everything I do it's just a collaboration and I try never to take credit for things to that.

I don't do I work so much better in a band or an orchestra or whatever, like with other people. And this was a vision that Jonathan Walton. You know, crystallized in my head he shared the vision of the open web, what she's talked about and blogged about prolifically on his own site. And then he shared that with me and I asked him questions and clarify, like, okay, what do we mean when we say that?

How does WordPress fit into all of that? And super got energized by that vision shared vision [00:08:00] that, that really is it connects all of us here at Post Status in the bigger ecosystem of WordPress. And so, And I just like, I love building community, a little blood pulling people together. And I know that one way to do that is to have a shared vision that energizes us just like WordPress is the shared vision of democratizing publishing for postage.

The open web, we are builders and makers of the Oakland web, you know, crux guard did a shirt like that back in the day. And I thought it was the coolest thing. I'd seen a, I make the internet or something like that was the shirt that we're going to bring back by the way. So this has been, this is not a new vision necessarily.

It's a clarification of one, but so much of what we're doing today is what was built with the bedrock of what Brian did. And then you David and Dan. And now me and now Michelle, now Jonathan NA AIG. Now all these different people that we've got on our contributing team to build something cool. But the open web manifest is sometimes just want to keep [00:09:00] ringing the bell.

When they think of Post Status. I want them to think open web. We are the makers of the open web.

David Bisset: Yeah. Cause it says here we offer guidance on how to think and where to focus. Businesses, we help our members get connected with each other and we grow businesses or growing businesses need support. And we're committed to doing what needs to be done to help our members grow.

So that actually fits into something that you mentioned. You've been one message you have been repeating in some form more or less, I'd say you fully took over in may or June is that Post Status is not a news site. So if somebody came up to you and said, is Post Status a new site, how would you respond to.

Cory Miller: We're not there's variations of that. We happen to break news. We happen to commentate on these, but I'm a purist as a journalist and I go, true news is, should be balanced. It should be fair. It should be. Objective as possible within our humans feces about we can be, and that's just not what we do here.

We serve and support WordPress professionals and WordPress businesses. [00:10:00] That's what we do. So we're not a journalistic outlet. We are ho what can we do that serves and supports our members and makes our life better? How do we help think ahead for them? How do we think, like one of the stalwarts of post as for you.

With Brian and you and Dan later on, was that too long? Didn't read email. I got every week and I would sit and read that and go, okay. I can't keep up with drama press sometime. I can just scroll through my email and go “here's the interesting things. I should probably pay attention,”. And so that's the guide part as part of our mission guide connected elevate.

And so the we've been doing that for years. That's a legacy that Brian has a huge fingerprint on going forward from forever here at Post Statuses. We should give he, I loved his thought analysis pieces his commentary and his insights. And I pushed our team and brought in more contributors to say, don't just say this.

It doesn't, that's a headline they can get anywhere. That [00:11:00] doesn't help people. It just shoves a headline in your face. But if it says, how does this, what does this mean for me in a couple of lines succinctly, which is hardware, by the way, that's what we want to be doing at Post Status is saying the too long didn't read. Here we can help you say brain processing power and keep up with all the stuff going on that you can't within this amazing ecosystem called WordPress and the open web. So that's the way I see our content. What we publish here is everything that just helps our members think about, get ahead, stay ahead of what's going on in their world.

David Bisset: Yeah, good. Cause you know, I can't stop giving my 2 cents on anything. So that kind of fits well with the analysis part of it. All of it. One of the things we did do that seemed, I mean, I think may have, seemed like news in the beginning, but we kept one of the top three, I think highlights of my personal highlights of post status over the past year is we started the acquisition tracker. You [00:12:00] know, you can look at that as news. I kind of look at it as more of a guide for all of WordPress to look at because now I think whenever there is an acquisition. Either me or Dan get pinged on Twitter or in post that a stock that somebody else randomly reset the calories at the counter or some other podcasts goes, this is where, and you can see now it's a very useful tool for now, for me personally, even though we're the ones who put it together, that wow, you can look, I was reading article about Matt Mullenweg the other day about his role in trying to push the open web. And in order to do that, he needs he through automatic. For the most part, we're making these certain acquisitions in certain categories and you're reading the article and you go, well, I, you know, you look at, and then look at the acquisition page and you see all the acquisitions, automatic is put together.

You begin to see, wow, this is starting to make sense. It's like, you know, the over not to get into a story about Matt and the acquisitions, but you begin to see. Wow. This particular journalism app has been acquired this particular photo, you know, the creative comments thing has been acquired or [00:13:00] absorbed into the project and you begin to see a grander picture and, you know, embarrassed.

I am to probably have read I think it was David Pearce's article or something on this, but you can go back and look at a nice orderly list, like the acquisition tracker and we'll have more stuff next year, probably to go along with that. So I thought that was a real. Good thing for us post status people to put up because everybody seems to use it.

And, you know, I like putting up stuff. That's actually useful to people.

Cory Miller: Again, we should be giving those type of tools for people it's not about, it's not about breaking news. It's about which we happen to do with the Pagely announcement. But like, that was a member longstanding member of our community who wanted it of the two that news to be broken through post status, which he in.

Lovely wife has, co-founders have supported for years here. And that's why we broke that news. But yes, it comes down to those tools. Like how can we help our members? You know, keep up. We have a set of members that are founders here. We want to help them [00:14:00] move up, take the next level and things like that.

And yeah, that all just kind of gets me excited. Cause that's what I want to be doing more and more of here at post status and to

David Bisset: be clear our own community is adding. List as well. They're not waiting for us to read stuff and update their they're just sending us stuff to update. So to me now it's more of like a.

Borderline Wiki page at this point.

Cory Miller: But this is why I love the word collaboration, because there is no way I can do it by myself, no way. And it's so obvious that I love it because then we can say like, I don't know whose idea was the tracker, but it wasn't mine. And when that, then I was like, yes, we, but when I heard that deal, I was like, absolutely this fits perfectly. We should do that. And then we got it out and it has been a community collaboration because I know we miss things. We're not in a news, you know, watch Doug and financial.

David Bisset: We're not a news site as you're saying well, so, so here's the last thing on my list. And I wanted, I want to talk to you about stellar WP [00:15:00] provided us a sponsorship that allowed our post status slack to be fully upgraded to I guessing the pro version, which means you get access to all of the past conversations and a lots of other bells and whistles as well.

Weeks before that announcement was made publicly. You were talking about that internally with us as a possibility, and you were very excited about that possibility. Can you tell me why it was so important for you to, with stellar WP to pursue this particular upgrade and what it means for the post status community?

Cory Miller: I had heard from a number of people, you know, this is the hallway track. This is the in between times where we see each other, you know, team. Meet all the time, see each other all the time, but we have so many amazing community members that are on different teams. And hosts has, is the glue is the hub.

And I had heard from so many members over the two years of being a part of post status now. And that issue would be [00:16:00] nice. Well, when I asked, I was like, okay, a pressing increase right now is not going to is probably not going to work or fund us, you know, for the foreseeable future. So I valued the preservation of memories and conversations and things like, particularly in the DMS, our stats say it every single week.

It's just conversations don't happen in public, on Prestos. They haven't happened in the DMS and then you lose track of the conversation. You and I might have had five years ago, Dave, and you know, and now we get it back and we can kind of retrace that. I think that's valuable because there's so many best practices, tips, cool stuff that we share with each other, and it just needed a better way to be preserved.

And this is my short term solution. I think, you know, you and I've talked and our team has talked about how. Going forward. When I talked to Matt Mullenweg in San Francisco, a couple in back in where was it? December? Earlier this month when I mentioned we're going to paid slack he mentioned an open source project [00:17:00] that I don't think is ready for the prime time just yet, but that they were looking to use for the.org project.

And I was like, okay, that's interesting. But really the premise is just maintaining that hub. To connect with each other. That's the essence of why we did, why I sought out a sponsorship, but then out into the universe. And then our friends at seller WP said, we'll take it. We'd love to be that sponsor.

And I'm so thankful for Hazel and her team and core course, Michelle Frechette and her new role over at seller WP and being a huge part of our culture contributing team here at Post Status is pretty awesome. So synergy, can I use that?

David Bisset: You can use whatever word you want. As long as it's family friendly.

That's my only thing for this show. Cause my kids listened to this. Believe it or not. Yeah. They really need to get them a Disney plus subscription they're going into from now. well, Olivia, my 17 year old daughter It's getting to be more of a [00:18:00] production type oriented type of person, probably a lot more professional than me.

So she actually listens and tells me when I mispronounced things and when I could have done better. So what do you, so we've kind of covered what was the quickly the big, exciting moments of post status last year. And I don't want to put you too much on the spot, cause I think we can probably.

Do a whole other episode about what's coming in 2022, but what are you most excited about maybe generally speaking, whether involves post status or not, as we kind of get into the first quarter of 2022 what Scott what's on your radar in terms of things that are interesting you the most in this.

Cory Miller: For process specifically it's small group cohort type meetings that we're going to be starting posters. So like we'll be starting January 12th. I think it is on the Wednesday, our first 2022 member huddle each week. We'll do that on slack. There's a channel there for that. So I like more than. We went, you know, finishing the year, getting to be with Matt Mullenweg and [00:19:00] awesome members like Aaron Campbell, and Jordan, Michelle Frechette and a different people in person for state of the word was freaking awesome.

We, we missed the human. We have so much miss that human component in a recognize that in lieu of being able to do that. And we're going to try to do that in 2022 is be together, is if we can't, you know, in person we'll make the most of our online experiences. And so that's what I'm most excited for the first quarter at Post Status.

David Bisset: Oh, great. I, again, I go back to the manifesto that was published and beyond the open web, again, there, there is a, the post status credo. Is embedded in, into growing the WordPress economy. And then by and by that, we mean growing the businesses that need the support, the individuals too, that also need that support a rising tide lifts all the boats.

So in order for WordPress [00:20:00] to like eventually market share is not going to matter anymore. It's either, we're going to be able to lose the ability for the reporting of it or something else will take its place or the market share. From a certain metric is going to stop. I've always said that's not really a good measure of how WordPress is doing. That's just an easy number to pluck off you know, in, in sticking in a sticker or stick it in a headline, stick it in a tweet, but the best way for, to judge the growth of WordPress in my opinion has always been the community, the strength of the community, because you can have software. Without the community.

But you can't, there's not really much, you're going to be able to do with it. You're not going to enjoy using it. You're not going to look forward to using it with other people. And I think what you're discussing here is more than just centering around WordPress, the software. Once you have this community and slack and Post Status slack, you're talking to people about running your business.

You're talking to these, all these great people and it's just, WordPress becomes just a thinner line that connects everybody into one. Great, huge. Community. And I'm really looking forward, like you to see [00:21:00] how this expanded slack goes, how this more interactive ability, like some people will use, we use Post Status and just like they'll drop into slack, have a few conversation, reads things and leave.

But I think now, especially going to 2022 is whether or not we're trying to judge carefully how to step back into the public, you know, however way that is and wherever we live. We need to be able to take advantage of having this collective community bonding together and meeting together regularly.

Because sometimes even though you may not feel like it, sometimes you really need to have to talk to someone or be coached by someone or be enlightened, be refreshed, be relaxed by someone. And sometimes being people around that digitally even is better than nothing you don't want to be alone. I don't think for very long in this space emotionally or.

Financially or business-wise either. So I think that's one of the best things of appreciating. Our direction at Post Status. It's not just like you said, we're not a new site. We're offering commentary, but what I'm most excited, [00:22:00] what I saw you especially talk about is we're trying to get people to have conversations together.

And, you know, on my end too, I'm putting out a stage on Twitter spaces. For example, people communicating together their ideas because our community isn't going to be strong unless we're continuing the exchange of idea. And thoughts and advice. So that's awesome. Corey, that your vision, it kind of goes along that same path to.

You know, I don't want to, I mean, it's not the, it's not the alcohol talking right now because it's still too early for that, but I do appreciate what you're doing. And so, yeah, so we'll, I'm going to wish you a good year because there's only two more days left of it. So I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

We'll talk next year. Yep. And I'll see you then and best to the family.

Cory Miller: You bet. Thanks so much for what you do, David. Your commitment to the WordPress community and also post status

David Bisset: and our team and our team. You know, our team deserves our team. The team itself deserves [00:23:00] all the praise we can get, especially in these in these times confusing times.

So yes, we thank them as well.

Cory Miller: Yep.

by David Bisset at January 07, 2022 05:00 AM under The Excerpt

WPTavern: New WordPress Plugin Offers a Markdown Editor Solution

Earlier today, a new editor plugin named Markup Markdown landed in the WordPress directory. It replaces both the classic and block editors with a Markdown solution. It is the first plugin by an author simply known as Peter, or @peter202202.

As someone who almost always writes in Markdown, I did not think twice about downloading, installing, and activating it. I was pleasantly surprised to find a decent editor that I enjoyed — after making a few changes, at least.

The plugin is not complicated to use. If you are familiar with writing in Markdown, you need to only activate it. There are no settings. Markup Markdown replaces the editor for all post types with its own.

Markup Markdown editor.

The plugin relies on the Parsedown PHP library to handle front-end output, turning the Markdown into HTML. On the backend, it uses the EasyMDE script for a JS-based editor.

While I am generally a fan of option-less plugins, this one could use a few. At the very least, users should get to choose which editor they prefer via their profile. On a multi-author site like the Tavern, not having this option means the plugin is a non-starter. I would also like to choose between editors for individual posts. It does not make sense for one already written in blocks to be edited in Markdown.

The biggest issue I ran into with the plugin’s editor was that the font size was far too small and the content area too wide for comfortable writing. Therefore, I made a few CSS adjustments to make it more to my liking.

Custom CSS adjustments.

Without these adjustments, I genuinely liked the plugin. However, the older I get, the more crucial readable typography becomes. My eyes prefer the change.

In the future, I would like to see the plugin author at least use the theme-defined content width to set the writing area. With theme.json files becoming standard, I would pull typography-related styles in too. It does not need to do much — no need to try to go for a WYSIWYG experience.

An alternative would be to add a few design options for configuring the editor. A handful of settings would go a long way in creating a more user-friendly experience.

For the most part, I enjoyed tinkering with Markup Markdown. If this were five years ago, I would already have it on all my sites. And, it is likely an ideal solution for many Markdown lovers today.

I still prefer the overall interface of the modern post-editing screen. I feel like I am traveling through time whenever I encounter the classic version. It is jarring enough that I doubt I would seriously use this plugin today. I would prefer a Markdown solution built on top of the block system.

One downside of the plugin is that it may not work alongside some block themes. Some rely solely on theme.json-generated styles at the block level to handle their design. This means that valid HTML output not generated by the block system may be left unaccounted for.

For example, the following <img> (image) tag wrapped inside <p> (paragraph) blows out of the layout when using Twenty Twenty-Two:

Twenty Twenty-Two fails to contain large image.

There is nothing wrong with the HTML, and it is the standard way Markdown outputs images. This mistake is from the theme, not the plugin. The design is not accounting for large images when not output by a block. This is something that nearly all classic themes handle.

A theme that covers all its bases will show the following:

Custom theme that contains image.

I love block themes, but this is something to watch out for if using one alongside this plugin. Most of those I tested did not handle this scenario. This same problem could affect content written in the classic era or custom HTML.

While on the subject of images, the plugin sticks with pure Markdown output. It has a button for pulling up the media library, but there is no way to insert anything but the full-sized image. Alignment classes are not available either.

The latter problem could be solved if the plugin bundled Parsedown Extra, a Parsedown extension that supports Markdown Extra. The specification allows “special attributes.” As someone who routinely writes in Markdown, I almost exclusively use this feature to add classes to images.

Overall, the plugin is a solid solution for those looking for a Markdown-based editor. With it being a 1.x release, I look forward to seeing where it goes in the future.

by Justin Tadlock at January 07, 2022 01:11 AM under Reviews

BuddyPress: BuddyPress 10.0.0 Release Candidate

“Release Candidate” means that we believe the new version is ready for release, but with more than 200,000 active installs, hundreds of BuddyPress plugins and thousands of WordPress themes, it’s possible we missed something. BuddyPress 10.0.0 is slated for release on January 17, 2022, but your help is needed to get there 🙏.

You can get the 10.0.0-RC1 pre-release package in 4 ways:

We’ve closed over 70 tickets in the process of developing BP 10. Here are some highlights:

🛂 Site Membership Requests

Site Administrators wishing to have more control over who can join their community will be able to enable site membership requests from their BuddyPress Options Administration screen. Once done, BuddyPress sign-ups are transformed into membership requests to be manually reviewed and approved by an administrator to validate new user accounts.

🗞 More engaging logging activities

These simple activities about specific user interactions or events (e.g.: a user became a friend of another user) will be more visually attractive to improve user engagement in your community. The most impressive new activity is that which is generated when a user updates their profile photo: it will include the profile photo that spurred the creation of the activity item, even if it has been updated since 📸!

🎨 WordPress Full Site Editing compatibility

You’re beta testing WordPress 5.9: first thank you, second please take a few more minutes to check the improvements we’ve made to our BP Theme Compatibility API to play nice with themes supporting Full Site Editing such as the next WordPress default theme: Twenty Twenty-Two.

➕ A new place to easily discover our next BuddyPress Add-ons

BuddyPress Add-ons are side projects/projects as features/next BuddyPress blocks maintained by the BuddyPress development team we’ll soon make more widely available by publishing them on the WordPress plugin directory. When BuddyPress 10.0.0 is released, you’ll find a new tab to your “Add Plugins” Administration screen. On it, you’ll see a new add-on for a potentially upcoming feature: BP Rewrites. We think this will bring more contributions to the BuddyPress project as a whole.

A detailed changelog will be part of our official release note. In the meantime, you can check the 10.0.0 milestone changes list from our Trac environment.

How you can help

Translate BuddyPress into your language. The release candidate also marks the string freeze point of the 10.0.0 release schedule. And we don’t have much time to update all of the BuddyPress translations. So if you speak a language other than English, please help us translate BuddyPress into as many languages as possible!

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can share it with us replying to this support topic or if you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on BuddyPress Trac.

Thanks in advance for your help–we can’t build BuddyPress without you! Happy testing!

by David Cavins at January 07, 2022 12:41 AM under releases

January 06, 2022

WPTavern: WordCamp Birmingham Updates COVID-19 Protocols Amid Omicron Surge, WordCamp Europe Still Planning for In-Person Event

WordCamp organizers are responding to community concerns this week, as the more highly transmissible Omicron variant surges in many locations around the world. With WordCamp Birmingham less than a month away, the event’s COVID precautions came under greater scrutiny this week, as organizers work to adapt to the changing pandemic landscape.

Yesterday, the event’s masking policy stated “Masks are required for entry and preferred throughout the event,” setting off a heated conversation on Twitter.

WordCamp Birmingham has since updated its COVID-19 safety protocols to require masks inside the venue except when eating or drinking:

  • Stay at home if you feel even a tiny bit sick.
  • Temperature checks for entry on both days.
  • Masks will be required while inside our venue except when actively eating or drinking.

Attendees are also required to be vaccinated, or have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 3 months, or have recently tested negative. It doesn’t state any specific timeframe for having tested negative.

“Our original masking recommendations were published prior to Omicron really taking hold and were based on our local laws, local health regulations, our venue’s input, and direction from WordPress Community Support,” WordCamp Birmingham lead organizer Ryan Marks said. “Since Omicron has become more prevalent, we are monitoring the situation and have evolved our guidelines as a result.”

In what seemed to be an attempt to woo vaccine-hesitant Americans, the CDC removed indoor masking requirements for those who were fully vaccinated in May 2021, when vaccines were working well. Since that time, coronavirus variants have emerged that evade both vaccine and virus-induced immunity. However, many gatherings and indoor event organizers have been slow to change their COVID-19 protocols in response to the latest developments.

WordCamp Europe tweeted an update recognizing the recent discussions and changeable nature of the current threat, linking to a post on COVID planning from November 2021.

Nilo Velez, one of the lead organizers for WordCamp Seville, which took place in mid-December 2021, responded to WCEU organizers with some advice.

“I’ve been organizing in-person events during the last few months (including WordCamp Sevilla, with zero positives so far),” Velez said. “My top two take aways: 1) Airflow is your friend: plan for well-ventilated spaces and use CO2 meters on high people concentration areas.

“2) Enforce the use of face masks indoors, always. Enforce as in ‘Put a f*cking mask on or go home’ Excessive? State of the Word proves otherwise.”

Velez referenced the recent incident at the State of the Word 2021 event where attendees were not required to wear masks indoors. Multiple attendees reported infections following the event, which generated exposure notices for all in attendance. Attendees were left to make their own choices regarding indoor masking, and the resulting lack of masks was alarming to many onlookers as Omicron was spreading rapidly through New York City. Prospective attendees for future in-person WordCamps shared their reservations about the lax protocols on Twitter and said they are reconsidering WordCamps as a result.

“In my opinion, masks are not a choice but a must,” Velez told the Tavern. “In Seville, the precautions we took were simple:

  • Absolutely everyone was required to (correctly) wear a mask when indoors. That included, organizers, sponsors, staff… even the catering workers. The only exception were the speakers and only on stage.
  • No food or drinks were allowed indoors. If you wanted to have a coffee or smoke, you had to get outside
  • The WHO advises 11 cubic meters of air per person. We had only 100 attendees on a huge room to get 20 cubic meters per person.
  • We had a very short schedule, only 5 talks with long (outdoor) breaks every hour

Velez said his team had a streaming option for those who aren’t ready for in-person WordCamps and they were ready to switch to an entirely online event if necessary.

“We also have had three in-person meetups with no reported cases so far,” Velez said. “Weather helps a lot. Today at noon (5th of January) we were at 20ºC (68ºC). That allows you to stay indoors only during the talks and have all the social activities outside.”

WordCamp Birmingham attendees have posted about how excited they are to attend the event, no matter what the protocols, after two years away from their WordPress friends. On the other hand, there are others who hold the opinion that organizing any kind of in-person event at this time while, hospitals are becoming overwhelmed, is premature and irresponsible.

After speaking with WordCamp Europe’s lead organizers this morning, they are closely monitoring the situation and believe that a safe in-person event is still possible.

“WordCamp Seville was a successful and safe event,” co-organizer Bernhard Kau said. “Some of our organizers went there. Also, the Web Summit in Lisbon with more than 42,000 had excellent measures. Those are events we see as  examples.”

Organizers are eager to host the first in-person WordCamp Europe in three years but are willing to move to alternatives if new pandemic threats emerge in the next five months.

“At the moment our plan is to go for an in-person event but there will always be a plan B or C,” WCEU Public Relations team leader Evangelia Pappa said. “We wouldn’t want people to get in danger in any way. These people are our friends and family. They’re not just attendees or sponsors, speakers, volunteers. Keeping safe means also keeping our beloved safe when we get back home.”

Pappa said the team plans to follow all local regulations for in-person events with more than 1,000 attendees in a closed space. The regulations keep changing but for now they are requiring the following:

  1. Proof of vaccination AND proof of negative lab test is mandatory when entering Portugal
  2. Masks are compulsory to enter the venue or remain inside
  3. Maintain the basic guidelines (1.5 m distance, hand sanitizing, ventilate, face mask)

“Since we’re keeping constantly an eye on this, we may enforce other regulations on top of these, but it depends on the gravity of the situation,” Pappa said.

“Our aim is to get back to seeing our people, have a great in-person event, but when everyone goes back home, we’re all safe, our families are safe and we get to remember the WCEU 2022 as an amazing experience.”

WordPress’ Community Team has been discussing new ideas for supporting the safety of in-person events in 2022 and plans to share more in a blog post next week. One safety measure suggested is mandatory masks for all attendees (even in regions that do not have a mask mandate at this time). WordCamp Central has agreed to cover the budget for additional safety measures like free masks and hand sanitization stations. Contributors plan to engage this sensitive topic with a larger discussion next week.

by Sarah Gooding at January 06, 2022 10:14 PM under News

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.8.3 Security Release

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

WordPress 5.8.3 is a short-cycle security release. The next major release will be version 5.9, which is already in the Release Candidate stage.

You can update to WordPress 5.8.3 by downloading from WordPress.org or visiting your Dashboard → Updates and clicking Update Now.

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

Security Updates

Four security issues affect WordPress versions between 3.7 and 5.8. If you haven’t yet updated to 5.8, all WordPress versions since 3.7 have also been updated to fix the following security issue (except where noted otherwise):

  • Props to Karim El Ouerghemmi and Simon Scannell of SonarSource for disclosing an issue with stored XSS through post slugs.
  • Props to Simon Scannell of SonarSource for reporting an issue with Object injection in some multisite installations.
  • Props to ngocnb and khuyenn from GiaoHangTietKiem JSC for working with Trend Micro Zero Day Initiative on reporting a SQL injection vulnerability in WP_Query.
  • Props to Ben Bidner from the WordPress security team for reporting a SQL injection vulnerability in WP_Meta_Query (only relevant to versions 4.1-5.8).

Thank you to all of the reporters above for privately disclosing the vulnerabilities. This gave the security team time to fix the vulnerabilities before WordPress sites could be attacked. Thank you to the members of the WordPress security team for implementing these fixes in WordPress.

For more information, check out the 5.8.3 HelpHub documentation page.

Thanks and props!

The 5.8.3 release was led by @desrosj and @circlecube.

In addition to the security researchers and release squad members mentioned above, thank you to everyone who helped make WordPress 5.8.3 happen:

Alex Concha, Dion Hulse, Dominik Schilling, ehtis, Evan Mullins, Jake Spurlock, Jb Audras, Jonathan Desrosiers, Ian Dunn, Peter Wilson, Sergey Biryukov, vortfu, and zieladam.

by Jonathan Desrosiers at January 06, 2022 09:02 PM under Security

WPTavern: Gutenberg 12.3 Introduces New Blocks, Design Options, and a Complete Core Blocks Reference

The first Gutenberg plugin release of the year contains loads of features. Developers should enjoy a completed core blocks reference. Group block spacing controls offer more layout flexibility, and a new Post Author Name block has arrived on the scene. Overall, the site editing experience is shaping up.

The latest release adds a couple of nice-to-have design options. The Group block now supports typography options. This should make it easier for users and theme designers to change the font size, family, and more for all child blocks at once. The Spacer block supports custom units, so users are no longer restricted to pixels. Paragraphs now have a font-family option.

Theme authors can now register “nameless” font sizes to support the core sizes. They also have new Comments Pagination Previous and Next blocks for handling paged comments.

Users without the edit_theme_options capability (Administrators by default) can no longer create nav menus via the site editor. However, they can select an existing one via the Navigation block. This returns menu creation to its original restrictions.

Let us dive right into some of the big features.

Complete Blocks Reference

While the average user may never look at it, the Core Blocks Reference in the editor handbook should be a welcome sight to developers. It is almost impossible to remember all the blocks and everything about them.

The data is automatically generated. Each block in the reference displays the following information:

  • Name
  • Category
  • Supports
  • Attributes

I would love for WordPress.org to automatically display this for all block plugins in the future. The data is standardized through block.json files, so there is no reason it should not be possible. Otherwise, individual plugin authors would need to recreate this to share their own references.

Use Site Logo as Favicon

Users can now save the image used for the Site Logo block as their site icon (favicon) via the site editor. This is a step in the right direction now that the customizer is disappearing for block theme users. They will need an easy way to set this.

New “Use as site icon” option.

There are two downsides to this solution. The first is that this option is enabled by default. If a user does not notice it, they could be overwriting their existing site icon without knowing. Logos and icons do not always match. The WP Tavern website shows a prime example of this.

The second issue is that we need a dedicated site icon option. Adding it to one of the available settings screens in the admin would be a simple solution. That would give time to figure out how to eventually work it into the site editor.

Post Author Name Block

Gutenberg 12.3 introduces a new Post Author Name block. As its name suggests, it displays a post’s author. It is something so seemingly simple, but when you have been waiting ages for it — well, since May 2021, technically — it feels monumental. To show how happy I am to see this block, I made five custom styles for it.

Tinkering with custom Post Author Name block styles.

This is a part of an effort to split the original Post Author block into smaller components. Currently, it can display the author name, avatar, bio, and custom byline text. If a theme designer needs just the author text in a one-line meta area, a user enabling those other elements via the site editor usually blows the entire thing up.

Separate Post Author Avatar and Post Author Bio blocks are planned. When these next two land, it will give theme authors more flexibility.

Group Block Spacing Control

I feel like a kid in a toyshop to see more than one of my long-time gripes taken care of in this release. The Group block now supports the Block Spacing control. This allows users and theme authors to define the margin between its child blocks.

One of the primary use cases for this is collapsing margins between similar elements. For example, a user might want to group three File blocks together without any whitespace between them, as shown in the following screenshot:

Stacked blocks.

Typically, these blocks would have the standard top margins between each. By setting the block spacing to 0, users can wipe them out.

“Zeroing out” margins has been one of the most frustrating problems to solve for some themers, especially when dealing with wide or full-aligned blocks. The WordPress editor’s HTML markup does not match the front-end in those cases. A block spacing control on the Group block solves this issue for several scenarios.

Of course, it is not all about getting rid of margins between blocks. It is also possible to create even more space.

When using the Row variation of the Group block, the spacing is horizontal. This should also take care of a lot of theme layout needs.

by Justin Tadlock at January 06, 2022 01:14 AM under gutenberg

January 05, 2022

WordPress.org blog: The Month in WordPress – December 2021

December was a busy month for the WordPress community. In the latest episode of the WP Briefing podcast, WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy shares a carol of thanks and shows her gratitude to all the people who make the WordPress project a success.

(…) I know that we have gotten so much done together in the last few years. And I am equally sure that we’re going to get so much done in the years to come. And so thank you all so much for your continued work with WordPress and the way that you just bring your best at all times.

Josepha Haden, Executive Director of the WordPress project

We said goodbye to 2021 with the annual State of the Word, along with the release of WordPress 5.9 Beta 4, among many other exciting updates. Read on to learn more about the latest community achievements.


WordPress 5.9: The first release candidate just landed

Are you interested in contributing to WordPress core? Join the #core channel, follow the Core Team blog, and check out the team handbook. Also, don’t miss the Core Team’s weekly developer chat on Wednesdays at 8 PM UTC.

Gutenberg releases: Versions 12.1 and 12.2 are here

The Core Team launched two new versions of Gutenberg last month. Both come with new features, code quality improvements, and bug fixes.

  • Gutenberg 12.1 marks the return of the template List View and includes several Navigation block enhancements, new global styles features, an improved developer experience for block themes, and more.
  • The Gutenberg 12.2 release focuses on user experience improvements and brings the block styles preview to the Widgets Editor, among other new features.

Want to get involved in developing Gutenberg? Follow the Core Team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Make WordPress Slack. Follow the #gutenberg-new tag for details on the latest updates.

Highlights from State of the Word 2021

  • State of the Word 2021, the annual keynote address delivered by WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg, was livestreamed from New York City on December 14, 2021. The event gathered WordPress enthusiasts at 29 watch parties around the world.
  • Matt shared his thoughts on the progress of the WordPress project and made announcements regarding its future in 2022. The presentation was followed by a Question and Answer session.

If you missed the event’s livestream, you could watch the State of the Word recording and the Q&A session on WordPress.tv.

Team updates: 2022 major release timings, new team rep announcements, and more

Are you looking for some 5.9 resources to share with your local community? Check out the WordPress 5.9 Talking Points for Meetup Organizers post.

Feedback/Testing requests: Contribute by testing or translating WordPress 5.9

  • Your feedback on WordPress 5.9 release candidates is still needed and appreciated! If you haven’t tried this version yet, you can find instructions on testing 5.9 features in this post.
  • Do you speak a language other than English? The Polyglots Team announced that WordPress 5.9 is also ready to be translated.
  • Version 18.9 of WordPress for Android is available for testing.

Share your feedback on WordPress 5.9.

Apply to speak or host a workshop at WordCamp Europe 2022

  • WordCamp US 2022 is currently looking for organizers.
  • The WordPress community celebrated its first in-person WordCamp after 21 months in Sevilla (Spain) on December 11-12, 2021. WordCamp Taiwan was held online the same weekend.
  • The Test Team organized the Hallway Hangout titled Let’s talk about WordPress 6.0 on December 21, 2021. The team also shared a wrap-up of the Site Editing Safari as part of the FSE Outreach Program.
  • The Training Team hosted several WordPress Social Learning Meetups last month, and there will be many more in January 2022.
  • Last year the WordPress Foundation made significant progress in its mission to educate the public about open source software. Learn more about it in this 2021 recap.

Don’t miss the following upcoming WordCamps: WordCamp Birmingham, Alabama 2022, WordCamp Genève 2022, WordCamp Vienna 2022, and WordCamp Europe 2022.

The Call For Sponsors and Call For Speakers for WordCamp Europe 2022 are open! Read this post to learn more about the Organizing Team’s plans for the first in-person WordCamp Europe in three years.


Have a story that we could include in the next ‘Month in WordPress’ post? Let us know by filling out this form.

The following folks contributed to December 2021’s Month in WordPress: @anjanavasan, @harishanker @lmurillom @meher @nalininonstopnewsuk @webcommsat

by rmartinezduque at January 05, 2022 07:03 PM under month in wordpress

January 04, 2022

WPTavern: Anariel Design Releases Bricksy, Its Third WordPress Block Theme

Yesterday, Anariel Design’s third block theme, Bricksy, went live in the WordPress.org directory. Ana Segota, the co-founder and self-proclaimed “creative motor” of the company, has almost become a master at block-based theme design at this point, and this project is just her showing off her skills.

I actually took the theme for a spin over the weekend when I saw it was waiting in the review queue, so I have had a few days to play around with it. Despite a few trivial issues, it has quickly become one of my favorite block themes.

Bricksy blog page design.

While I have generally liked Anariel Design’s two previous block themes, Naledi and Clove, I could not see myself installing them on a real-world project. They were simply not my personal style. However, Bricksy is a theme I would definitely use if I had a project for it at the moment.

One of my favorite design elements is the cursive handwriting for the site logo, which is also used across various patterns.

Team Alternative pattern with cursive header image.

The downside is that these are images, so they are not easily recreated by end-users without Photoshop chops. I would like to see the team reconsider using a handwriting-style font — maybe one from Google Fonts — that allows users to add custom text directly from the editor.

Bricksy has, hands down, some of the most beautifully-designed patterns I have seen in a block theme yet. In total, there are 32.

Bricksy’s general block patterns.

It is making an early bid for my favorite theme of 2022, but I will not get ahead of myself. We still have almost an entire 12 months to go before I make that call.

It even includes a custom social links layout. More and more themes are bundling their own takes on this pattern, but Bricksy’s color scheme and default Cover block image stand out.

Social Links block pattern.

With 32 patterns, I could dedicate an entire post to them all, but I am limited on time. For the most part, they are layout-focused rather than industry-focused patterns. This means they can be used on a vast range of sites. However, the pricing tables and team sections make sense for small businesses. Bricksy also supports WooCommerce.

The most striking thing about each pattern is that they all seem to fit within the theme’s overall design. Often, when themes include dozens of block patterns, some of them can feel like an additional option simply for the sake of adding one more thing in. And, that never feels like the case with Bricksy.

For long-form content, the theme is decent. However, it could be better. Its 720px content width and 18px font size can quickly grow hard to read. Cutting the width anywhere from 80px to 120px makes it much more comfortable. Bumping the font size up a couple of extra pixels works too.

When I first activated the theme, I thought it was utterly broken. I had wondered how it managed to slip through the review system. The theme’s header was outputting seemingly random demo content. But, it was also familiar. I was positive it was a test post from my install.

Nav menu showing a blog post’s content.

The issue was tough to hunt down. After everything from deactivating plugins to scrubbing templates from the database, I finally found it. The ref key for the Navigation block in the theme’s header.html template part was the culprit. Bricksy pointed to a specific post ID in the code:

<!-- wp:navigation {"ref":4790,"layout":{"type":"flex","setCascadingProperties":true,"justifyContent":"right"}} /-->

4790 is the ID of a literal post on my test install, so the Navigation block showed its content instead of a menu. Most likely, this was directly copied or exported from the site editor. Theme authors need to watch out for specific ID references in their code when building from the editor, making sure to remove them before shipping.

Aside from a couple of trivial issues and a single OMGBBQ one after activation, I enjoyed using the theme. It has found its place in my recommended-themes list.

by Justin Tadlock at January 04, 2022 11:42 PM under Reviews

WPTavern: Yoast Moves Outside of Open Source Platforms to Launch SEO App for Shopify

After 10 years in the WordPress ecosystem as one of the most popular plugin businesses, Yoast is branching out with a new SEO app for the Shopify market. The app will offer Shopify merchants a set of optimizations for search results and Google Shopping, automatically add structured data, and allows users to optimize for desired keyphrases. It will launch in the Shopify app store on January 18, 2022.

“An app on the Shopify platform is a huge business opportunity,” Yoast CEO Thijs de Valk said. “Shopify is growing fast. It makes sense to build an app and profit from the growth of that specific platform.”

Shopify is the second-fastest growing CMS, according to W3Techs’ 2021 data, used on 4.4% of websites, up from 3.2% last year. The next closest contender, Wix, passed up Joomla and Drupal in 2021, furthering a trend of hosted, closed source software platforms burying open source CMS’s.

In his biannual CMS market share analysis, Yoast founder Joost de Valk observed WordPress’ slowed growth as compared to earlier in the pandemic and commented that the platform does not appear to be heading towards 50% market share as he would have projected based on the numbers a year ago.

“Shopify continues to show amazing growth, in some months in the last 6 months it even managed to match the growth of WordPress in absolute numbers,” de Valk said. “Similarly, Wix has stepped up the pace and is growing rapidly.” He projects Shopify’s market share will be over 5% within the next six months.

Joost de Valk’s CMS market share analysis – December 2021

“The growth of Yoast (up until now) has been highly dependent on WordPress,” Thijs de Valk said. “That makes us a bit vulnerable. When deciding to build the Shopify app, we were not acquired by Newfold Digital yet. The decision to build that app was also one of risk-diversification. Having an app or plugin on multiple platforms just makes sure that our company can grow sustainably.”

Breaking into a new market, de Valk said the experience so far is very different.

“Shopify is a different ecosystem, much more commercialized than WordPress,” he said. Product pricing for the hosted platform is higher than what users might pay monthly for a plugin in the WordPress ecosystem. The Yoast SEO app is starting out on the Shopify App Store at $29/month, which de Valk says is competitively priced.

“That makes the Shopify market attractive to extend to,” de Valk said. “We have big dreams to grow our company further (in and outside of WordPress) and success in Shopify would make that a lot easier.”

Unlike the WordPress plugin repository, the Shopify App Store doesn’t publish numbers of users for each app, so it’s not easy to see who Yoast SEO’s main competitors will be. SEO apps for Shopify are already a someone crowded space and many apps, such as SEO King, have more features, a free plan, more competitive pricing, and hundreds of positive reviews already. Yoast SEO will have a challenge ahead, entering a market with many established competitors.

de Valk said Yoast has not hired any Shopify developers but is relying on the current employees’ skills.

“Most of what was needed we already knew, or learned on the job, as we do,” he said. The company has had internal discussions about the fact that employees are now asked to write closed source software.

“We’re breaking with our tradition to only release Yoast SEO software to open-source platforms,” de Valk said. “Shopify is closed source. We had a lot of conversations about that because at Yoast we’re open-source fanboys and girls. At the same time, making the web better is also something very dear to our heart. And we think that Shopify is making the web better.”

de Valk confirmed that all Yoast employees were on board with developing closed source software and none of them moved on as a result of the change. The company’s more nebulous “making the web better” mission trumped its commitment to open source software in this case.

In 2021, Yoast was one of the biggest contributors to WordPress core through its Five for the Future pledge. The company plans to continue its commitments to WordPress and will be expanding its charitable giving from the expected Shopify profits. Yoast is calling this new initiative “Five for the web.” This strikes me as an odd choice, as the intention of the Five for the Future program is to avoid the “tragedy of the commons” scenario, which affects open access resource systems like open source software. This is clearly outlined on Yoast’s website in the section on open source where it states, “At Yoast, it’s at the heart of what we do.”

“With the money we make in Shopify, we want to give back as well,” de Valk said. “We’re going to give that money back to initiatives that make the entire web better. We’re already doing some things there. Yoast is a member of the W3C, and our very own Jono Alderson is in the AMP advisory board. We’re planning to grow our efforts and initiatives to make the web better and give 5% of our Shopify revenue back to the web.”

Yoast’s intention to support the controversial AMP project with a portion of its 5% profits is a curious choice, as the initiative is already heavily financially backed by Google and doesn’t appear to be soliciting donations. When asked what kind of influence or accountability the company is bringing to the AMP Advisory Board, de Valk said their primary goal is to offer advice.

“AMP is just one of the things we do, we also support w3c, we make tools for PHP testing, and we’ll be supporting a lot more,” he said. “We put time into the AMP advisory committee with the goal to provide advice to the Technical Steering Committee. And in that way we try, as I said, to make the open web as strong as possible.”

Yoast will be hosting an Online Yoastcon – Shopify Edition on January 20, which will kick off with a product demo. The event is free and attendees can expect to hear from SEO industry experts and learn how to improve their online stores.

by Sarah Gooding at January 04, 2022 10:38 PM under yoast

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.9 RC 1

The first Release Candidate (RC1) for WordPress 5.9 is now available! 

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to reach this important milestone in the community’s progress towards a WordPress 5.9 release.

“Release Candidate” means the new version of the software is ready for release. It helps the community check that nothing is missed, given the thousands of plugins and themes and differences in how millions of people use the software.

WordPress 5.9 is slated for release on January 25, 2022. This is just three weeks to go  – and there’s still time to help!

Testing the release

You can test the WordPress 5.9 release candidate in three ways:

Option 1: Install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (select the “Bleeding edge” channel and “Beta/RC Only” stream).

Option 2: Direct download the beta version here (zip).

Option 3: When using WP-CLI to upgrade from Beta 1, 2, 3 or 4 on a case-insensitive filesystem, please use the following command sequence:

Command One:

wp core update --version=5.9-RC1

Command Two:

wp core update --version=5.9-RC1 --force

Your help to test the RC1 is vital: the more testing that happens, the more stable the release, and the better the experience for users and developers—and the entire WordPress community.

Thank you to all of the contributors who tested the Beta releases and gave feedback. Testing for bugs is not just a critical part of polishing every release; it is also a great way to contribute to WordPress.

Help test WordPress 5.9 features – a guide to how you can take part.

What is in WordPress 5.9 release candidate?

This will be the first release of 2022 and continues the work towards 5.9 from last year. It features the latest advances of the block editor and is the first version of full site editing in Core.

WordPress 5.9 also brings more refinements to the developer experience. To keep up with the latest updates and discover more about how the community works to continually improve the software, please subscribe to the Make WordPress Core blog. In particular, the developer notes tag will keep you up to date on changes that might affect your products or how you use the software.

Plugin and Theme Developers

Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.9 and update the Tested up to version  to 5.9 in your readme file. If you find compatibility problems, please post to the support forums, so volunteers and developers can help you figure them out before the final release.

The WordPress 5.9 Field Guide will be out very shortly. It will give you a deeper dive into the major changes.

How to Help

Do you speak a language that is not English? You can help translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! Release Candidate 1 marks the hard string freeze point of the 5.9 release schedule. Thanks to every locale that is already involved with translations.

If you think you have found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums.  If you are comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, you can file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also check the issue against a list of known bugs.

Props to @webcommsat for the post and to @marybaum @hellofromtonya @audrasjb @davidbaumwald @estelaris @cbringmann for final review.

by webcommsat AbhaNonStopNewsUK at January 04, 2022 08:43 PM under 5.9

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January 17, 2022 06:15 AM
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