How to make the transition to the block editor (from the classic editor) in WordPress

Are you considering switching from the classic editor to the block editor? That’s great, as the block editor will give you lots of possibilities to create awesome, high-quality and high-ranking content! Not sure how to go about this though? Don’t look any further. Here, we’ll guide you through the process of making the switch to the block editor step-by-step.

Did you know we just released a free online course about the WordPress block editor? If you want to learn all about creating awesome content with the block editor, you should definitely check it out!

Why should you transition to the block editor?

Before we explain how to make the switch to the block editor, let’s see why we think you should make the transition to the block editor. Using the block editor has quite a lot of benefits. For example, the block editor makes it easy to:

  • create user-friendly, high-quality content;
  • give your content a great structure, look, and feel;
  • add structured data to your posts and pages, so your content might show up as a rich result in the Google search results.

Read more: The block editor: Why you should be using it

How to switch to the block editor

Switching to the block editor should go smoothly. Especially, if you follow the steps below.

In this video, which is part of our new and free Block editor training, we explain the steps you should take when transitioning to the block editor. And of course, we’ll also describe them in this article!

Step 1: Test the block editor on your site

When you’ve decided you want to make the switch to the block editor, the first thing you should do is test the block editor on your site. The best way to test the block editor is to use a so-called staging site. A staging site is a copy of your live website that allows you to implement and test changes without affecting your real site.

How to create a staging site

So, how do you create a staging environment for your site? There are two easy ways to get one:

  • Ask your hosting company.
    The first way is to ask your hosting company to create one for you. Most hosts should be able to do create a staging environment for your site.
  • Use a WordPress plugin.
    If, for some reason, your hosting company isn’t able to create a staging site for you, you can use a WordPress plugin and create one yourself. If you search for ‘staging’ in the WordPress plugin directory, you’ll find tons of plugins that can do the trick. However, make sure you pick a plugin that’s trustworthy. That means: check the reviews, active installations, the last time it was updated, and its compatibility with your version of WordPress.

What to test in the staging environment

Once you’ve sorted your staging site, you can update it to the latest version of WordPress, which automatically comes with the block editor. Alternatively, disable the classic editor plugin, if you have that installed. To test the block editor, simply check what effect this has on your site. While testing, it’s important to pay special attention to the following:

  • Plugins
    It’s essential to check whether your plugins work correctly with the block editor. Most plugins have already adapted to the block editor, so make sure you’ve updated all your plugins!

    If you encounter a plugin conflicting with the block editor, the easiest solution is to check for an alternative. Is there a similar plugin available that is compatible with the block editor? Sometimes blocks can even replace certain plugins, so you could check the available blocks and see if you can find what you need. It’s handy to make a list of all the plugins that conflict with the block editor, so you can remove them from your real site before you make the transition.
  • Shortcodes
    Before the block editor came, people used shortcodes to add various features to a website. Shortcodes are like shortcuts to a pre-created and pre-defined code on your website. If you’ve used shortcodes, make sure they display correctly with the block editor. This is especially important if you use plugins that insert shortcodes.

Step 2: Switch to the block editor!

Once you’ve tested everything, you’re ready to make the switch! Make a backup of your site and update it to the latest version of WordPress. This automatically comes with the new block editor. If you’re using the classic editor plugin, simply disable the plugin to enjoy your new block editor experience!

What will happen to old posts and pages?

A question we regularly hear is: will switching to the block editor affect my old posts and pages that were created using the classic editor? The short answer is: no. 

However, the long answer is that the content of your posts and pages made in the classic editor will be converted into a single Classic block in the block editor. If you want the full block editor experience with your existing posts and pages as well, you can convert this Classic block into separate blocks.

How to convert the content of old posts and pages

To convert the content of your existing posts and pages into separate blocks, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Classic editor block in the post editing screen.

    By selecting the block, the top toolbar will appear.

  2. Click on the three vertical dots in the upper right corner.

    As shown in the image, a menu will appear.Converting old posts and pages menu item

  3. Click ‘Convert to Blocks’.

    WordPress will now scan your content for HTML tags to place every piece of your content into a corresponding block.

Send us your awesome block editor content!

Do you want to inspire others with the content you’ve created using the block editor? We want everyone to see the endless possibilities of the block editor, by featuring examples on our blog. Therefore, we’re asking you to send us the awesome content you have created using the block editor! Leave the URL in the comments below and spread that block editor love!

The post How to make the transition to the block editor (from the classic editor) in WordPress appeared first on Yoast.

The creation of our first digital story using the block editor

We write a lot of blog posts. And, not only about SEO topics, but also about our mission, company culture, and our broader vision. We hope that by writing those kinds of posts we can give you a glimpse into who we are as a company, and who we are as people.

But, blog posts are transient. We post them, and we might update them from time to time, but they’re part of an ongoing blog feed. You may miss them sometimes. And, that’s why we wanted to start documenting these values and ideals that power our company culture in a more permanent way. That’s where the idea for digital storytelling came in.

In this post, we’ll talk about how we came to this idea, how we built our first storytelling page about diversity and prejudice, and how you could apply these principles to tell your own stories.

Do you want to learn how to use the blocks in the block editor to their fullest potential? Look no further and check out our free WordPress block editor training! It’ll teach you how to create a well-designed blog post with the block editor. Let’s create some amazing content!

Why storytelling

Like I mentioned before, storytelling felt like a good fit to talk about our values because it gives context to what we do. It’s a different way of presenting information that is not meant for quick consumption or optimized for catching attention. It’s not just focused on the information, it also takes into consideration the experience of reading it.

We chose the subject of diversity first because this subject touches one of our core values. When Marieke became CEO of Yoast at the beginning of 2019, there weren’t that many women in our upper management. So, Marieke started a project to coach and empower women at Yoast to reach those positions if they wanted to.

In this process she also created a presentation about diversity and feminism that she could give in other places outside the company, such as WordCamps, to inspire others into action as well. Turning this presentation into a digital story then made sense to us as a way to reach an even bigger audience. It would become a more permanent location where people could go to learn more by themselves.

The process of telling a digital story

Concept

Once the idea for this first storytelling project was born, Marieke wrote a draft based on her presentation script, and our design team got to work.

The design team has designed tons of pages across all our products already, and these follow a style guide (or at least they should!). But, we could not achieve the way we wanted to visually present this story with only the elements we already had in our toolkit. It called for a bold, playful design that guides the reader through this experience.

A central part of this experience would have to be our illustrations. Our illustrators have been experimenting with animation in Adobe After Effects recently, and we figured it would be great if we could use these animations in our digital stories.

Based on the draft of the text, they started sketching and storyboarding. They wanted each section to have its own character, and our visual style tries to be pretty inclusive already so that matched well with this subject.

Animation

In addition to that, this time they wanted to add subtle animations too. But having good quality AND fast performant animations on the web is still sometimes a challenge. We considered GIF, of course, and MP4 with autoplay, but it turns out you can animate SVG images as well, with a little help from AirBnB’s JavaScript library Lottie.js.

To do this, you create a vector-based animation in After Effects, then export as JSON. If you want to give this a try too, you can read how to create and export a Lottie-compatible animation from After Effects, and/or learn more about how we implemented Lottie-powered SVG animations in the WordPress block editor.

Video

We felt like the story would come alive more if some parts were video, and it would break up the layout of the page a bit, so the design team selected three sections to make an animation for. Together with EyesxEars, our in-house video production partner, we recorded Marieke presenting these short stories, then drew some supporting animations to explain the concepts visually.

By now developers were also getting involved, setting up the page structure in code. They built the different elements of the page using WordPress blocks, so we can reuse them in future projects. You can read our (more technical) breakdown of how we built our digital storytelling framework in the WordPress block editor.

Project management

Managing all this work across multiple teams under a short timespan was no easy challenge. We wanted to launch by the time Marieke gave this talk at WordCamp Nijmegen. To get it done in time, everyone was working simultaneously, which isn’t ideal, you don’t want anyone getting bottlenecked. For instance, development was waiting on the final copy while it was still being tweaked to fit the flow of the animations, etc. So next time we’ll definitely set up a planning for each involved department separately. That way everyone will have enough time to iterate.

This time it was our internal deadline – which was set well in advance of the launch – and great communication that saved the day. Having the team come together and work on a fun out-of-the-ordinary project like this was worth it. And Marieke was able to present it with pride during her presentation!

Takeaways

You may have already spotted a few learnings peppered throughout this article. This was our first substantial foray into digital storytelling, so there certainly were some areas we can improve in. And by reading this article, you can already benefit from those tips if you were planning to make your own digital story.

1. Write about why you do what you do

First of all, if you are thinking of making a digital story for you or your brand, consider this: don’t write about what your product is, or even how you make it. That’s marketing. Storytelling should be about why you do what you do. What motivates you to dedicate time to creating whatever it is that you create? Which values inspire you to pursue this career? This is what informs what you make and how you do that. Talking about that comes after the Why.

2. Think about how you want to frame your story

Secondly, take your time to write the story. A story has an arc to it. It should take the reader on a bit of a journey. Think about the best way to present what you want to talk about.

One way could be to frame the story in a problem: is there something you felt personally held back by or saw an opportunity to solve something that other people struggle with? Describe why that problem exists, and how you felt compelled to do something about it, and see if you can inspire others to do something too. If you’re not entirely sure yet/anymore why you do what you do, thinking about this is also a good way to find out!

Our first digital story is a variation of this. We talk about one of the values that underpin our company mission, “SEO for everyone”. We believe in equality for everyone, and diversity is, of course, one aspect of that.

Another way could be to write is as more of a historical account. You can share when you got the idea for this company or product, and how you went about getting to where you are now. You’ll probably notice while writing though that you’ll automatically come across the ‘problem’ that sparked your idea, but here it will be part of a larger story.

3. Make your story compelling

Next, think about ways to make the story compelling and/or interactive. People are less likely to read a massive wall of text than they are to view some videos or play a little quiz. Stimulate their brains a little, reward them for taking the time to read something that’s important to you by making it fun for them.

4. Involve your team in the entire process

And lastly, if you’re making a digital story with a team, try to involve them in the entire process. You may be telling a personal story, but if you are writing about your company values, you’ll want to know that your team feels the same way about them. Plus, involving creatives in the planning stages can spark a lot more ideas. Just make sure to then plan out a good schedule for when everyone involved has to do their thing. It’s not super useful to have designers make animations or developers building page elements already for a story that is still being written.

So, we hope you enjoyed this deep dive into our digital storytelling efforts! In the future we plan to use this framework more often to create unique and compelling experiences on our site that explain more about a certain subject, so keep an eye out!

The post The creation of our first digital story using the block editor appeared first on Yoast.

The block editor: Why you should be using it

At Yoast, we truly believe you should be using the block editor (formerly known as Gutenberg) in WordPress, simply because it’s a much better experience than the ‘classic editor’. Unfortunately, when we look at our statistics, we see that a large segment of our users still uses the classic editor. Which is why we’d like to explain why you really should start switching over.

Do you want to learn how to use the blocks in the block editor to their fullest potential? Look no further and check out our free WordPress block editor training! It’ll teach you how to create a well-designed blog post with the block editor. Let’s create some amazing content!

Why you should switch to the block editor

The Gutenberg project and with it, the block editor is literally where all the innovation in the WordPress space is happening. Think of it this way: the only car race you’re going to win by using old technology, is a classic car race. If you want to win in SEO in the next few years, I guarantee you’ll need to be on the block editor. If you’re not, and if some of your competitors are, they’re going to beat you.

While the block editor may be very good, you may think: why would I switch? If the classic editor is working for me, so why bother? Well: the block editor is only the first step in a longer process. More and more parts of the WordPress admin will start using blocks, and because of that, getting familiar with the block editor is essential.

Future versions will iterate on what the block editor already does, moving to site-wide editing, instead of just the content area. The first required step for that is defining content edit areas, something Matias discussed in this post on Make Core, one of the blogs of the core WordPress development team. That post by Matias prompted this post by Justin Tadlock on how the Gutenberg project is shaping the future of WordPress themes. This is getting me, and our entire team at Yoast, very excited.

The Gutenberg project aims at making WordPress easier to use. That’s a long term goal, but it’s already doing that now too. When we have site-wide editing, we won’t need to teach people how to use widgets anymore: they’ll be the same as the blocks they see in the editor. In fact, the entire distinction will be gone.

Reasons to use the block editor now

Besides all of these great developments, you really should use the block editor now and stop using the classic editor. Let me give you an overview of simple and clear reasons. With the block editor:

  • You will be able to build layouts that you can’t make in TinyMCE. Most of the stuff we did for our recent digital story required no coding. Plugins like Grids make it even easier to make very smooth designs.
  • You can make FAQs and HowTo’s that’ll look awesome in search results. Our Yoast SEO Schema blocks are already providing an SEO advantage that is unmatched. For instance, check out our free FAQ and How-to blocks.
  • Simple things like images next to paragraphs and other things that could be painful in TinyMCE have become so much better in Gutenberg. Want multiple columns? You can have them, like that, without extra coding.
  • Speaking of things you couldn’t do without plugins before: you can now embed tables in your content, just by adding a table block. No plugins required.
  • Creating custom blocks is relatively simple, and allows people to do 90% of the custom things they would do with plugins in the past, but easier. It becomes even easier when you use a plugin like ACF Pro or Block Lab to build those custom blocks.
  • Custom blocks, or blocks you’ve added with plugins, can be easily found by users just by clicking the + sign in the editor. Shortcodes, in the classic editor, didn’t have such a discovery method.
  • Re-usable blocks allow you to easily create content you can re-use across posts or pages, see this nice tutorial on WP Beginner.

There are many more nice features; please share yours in the comments!

If you haven’t used the Block Editor recently: go, try it! I’m sure you’ll be happy with it.

Read more: Pressing questions about Gutenberg: the new editor in WordPress 5.0 »

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What’s inside WordPress 5.3 Beta 1

It’s been a busy week for WordPress. WordPress 5.3 finally saw its first beta released and it is jam-packed with great features and improvements. In this edition of WordPress Watch, I’ll highlight some of those features. And of course, I have a few bonus links for you as well. Let’s see what this new WordPress version is all about!

WordPress 5.3 Beta 1

The first beta of WordPress 5.3 has been released. And, it holds a lot of changes. I’ve covered quite a few of them in my WordPress Watch posts here, but I want to give you a short overview of what you can expect.

Block Editor

The Block Editor, or Gutenberg editor, has seen a steady output of releases every other week for the last couple of months. WordPress 5.3 will include the current state of Gutenberg, version 6.5, into core. And that’s a huge update. Just to give you an idea of all the changes, here’s an overview of the most interesting ones:

  • Group block and grouping interactions
  • Gallery block improvements (reordering inline, caption support)
  • Accessibility Navigation Mode, which will allow you to navigate with the keyboard between blocks without going into their content.
  • Columns block improvements (width support + patterns)

But that’s not all. With the inclusion of Gutenberg 6.5, the block editor will also see a significant bump in speed. Since WordPress 5.2, the team working on the block editor managed to shave off 1.5 seconds of loading time for a particularly sizeable post – think in the range of more than 35 thousand words.

No more unwanted time-traveling with WordPress

As mentioned here before, Andrey Savchenko took it upon himself to fix WordPress’ erratic behavior concerning how date and time are stored. Andrey’s fix made it into WordPress 5.3, so that makes for a lot more stability and no more unwanted ‘time-traveling’ with WordPress! Andrey wrote up exactly what was changed and how that may impact you.

New Admin Email Verification Screen

WordPress 5.3 will also introduce a new admin email verification screen that will be shown every six months after an administrator has logged in. WP Tavern covered this new feature recently and if you’d like to know more about it, I encourage you to read it.

Even more improvements and new features

You might think that the features mentioned above, combined with the inclusion of the new default Twenty Twenty theme, are already enough to constitute a new major WordPress release. And perhaps you’re right, but there’s more. A lot more actually. You can check out all the new features and improvements in the announcement post for WordPress 5.3 Beta 1.

Twenty Twenty

With the first beta of WordPress, we also got our hands on the new default theme Twenty Twenty. Justin Tadlock over at the WP Tavern wrote extensively about what it looks like and how it works, so do check it out if you’re curious what it will look like. I do have to say, Twenty Twenty is the first default theme in a very long time that has me excited about a default theme.

Bonus links

The post What’s inside WordPress 5.3 Beta 1 appeared first on Yoast.

Three new features in Gutenberg 6.5 and more on WordPress 5.3

The work on the next versions of WordPress and Gutenberg is moving along nicely, which is why today’s WordPress Watch focuses on those two projects. But, there’s more going on in the world of WordPress besides those two projects. So, get ready for a few bonus links again! Hope you enjoy.

New features in Gutenberg 6.5

Improvements on the Block Editor continue ever so diligently. Gutenberg 6.5 was released and the release contained a lot of small improvements, including three new features.

Social Links Block

The first new feature comes in the shape of an entirely new block called the Social Links Block. The team published a GIF that demonstrates quite nicely what you can do with it:

Social Links Block, courtesy Make WordPress Core blog

Local auto-save support

The second feature contains an improvement that adds support for local auto-saves to avoid content loss even in environments with unstable internet connections. To solve this problem, the Gutenberg team have made it so that edits are saved locally, and a warning is displayed with the possibility to restore the local edits if available.

Experimental: non-local block installation

The last new feature is the most exciting one, in my opinion. This release includes a feature that is marked experimental. It adds the possibility to install blocks that are not available locally directly from the block inserter if you have the required permissions. Inside the editor, you can find a one-click search and installation of blocks from the block directory. Selected blocks are automatically installed as a plugin in the background and inserted into the editor with one click. How cool is that?!

You can read the rest of what’s included in the release post for Gutenberg 6.5.

WordPress 5.3

The work on WordPress 5.3 is moving along nicely as well. This includes the new default Twenty Twenty theme as well. Justin Ahinon published a great dev chat summary of where we are for WordPress 5.3 on the Make WordPress Core Dev Notes post. It’s an interesting read as it gives you a very good overview of the less obvious things going into WordPress 5.3.

Bonus links

  • Came across a site with an interesting overview of ACF resources. Go check it out if ACF is in your toolbox.
  • And, if Beaver Builder is in your toolbox, Mike Oliver created 20 free Beaver Builder row templates that can all be imported as a one-page template.
  • If you were curious to know which multilingual plugin is the fastest, WP Rocket has tested quite a few of them.

The post Three new features in Gutenberg 6.5 and more on WordPress 5.3 appeared first on Yoast.

Gutenberg block editor improvements, and integrating plugins

Today’s WordPress Watch has a strong focus on the Gutenberg block editor. Two different tweets prompted me to focus on what you can do with the editor a bit more. We’ll discuss improvements to the editor, as well as useful plugins that integrate with the block editor, so I hope you enjoy this edition. Don’t forget to check out the bonus links!

Block editor keeps on getting better

This December is the one year anniversary of the merge of the Gutenberg project in WordPress core. If you’re still postponing moving to the block editor, it’s good to know that it keeps getting better. Not just better at certain things it does – like speed and settings – but also when it comes to options and possibilities.

Gutenberg plugin improvements

The improvements to the block editor can be noted in the stand-alone Gutenberg plugin. For those of you who are unaware, the Gutenberg plugin sees continuous improvement, with new releases every other week. You can read up on the kinds of improvements that have been made here.

So, if you want to try the latest and greatest version of the block editor, you can install the Gutenberg plugin in your WordPress site. If you’ve tried it before and it didn’t take, I can guarantee you, you’ll now see a much-improved version of the block editor with the latest version of Gutenberg.

Plugins integrating with the block editor

Over the last couple of months, we’ve seen a lot of powerful improvements committed to the Gutenberg plugin, but, we’ve also seen a lot of plugins integrating with the block editor in extremely interesting ways. I’ve already mentioned several of these plugins in some of my previous WordPress Watch posts. Today, I’d like to highlight two specific plugins that have become part of my favorite block editor enhancements. Namely: Editorskit and Atomic Blocks.

Atomic Blocks

Atomic Blocks is one of those plugins that gradually keeps getting better at what it does. This tweet, for example, demonstrates quite nicely what kind of improvements you can find:

Just have a look at what kind of blocks it makes available in the block editor and what you can do with it.

Editorskit

Editorskit, just like Atomic Blocks, adds an array of interesting blocks to the editor, but it has a slightly different focus. Find out what they are and what they do here. Technically, you could use both plugins side by side. Editorskit also shared an interesting tweet last week demonstrating their progress:

If you’re still putting off switching to the block editor and you haven’t played around with it lately, now’s a good time to try again.

Bonus links

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Content areas in Gutenberg, Twenty Twenty update and Elementor integration

It’s Monday, time for a fresh WordPress Watch. We’ve got more news on Twenty Twenty in WordPress 5.3 and there’s an update on what’s going to be the next big focus of the Gutenberg project. There’s also exciting news about the integration of two different solutions. Let’s get to it!

Twenty Twenty!

Last week it was announced that Andres Norén would lead the charge for introducing Twenty Twenty in WordPress 5.3. Andres explains the direction under which Twenty Twenty will be created with the following words:

The Block Editor will soon celebrate its first birthday in Core and with every update it grows more capable. The promise of the block editor is to give users the freedom to design and structure their sites as they see fit. The responsibility of a theme is to empower users to create their inspired vision by making the end result look as good, and work as well, as the user intended.

Twenty Twenty is designed with flexibility at its core. If you want to use it for an organization or a business, you can combine columns, groups, and media with wide and full alignments to create dynamic layouts to show off your services or products. If you want to use it for a traditional blog, the centered content column makes it perfect for that as well. 

Andres Norén

An example of what a blog post in Twenty Twenty will look like was also shared:

Single blog post in Twenty Ten. More examples here.

Content Areas are the next big thing in Gutenberg

The Gutenberg project and the accompanying plugin has had its biggest focus on the content editor itself. Up until now. Matias Ventura posted a thorough update on what is going to be the next big focus: content areas. In Matias’ own words:

Content areas represent parts of a site where blocks can be added and manipulated. Since content has a very specific meaning in WordPress already, we can also refer to these as block areas more generally to avoid opaqueness. Block areas would include headers, footers, sidebars, and any other meaningful template part outside of the post content that contains blocks.

Matias Ventura

The rest of the post, and it includes a video and code examples, is an interesting read into the future of where the Gutenberg project is going and how much of a page builder Gutenberg will actually turn into. Spoiler alert: a lot.

LifterLMS meets Elementor

It’s always nice to see deep integrations between two different solutions that instantly make both products better. LifterLMS, one of the most versatile online course and membership software solutions out there, can finally be integrated with Elementor properly.

The folks over at Tangible Plugins built a plugin that bridges both solutions perfectly into one deep integrated solution. Definitely worth checking out if you’re using Elementor!

Smooth integrations with Gutenberg

Came across a tweet from Rich Tabor, creator of the wonderful CoBlocks plugin that highlights a new feature available in the latest Gutenberg plugin. I could write out what it does, but I Rich has included a GIF in his tweet that explains it way better than I could ever put it into words:

Bonus links

The post Content areas in Gutenberg, Twenty Twenty update and Elementor integration appeared first on Yoast.

Gutenberg 6.4, WP Local Environment and WP Notify progress

Lots of noteworthy news from WordPress land over the last week. Gutenberg is back on our radar with a new version. I’ll also highlight a new project that’s underway that aims to find a better solution for all those notifications in your WordPress Dashboard. And, there are bonus links. Of course! Let’s dive straight in!

Gutenberg 6.4

The Cover Block saw two new significant functionalities in Gutenberg 6.4. You can now resize the Cover Block and it’s also possible to use a solid color as a background instead of a video or an image.

There are many more small improvements that made it into Gutenberg 6.4 and it’s good to know all of these delightful new features and options will be included in the upcoming WordPress 5.3 release.

WordPress Local Environment progress

At the beginning of August this year, the WordPress Local Environment was introduced. Gary Pendergast gives us an update on the progress of that project on the Make WordPress Core blog. The next step was to make this new development tool available for the Gutenberg development environment.

Go ahead and try out the new Gutenberg Local Environment, and if you come across any issues, please report them over on the Gutenberg repository.

WP Notify progress

One of the most exciting projects currently underway is the WP Notify project. Its aim is to provide much better handling of any and all notifications you can typically find in your WordPress Dashboard.

Jonathan Bossenger has taken the lead on this project and gives us frequent updates over on Make WordPress Core as well. If you haven’t checked out what the idea behind WP Notify is exactly, you should definitely check out his first recap post. You’ll get a good feel of where the project is headed.

New Prevent Search Engines setting

WordPress 5.3 will introduce a new and much better setting to prevent search engines from indexing sites. Our very own Jono Alderson was involved in making this happen. Read more in this introduction post on Make WordPress Core.

Bonus links

  • StudioPress released Genesis 3.1 and it has bumped the minimum requirements across the board. It will need WordPress 5.0, PHP 5.6 as a minimum, higher and up-to-date if obviously even better.
  • Carrie Dils wrote up a wonderful recap of the biggest changes in the Genesis Framework of late, and how to work with them.
  • The WooCommerce Admin plugin I mentioned in a previous roundup, was recently updated and is expected to be merged into the next major WooCommerce version. This would be WooCommerce 3.8.

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WordPress 5.3, Block Lab, and Members Block Permission add-on

A new week, a new WordPress Watch. We saw work for WordPress 5.3 getting properly underway. There was also news about some exciting integrations built to for the Block Editor. And, of course, we have a few bonus links for you as well again today. Let’s see what happened this week in the world of WordPress!

WordPress 5.3 work is underway

Francesca Marano, the release coordinator for WordPress 5.3, published the WordPress 5.3 Schedule and Scope on Make WordPress Core blog last week.

The focus of WordPress 5.3 is on polishing current interactions and making the UIs more user-friendly. And, as I’ve mentioned previously here, there will be a new default theme again; Twenty Twenty. The general idea is that Twenty Twenty will be based on an existing theme that already does cool stuff with the Block Editor and modifying it to fit with the 5.3 release.

If you’d like to see a list of tickets that are slated to be fixed for WordPress 5.3, have a look at this list on Trac.

Block Lab

When it comes to creating blocks for the Gutenberg block editor, I’ve mentioned ACF Blocks a couple of times before. It’s a wonderful solution that allows you to create blocks relatively easy. However, as of last week, I learned there to be another contender for best block creating facilitator. Namely, Block Lab.

A tweet by Steven Cronin alerted me of a talk Luke Carbis, the creator of Block Lab, was giving at WordCamp Brisbane:

To demonstrate the power of his Block Lab solution, Luke asked the audience what custom block he should build. Which he then created during the rest of his presentation. That’s a powerful solution if you ask me. Go check out Block Lab or go straight to the plugin repository and start playing around with it.

Block Permissions add-on for Members plugin

One of the earliest plugins I can remember – and I’ve been using WordPress since 2005 – that extends WordPress’ user management perfectly is Members by Justin Tadlock. Justin mentioned on Twitter that he’s working on an add-on for the plugin that will add block permissions based on the capabilities of the logged-in user.

Meaning, if you’d like to publish content but have certain paragraphs, images, or any block you like, really, only be visible for logged in users, you could do that with that add-on. You can read more about this add-on here.

Bonus links

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WooCommerce 3.7 and Gutenberg 6.3 updates

The past week was all about two big plugins releasing important updates. Both WooCommerce and Gutenberg got significant improvements. Gutenberg saw another accessibility improvement and WooCommerce now has even more integration with, well, Gutenberg 😄. Let’s dive in and see what’s what!

WooCommerce introduces more Block Editor integration

WooCommerce 3.7 was released last week and it brings deeper integration with our new Block Editor. While WooCommerce already provided the option to use a Featured Category, Featured Product, and Best Selling Category blocks, for instance, this version added three more blocks:

  • Product Categories List block; this block allows you to show product categories in a list or dropdown.
  • Featured Category block; this block lets you select one or multiple categories to feature on your site, and it displays the category and a link to its category archive page to customers.
  • Products by Tag(s) block; this block gives you the option to feature a selection of products linked to a specific tag or set of tags.

Of course, the rest of the plugin also saw overall refinements. You can now, for example, find all WooCommerce Blocks more easily when you click on the plus symbol to create a new block by typing “WooCommerce”.  Read up on what these integrations look like in the WooCommerce 3.7 introduction post.

Gutenberg version 6.3

One of the areas where the Block editor still needs improvement is the accessibility of the editor. The block user interface introduces navigation from within the block itself, as well as from one block to another, which can be complex. This makes it very challenging for screen reader users to navigate the content of their posts. Gutenberg 6.3 fixes this with what they call a Navigation Mode. Or in their words:

To address that issue, we’re introducing the Navigation Mode. By default the editor is loaded in this mode, it allows you to move from block to block using a single Tab press. You can also use the arrow keys to navigate between blocks. Once you reach the block you want to edit, you can enter the Edit Mode by hitting the Enter key. The Escape key allows you to move back to the Navigation Mode.

Riad Benguella

This is a great start to make the editor more accessible for many different types of users. You can read more about why accessibility matters here.

As with the WooCommerce update mentioned above, this new Gutenberg release also comes with smaller improvements. Things like support for text alignments in table block columns, and border color support for the separator block. As usual, you can find out more about what’s new in Gutenberg 6.3 in their release post.

Bonus links

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