Wordpress News

WordPress 5.5 Beta 1

Wordpress News - Tue, 07/07/2020 - 21:49

WordPress 5.5 Beta 1 is now available for testing!

This software is still in development, so it’s not recommended to run this version on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.

You can test the WordPress 5.5 beta in two ways:

The current target for final release is August 11, 2020. This is only five weeks away. Your help is needed to ensure this release is tested properly.

Testing for bugs is an important part of polishing the release during the beta stage and a great way to contribute. Here are some of the big changes and features to pay close attention to while testing.

Block editor: features and improvements

WordPress 5.5 will include ten releases of the Gutenberg plugin, bringing with it a long list of exciting new features. Here are just a few:

  • Inline image editing – Crop, rotate, and zoom photos inline right from image blocks.
  • Block patterns – Building elaborate pages can be a breeze with new block patterns. Several are included by default.
  • Device previews – See how your content will look to users on many different screen sizes.
  • End block overwhelm. The new block inserter panel displays streamlined categories and collections. As a bonus, it supports patterns and integrates with the new block directory right out of the box.
  • Discover, install, and insert third-party blocks from your editor using the new block directory.
  • A better, smoother editing experience with: 
    • Refined drag-and-drop
    • Block movers that you can see and grab
    • Parent block selection
    • Contextual focus highlights
    • Multi-select formatting lets you change a bunch of blocks at once 
    • Ability to copy and relocate blocks easily
    • And, better performance
  • An expanded design toolset for themes.
  • Now add backgrounds and gradients to more kinds of blocks, like groups, columns, media & text
  • And support for more types of measurements — not just pixels. Choose ems, rems, percentages, vh, vw, and more! Plus, adjust line heights while typing, turning writing and typesetting into the seamless act.

In all, WordPress 5.5 brings more than 1,500 useful improvements to the block editor experience. 

To see all of the features for each release in detail check out the release posts: 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, 7.8, 7.9, 8.0, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, and 8.4.

Wait! There’s more! XML sitemaps

XML Sitemaps are now included in WordPress and enabled by default. Sitemaps are essential to search engines discovering the content on your website. Your site’s home page, posts, pages, custom post types, and more will be included to improve your site’s visibility.

Auto-updates for plugins and themes

WordPress 5.5 also brings auto-updates for plugins and themes. Easily control which plugins and themes keep themselves up to date on their own. It’s always recommended that you run the latest versions of all plugins and themes. The addition of this feature makes that easier than ever!

Lazy-loading images

WordPress 5.5 will include native support for lazy-loaded images utilizing new browser standards. With lazy-loading, images will not be sent to users until they approach the viewport. This saves bandwidth for everyone (users, hosts, ISPs), makes it easier for those with slower internet speeds to browse the web, saves electricity, and more.

Better accessibility

With every release, WordPress works hard to improve accessibility. Version 5.5 is no different and packs a parcel of accessibility fixes and enhancements. Take a look:

  • List tables now come with extensive, alternate view modes.
  • Link-list widgets can now be converted to HTML5 navigation blocks.
  • Copying links in media screens and modal dialogs can now be done with a simple click of a button.
  • Disabled buttons now actually look disabled.
  • Meta boxes can now be moved with the keyboard.
  • A custom logo on the front page no longer links to the front page.
  • Assistive devices can now see status messages in the Image Editor.
  • The shake animation indicating a login failure now respects the user’s choices in the prefers-reduced-motion media query.
  • Redundant Error: prefixes have been removed from error notices.
Miscellaneous Changes

Keep your eyes on the Make WordPress Core blog for 5.5-related developer notes in the coming weeks, breaking down these and other changes in greater detail.

So far, contributors have fixed more than 350 tickets in WordPress 5.5, including 155 new features and enhancements, and more bug fixes are on the way.

How You Can Help

Do you speak a language other than English? Help translate WordPress into more than 100 languages!

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

Props to @webcommsat, @yvettesonneveld, @estelaris, and @marybaum for compiling/writing this post, @davidbaumwald for editing/proof reading, and @cbringmann, @desrosj, and @andreamiddleton for final review.

WPTavern: Goodbye, ManageWP.org; Hello, WP Content

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 07/07/2020 - 18:31

Yesterday, Iain Poulson and Ashley Rich launched community-curated, news-sharing site WP Content. The launch comes on the heels of ManageWP.org shutting down its own news-sharing service and the WordPress community losing out on a valuable resource.

Both Poulson and Rich are based in the UK and work for Delicious Brains, a development company that focuses on building products for WordPress. Their new venture was met with enthusiasm when Poulson first announced it on Twitter.

Homepage of WPContent.io.

Long before I was a writer for WP Tavern and needed to keep an eye out for the latest news, ManageWP.org was one of my go-to sources for catching up with everything happening in the WordPress community. There is always so much going on that even the Tavern cannot stay on top of it all. ManageWP.org helped me become a voracious reader of ideas, tutorials, and other news within the industry. For that, I am certain I owe the team a debt that cannot be repaid.

After shutting the doors, they left us with a message on the site that read, “After many years of serving the WordPress community, we’ve made the difficult decision to shut down ManageWP.org. Several factors led us here, but it ultimately came down to the team being unable to give ManageWP.org the attention it deserves.”

It is only the news-sharing site at ManageWP.org that is shutting down. The ManageWP.com company and service are still alive and well.

ManageWP.org launched when WordPress held a mere 20% of the web back in 2013. GoDaddy acquired the ManageWP company in 2016 but allowed it to operate independently, including the news-sharing site. In many ways, ManageWP.org felt as much a part of the identity of the WordPress community as our site. For seven years, users have shared articles, upvoted their favorites, and found a legitimate source to stay informed on a wide range of topics around WordPress.

“Thank you to everyone who shared inspiring stories, useful resources, and special announcements with us,” read the final message on the site. “It’s been a treat.”

While many of us were disappointed to see the site shut down, sometimes it is time for something new. We can say goodbye to a great service and make room for someone else to take up the mantle. So, goodbye, ManageWP.org. Thanks for all the good years. And, welcome, WP Content.

“After @managewp closed down their community news site, we felt there should be a place where the #WordPress community can submit articles and up vote them,” tweeted the WP Content team.

The newly-built WP Content site is simple to use. It works similarly to other sharing sites such as Reddit. Users can sign up for an account to share stories themselves or upvote other stories. All visitors are free to follow through and read stories without signing up.

The front page of the site shares the currently trending and most recent stories. The site also breaks stories down into the following categories:

  • Business
  • Community
  • Development
  • Plugins
  • Security
  • Tutorials

I welcome the new venture and am glad to see someone filling in what was quickly becoming a missing piece of our community. With luck, WP Content will serve as a great resource for many years to come. The team has some big shoes to fill, but they are off to a great start.

WPTavern: WordCamp Attendance Badges Could Be a Good Thing, but That’s the Wrong Discussion

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 07/06/2020 - 18:42
WordPress profile badges.

On July 3, Timi Wahalahti opened a discussion on the Community WordPress blog on whether WordCamp volunteers, WordCamp attendees, or Meetup attendees should be awarded a WordPress.org profile badge. The discussion stemmed from a nearly two-year-old Meta ticket that was recently resurfaced.

The general consensus from the comments on the post seems to be that volunteers should receive badges because they are making direct contributions to the community. Most argue that merely attending an event is not badge-worthy. There are also some technical concerns. However, they should not be a real issue considering we are a community of programmers and problem solvers.

I see the rationale behind not giving badges to attendees. In one way, it feels like it diminishes the badges that others have earned, quite often, through hours of valuable time freely given back to the project.

I am taking a wild guess here and will say that most people would agree that direct, measurable contributions should be rewarded. Whether it is contributing a patch to core, reviewing code as part of the Themes Team, or handing out sandwiches at your local WordCamp lunch line, you should be recognized for giving back to the community.

WordCamp attendance badges would become the participation trophies of the WordPress world.

I get the argument. I do. When I first read the community post, my gut reaction was to make that same argument.

In some parts of American culture, at least, participation trophies are often looked upon as something to be ashamed of — if you don’t earn MVP, it’s not a real trophy. I have seen the culture change, seemingly overnight, in my local community. Fathers will not allow their sons to accept a trophy for merely being on the football team (anyone deserves a trophy for making it through training camp in Alabama’s sweltering August heat). I watch as community members — grown adults — tear down others’ kids on Facebook over the same idea.

The discussion on WordCamp attendance badges feels much the same. However, the argument is valid only because that is how the system is set up. It was created to award based on merit. The awards go to those who put in the time and effort, typically over the long haul.

On the surface, that feels like a good system. However, other systems have benefits that perhaps our community has been overlooking, particularly those that gamify participation. Currently, WordPress profile badges are not being utilized to their full potential. The missing piece is that we are not encouraging more participation. We are not helping the first-time user level up and earn more badges/awards.

NaNoWriMo writing and personal achievement badges.

In 2018, I successfully completed National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It is an event where thousands of people go through the insane process of writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. One of the things that pushed me through the month, aside from sheer willpower and encouragement from family and friends, was the encouragement from the NaNoWriMo website itself.

The website has two categories of badges. The first category is its writing badges. These badges are awarded based on actually doing work. They are also awarded in stages. Write for a two-day streak. Earn a badge. Surpass 5,000 words. Earn a badge. Finish the month-long challenge. Earn a badge. Throughout the process of NaNoWriMo, earning these writing badges was a big motivator toward keeping the dream of writing a novel alive. If I wasn’t motivated to write on a particular day, I could look at the next badge I would earn by just putting pen to paper for another half hour or so.

The thing about these writing badges that was so important was not that they gave me any bragging rights. The badges were not for showing other people how awesome I was. They were deeply personal. They were things that helped motivate me to continue on. OK, I did brag about them a little bit.

At the end of the day, these achievement-based badges were not about other people. They made me feel good about myself, and that is what mattered.

NaNoWriMo’s second category was for personal badges. They were not awarded for any achievement. Every user on the site could pick and choose the badges they wanted. They were reflections of the person. It told others a little something about you.

One of my favorite badges was the “pantser” badge. It let people in the NaNoWriMo community know that I was writing without a novel outline or any real plan — literally by the seat of my pants. Others would choose the “planner” or even the combo “plantser” badge. And, the site had several other badges that simply added to the fun.

We do not have to think about badges as something that must be awarded based on hard work. Sure, we should have those “gold level” badges that are earned through direct contributions and being on a particular team. Joining the Documentation Team or submitting a plugin to the official plugin directory is a big deal. Those achievements should be shown on your profile. However, they are not the only achievements that matter.

Remember that badges are sometimes personal. Being awarded for even the smallest of things can help build the confidence that some people need to do that second small thing.

Simple badges for asking or answering your first support forum question could be a great motivator to become more involved. Attending a WordCamp for the first time? Get a badge. That might help motivate you to earn the five-time WordCamp attendee badge next.

I would even love to see badges for individual WordCamps. How cool would it be for someone to earn a badge for attending a WordCamp in every corner of the world? Or just on one continent?

There is so much lost potential with the current badge system. We are having the wrong discussion. Whether someone should earn a badge for attending a WordCamp is too narrow of a focus. Let’s start looking at how we can gamify participation in the WordPress community and use that system to get more people involved.

If we maintain the current system of giving badges only for contributions and teams, yeah, WordCamp volunteers should get those. Attendees have done nothing to earn a badge in that system. That seems like an easy call to make and not worth much discussion. But, since we are here, let’s rethink this whole thing.

WPTavern: WordProof Wins €1 Million Grant to Advance Blockchain Timestamping Concept

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 07/06/2020 - 15:32

WordProof, the company behind the WordProof Timestamp plugin for WordPress, has received a €1 million grant from the European Commission as the reward for winning a competition called “Blockchains for Social Good.” The Dutch startup beat 175 other participants from around Europe.

The competition was designed to reward developers’ efforts in exploring decentralized applications of blockchains for social innovation. WordProof was one of five finalists selected to receive €1 million, after submitting its Timestamp Ecosystem concept, which seeks to increase transparency and accountability by proving authenticity of content on the web. In addition to its WordPress plugin, the timestamping ecosystem aims to provide solutions for other content management platforms, e-commerce, and social media.

WordProof founder Sebastiaan van der Lans said the grant is evidence of the company gaining traction with governments and universities.

“With the recognition and financial support from Europe, we can roll out the Timestamp Ecosystem at a higher pace and make WordProof grow even faster as a company,” Van der Lans said. “This will enable Europe to define the standard for a reliable Internet for consumers and organisations.”

Van der Lans said WordProof is still very much “a WordPress-focused company” and plans to use the funds to extend its timestamping plugin to work with WooCommerce. They also plan to begin working with major publishers and WooCommerce shops to integrate timestamping solutions. The company began working with Yoast two months ago on deeply integrating with Schema.org to provide structured data for SEO.

In the coming weeks, van der Lans said the company plans to announce “a significant investment from the WordPress space.” WordProof is currently focused on advocacy with/at the European Commission to make timestamping an open source standard that would be independent from the control of any single company.

Akismet: Akismet Blocks Five Hundred Billion Spam and Counting

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 07/06/2020 - 15:12

It was happening while you ate dinner. While you were at work. While you were on vacation, going for a walk, or daydreaming. It was certainly happening while you were sleeping. All this time — for nearly 15 years — Akismet has been catching and blocking spam from appearing on websites and forums the world over, and Akismet just reached an important milestone: over 500 billion pieces of spam blocked, and counting.

Saving countless hours for you

Think about that number: five hundred billion spam comments blocked — and not just on WordPress sites! Akismet has been ensnaring spam on other platforms including Drupal, Joomla, and more, saving countless hours of moderation time and frustration for millions of people around the world.

To the future!

If you need spam protection for your website or forum, Akismet is here to help. Free up time spent tweezing spam comments and allow Akismet to catch and block it for you. Here’s to the next 500 billion!

AMP Classic Theme

Drupal Themes - Mon, 07/06/2020 - 12:10

This is the Classic AMP Sub-theme which provides a layout of AMP structure by using AMP standards and AMP theme.

WPTavern: New Block-based Navigation and Widgets Screens Sidelined for WordPress 5.5

Wordpress Planet - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 20:54

The new navigation block and navigation and widget screens that were originally planned for WordPress 5.5 have been pushed back to the next release. These projects are currently available in the Gutenberg plugin experiments screen but are not yet ready to land in core.

Converting the widget-editing areas and updating the widgets UI to use the block editor is a project that has been under development since January 2019. The issue tracking the project and the dedicated project board seemed to have stalled out for the time being, so core editor contributors recommended removing it from the priority features for 5.5.

Similarly, the navigation block and screen have several dozen outstanding issues and discussions that need more time before shipping.

“We’re still missing a few key components: drag and drop in the block and in the sidebar, a couple of PRs that lag and are important for feature parity (#22600#22697) and the ongoing work to support more block types in Navigation,” WordPress contributor Andrei Draganescu said regarding the remaining items necessary to ship the navigation screen.

“I believe we’re in a place where a Gutenberg release after 5.5 will include this new screen, but maybe in the next two weeks some acceleration will occur and prove me wrong.

“I believe that it is wiser that this lands as a part of the plugin first, gets some feedback, and then is shipped into core.”

Despite the navigation and widgets screens getting removed from the 5.5 milestone, this release is set to deliver an impressive array of new features for the block editor, including block patterns, block directory search, a new block inserter panel, expanded design tools, and improvements to block movement capabilities. Beta 1 is expected July 7 and the target date for the official release is August 11.

WPTavern: Google Launches Beta of AMP-Powered Web Stories Plugin for WordPress

Wordpress Planet - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 18:56

Google announced a public beta of its new Web Stories WordPress plugin this week. The plugin’s description aptly reads, “Visual storytelling for WordPress.” It is essentially a custom editor for creating AMP-powered stories within WordPress.

Users can download the beta plugin directly from the Web Stories beta page. Developers who want to contribute or take a look under the hood can do so from its GitHub repository.

Web Stories is a story format born out of Google’s AMP Project. The goal is to provide visually-rich stories through a mobile-focused format. Stories are used to deliver news and other information in chunks that site visitors can quickly tap through and consume.

With far more users browsing the web via a mobile device in 2020 than just a few short years ago, many no longer engage with content in the same way. People are more likely to quickly browse a lot of content but not be willing to dive quite as deep into the details. The Web Stories format focuses on that user experience by creating bite-sized pieces of content that users can move through without much focus — whether that is a good thing for society is up for debate.

Screenshots from a Story template.

The story format also typically makes more use of visual information than it does text. Each page of a story tends to use images or videos, often in the background with text overlaid, to grab the viewer’s attention. However, there are no hard rules on what content a story page can present.

The Web Stories plugin is slated for an official release sometime late this summer. The team is working toward stabilizing the product and focusing on bug and performance fixes, according to the beta launch page.

In late March, the development team removed support for Stories from version 1.5 of the AMP plugin. They were prepping for the release of the new Web Stories plugin. The Stories feature was listed as a beta feature in the AMP plugin before removal.

Stories support was originally added to the official AMP plugin in June 2019 as part of its version 1.2 release. It was a direct integration with the WordPress block editor. However, it has since changed drastically. The development team has created a custom system outside of WordPress’s primary editor that offers a true what-you-see-is-what-you-get experience.

Getting to Know the Web Stories Plugin

Web Stories for WordPress takes an almost completely custom approach to creating content with WordPress. It has its own drag-and-drop editor, a dashboard for editing stories and finding templates, and custom URLs.

The development team decided to register a custom “web story” post type as the foundation of the plugin. One benefit of this system is that stories can live on their individual pages on the site. This also allows site visitors to subscribe to stories via a feed reader or third-party email system. Instead of pigeon-holing everything into a custom block, the team gained full freedom over the experience by creating a custom story-publishing process on top of the post type system.

In many ways, the editor feels much like working with a simplified version of a photo editor such as Photoshop or GIMP. In the center of the screen is the canvas. Users can work on the current story page, create new pages, or use the arrows to flip through each.

Creating a story with the Web Stories editor in WordPress.

Two boxes are aligned to the right of the screen. The top box holds the Design and Document tabs. The Design tab allows users to edit options for the currently-selected layer, and the Document tab holds the configuration options for publishing. The Layers box sits below. It lets users quickly select a layer to edit.

On the left side of the screen, users have quick access to their media library. Because stories primarily use visually-driven content, it makes sense to keep media a simple mouse movement away.

The only major problem that I ran into when playing around with the story editor was figuring out how to delete a layer. I eventually realized that I could drag a layer off the canvas and it would disappear. That was probably the least intuitive part of the experience.

Web Stories comes with its own Dashboard screen in the admin. While the normal “All Stories” screen created by the post type exists, the Dashboard provides a visual list of created stories that users can scroll through.

Web Stories Dashboard screen.

For users who are short on ideas or simply need a jumping-off point, the plugin currently supplies eight starter templates to choose from:

  • Beauty
  • Cooking
  • DIY
  • Entertainment
  • Fashion
  • Fitness
  • Travel
  • Wellbeing

The templates offer ample variety to begin learning the system by customizing the various story pages. The editor should be intuitive enough for most users to hit the ground running, but the templates make for some quick inspiration.

Overall, Web Stories looks like it will land with a splash late this summer. It is a showcase of what is possible when you put together a team of top-notch developers and empower them to build something amazing.

Real Estate We

Drupal Themes - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 07:14

Real estate theme is published to serve the specific purpose of helping companies/individuals in the property sector have an efficient website for an online business. User experience and convenient usage for a property business is of utmost importance in this theme.

Magazine We

Drupal Themes - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 07:04

If you have been acquainted to Magazine, this is the Drupal 8 version of the theme.
This template will turn your demand to create your own portal, news, magazine, and blog in reality. With all of the necessary functions of a Magazine website, and the modern polished appearance of a responsive website in Drupal 8, Magazine D8 will not let your satisfaction down.

Zircon We

Drupal Themes - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 06:58

This is our first project for Drupal 8 themes. Based on the Zircon theme, the most popular Drupal theme of WeebPal in the Drupal community, our team has published the latest version of Zircon in Drupal 8.

Forum Plus

Drupal Themes - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 06:44

Forum Plus is the first forum theme developed by WeebPal. We've seen growing demands for forums, but we've had some trouble finding a Drupal theme to build a forum. So Forum Plus is our intention - a Drupal Forum theme/template. Who may say one can not build a forum by Drupal? We can integrate modules and features for a forum easily well . Wait and see.

Marketplace We

Drupal Themes - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 06:35

With a huge demand for online selling, Marketplace has been our best seller theme in the ecommerce section. As Drupal 8 has been launched with more improvements, and new innovations, we believe a Marketplace in Drupal 8 will meet your need of an online-shopping focused website.

Business We

Drupal Themes - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 06:26

Business D8 is the Drupal 8 version of Business.
If you need a simple professional website for your company to showcase your products, services, business, portolios, and so on, Business will not let you down.

WPTavern: WordPress Contributors Seek Sponsorship for Improving Gutenberg Developer Docs

Wordpress Planet - Thu, 07/02/2020 - 21:07

WordPress developers Milana Cap and Jonathan Bossenger are starting a fundraiser for improving Gutenberg developer documentation. The conversation began yesterday when Cap tweeted about how documentation is often overlooked when companies hire full-time contributors to work on WordPress.

I wish someone pay people to work on Gutenberg Docs. All devs who understand Gutenberg are working on building it and no one has the time to document it.

On the other hand, Gutenberg and React are so foreign to WordPress PHP devs that no one is being able to learn it. https://t.co/iFmpd24TwH

— Milana Cap (@DjevaLoperka) June 30, 2020

“When your community is unable to learn your software then you have no contributors,” Cap said. “Documentation and tutorials are far more important for Open Source Software projects than people realize.”

The first time Cap began asking for Gutenberg documentation was at the Community Summit in Paris, 2017. She has been trying to direct the community’s attention to it since then.

“There are many holes in block editor documentation for developers but the most obvious one is how to start,” Cap said. “The beginning of documentation for developers doesn’t say anything about getting started. “It says only what you can do with a block but not _how_. Junior developers, PHP-only developers and anyone for whom is that documentation meant, doesn’t know how a block’s code looks, where to put it, how to include it, etc, let alone how to build a custom block with custom components and settings.”

Part of the challenge of documenting the block editor is that it is under active development. Enhancements and refinements are constantly pushed out to the Gutenberg plugin and keeping track of what is or is not currently available in core is not always easy. As WordPress is imminently introducing block directory search, it is a good time to formalize block creation documentation.

“Code examples are alarmingly missing all over docs,” Cap said. “The most basic examples exist but how to actually build something usable is missing. So, on this first page we are sent to a tutorial but that tutorial is not optimized for people who have never built a block before. Following it, I have and will fail to build the block.”

Marcus Kazmierczak and a team of documentation contributors are attempting to rebuild the tutorial in the official block editor handbook. A GitHub issue focused on addressing gaps in the current developer documentation is home to an active discussion about the best way to rewrite the docs for people who are new to block development.

“This is a very good start but there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Cap said. “Complete documentation is written by people who know and understand React and Gutenberg but are ‘cursed with knowledge.’ They don’t have much time to spend on understanding just how much others don’t know and in what detail documentation should be written. To be honest, I don’t think they should spend their time on that. We have a Documentation Team and we are willing to jump in but some sort of bridge is necessary.”

The Problem with Gutenberg Developer Documentation: It’s Not Friendly for Newcomers

“The ‘problem’ as I see it with the block editor documentation is that, unlike other WordPress documentation, it is written for experienced JavaScript developers, and not aimed at beginners,” Bossenger said. “I should also point out, this is by no means a shot at the folks who have put the current documentation together, and I appreciate any and all work they have done so far, it’s just in serious need of a review and some refinement.”

Bossenger said in the past WordPress made it very easy for anyone with a limited amount of PHP knowledge to quickly build a plugin or theme using action and filter hooks. It was easy to look at the code and understand what it was supposed to do.

“Modern JavaScript, and specifically React, is a very different kettle of fish,” Bossenger said. “It requires a deeper level of knowledge of how React works, including new terminology and practices. Modern JavaScript can also be very confusing, especially if this is the first time you’re seeing things like arrow functions, or less verbose if statements.

“If the closest you have come to working with JavaScript in WordPress has been using jQuery, switching to React based Gutenberg development still requires some learning on your part.”

After taking two courses before he could build anything for the editor, one on React and one on Gutenberg, Bossenger said the current Block Editor handbook is not written for developers with no experience in React and modern JavaScript. He believes it needs a restructuring to better explain new concepts and fit a pattern that is easier for a newcomer to consume. He highlighted the Plugin Developer handbook as an example where the chapters follow a structure and use terminology that is more like a text book, slowly introducing the reader to new concepts.

“I would argue that it would be quite possible for someone with no plugin or PHP knowledge, armed with this handbook and Google, to build a simple plugin to meet their specific requirements quite quickly,” Bossenger said. “Currently the block editor handbook is not conducive to this.”

Bossenger is not alone in his opinion of the current documentation. Peter Tasker at Delicious Brains recently published a tutorial on creating a custom Gutenberg block. Even after working with React full-time for the past year, he found the official block editor docs to be “kind of all over the place” and difficult to parse.

After Cap commented about the lack of companies sponsoring full-time work on documentation, Bossenger tested the waters with a tweet asking if the two of them might be able to raise funds for improving Gutenberg docs.

Anyone willing to sponsor @DjevaLoperka or myself improving the Gutenberg docs? Please RT for reach. https://t.co/UzYlFIfNZ8

— Jonathan Bossenger (@jon_bossenger) June 30, 2020

“Just the same as Block Editor Team (and any other Make team), the Documentation Team is understaffed,” Cap said. “We can’t afford to dedicate few members to first learn and then write documentation on developing with block editor. This is the main reason for my tweet. You’ll see sponsored contributors all over core but not in documentation and I’ll dare to say that both are equally important.”

Before launching their fundraiser, Cap and Bossenger plan to go through the existing documentation, pinpoint obvious holes, and identify questions that remain unanswered for those who are new to developing for the block editor.

“Once we have a plan we can predict how much time is needed for each part,” she said. “With this plan, we will go in search for sponsors. I think there will be an option to donate even before that but nothing is certain at this point.”

Blocks are the new frontier of WordPress development. Investing in solid documentation and tutorials for beginners could have a major impact on expanding the block ecosystem. This also indirectly benefits users as they end up with a more diverse directory of blocks to choose from when customizing their WordPress sites.

Bossenger and Cap are currently working on a plan for the docs ahead of announcing their fundraiser. In the meantime, anyone who wants to contribute to improving the block creation documentation can jump in on the GitHub discussion.

WPTavern: Decision Time: What Block Patterns Should Ship With WordPress 5.5?

Wordpress Planet - Thu, 07/02/2020 - 18:33
Inserting the Numbered Features block pattern into the editor.

The first beta release of WordPress 5.5 is mere days away. This test release is expected to ship on July 7, and it carries with it a slew of new features that have primarily been developed between Gutenberg 7.6 and 8.5. One of the more pressing decisions the development team has to make is which block patterns to include in the final release.

For the uninitiated, block patterns are a predefined configuration of multiple blocks. They provide end-users a way to quickly insert more complex layout patterns into the editor. Instead of piecing together multiple blocks, nesting them within the proper group container, and getting everything perfect, the user merely searches the pattern library and selects the pattern they prefer. It is then inserted into the editor where the user can edit the content, such as altering the default text or changing the media.

It is an ingenious solution to an otherwise complicated problem. It also has the potential to move the block editor somewhat in the realm of actual page building.

For end-users, it could mean no longer spending hours learning how to recreate that pretty demo page that sold them on installing a specific theme. No more slogging through tutorials that feel like they were written for people with comp-sci degrees. Just click some buttons and watch the magic happen.

I have said that block patterns will change everything. I was patiently enthusiastic about the API when it first landed in Gutenberg 6.9. I was downright giddy to play around with the first patterns that shipped with Gutenberg 7.7.

Outside of a few that have made their way into Gutenberg in recent versions, I have not been particularly ecstatic about the default patterns the development team has included. In my mind, most were always test cases, patterns meant to iron the bugs out of the system. Then, some of the world-class designers we have in the WordPress ecosystem would design a handful of solid default patterns. I fully expect theme authors to push the limits of the system, but I was hoping that WordPress would use this opportunity to showcase what the block system can really do.

The closest that Gutenberg has come to shipping useful, modern block patterns have been its Testimonials, Numbered Features, and Features and Services patterns. These three were initially set on the chopping block (Testimonials have since been re-added), ready for the ax before WordPress 5.5 goes out to millions of users who could use such features instead of the tired and old solution of theme options. If these go, block patterns will likely land with a thud instead of the flash and bang the feature could make. We need to get users excited. We need to inspire the multitude of theme authors to build something greater — hey, look what you can do with this feature. Our development community needs to stand upon the shoulders of giants rather than feel like they are building from scratch.

We should not be afraid to be bold with the “1.0” of block patterns.

For the most part, with the latest patch on a ticket that is currently in flux, the team has nixed all but the least mundane patterns.

Block patterns are meant to represent common design layouts and configurations that we see around the web today. However, the current crop of patterns does not do justice to the idea. From the developer end of things, it is a powerful API. From the user side of things, it will feel like another half-baked plan to push in an unfinished feature before the deadline.

Maybe I am impatient. Maybe I need to get on board the ship-early-and-iterate-often train. But, the API has been in Gutenberg since November 2019. It is hard not to feel a little disappointed at the potential removal of the most opinionated patterns. They were the ones that I was eagerly awaiting to use. We can already easily put two images, columns of text, or buttons next to each other. The proposed patterns to ship with 5.5 do not feel like they will help users build the type of complex layouts the feature was meant to solve.

My rallying call, my plea to include some patterns with a little pizzazz in WordPress 5.5, might be cutting it close to the 11th hour. However, anyone eagerly awaiting this feature may have been as blindsided as I was yesterday when the pull request came down the pipeline to remove all but three basic patterns.

I want the narrator in the upcoming WordPress 5.5 release video to have a bit of pep in his voice instead of trying to give the hard sell on sticking two images next to each other.

I am not asking for complex pricing tables, a restaurant menu, or — God, forbid — a slider pattern. Those things are a bit more niche and not suitable for core. There is some middle ground we can meet, offering something of a bit more substance. And, if we cannot meet that middle ground, is the feature ready?

I’m the last person to suggest pulling the feature from the release, so I won’t venture down that dark path. I want block patterns. I want them now.

I do question whether we should ship such basic patterns with most users having to wait months for anything more useful. That’s unless their theme authors are generous enough to push out some new patterns between the major release cycles.

I am just a WordPress user asking to be amazed. Whet our appetites for a future where block patterns are everything.

What patterns would you like to see ship with WordPress 5.5?

Rain Theme

Drupal Themes - Thu, 07/02/2020 - 12:09

Theme used with the Rain distribution.

WordPress.org blog: The Month in WordPress: June 2020

Wordpress Planet - Thu, 07/02/2020 - 05:52

June was an exciting month for WordPress! Major changes are coming to the Gutenberg plugin, and WordCamp Europe brought the WordPress community closer together. Read on to learn more and to get all the latest updates. 

WordPress 5.4.2 released

We said hello to WordPress 5.4.2 on June 10. This security and maintenance release features 17 fixes and 4 enhancements, so we recommend that you update your sites immediately. To download WordPress 5.4.2, visit your Dashboard, click on Updates, then Update Now, or download the latest version directly from WordPress.org. For more information, visit this post, review the full list of changes on Trac, or check out the HelpHub documentation page for version 5.4.2. WordPress 5.4.2 is a short-cycle maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.5, planned for August 2020

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

Gutenberg 8.3 and 8.4

The core team launched Gutenberg 8.3 and 8.4 this month, paving the way for some exciting block editor features. Version 8.3 introduced enhancements like a reorganized, more intuitive set of block categories, a parent block selector, an experimental spacing control, and user-controlled link color options. Version 8.4 comes with new image-editing tools and the ability to edit options for multiple blocks.  The block directory search feature that was previously available as an experimental feature, is now enabled for all Gutenberg installations. For full details on the latest versions on these Gutenberg releases, visit these posts about 8.3 and 8.4.

Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

WordPress Bumps Minimum Recommended PHP Version to 7.2

In a major update, WordPress has bumped the minimum PHP recommendation to 7.2. The ServeHappy API has been updated to set the minimum acceptable PHP version to 7.2, while the WordPress downloads page recommends 7.3 or newer. Previously, the ServeHappy dashboard widget was showing the upgrade notice to users of PHP 5.6 or lower. This decision comes after discussions with the core Site Health team and the Hosting team, both of which recommended that the upgrade notice be shown to users of PHP <=7.1.

WordCamp Europe 2020 Moved Online

Following the success of a remote WordCamp Spain, WordCamp Europe was held fully online from June 4 to 6. The event drew a record 8,600 signups from people based in 138 countries, along with 2,500 signups for contributor day. WCEU Online also showcased 33 speakers and 40 sponsors, in addition to a Q&A with Matt Mullenweg. You can find the videos of the event in WordPress.tv by following this link, or you can catch the live stream recording of the entire event from the WP Europe YouTube Channel.

Want to get involved with the Community team? Follow the Community blog here, or join them in the #community-events channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. To organize a Meetup or WordCamp, visit the handbook page

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 2020

Wordpress News - Thu, 07/02/2020 - 05:52

June was an exciting month for WordPress! Major changes are coming to the Gutenberg plugin, and WordCamp Europe brought the WordPress community closer together. Read on to learn more and to get all the latest updates. 

WordPress 5.4.2 released

We said hello to WordPress 5.4.2 on June 10. This security and maintenance release features 17 fixes and 4 enhancements, so we recommend that you update your sites immediately. To download WordPress 5.4.2, visit your Dashboard, click on Updates, then Update Now, or download the latest version directly from WordPress.org. For more information, visit this post, review the full list of changes on Trac, or check out the HelpHub documentation page for version 5.4.2. WordPress 5.4.2 is a short-cycle maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.5, planned for August 2020

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

Gutenberg 8.3 and 8.4

The core team launched Gutenberg 8.3 and 8.4 this month, paving the way for some exciting block editor features. Version 8.3 introduced enhancements like a reorganized, more intuitive set of block categories, a parent block selector, an experimental spacing control, and user-controlled link color options. Version 8.4 comes with new image-editing tools and the ability to edit options for multiple blocks.  The block directory search feature that was previously available as an experimental feature, is now enabled for all Gutenberg installations. For full details on the latest versions on these Gutenberg releases, visit these posts about 8.3 and 8.4.

Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

WordPress Bumps Minimum Recommended PHP Version to 7.2

In a major update, WordPress has bumped the minimum PHP recommendation to 7.2. The ServeHappy API has been updated to set the minimum acceptable PHP version to 7.2, while the WordPress downloads page recommends 7.3 or newer. Previously, the ServeHappy dashboard widget was showing the upgrade notice to users of PHP 5.6 or lower. This decision comes after discussions with the core Site Health team and the Hosting team, both of which recommended that the upgrade notice be shown to users of PHP <=7.1.

WordCamp Europe 2020 Moved Online

Following the success of a remote WordCamp Spain, WordCamp Europe was held fully online from June 4 to 6. The event drew a record 8,600 signups from people based in 138 countries, along with 2,500 signups for contributor day. WCEU Online also showcased 33 speakers and 40 sponsors, in addition to a Q&A with Matt Mullenweg. You can find the videos of the event in WordPress.tv by following this link, or you can catch the live stream recording of the entire event from the WP Europe YouTube Channel.

Want to get involved with the Community team? Follow the Community blog here, or join them in the #community-events channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. To organize a Meetup or WordCamp, visit the handbook page

Further Reading:

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

WPTavern: Build Static or Dynamic Blocks With the WP Block Builder Script

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 07/01/2020 - 20:31

Today, Jeffrey Carandang released WP Block Builder, an npm script for developers to begin building WordPress blocks. It is just one of many such scripts in a sea of block scaffolding tools, but Carandang may just have the experience and clout to rise above the rest. Thus far, developers have downloaded his custom setup over 500 times.

Developers wanting to take a peek under the hood can also check out the project on GitHub.

It is almost impossible to dive into building blocks for WordPress without coming across some of Carandang’s work in the WordPress block space. He launched the ShareABlock community late last year. He has paved the way for other developers by experimenting with ideas in EditorsKit. He co-founded CoBlocks, which GoDaddy acquired in 2019. And, that’s just the tip of the Icebergyeah, he is involved in that too.

Now, he has decided to launch a block-building script in a field that is becoming increasingly crowded. Core WordPress has its own script. WebDevStudios recently launched a custom fork of that, and several others are floating around the WordPress ecosystem, each with slightly different takes on jump-starting the block-building process. However, when one of the experts in the world of WordPress blocks releases his own spin on getting developers set up, it is at least worth looking into.

“I initially created this tool for myself because I kept repeating similar processes when creating Gutenberg blocks plugins,” said Carandang. “Then upon building it out, I thought it would be helpful to others if I release this to the public since, with minimal configuration, it would be easier to just focus on building blocks. Based on my experience, setting up the webpack config takes time and is sometimes frustrating.”

Carandang has a plethora of experience in building blocks, so I am certain he has added all the small extras that help speed the development process along.

Unlike many similar scripts, WP Block Builder provides two example blocks by default. One is for handling the typical static content that is common with such scripts. However, the second is a dynamic, server-side block. This gives developers a taste of building two different block types with two sets of requirements to run. Other scripts also tend to be hyper-focused on launching a single-block plugin, which would be typical for releasing to the WordPress block directory. WP Block Builder provides a path to launching a plugin with multiple blocks if desired.

“My goal is to make it easy for first-time block developers to create a block, but I’ve also created a sample dynamic block for advanced users,” said Carandang. “This will provide a good playground for experimenting and familiarizing with each section of the block.”

Carandang wants developers to be able to dive directly into building blocks. He wants to bring some of the fun back to experimenting without the technology getting in the way, which often means hours wasted just getting the build tools in place.

“I’m gearing towards that feeling I had when I first started creating a WordPress theme,” he said. “Those times when I was changing codes to know how they work and confident enough that I could just install it freshly again if I ended messing it up.”

Carandang said he has not received any reported issues yet, so launch day is going off without a hitch. He is looking forward to seeing what blocks developers build in the future based on his setup.

“It’s aimed to be general enough to help developers to get started on creating block plugins immediately,” he said. “I’m still waiting for some feedback to help improve the process, but so far it seems to be doing good.”

Setting Up a Block Plugin Dynamic block code from WP Block Builder.

WP Block Builder is a fork of the core WordPress Create Block script. It includes a few extra npm packages, but it is also heavy on installing several PHP packages via Composer. These are primarily for making sure developers are following coding standards.

Setup is simple. Developers merely need to run the npx wp-block-builder command to kick start the process. Upon running the command, WP Block Builder takes developers through a series of questions, which sets up the following fields:

  • Block slug
  • Namespace
  • Block title
  • Description
  • Author name
  • Plugin license
  • Version number

After installation, the plugin will have two blocks ready for experimentation. The first block is a basic container with text and background color settings. It also supports wide and full alignment. It works similarly to the core WordPress Group block. I prefer this starting point over the standard paragraph block.

The second block is a dynamic posts list. It offers enough complexity to see how dynamic blocks work while using a concept familiar enough for most WordPress developers to grasp: querying and looping through posts. The block has a single custom option for changing the number of posts.

The goal for making these two blocks available is to get plugin developers jumping head first into the code. Break things. Experiment. Study the code.

Long term, Carandang is hopeful the process will become even better for developers. “I’m in touch with Grzegorz Ziółkowski and Fabian Kägy from the Gutenberg team,” he said,” and they are creating a better way to support external npm packages directly with @wordpress/create-block. This would be helpful in both Block Builder and Gutenberg, and would help in improving the Gutenberg plugin development ecosystem.”

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