The Month in WordPress: July 2019

This month has been characterized by exciting plans and big announcements – read on to find out what they are and what it all means for the future of the WordPress project.


WordCamp Asia Announced

The inaugural WordCamp Asia will be in Bangkok, Thailand, on February 21-23, 2020. This will be the first regional WordCamp in Asia and it comes after many years of discussions and planning. You can find more information about the event on their website and subscribe to stay up to date with the latest information.

This is the latest flagship event in the WordCamp program, following WordCamps Europe and US. Tickets are now on sale and the call for speakers is open. Want to get involved in WordCamp Asia? Keep an eye out for volunteer applications, or buy a micro sponsor ticket. You can also join the #wcasia channel in the Making WordPress Slack group for updates.

WordCamp US Planning Continues

The WordCamp US organizing team is excited to announce some new additions to this year’s WCUS in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 1-3, 2019. The first is that there will be an onsite KidsCamp: child-friendly lessons that introduce your young one(s) to the wonderful world of WordPress.  You can register your child for KidsCamp here. In addition, free, onsite childcare will be provided at this year’s event – you can sign up here.

Looking for further ways to get involved? The call for volunteers is now open. For more information on WordCamp US, please visit the event website.

Exploring Updates to the WordPress User & Developer Survey

To improve the annual WordPress User & Developer Survey, a call has been made for updates and additional questions that can help us all better understand how people use WordPress.

To improve the survey, contributor teams are suggesting topics and information that should be gathered to inform contributor work in 2020. Please add your feedback to the post.

Gutenberg Usability Testing Continues

Usability tests for Gutenberg continued through June 2019, and insights from three recent videos were published last month. This month’s test was similar to WordCamp Europe’s usability tests, and you can read more about those in the part one and part two posts. Please help by watching these videos and sharing your observations as comments on the relevant post.

If you want to help with usability testing, you can also join the #research channel in the Making WordPress Slack group, or you can write a test script that can be usability tested for Gutenberg.


Further Reading:

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

The Month in WordPress: June 2019

June has certainly been a busy month in the WordPress community — aside from holding the largest WordPress event ever, the project has hit a number of significant milestones and published some big announcements this past month.


A Wrap for WordCamp Europe 2019

WordCamp Europe 2019 took place on June 20-22. It was the largest WordPress ever, with 3,260 tickets sold and 2,734 attendees. The attendees came from 97 different countries and 1,722 of them had never attended WordCamp Europe before.

The event featured 60 speakers who delivered talks and workshops on a variety of topics over two conference days, most notably Matt Mullenweg’s keynote that included an update on the current status of WordPress Core development, along with a lively Q&A session. The full session from the live stream is available to watch online.

For its eighth year, WordCamp Europe will take place in Porto, Portugal. The 2020 edition of the event will be held on June 4-6. If you would like to get involved with WordCamp Europe next year, fill out the organizer application form

Proposal for XML Sitemaps in WordPress Core

A proposal this month suggested bringing XML sitemap generation into WordPress Core. This is a feature that has traditionally been handled by plugins, which has resulted in many different implementations across different sites. It also means that many sites do not have XML sitemaps, which can be a problem because they are hugely important to having your site correctly indexed by search engines.

The proposal details how core sitemaps would be structured and how the team would build them, as well as what aspects of WordPress would not be considered appropriate information to be included.

Want to get involved in building this feature? Comment on the proposal, follow the Core team blog, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Translation Milestone for the Spanish Community

The WordPress community of Spain has worked hard to make the es_ES locale the first in the world to fully localize all of WordPress Core along with all Meta projects, apps, and the top 200 plugins. This is made possible by having the largest translation team out of any locale, consisting of 2,951 individual contributors.

Want to get involved in translating WordPress into our locale? Find your locale on the translation platform, follow the Polyglots team blog, and join the #polyglots channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

WordPress 5.2.2 Maintenance Release

On June 18, v5.2.2 of WordPress was released as a maintenance release, fixing 13 bugs and improving the Site Health feature that was first published in v5.2. If your site has not already been automatically updated to this version, you can download the update or manually check for updates in your WordPress dashboard. Thanks to JB Audras, Justin Ahinon, and Mary Baum for co-leading this release, as well as the 30 other individuals who contributed to it.

Want to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Full End to End Tests for WordPress Core

On June 27, e2e (end to end) testing was introduced to WordPress and included in the continuous integration pipeline. E2e testing, which has been successfully used by Gutenberg, is used to simulate real user scenarios and validate process flows. Currently, the setup requires Docker to run, and a number of e2e test utilities are already available in the  @wordpress/e2e-test-utils package, in the Gutenberg repository. 

Want to use this feature? The more tests that are added, the more stable future releases will be! Follow the the Core team blog, and join the #core-js channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Feature Packages from the Theme Review Team

Following a proposal for theme feature repositories, an update to the features package was announced. Two new packages have been created that require code review and testing. The first is an Autoload Package, a foundational package for theme developers who are not currently using Composer (although Composer is recommended instead of this package). The second is a Customizer Section Button Package that allows theme authors to create a link/button to any URL.

There are other proposed ideas for packages that require feedback and additional discussion. Want to add your suggestions and thoughts? Join the conversation on the Theme Review team blog and join the #themereview channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.


Further Reading:

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

The Month in WordPress: May 2019

This month saw the 16th anniversary since the launch of the first release of WordPress. A significant milestone to be sure and one that speaks to the strength and stability of the project as a whole. In this anniversary month, we saw a new major release of WordPress, some exciting new development work, and a significant global event.


Release of WordPress 5.2

WordPress 5.2 “Jaco” was released on May 7 shipping some useful site management tools, such as the Site Health Check and PHP Error Protection, as well as a number of accessibility, privacy, and developer updates. You can read the field guide for this release for more detailed information about what was included and how it all works.

327 individual volunteers contributed to the release. If you would like to be a part of that number for future releases, follow the Core team blog and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

A Successful WordPress Translation Day 4

WordPress Translation Day is a 24-hour event organised by the Polyglots team where community members from all over the world come together to translate WordPress into their local languages. For the fourth edition held on 11 May, 183 brand new contributors joined the Polyglots team from 77 communities across 35 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania.

While the WP Translation Day is a great time for focussed contributions to localizing WordPress, but these contributions can happen at any time of the year, so if you would like to help make WordPress available in your local language, follow the Polyglots team blog and join the #polyglots channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Updated Plugin Guidelines Proposal

The Plugins team has proposed some updates to the guidelines for developers on the Plugin Directory. The majority of the proposed changes are intended to address significant issues faced by developers who do not speak English as a first language, making the Plugin DIrectory a more accessible and beneficial place for everyone.

The proposal will be open for comments until late June, so the community is encouraged to get involved with commenting on them and the direction they will take the Plugin Directory. If you would like to be involved in this discussion, comment on the proposal and join the #plugin review team in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Continued Gutenberg Development

Since the block editor was first released as part of WordPress Core in v5.0, development has continued in leaps and bounds with a new release every two weeks. The latest update includes some great incremental improvements that will be merged into the 5.2.2 release of WordPress along with the other recent enhancements.

In addition to the editor enhancements, work has been ongoing in the Gutenberg project to bring the block editing experience to the rest of the WordPress dashboard. This second phase of the project has been going well and the latest update shows how much work has been done so far.

In addition to that, the Block Library project that aims to bring a searchable library of available blocks right into the editor is deep in the planning phase with a recent update showing what direction the team is taking things.

If you would like to get involved in planning and development of Gutenberg and the block editor, follow the Core and Design team blogs and join the #core, #design, and #core-editor channels in the Making WordPress Slack group.


Further Reading:

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

The Month in WordPress: April 2019

This past month has been filled with anticipation as the community builds up towards a big new release, plans some important events, and builds new tools to grow the future of the project.


WordPress 5.2 Almost Due for Release

WordPress 5.2 is due for release on May 7 with many new features included for developers and end-users alike. The Field Guide for the release provides a lot of information about what is in it and what you can expect, including a few key elements:

Site Health Check

One of the most highly anticipated features for v5.2 is the Site Health Check. This feature adds two new pages in the admin interface to help end users maintain a healthy site through common configuration issues and other elements that go along with having a robust online presence. It also provides a standardized location for developers to add debugging information.

Fatal Error Recovery Mode

The Fatal Error Recovery Mode feature was originally planned for the 5.1 release but was delayed to patch up some last-minute issues that arose. This feature will help site-owners recover more quickly from fatal errors that break the display or functionality of their site that would ordinarily require code or database edits to fix.

Privacy and Accessibility Updates

Along with the headlining features mentioned above, there are some important enhancements to the privacy and accessibility features included in Core. These include some important developer-focused changes to how privacy policy pages are displayed and user data is exported, as well as moving to more semantic markup for admin tabs and other improvements such as switching post format icons to drop-down menus on post list tables, improved admin toolbar markup, and contextual improvements to archive widget drop-down menu.

New Dashicons

The Dashicons library was last updated was over 3 years ago. Now, in the upcoming release, a set of 13 new icons will be added to the library along with improvements to the build process and file format of the icons.

Block Editor Upgrades

The Block Editor has seen numerous improvements lately that will all be included in the v5.2 release. Along with the interface upgrades, the underlying Javascript module has been reorganized, improvements have been made to how the block editor is detected on the post edit screen, and the Javascript build process has been enhanced.

WordPress 5.2 is now in the Release Candidate phase and you can test it by installing the Beta Tester plugin on any WordPress site.

Want to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Global WordPress Translation Day is Almost Here

On 11 May 2019, the fourth Global WordPress Translation Day will take place. This is a 24-hour global event dedicated to the translation of all things WordPress, from Core to themes, plugins to marketing.

Over the course of 24 hours, WordPress communities will meet to translate WordPress into their local languages and watch talks and sessions broadcast on wptranslationday.org. During the last Global WordPress Translation Day, 71 local events took place in 29 countries, and even more communities are expected to take part this time.

Want to get involved in the Global WordPress Translation Day? Find out how to organize a local event, follow the updates on the Polyglots team blog, and join the #polyglots channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Block Library Project Gets Started

Since the initial proposal for a Block Library that would be made available from inside the block editor, work has been done to put together some designs for how this would look. Since then the project has received a more direct focus with a planned out scope and timeline.

The project is being managed on GitHub and people interested in contributing are encouraged to get involved there. You can also keep up to date by following the Design team blog and joining the #design channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.


Further Reading:

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

The Month in WordPress: March 2019

WordPress reached a significant milestone this month. With some exciting developments in Core, an interesting new proposal, and the return of a valuable global event, March was certainly an interesting time.


WordPress Now Powers One-Third of the Web

WordPress’ market share has been steadily increasing, and as of halfway through this month, it powers over one-third of the top 10 million sites on the web (according to W3Techs, which tracks usage statistics for all major web platforms).

This growth of WordPress is only made possible by the large team of volunteers working to build the project and community. If you would like to get involved in building the future of WordPress, then check out the Make network for a contributor team that fits your skill set.

WordPress 5.2 is on the Way

WordPress 5.1.1 was released this month, with 14 fixes and enhancements, and the Core team is now focusing on the next major release, version 5.2. This release will include some great new features, along with the latest updates to the block editor.

One of the most anticipated new features is the improved fatal error detection – this was removed from v5.1 shortly before release so that it could be improved and made more secure for this release. Along with that, PHP 5.6 is going to become the minimum required PHP version for WordPress, a significant step towards a more modern web and updated coding standards.

WordPress 5.2 is now in beta and you can test it by installing the Beta Tester plugin on any WordPress site.

Want to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Proposal for a Central Block Directory

With blocks becoming the new way to manage content in WordPress, more and more types of blocks are being developed to cater for different use cases and content types. In an effort to make it easier for content creators to find these block types, there is a proposal for a new type of plugin and a directory to handle it.

The proposal outlines a new type of WordPress plugin that provides blocks and nothing else, named Single Block Plugins. The primary benefit would be to provide content creators with individual pieces of functionality and new types of blocks without the need to search for and install new plugins.

The Single Block Plugins would be hosted in a separate Block Directory section of the Plugin Directory and they would initially be JavaScript-based. Each plugin will register a single block, and they will be searchable and installable from within the editor itself. This puts blocks at the publishers’ fingertips — you no longer have to leave the editor to find them.

Want to get involved in shaping this new type of plugin? Join in the conversation on the proposal post, follow the Meta team blog, and join the #meta channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Global WordPress Translation Day is Back

On 11 May 2019, the fourth Global WordPress Translation Day will take place. This is a 24-hour global event dedicated to the translation of all things WordPress, from core to themes, plugins to marketing.

Over the course of 24 hours, WordPress communities will meet to translate WordPress into their local languages and watch talks and sessions broadcast on wptranslationday.org. During the last Global WordPress Translation Day, 71 local events took place in 29 countries, and even more communities are expected to take part this time.

Want to get involved in the Global WordPress Translation Day? Find out how to organize a local event, apply to be a speaker, follow the updates on the Polyglots team blog, and join the #polyglots channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Gutenberg Development Continues

With the block editor in WordPress Core, the team has been able to focus on adding some frequently requested features. Version 5.3 of Gutenberg,  released this month, includes a new block manager modal, the ability to nest different elements in the cover block, and some UI tweaks to improve the hover state of blocks.

Want to get involved in developing Gutenberg? Check out the GitHub repository and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.


Further Reading:

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

The Month in WordPress: February 2019

A new version of WordPress, significant security enhancements, important discussions, and much more – read on to find out what has been going on in the WordPress community for the month of February.


Release of WordPress 5.1

Near the end of the month, WordPress 5.1 was released, featuring significant stability and performance enhancements as well as the first of the Site Health mechanisms that are in active development. Most prominent is the new warning for sites running long-outdated versions of PHP.

You can check out the Field Guide for this release for a detailed look at all the new features and improvements. The next release is already in development with plans to improve the Site Health features, PHP compatibility, and a number of other things.

Want to get involved in testing or building WordPress Core? You can install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin, follow the Core team blog, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Gutenberg Development Continues

The block editor that is now a part of WordPress core started out as a project named Gutenberg with the lofty goal of creating a whole new site-building experience for all WordPress users. The first phase of Gutenberg resulted in the block editor that was included in WordPress 5.0, but development didn’t stop there – phase 2 of the project is well underway.

This month, one of the initial goals for this phase was reached with all of the core WordPress widgets being converted to blocks – this will go a long way to allowing full sites to be built using blocks, rather than simply post or page content.

Want to get involved in developing Gutenberg? Check out the GitHub repository and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Block Editor Comes to the Mobile Apps

As Gutenberg development continues, the Mobile team has been working hard to integrate the new block editor into the WordPress mobile apps. Near the end of February, the team shipped a complete integration in the beta versions of the apps – this a significant milestone and a big step towards unifying the mobile and desktop editing experiences.

Both the iOS and Android apps are open for beta testers, so if you would like to experience the block editor on mobile today, then join the beta program.

Want to get involved in developing the WordPress mobile apps? Follow the Mobile team blog, and join the #mobile channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

WordPress Triage Team Announced

One of the goals for 2019 that Matt Mullenweg (@matt) announced in his State of the Word address last year was to form a team who would work to manage the ever-increasing number of tickets in Trac, the bug tracker that WordPress Core employs.

This team, known as the Triage Team, has been announced. Their work will involve coordinating with component maintainers, release leads, project leadership, contributors, and other WordPress related projects with issue trackers outside of Trac to ensure that everyone is empowered to focus on contributing.

The team was formed based on nominations of volunteers to take part and will be led by Jonathan Desrosiers (@desrosj). The other members of the team are Chris Christoff (@chriscct7), Tammie Lister (@karmatosed), Sergey Biryukov (@sergey), and Sheri Bigelow (@designsimply) – all of whom have a strong track record of contributing to WordPress, have exhibited good triaging practices, and are overall good community members.


Further Reading:

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

The Month in WordPress: January 2019

The momentum from December’s WordPress 5.0 release was maintained through January with some big announcements and significant updates. Read on to find out what happened in the WordPress project last month.


WordPress Leadership Grows

In a milestone announcement this month, WordPress project lead, Matt Mullenweg (@matt), named two individuals who are coming on board to expand the leadership team of the project.

As Executive Director, Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune) will oversee all the contribution teams across the project. As Marketing & Communications Lead, Joost de Valk (@joostdevalk) will lead the Marketing team and generally oversee improvements to WordPress.org.

Both Josepha and Joost have contributed to the WordPress project for many years and will certainly have a much larger impact going forward in their new roles.

WordPress 5.1 Development Continues

Immediately after the 5.0 release of WordPress, work started on version 5.1 with some highly anticipated new features coming out in the first beta release. Since then, the second and third betas have been made available.

One of the core updates in this release — a feature to improve the way in which WordPress handles PHP errors — has been pushed back to version 5.2 due to unforeseen issues that would have caused significant delays to the 5.1 release.

Want to get involved in testing or building WordPress Core? You can install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin, follow the Core team blog, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.


Further Reading:

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

The Month in WordPress: December 2018

New features, a big event, and important announcements marked December as a milestone month for the WordPress community.


Release of WordPress 5.0

On December 6 WordPress 5.0 was released. This release includes the much anticipated new block editor as the default editing experience. While some users have chosen to continue using the Classic Editor on their sites, many site owners have quickly upgraded to this latest version.

Two security and maintenance releases came out over the course of the month, with the latest update providing a huge boost to performance and stability.

The new version of WordPress comes a new default theme: Twenty Nineteen. This theme is designed to highlight how the block editor can be used.

Want to get involved in developing WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Gutenberg Phase 2

The next phase of Gutenberg is being decided, starting with widgets, which will make it easier for users to customize their sites. This will be done with features being added to the Gutenberg plugin.

Want to get involved in develop the future of the WordPress dashboard? Follow the Core team blog and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

9 Projects for 2019

WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg outlined 9 projects for the year 2019. These projects range from creating a block for navigations menus, porting all existing widgets into blocks, forming a triage team to tackle open issues on Trac and more.

A status update for porting existing widgets to blocks has been posted by Mel Choyce.

WordCamp US 2019 Dates announced

WordCamp US 2019 will be held during Nov. 1-3, 2019, in St Louis, Missouri. It will be one of our largest events of the year and will feature Matt Mullenweg’s annual State of the Word address.


Further Reading:

If you have a story we should consider including in the next “Month in WordPress” post, please submit it here.

The Month in WordPress: November 2018

WordPress 5.0 is almost ready for release, including an all-new content editing experience. Volunteers all across the project are gearing up for the launch and making sure everything is ready. Read on to find out what’s been happening and how you can get involved.


WordPress 5.0 Close to Launch

The release date for WordPress 5.0 has not yet been set, but the second release candidate (RC) is now available. The final release date will be determined based on feedback and testing of this RC. The Core development team has been posting daily updates on the progress of their work on v5.0, with the number of open issues for this release decreasing every day.

The primary feature of this release is the new editor that will become the default WordPress experience going forward. A number of people have been seeking more direct feedback from the release leads about the progress of this release, which @matt has facilitated by hosting one-to-one discussions with anyone in the community who wanted to talk with him about it. He has also published an extended FAQ covering many of the questions people have been asking.

Alongside the development of the new editor, the Mobile team has been working hard to bring the WordPress mobile apps up to speed. They plan to make a beta version available in February 2019.

Want to get involved in developing WordPress Core in 5.0 and beyond? Follow the Core team blog and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

New WordPress Support Platform Goes Live

WordPress user documentation has long been hosted on the WordPress Codex, but for the past couple of years an ambitious project has been underway to move that content to a freshly-built WordPress-based platform. This project, named “HelpHub,” is now live and the official home of WordPress Support.

There is still plenty of content that needs to be migrated from the Codex to HelpHub, but the initial move is done and the platform is ready to have all WordPress’ user documentation moved across. HelpHub will be the first place for support, encouraging users to find solutions for themselves before posting in the forums.

Want to get involved in populating HelpHub with content, or with its future development? Follow the Documentation team blog and join the #docs channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Spanish WordPress Community Pushes Translations Forward

The WordPress community in Spain has been hard at work making sure as much of the WordPress project as possible is available in Spanish. They have recently translated more of the project than ever — including WordPress Core, WordPress.org, the mobile apps and the top 120 plugins in the Directory.

This achievement has largely been possible due to the fact that the Spanish translation team has over 2,500 individuals contributing to it, making it the largest translation team across the whole project.

Want to get involved in translating WordPress into your local language? You can jump straight into translations, follow the Polyglots team blog and join the #polyglots channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.


Further Reading:

If you have a story we should consider including in the next “Month in WordPress” post, please submit it here.

The Month in WordPress: July 2017

After a particularly busy month in June, things settled down a bit in the WordPress world — WordPress 4.8’s release went very smoothly, allowing the Core team to build up some of the community infrastructure around development. Read on for more interesting news from around the WordPress world in July.


Weekly meeting for new core contributors

Onboarding new contributors is a persistent issue for most WordPress contribution teams. While every team welcomes any new contributors, the path to getting deeply involved can be tricky to find at times.

This month, the Core team implemented a fantastic new initiative: weekly meetings for new core contributors as a way to encourage involvement and foster fresh contributions. The meetings not only focus on bugs suited to first-time contributors, they also make space for experienced contributors to help out individuals who may be new to developing WordPress core.

The meetings are held every Wednesday at 19:00 UTC in the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Increased focus on PHP practices in WordPress core

In bringing people together to improve WordPress core, a new channel in the Making WordPress Slack group named #core-php is designed to focus on PHP development in the project.

Along with this increased concentration on PHP, a new weekly meeting is now taking place every Monday at 18:00 UTC in #core-php to improve WordPress core’s PHP practices.

Sharp rise in meetup group growth

The dashboard events widget in WordPress 4.8 displays local, upcoming WordPress events for the logged in user. The events listed in this widget are pulled from the meetup chapter program, as well as the WordCamp schedule.

This widget provides greater visibility of official WordPress events, and encourages community involvement in these events. It’s safe to say that the widget has achieved its goals admirably — since WordPress 4.8 was released a little over a month ago, 31 new meetup groups have been formed with 15,647 new members across the whole program. This is compared to 19 new groups and only 7,071 new members in the same time period last year.

You can find a local meetup group to join on meetup.com, and if you would like to get involved in organizing events for your community, you can find out more about the inner workings of the program on the Community Team site or by joining the #community-events channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

WordPress 4.8.1 due for imminent release

WordPress 4.8 cycle’s first maintenance release will be published in the coming week, more than a month after 4.8 was released. This release fix some important issues in WordPress core and the majority of users will find that their sites will update to this new version automatically.

If you would like to help out by testing this release before it goes live, you can follow the beta testing guide for WordPress core. To get further involved in building WordPress core, jump into the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group, and follow the Core team blog.


Further reading:

If you have a story we should consider including in the next “Month in WordPress” post, please submit it here.