Theme news, tutorials, ACF, and WordPress update

Today’s roundup focuses on some theme related news items, as well as some tutorials and a lot of ACF goodies. But, don’t worry, I’m also bringing you up to speed on WordPress 5.2 and the new Gutenberg update. Would be weird if I didn’t, right? 😏

Genesis 2.10

The Genesis framework saw a nice update to version 2.10 last week. The most important features that were added in this update were WP-CLI commands, improved navigation, increased visibility into Genesis plugins, and easier access to the settings and features. Check out the 2.10 release post for more in-depth information about this release.

Disable Genesis schema markup

If you’ve been using Genesis because of its rich schema markup alongside our Yoast SEO plugin, you may now want to disable Genesis’ schema markup altogether so Yoast SEO can provide everything instead (see the Yoast SEO 11.0 update post for more information about why). To disable Genesis schema, Bill Erickson released a small but effective plugin that does exactly this for you. You can learn all about it in Bill’s post.

Exhale with Justin Tadlock

Justin Tadlock is probably the one I learned from the most about building themes. He’s been around since 2008 and has always produced solid content in the shape of tutorials. Justin recently released a new theme called Exhale which he is using to base a couple of child themes on.

What I really like about Justin’s approach is that he immediately teaches you what he has learned through his blog posts. He has already posted a couple of tutorials on ThemeHybrid’s blog that show you what you can do with a theme that’s making good use of Gutenberg. For instance, how to create an app sales landing page, a cafe landing page, or a business landing page.

Justin’s looking for inspiration to create more of these kinds of landing pages, so if you have an idea, go and respond to his tweet:

ACF and flexible content

Speaking of landing pages. Bill Erickson, yes, the same guy I mentioned earlier in this post, wrote a nice tutorial on how to use ACF to create more flexible landing pages when Gutenberg blocks just don’t cut it.

Bill does a great job explaining in great detail how to approach this. I’m a big fan of Bill’s tutorials as he (just like Justin Tadlock) really takes the time to explain everything step by step.

But there are even more options with ACF.

ACF Blocks

ACF makes it super easy for you to create blocks, and if you prefer not to touch code, you’re in luck. ACF just released ACF Blocks, which is a collection of Gutenberg Blocks. It helps you speed up website creation in the Gutenberg editor. ACF Blocks is built on-top of Advanced Custom Fields Pro. Do note, that this plugin requires the ACF Pro version of the ACF plugin to function correctly.

WordPress 5.2 RC2

If everything goes according to plan, the WordPress Core Team will release WordPress 5.2 this week. They’ve already released the second Release Candidate, so if there are no more blockers, it will be released this week.

Gutenberg 5.6

The work on improving the Gutenberg editor is continuing relentlessly. We saw the release of version 5.6 last week. With the most important updates being a number of improvements, including to the button block focus states, theming, and block mover controls with full- and wide-aligned blocks. Per usual, you can learn more about it here.

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WooCommerce 3.6, AMP plugin update, WPGraphQL and WordPress news

It’s time for another roundup, packed with updates. Today’s headlines: WooCommerce finally embracing the Gutenberg editor fully, AMP for WordPress delivering great improvements with their new update and an introduction to WPGraphQL. So much WordPress news to cover!

WooCommerce 3.6 Loves Gutenberg

WooCommerce saw an update that delivers much better integration with the new Block Editor. This update introduces blocks for Products by Category, Best Selling Products, Hand-picked Products, Newest Products, On Sale Products, Top-Rated Products, Products by Attribute and Featured Product. And I’ve got to say, having these blocks available is a huge improvement in this Gutenberg-powered era.

It’s also really good to see WooCommerce working hard on improving performance. That’s something we at Yoast are big fans of, and highly recommend all developers to have a strong focus on. You can learn more about WooCommerce 3.6 in their introductory post.

Big update for the AMP plugin

The AMP project aims to make the web faster. And that’s exactly what the new 1.1 release does. The WordPress AMP plugin saw some nice new features and bug fixes. I’m especially happy that the image rendering bug has been fixed.

WPGraphQL making strides!

If you haven’t yet heard of GraphQL, or its WordPress equivalent, WPGraphQL, I encourage you to check out this data query solution. It’s a very performant way to work with WordPress data.

With GraphQL, the client makes declarative queries, asking for the exact data needed, and in exactly what was asked for is given in response, nothing more. This allows the client to have control over their application and allows the GraphQL server to perform more efficiently by only fetching the resources requested.

WPGraphQL

They released a WPGraphQL integration plugin with ACF last week. This plugin makes working with custom data provided by ACF a very smooth experience, with a lot of potential.

WordPress and mental health

There’s a project growing inside the WordPress Community that deserves a bit more exposure: WP&UP. It aims to support and promote positive mental health within the WordPress community. From their website:

WP&UP recognizes that members of the WordPress community can potentially manifest mental health issues from a variety of pressures. The WP&UP Health Hubs are designed to provide holistic support for the individual.

WP&UP website

During WordCamp London, I met the team recently and learned more about their mission and goal. If mental health is (or should be) a focus of yours, do check out their website and see how they can help you.

WordPress 5.2 postponed for one week

Looks like the Release Candidate for WordPress 5.2 is going to be delayed for a week. And this invariably means the release itself is going to be postponed as well. So, what to do with all this extra time?! Well, you can start reading up on the Block Editor changes in WordPress 5.2 or a good summary of the new Fatal Error Recovery Mode in 5.2.

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Tips to enhance your experience with the Block Editor

Today I’d like to highlight two plugins that supercharge the new Block Editor experience. They’re very different in nature, but I find them both equally impressive. There’s some news about the upcoming WordPress 5.2 release, and there might be mention of a bonus link. Come and find out.

Gutenberg on steroids

We’re four, five months into using the new Block Editor and by now, I’m sure, you’ve started to get the hang of it. I mean, I sure have. I love how I can easily play around with rich media in new, exciting ways with just a couple of clicks.

Having said that, there are times when I wish I had a bit more control over a certain block. So, I looked around and found two wonderful plugins that enhance my Gutenberg experience.

Advanced Rich Text Tools for Gutenberg

This is the most lightweight of the two, but a sweet one at that. It only does three things at the moment, but it does them perfectly:

  • It adds code, subscript (sub), and superscript (sup) buttons to the formatting toolbar.
  • It also adds inline text and a background color panel.
  • And, it adds a “Remove formatting” button.

Like I said, only three things, but it gets a lot of joy out of these three little options. Find out more information here.

Advanced Gutenberg

The second plugin I found is a bit more complicated. It adds a plethora of options to existing Gutenberg blocks. I choose it for wanting a smarter way to display Gutenberg gallery images on one of my playground sites, a site about old German cars. Specifically, I wanted them to show in a lightbox pop-up when clicked on.

However, that’s only one small thing this plugin does. For example, it also allows you to configure:

  • Default block configuration.
  • Advanced Gutenberg icons block color.

And, you’re going to love this if options is your thing, it adds more than 20 different blocks to do all kinds of fancy things. Find out more at the WordPress.org plugin page.

WordPress 5.2, beta 3

WordPress 5.2 keeps being refined and improved. We’re currently already at beta 3. This beta release also marks the soft string freeze point of the 5.2 release schedule. If you speak additional languages besides English, now’s a great time to help to make sure WordPress 5.2 is properly translated in your language. WordPress 5.2 is slated for release on April 30, and we need all the testers we can get. Head over if you’d like to help out.

Bonus link

If you’ve ever needed to limit access your site to visitors who are logged in or accessing the site from a set of specified IP addresses, Restricted Site Access is the plugin you’re looking for. It’s a great solution for extranets, publicly hosted intranets or heck, you can even use it for your staging sites.

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PHP requirement for WordPress, WooCommerce dashboard and Gutenberg 5.4

Today’s roundup is all about various upcoming updates across the WordPress ecosphere. From WordPress itself to Gutenberg, PHP, and WooCommerce. Let’s get started!

WordPress wants you to update your PHP

If you’ve been following my roundups, you may recall that WordPress is finally bumping its minimum PHP requirement in the upcoming WordPress 5.2 release. I usually don’t like to repeat myself, but in this case, I’ll make an exception. Partly, because there now is a post on WordPress.org by Aaron Jorbin. In it he says the following:

If your site is running on an unsupported version of PHP, the WordPress updater will not offer WordPress 5.2 to your site. If you attempt to update WordPress manually, that update will fail. To continue using the latest features of WordPress you must update to a newer version of PHP.

WordPress.org

More information about what this means for you, why you should want to upgrade anyway, and how to prepare can be found in the rest of the post. I highly encourage you to read it.

A new WooCommerce Dashboard is in the making

WooCommerce, the most popular e-commerce solution for WordPress, has shared some interesting news about a new feature. They’re going to completely overhaul the WooCommerce dashboard.

It will give store owners a quick overview of how their store is performing and the ability to customize the dashboard to their needs. Store owners can view charted data directly from the Dashboard via 14 different data points, and select any chart to load an associated report for deeper analysis.

With those 14 data points, store owners can track performance with statistics, analytics, and other reports

WooCommerce is bundling this new dashboard in a feature plugin which you can download for testing. Read all about it in their announcement post.

Gutenberg 5.4

Last but not least, let’s look at the progress in Gutenberg. From the Make WordPress Core blog:

Foundational work and initial UI explorations to implement the block-based widgets screen are on-going. In the meantime, the contributors worked on a number of bug fixes and improvements. All the bug-fixes will be included in the next beta of WordPress 5.2.

Meaning, even though the features added up until Gutenberg 5.3 will be added to WordPress 5.2, bug-fixes found to those features are still being included to the betas.

If you’d like to read more about how Gutenberg 5.4 now supports vertical alignment for the columns block – and more – you can do so here.

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Minimum PHP version requirement, WP 5.2 Beta 1 and Gutenberg 5.3

We’re getting ready for another big improvement for our favorite CMS. Today, I’d like to share with you the release of Gutenberg version 5.3 as well as the first Beta for WordPress 5.2. And, some exciting news on the minimum PHP version requirement for WordPress.

Gutenberg 5.3

We’ve seen the release of Gutenberg 5.3 this last week and this version is an extra interesting one. Gutenberg 5.3 will be included in the upcoming WordPress 5.2 release. The three interesting features that stand out in this release are the following:

  • Gutenberg 5.3 introduces a block management modal which allows you to enable/disable blocks from the block inserter.
  • We also get the possibility to nest different kinds of blocks in a Cover Block container. Allowing for more interesting uses of the Cover Block block.
  • Lastly, there are many improvements to the hover and selected block states, with better a11y and less distraction.

But, that’s not all. There’s a lot more added to Gutenberg 5.3 and you can read all about it in the release post.

WordPress 5.2 Beta 1

WordPress 5.2 saw its first Beta last week, by the way. So, if you’re developing plugins and themes, now would be a good moment to start testing them against the 5.2 Beta 1.

Remember the recovery mode component intended for fixing fatal errors that ended up not making it in 5.1? Well, there’s good news about the project. As Felix Arntz’ tweet indicated last week:

The project team working on this feature have had to completely reimagine the solution. So, it may have taken a lot more time than intended, but we’re ending with a much more robust solution. A solution that’s going to save a LOT of headaches.

Bump in minimum PHP version for WordPress! Yay!

There have been years of debate about the minimum version for WordPress, but it’s finally happening. The PHP minimum version bump was finally committed – see this Trac ticket for more information. The minimum required PHP version is 5.6. This means we can finally start working towards using modern implementations of PHP, like Namespaces, for WordPress.

Subtle but important change with setting up a WordPress.com site

One of the things that never looked good when setting up a site over at WordPress.com was the default wordpress.com subdomain you would get. It doesn’t really cover the intent whatsoever in my opinion. I also wouldn’t mind their identity being less confusing towards WordPress.org sites.

Anyway, I was very happy to see the default URL for a new site changed to subdomain.home.blog. They own the .blog TLD so it makes perfect sense to start using it. I like how WordPress.com is constantly changing and improving the experience. Maybe I was right with this blog post over at WP Realm 🤷🏼‍♂️.

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Gutenberg tips

Another week, another roundup! We saw WordPress’ growth hit an important milestone last week, and an interesting proposal was made concerning available blocks in the editor. Let’s see what that’s all about! In this edition of my roundup, I also share a few more tricks about the Block Editor itself. And, last but not least, I have a bonus link for you again. Of course I do!

WordPress now powers one-third of the web!

Last week, Joost published an article on the WordPress.org site about WordPress now powering ⅓ of the web. Well, technically it’s ⅓ of the top 10 million sites, but still, that’s a staggering amount of WordPress sites out there now. Go check out his post to learn more.

Block Directory

An interesting proposal for a Block Directory was published on the Make WordPress Core blog that has the potential of being big:

A new type of WordPress plugin that provides blocks and nothing else: Single Block Plugins. These will be hosted in a separate Block Directory section of the Plugin Directory. They will be JavaScript-based, and each plugin will register a single Block. And they will be searchable and installable from within the Gutenberg editor itself.

Alex Shiels

If you’d like to find out more about what this proposal is about, go on and read Alex’ post.

Gutenberg tips and tricks

In a previous roundup, I shared some tips on using Gutenberg. Today I have a few more tips to share on how to best make use of the new Block Editor.

Reusable blocks

The WordPress Block Editor comes with a feature that’s called ‘Reusable block’. This feature allows you to define one specific block or a combination of blocks to be saved and reused anywhere else on the site.

When would you use that, you ask? Maybe you want to highlight one of your products on several pages. Or you have certain posts that need some sort of disclaimer at the bottom. Instead of having to write that same paragraph from scratch every single time, you write it once, save it as a reusable block and select it where needed.

You can save a block to your reusable blocks by clicking ‘More options’ (the icon with three dots in the bar directly above your block) then ‘Add to reusable blocks’. Once you’ve done that, you can find the reusable block when adding a new block. It’ll be at the end of the list under the tab, ‘Reusable’, with the name you gave it.

Use your reusable blocks on other sites

Now that you know how to create reusable blocks, it’s time we make this a bit more exciting! Did you know you can export your reusable blocks from one site and import them on another? Yes, you can! This is how: to access your blocks, click on the icon with the three dots in the top-right corner. Then, select Manage All Reusable Blocks and you’ll be taken to an admin interface where you can export your blocks into a JSON file.

You can import that same JSON file in another site via the same admin interface screen. Isn’t that neat?

Line break, but no new paragraph in Gutenberg?

Here’s a complaint I hear a lot: “Whatever I do, I can’t add a line break without creating a new block”.
Sometimes you just want to go to a new line without creating an entirely new block. Just like I did at the beginning of the previous sentence. It may feel like that’s impossible, but it isn’t. Hitting Shift+Enter creates a line break without a new block. It’s that simple.

Bonus link

Maybe I’m talking to the wrong crowd here, but even if I’m helping just one of you out there, I’m a happy man :)

So, this one is for those of you who develop plugins on Github, but have to jump through all kinds of fancy hoops to have those plugins committed to the WordPress.org repo. Our friends at 10Up have released a wonderful solution that allows you to publish your code on Github and only Github.

Their solution makes use of Github’s Action. Once you’ve set up your action and added your WordPress.org credentials, it will actually publish your newly created tag to the WordPress repo. I call that a win! So, if this is for you, go and check out Github Actions for WordPress.

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New commenting plugin option, a book release, and a WordPress milestone

It’s time* again for a new roundup of WordPress news! Today I’m sharing a new commenting plugin for WordPress, the release of a new book about Object Oriented Programming in WordPress. The WordPress Project also crossed an imported milestone this week. Keep on reading and you’ll learn all about it!

New commenting plugin option

For a very long time when you, for whatever reason, wanted to replace the default WordPress commenting you basically only had Disqus as an option. We used to have IntenseDebate as well, but even though the site is still up, that really doesn’t look like a modern and solid solution.

Luckily, we have a new option again in the shape of ReplyBox. It’s a super lightweight solution and does a wonderful job delivering a robust commenting system. How lightweight you ask?

I’d say that’s quite impressive, right?

If you’re in the market for a smarter commenting system, you should definitely check them out!

Gutenberg expands on block editor location

Gutenberg 5.2 was released last week and it introduces a new @wordpress/block-editor module that allows building block editors to live outside the post editor context and even outside the WordPress Admin context. Meaning, we’ll be able to use the Gutenberg editor interface in other places besides the actual place where you craft your content. You can read more about in the release post for Gutenberg 5.2.

WordPress book on object-oriented programming

One of the advantages of WordPress moves towards updating its minimum PHP requirement is the opportunity to make better use of smarter coding. Object-oriented programming (OOP) is one of those things. To help you learn OOP, Carl Alexander published a book last week that will teach you the fundamentals of object-oriented programming using WordPress concepts, as well as getting familiar with the terminology.

200 Languages!

During WordCamp Nordic’s Contributor Day, 16 new languages were added to translate.wordpress.org according to Petya Raykovska. With those 16 extra languages, WordPress can now be translated into 200 languages! That’s an amazing milestone.

That’s if for me for this roundup. Hope you enjoyed it!


*WordPress 5.1 actually released the first improvements to the Date/Time functions in WordPress, so technically, we’re better at handling dates and time now! Well, WordPress is, that is.

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WordPress 5.1 is incoming, Gutenberg Phase 2 updates, and bonus links!

We have a big week ahead of us! WordPress 5.1 will be released this week and with it comes a lot of improvements for the Block Editor as well as a whole bunch of other improvements. I’m also updating you on Gutenberg phase 2. And of course, there are some bonus links as well. Let’s dive in!

WordPress 5.1 slated for this week

It’s only been a little over two months since WordPress 5.0 was released, but the next release, WordPress 5.1, has been progressing very nicely. So well, in fact, that it’s slated for the February 21st. That’s this week!

WordPress 5.1 will add a nice set of improvements such as Site Health notices, version 4.8 of the Gutenberg plugin which comes with a lot of improvements to the Block Editor. But, wait, there’s more! It will also have Multisite Support for Site Metadata, Cron improvements, a new JavaScript build process, and updated styles and text strings. Additionally, there are a lot of under the hood improvements. All of which you can find in the WordPress 5.1 Field Guide, published on Make WordPress Core.

As soon as WordPress 5.1 is released, we’ll see continued work happening on features for WordPress 5.2. This will include things like Gutenberg performance and UX improvements, Core Widgets converted to blocks (Gutenberg Phase 2), PHP Fatal Recovery (WSOD), and a further improved version of the Site Health Check.

Gutenberg Phase 2 progress

Gutenberg Phase 2 is well underway with converting Core Widgets into Gutenberg blocks. Phase 2 also includes converting the current Navigation menu into a Navigation block solution. The Navigation block is currently being discussed and there are mockups in GitHub that would benefit from your feedback. Go check them out and let your voice be heard.

Gutenberg 5.0 introduced additional blocks such as an RSS block and a Kindle block. It also introduced some improvements to existing blocks such as the possibility to define a custom focal point for the cover block’s background. Read more about all the other improvements now part of the Gutenberg plugin in the Gutenberg 5.0 release post.

Sharing is caring

Here’s list of a few interesting things I came across this past week:

Customizing Gutenberg Blocks

Customizing Gutenberg blocks is a relatively complicated thing to do, but there’s actually a simple way to start customizing Gutenberg blocks. You can do this by utilizing block styles. They take only a few minutes to pick up, and mostly just require you to know CSS. You can learn more about it over at the ThemeShaper blog.

Query Monitor 3.3

One of my favorite debugging tools has been updated. Query Monitor 3.3 now has new features that introduce related hooks section for each panel, allows for debugging of wp_die() calls, support for debugging JavaScript translation files. And my personal favorite, we now have the ability to move the panel to the side of your window.

Gutenberg Blocks Design Library plugin

Gutenberg Blocks Design Library is a new plugin that provides pre-built page designs using only the default core blocks that come with WordPress. There’s a free version that comes with 50 different designs that users can import from the growing library.

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WordPress newsletter recommendations, related events, and Gutenberg writing tips

We’re diving a bit deeper into some of the options to make better use of the Gutenberg editor in this edition of my roundup. Additionally, I’m highlighting two WordPress related events as well as two very different, but highly recommended WordPress newsletters.

WordPress Newsletters

I’d like to highlight two very different kinds of WordPress related newsletters: MasterWP and Post Status. But first off, congratulations to Alex and Ben for publishing their 100th weekly MasterWP newsletter. Together with Post Status‘ newsletter, they are my favorite two WordPress related newsletters. Whereas MasterWP is free and focuses on subjects touching the WordPress ecosphere, PostStatus is more focused on the smaller bits of news happening in the WordPress world.

Both come highly recommended if you’re looking for regular WordPress news.

WordPress Related Events

Not technically just WordPress related news, but I did want to share that YoastCon is this week. And in case you missed it, YoastCon is an SEO & Online Marketing conference that goes deeper and wider than most other SEO conferences. And, there still are some tickets available if you’re looking for a jam-packed SEO conference.

Speaking of conferences. It looks like the sixth edition of PressNomics is in the making. Having attended the fourth edition myself, I can definitely recommend PressNomics as a WordPress event. It’s more geared towards WordPress business owners – or as they say: “for those that power the WordPress Economy” – as opposed to your regular WordCamps, but again, highly recommended for anyone working with WordPress on a day to day basis.

Gutenberg writing tips

Since Gutenberg landed in WordPress Core as the new Block Editor, I’ve focused on extending Gutenberg quite a few times in all kinds of different ways, but I realized this week that I’ve not yet actually shared some useful tips on how to use Gutenberg. So, I thought it’d be good to share three Gutenberg related tips on how to actually put it to good use.

Distraction Free writing mode

One of the things I absolutely love about the new editor is how you can set it to use a distraction free writing mode. Now, of course, we already a version of this in the classic editor, but the new version deserves to be reintroduced.

This is how you make the best use of the Block Editor:

  1. Activate the Top Toolbar Option

    When you open the new Block Editor, you can access the settings menu via the three dots on top of each other in the top right of your screen (It’s right next to the Yoast toolbar icon). Under View you have to option to activate the Top Toolbar option by clicking on it.
    This will move the hovering toolbar you’d normally see for every single block move to the top toolbar. The first big part of the distraction is now gone.

  2. Active the Fullscreen Mode

    In that same menu as where you found the previous option, you’ll also find the option Fullscreen Mode. Clicking on it will set your editor in the desired distraction-free mode by going fullscreen. You now no longer have the WordPress Dashboard menu on the right or any of the other normal WordPress distractions.

  3. Hide Settings (optional)

    The last thing left to do is optional. I don’t use it myself personally, but if you truly want to remove all distractions and just write, then there’s one thing left to do. By clicking on the gear icon in the top right of the Gutenberg toolbar you’ll hide the settings sidebar on the right.

That’s all you have to do to get the most out of the new distraction-free mode.

Gutenberg Keyboard Shortcuts

There a few keyboard shortcuts I use daily that I’d like to share.

  1. Just by typing 1. as the beginning of a new paragraph, the block editor will turn that into a numbered list item.
  2. Just by typing an asteriks (*) + a space, the block editor will turn that into a list item.
  3. Instead of clicking on the circle with the plus icons to start looking for your next block, you can actually type the forward slash ( / ) as well.
  4. Just by typing anywhere between two or six hashtags in a row + a space, the block editor turns that into a corresponding header. Meaning: ### + space will turn the block into a H3 header.

Moving multiple blocks around

Whenever you find yourself wanting to move a couple to a different position in the editor, just select the blocks you want to move with your mouse. Once you release your mouse button you’ll see that the blocks are all highlighted with a blue background. Right next to the top one on the left, you’ll find the normal Move Up and Move Down arrows and they will move around all the blocks you’ve selected.

That’s it for me this time around. If you know of any other smart ways of using the block editor, do share those tips here in the comments.

Site Health Check postponed to 5.2

WordPress 5.1 Beta 3 was released just before the weekend and with it came a notice about the new Site Health Check featured. Unfortunately, it’s being postponed to the WordPress 5.2 release as stated in the Beta 3 release post:

Some potential security issues were discovered in the implementation: rather than risk releasing insecure code, the team decided to pull it out of WordPress 5.1

WordPress.org News

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New roles in the WordPress project, blocks and WordPress 5.1

Today’s roundup is a nice collection of interesting things that happened in the WordPress Community in the last couple of weeks. There’s some very exciting news about expanding the WordPress leadership team and I’ll discuss a couple of new features of the next version of WordPress.

Expanding WordPress Leadership

Matt Mullenweg published a post this week on the Make WordPress site where he announced two new roles to be added to the WordPress Leadership team. The first new role is that of Executive Director and will be taken on by Josepha Haden. The second role is that of Marketing & Communications Lead and our very own Joost de Valk will be taking on that role. This is what Joost had to say about it:

WordPress is paving the cowpaths for the web with projects like Gutenberg, I’m looking forward to leading marketing & comms for WordPress and working with everybody to tell the story of this awesome project and community.

Both new roles combined mark a great step forward for the growth of the WordPress Project as a whole.

Genesis 2.8 introduces Gutenberg based onboarding feature

Genesis, the leading theme framework, has introduced an onboarding feature that is based on Gutenberg. Basically, a set of preformatted and configured blocks (called Block Templates) are made available when you activate a Genesis Child Theme. This is what they had to say about it in the Genesis 2.8 announcement post:

Genesis 2.8 includes a new onboarding feature theme that authors can use to define which demo content is loaded when a user installs a new theme. One-Click Demo Install makes it easy for theme authors to load in plugins and perfectly-designed Gutenberg blocks onto the home page of a new site using that theme.

 

The Gutenberg project may have had some people doubting over the need for a new editor, but integrations like this – alongside an improved editing experience – that make it awesome. And this is only the beginning: it’s one of the first types of integrations like this.

Block plugins

In fact, there are already a couple of really interesting plugins out there that provide for extra custom blocks. We, of course, have our own Yoast SEO How-To and FAQ block (and there are many more on their way), but here are six interesting block providing plugins you should definitely check out:

As I’ve mentioned in a previous roundup, WordPress.org has a dedicated view for plugins that provide blocks as a library or as an enhancement to their already existing core functionality. You should definitely check that out if you haven’t already.

What next for WordPress 5.1

The next WordPress release is called 5.1 and is scheduled for the 21st of February 2019. The work for 5.1 began long before the launch of WordPress 5.0 and therefore it’ll have two very interesting features:

Fatal Error Protection

WordPress 5.1 will introduce a so-called WSOD protection (white-screen-of-death protection). This feature will recognize when a fatal error occurs, and which plugin or theme is causing it. With this new feature, you’ll still be able to access the WordPress Dashboard and the respective plugin or theme will be paused. This allows users to still log in to their site so that they can at least temporarily fix the problem.

PHP upgrade notice

If your site is still running on an old and insecure version of PHP, WordPress 5.1 will let you know after the upgrade. The lowest PHP version still receiving security updates is currently 7.1. This means all the PHP 5.x versions are outdated and insecure and the PHP upgrade notice is intended to get people to have their hosting companies change the PHP version. With the latest PHP versions seriously boosting your performance as well, trust me, you want to be on the latest and greatest, as it will make your site faster.

You can read more about these features in Felix Arntz’s introduction post on the Make WordPress Core blog. And that’s it for this roundup. What are you most excited about?

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