Gutenberg 3.1 added a tips interface that supports and guides new users who are learning to navigate the editor’s blocks and settings. The tips appear when a new user opens Gutenberg, highlighting useful items on the page.
Although the tips may seem cluttered and intrusive to users who already know what they are doing, they are a necessary evil for introducing the UI to new users. Gutenberg is not yet intuitive enough to be able to stand on its own without explanation inside the interface.
10up recently conducted Gutenberg usability tests that unearthed some startling realities about how new users interact with the new editor. The tests were done on previous versions of the plugin (2.9.2) with users who frequently create content using the classic WordPress editor. 10up asked testers, who have had no training on Gutenberg, to write a news-style blog post.
One of the most surprising results was that participants struggled with the simple task of adding an image to a post.
“Although the interface is clean, a lack of focused attention or hierarchy on the page became apparent,” 10up Experience Designer Sarah James said. “Participants struggled to complete tasks like adding an image that did not have a clearly exposed and labeled element like the title and paragraph fields. Heatmap tracking of the backend captured 734 unique clicks in the new post interface and only 40 of these clicks were on actual clickable elements. This suggests a struggle to find basic interactive elements, such as image blocks.”
Participants also had a difficult time finding and inserting additional block types – several testers overlooked the “+” symbol that triggers interface for adding a new block.
Gutenberg 3.0 and 3.1 have already improved on these pain points with changes that highlight common tasks. The 3.0 release redesigned the inserter, ditching tabs for collapsible panels. This makes it more friendly for hunting among blocks. Version 3.1 includes a new design of the sibling inserter (the “+” symbol that appears to allow user to insert blocks between other blocks).
In addition to improving usability issues with the inserter, Gutenberg 3.1 fixes some of the mechanics of previewing and saving posts. Users can now preview changes to a published post without updating the post. The editor was also updated to trigger autosave as a standard save for a draft by the user currently authoring the post.
HTML blocks that have been converted into shared blocks now show in preview mode, which makes it easier for users to see what they do and insert them visually. The code will only show if the user wants to edit the block.
For a full list of the changes in 3.1, check out the release post on make.wordpress.org.
WordCamps have a unique power to impact lives and careers. Without people and community, WordPress is simply software. But when you add in a large group of passionate people, people who are and are interested, everything changes. There’s excitement, encouragement, and education. Entrepreneurship can be a long and lonely road. Having a solid support community can make all the difference, and WordCamps can be a huge shot in the arm.
This week’s HeroPress replay is by Juan Hernando from Pontevedra, Spain. His essay details his journey from an unknown member of his local WordPress community to being a leader in that same community.
WPTavern: TaxJar to Host Free Webinar June 27: Tax Experts Answer Questions on State Tax Compliance for Online Stores
TaxJar, a company that offers automated sales tax software, is hosting a free webinar June 27 at 11:30 AM CDT to answer questions regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on South Dakota v. Wayfair. The court ruled in favor of South Dakota on June 21st, 2018, allowing any state to require online sellers to collect taxes for sales made from customers in that state.
The provisions identified in the South Dakota vs. Wayfair ruling identifies retailers making $100K+ or 200+ transactions in the state as having an “economic presence” that would require out-of-state retailers to render sales tax. However, it’s not yet clear how other states will measure sales tax liability.
TaxJar has gathered a panel of tax experts to discuss the requirements of the new sales tax compliance burden for online businesses. Nearly 2,000 people are currently signed up to tune in and attendees can also submit questions in advance. A few popular questions submitted so far include:
“How will we know which states we are required to pay taxes in, and do we have to create accounts in every state and pay for returns in all 50?”
“I read that South Dakota, Colorado and Louisiana have a threshold of 100K in sales in their state to start collecting taxes. Is this really the case, and where can we find the threshold for other states?”
“Does each state that wants to participate have to pass a law like South Dakota or is this now automatic for all states with a sales tax?”
WooCommerce has created a guide to help users set up and collect taxes as required by the tax jurisdiction where their stores are located. Online store owners in the US and Canada can set enable automated tax calculations using either the WooCommerce Tax or TaxJar add-ons (both free), depending on whether the merchant operates within a single tax nexus or multiple nexus locations.
Automatic sales tax calculations are also available for merchants using Easy Digital Downloads. Pippin Williamson built a free integration for EDD and TaxJar that passes all tax rate determinations to TaxJar to calculate automatically, eliminating the need for manual tax rate entry.
The Supreme Court’s ruling is very new and many state-specific details are yet to be worked out, but state legislatures are likely to be highly motivated and eager to rake in this new source of revenue. The TaxJar blog will be a good source for updates as more compliance information becomes available.
At WordCamp Europe I had the opportunity to sit down with Matías Ventura, the technical lead for Gutenberg. Ventura, who has been responsible for building the vision for Gutenberg (in addition to building the actual product), shared a few things the team might have done differently in the earlier days to improve its reception in the community.
“I think we should have put a little bit more effort into clarifying what we meant by the ‘editor,'” Ventura said. “When Matt announced that we’re going to be focusing on the editor, the WordPress community generally took it that we were going to focus on TinyMCE. But the idea from the start was to focus on the editing experience as a whole, how a user perceives that, which is the whole page. I think it took some time to rectify that that was always what was meant – to look at the whole editing interface at once.
“With some of these projects people are going to be in different places at different times and things will coalesce and make sense at different paces. I think we’ve gotten to a point now where we have built enough of the Gutenberg vision that we can see where it can lead us.”
Several representatives from the Gutenberg team were available at WordCamp Europe for informal chats with the community. They also conducted workshops and gave presentations to prepare designers and developers for what’s coming in the next few months. Momentum for the new editor is building and Ventura shared what he hopes the world will see when version 1 is included in core.
“The thing that has been the most fulfilling, at least to me, has been seeing the regular users when they can use Gutenberg and build things that would have been very hard for them to do before,” Ventura said. “When they share those impressions – that they can build something that they are proud of and express themselves – to me that is the most fulfilling because that’s really one of the major points behind this. At the same time, I’m really looking forward to seeing what the design and developer community can build with it and where their imaginations can take us from there. Core is going to supply the infrastructure and the main building blocks but it’s everything that can be built around it that’s going to be exciting, as always with WordPress.”
Ventura also described some of the interesting possibilities of templates, nested blocks, and child blocks, and how they can be combined to create more sophisticated solutions. He recommends the WordPress.org/Gutenberg page for resources on getting started with the new editor. Check out the video below for the full interview.
If you happened to miss out on WordCamp EU this year, check out the following short film produced by Production Pool. Production Pool is a video production company based in Belgrade, Serbia that was hired to record all of the videos and wrap up the live stream for WordCamp Europe.
The video is just shy of three minutes in length, highlights the size and scope of the event, and is well produced. You can almost feel what it was like to be an attendee.
How many people can you name in the video?
I’m a huge fan of Mailchimp, but dang does the service get abused by folks aggressively opting you into mailing lists. I have a very early, very generic Gmail address that people put as a filler address into every possible service and it gets tens of thousands of list and spam mails. A good trick to find and unsubscribe from all the Mailchimp lists you’re on is to search for mcsv.net and then select all, report as spam, and unsubscribe. Gmail doesn’t deal well when the unsubscribe list is taller than your screen, so you may need to hit command + - a few times to make it all fit. Also according to this post, “you can also get in touch with our compliance team directly at email@example.com with the email address you would like to remove from all lists and they will be happy to further assist you there as well.” I will try that as well.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, and an interview about on the WP.com blog, Automattic has acquired the Atavist platform, magazine, and team. Looking forward to working alongside the team: we’re keeping the magazine going and it’ll complement Longreads, and integrating the best of the platform’s CMS and publisher features into WordPress.com and Jetpack and after that’s done providing an upgrade path so all of its publishers can move to being WordPress-powered.
WPTavern: Matt Mullenweg Unveils Gutenberg Roadmap at WCEU, WordPress Agencies and Product Developers Sprint to Prepare
At his WCEU keynote address in Belgrade, Matt Mullenweg laid out a detailed roadmap for Gutenberg to land in WordPress 5.0 within the next few months, garnering mixed reactions from attendees. Gutenberg’s timeline is one of the most pressing questions for those who work in the WordPress ecosystem.
The Gutenberg team has sustained a rapid pace of development over the past year with 30 releases since development began. There are currently 14,000 sites actively using the plugin and Mullenweg plans to roll it out to WordPress.com users in the near future. He announced that the WordPress 5.0 release could be ready as soon as August. In the meantime, the Gutenberg team will continue to refine its current features according to the roadmap Mullenweg outlined in his keynote:
- Freeze new features into Gutenberg
- Hosts, agencies and teachers invited to opt-in sites they have influence over
- Opt-in for wp-admin users on WP.com
- Mobile App support in the Aztec editor across iOs and Android
- 4.9.x release with a strong invitation to install either Gutenberg or Classic Editor plugin
- Opt-out for wp-admin users on WP.com
- Heavy triage and bug gardening, getting blockers to zero
- Explore expanding Gutenberg beyond the post into site customization
August 2018 and beyond
- All critical issues resolved
- Integration with Calypso, offering opt-in users
- 100k+ sites having makde 250k+ post using Gutenberg
- Core merge, beginning the 5.0 release cycle
- 5.0 beta releases and translations completed
- Mobile version of Gutenberg by the end of the year
Mullenweg said he hopes to increase Gutenberg usage to 100,000 sites with 250,000 posts made over the next few months. WordPress.com will be instrumental in that goal with a call to action for opt-in that will appear on several hundred thousand sites. In July, WordPress.com will switch the Gutenberg editor to opt-out. Mullenweg said he hopes to gather data from how users respond, especially those who have third-party plugins active on their sites.
Switching between editing posts in the mobile apps currently breaks but Mullenweg anticipates this will be resolved by August, with full mobile versions of Gutenberg available by the end of the year.
Mullenweg opened his keynote by drawing attendees’ attention to a new “Public Code” link in the footer of WordPress.org. This campaign, organized by Free Software Foundation Europe, aims to require any publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made available under a Free and Open Source Software license.
Mullenweg also announced St. Louis, MO, as the next location for WordCamp US in 2019-2020. The local WordPress community in the city spans two states with members from both Missouri and Illinois who have hosted seven WordCamps since 2011.Developers and Agencies Double Down on Gutenberg Preparation, “Playing for Keeps”
The process of getting products and client websites ready for Gutenberg is a leap for nearly every company and freelancer invested in the WordPress ecosystem. Mullenweg said he cannot guarantee a specific date for release but thinks that “5.0 is going be ready within a relatively short time frame.”
Although many WCEU attendees expressed skepticism about the accelerated timeline for Gutenberg’s inclusion in core, most recognize the importance of working towards making their clients and products compatible with the new editor.
Gutenberg technical lead Matias Ventura said it’s too early to tell whether the WordPress community will be ready by the time Gutenberg is included in core. “I think people have already been trying to get ready and we’re already seeing many major sites being launched using Gutenberg,” Ventura said. “From what we’ve seen with plugin authors building compatibility for Gutenberg, it seems there’s already enough momentum going on that it could be achievable.”
Brad Williams, CEO of WebDevStudios, said his company’s team of engineers has been actively preparing for Gutenberg since late last year and is “very excited about what it means for the future of WordPress publishing.” Williams assigned two Gutenberg Leads internally to head up everything related to the new editor and conducted internal training with staff. WebDevStudios also built and released its own Gutenberg add-on framework called WDS Blocks, a framework that includes new custom blocks that many WDS clients use.
“Having a potential release date, even if it’s only a target month, is incredibly helpful,” Williams said. “This gives us a goal to work towards with each of our clients to verify we are ready for the release. I expect the majority of our clients will not enable Gutenberg on release, but we still need to make sure we have an upgrade plan ready for WordPress 5.0. We are working closely with each of our clients so they understand what is coming, the benefits Gutenberg can provide them, and what a potential roll-out plan will look like. We are also making sure any new leads coming in the door are aware of Gutenberg and the impact it will have on their new WordPress project.”
“With 737 open issues, I think the August timeline may still be a little short,” Jones said. “That’s only for the ‘critical issues’ to be resolved but introducing such a massive change to the basics of managing content like this needs more than just the critical issues resolved; it needs all of the workflow to be very smooth as well.”
Jones said he doesn’t think the typical rhetoric of getting a ‘1.0’ release out the door applies in the case of Gutenberg. “There’s too much riding on it for it not to make a great first impression for the user base who haven’t been following its progress,” Jones said. “A plugin can have a much quicker release turnaround time for non-critical improvements and fixes than what WP core would have.”
Jones said he plans to wait until the merge proposal before tackling plugin compatibility and will wait until 5.0 is out to start improving the experience for his clients. He said this may require creating custom blocks or installing plugins that add custom blocks clients might need. “By then we’d also know how ACF, Pods. and other plugins we use, and the Genesis theme, are supporting Gutenberg editor (or not),” Jones said.
Jake Goldman, President and founder of 10up, said his company already has an internal mandate that all new public plugins and major plugin updates must have at least “beta” support for Gutenberg. 10up’s Distributor product is already Gutenberg-ready and the company has several Gutenberg-ready plugins and updates expected to ship in the next 1-2 months.
“Clients are trickier,” Goldman said. “We have two big client projects started in the last couple of months that are using Gutenberg, and some pretty complicated custom blocks and extensions. We have a couple of other customers who are curious or in the exploratory phase. Two big client projects have us a bit gun shy about adopting [Gutenberg] as the ‘standard’ on newer projects until it matures a bit more and begins to focus a bit more on the ‘enterprise use case / user stories’ – there are some real challenges with those user stories.”
Goldman also said he was encouraged to hear that Calypso will adopt Gutenberg in the next couple of months, because he hopes it will address some of the confusion and fragmentation issues.
He doesn’t anticipate Gutenberg actually landing in August, however. “I don’t see August, frankly, because I don’t think the core team has a clear vision for ‘how’ an upgrade with Gutenberg will work,” Goldman said. “That said, I suspect Matt is knowingly putting timeline pressure on the team – a bit of ‘if I say August, we can probably hit November’ type mentality.”
Mason James, founder of Valet, said he is confident his clients and products will be ready after testing Gutenberg on hundreds of sites. His team is watching a few products that have compatibility issues but he is hopeful these will be resolved soon.
“The timeline of August seems a bit optimistic,” James said. “I’d be surprised if that is met, but our clients will be in good shape if that happens. We’ve also been sending information to our clients via email, a whitepaper, to try to mitigate any surprises ahead of time.
“We decided last year that Gutenberg was a tremendous opportunity for us to reinforce our value proposition to our clients,” James said. “It’s an ongoing important initiative for us this year; We’re playing for keeps.”
Carrie Dils, a WordPress developer, consultant, and educator, has also jumped head first into getting her products compatible with Gutenberg ahead of the new timeline.
“I’m feverishly working to get an updated version of the Utility Pro theme (my primary product) out the door,” Dils said. “The Gutenberg updates are just one part of a larger overhaul (including a minimum requirement of PHP7 and WP 5.0+). I’ve also made the decision not to incorporate Classic Editor theme styles. All looking forward, no looking back.”
I really love this thread and the replies sharing stories about Val Vesa’s experience talking about WordPress in an Uber / Lyft ride:
My @Uber driver last night, going home from airport asked me where was I coming from.
Told here about #WCEU
– what is that, she asked.
– the European Conference for #WordPress, I said.
Her eyes sparkling, she grabbed the wheel firm, looked in the rear view mirror at me and said,
In this episode, John James Jacoby and I are joined by Milan Ivanović who helped organize WordCamp EU in Belgrade, Serbia this past weekend. Ivanović describes what it was like to organize such a large event, challenges the team overcame, and a few details related to WordCamp EU 2019 that will be held in Berlin, Germany. John and I finished the show discussing Matt Mullenweg’s keynote presentation and Gutenberg’s proposed timeline.Stories Discussed:
Gutenberg Team Panel Talks Release Timeline, Theme Building, and Customization at WCEU
WordCamp Europe 2018 Contributor Day Posts Record Turnout Amid Wi-Fi Outage
Mullenweg announced Gutenberg Roadmap
WP Rig – A WordPress Starter Theme and Build Process in One
Next Episode: Wednesday, June 27th 3:00 P.M. Eastern
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Listen To Episode #321:
Almost exactly two years ago I was looking at Google Analytics Realtime and someone from St. Lucia popped up. St. Lucia isn’t a very big place. In the map on the right you can see a little pink dot in the center. That’s the size of St. Lucia compared to Kansas. The entire country has fewer people than my city. I wondered who that was, so I tweeted out to the world, asking if anyone knew who that might be. A friend from Themeisle said “Our man Uriahs lives there, maybe it’s him!”
I looked up Uriahs, and sure enough, it was him! I was fascinated to learn what a WordPress community would look like on an island that size. As it turns out, he’s fairly alone in WordPress geographically. When I met him, he had never been off his tiny island in the Caribbean.
Uriahs’ essay is about learning and finding a career in a global workspace, having a GOOD job, all while living someplace where that job didn’t even exist.
Theory is a crisp, modern landing page template ideal for businesses and corporations
- The Atlantic on today’s masculinity being stifling and imagining a better boyhood.
- When Deportation is a Death Sentence is one of the most devastating articles I’ve read in a long time.
- A review of the Cy Twombly show, he has an amazing museum in Houston and I enjoy learning more about him.
- The Great Anthropologists: Margaret Mead, so fascinating.
- Dating columnist reveals how ‘Sex and the City’ ruined her life, has a happy ending.
- Barbearians at the Gate “A journey through a quixotic New Hampshire town teeming with libertarians, fake news, guns, and—possibly—furry invaders.” Amazing.
- Lena Dunham Explores Alone Time After a Break-Up
- My Adventures with the Trip Doctors, aka “Michael Pollan takes psychedelics.” See also: Interview with Longreads.
- Kanye West and Why the Myth of “Genius” Must Die.
- Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds, also well-covered in a great book I just finished, Black Box Thinking.
- Admiral Shovel and the Toilet Roll — wow.
- The Work Required to Have an Opinion, wisdom from Charlie Munger.
Version 4.0.8 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress is now available.
4.0.8 contains the following changes:
- Improved the grammar and consistency of the in-admin privacy related notes (notice and config).
- Revised in-admin explanation of the comment form privacy notice to make its usage clearer.
- Added rel=”nofollow noopener” to the comment form privacy notice to improve SEO and security.
To upgrade, visit the Updates page of your WordPress dashboard and follow the instructions. If you need to download the plugin zip file directly, links to all versions are available in the WordPress plugins directory.
Continuing my series about ScoutDocs and the process of building it, this week I’m talking about Build Tools.
What is ScoutDocs? ScoutDocs is a WordPress plugin that adds simple file-sharing to your WordPress site.
For ScoutDocs, I decided to go with Grunt for task running, because I was already comfortable with it, and I needed it for grunt-wp-deploy. Use a task runner you are already comfortable with. Even if it is just NPM scripts. You’re learning a lot of new things already. It’s okay to keep your task runner setup.
Next, I had to choose a JS bundler which would let me write and use modular code that gets pulled together into a browser-executable bundle. After deliberating between Webpack and Browserify, I chose Browserify. Webpack is really complicated. It is also very powerful. I recommend you avoid it until you need it. I haven’t needed it yet, and found Browserify to be easier to configure and use, even though it’s a bit on the slow side.
As I was building ScoutDocs and tweaking my dev tools, tweaking my Grunt file, and writing code to search/replace strings etc, I began to feel like the time I was spending too much time on tooling. Was I becoming one of those people who spend all their time listening to productivity podcasts instead of… being productive? I can see how someone could get sucked into that trap, but putting a reasonable amount of time into configuring your development tools can pay dividends for you beyond simply the time saved. It can also prevent mistakes, keep you in coding mode more often, and increasing your confidence in your code builds. Spend the time up front to make your tools work for you.
Other posts in this series:
Morten Rand-Hendricksen, Senior Staff Instructor at LinkedIn Learning, has released WP Rig. WP Rig is a WordPress starter theme and build process combined into one. The starter theme provides a minimal set of templates with the ability to drag-and-drop files from the WordPress template hierarchy.
It contains a heavily optimized code and file structure, support for lazy-loading images, and documented helper functions. The build process requires no configuration and provides a modern foundation to develop on top of.
VS Code is tightly integrated with WP Rig but developers can use any code editor they choose.
Rand-Hendriksen says the goal of the project is to provide a starting point where developers can write accessible and performant code from the start using best practices.
“It’s also about accessibility and build processes and coding standards and performance best practices and and modern coding languages and browser support and a myriad of other topics.
“WP Rig bridges this gap by building accessibility, performance, coding standards, and modern coding best practices in by default.”
LinkedIn Learning donated Rand-Hendriksen’s time to WP Rig. In collaboration with XWP, Google, and other members of the WordPress community, it was released as an open source project that is maintained by him and Rachel Cherry.
“It is not owned or branded by any company, nor beholden to a company goal or ideology,” he said. “The purpose and goal of WP Rig is to provide the WordPress community with a theme development rig that puts accessibility, performance, and modern best practices in the front seat to the benefit of the end-user and the web as a whole.”
You can download WP Rig for free from the project’s site or on GitHub. To learn how to use it, LinkedIn Learning is offering a free course entitled “Build WordPress Themes with WP Rig.” The course covers a myriad of topics including, configuring the VS Code workpace settings, Templates, and AMP integration.
For more information about WP Rig check out the project’s official announcement.
WordCamp Europe hosted a successful contributor day in Belgrade despite a wi-fi outage during the first half of the day. The event posted record numbers with 529 attendees registered to contribute across 24 teams.
Contributors had the opportunity to make connections and conversations with team members and representatives from other teams while the wi-fi was down.
It is my first WordCamp Europe and it definitely won't be the last!
— Bojidar Valchovski (@bdvalchovski) June 14, 2018
Had an awesome #WCEU contributor day today. Had some great conversations and made good progress on a few patches to improve the development experience despite the WiFi issues. Was also very proud to see SIX @Yoast'ers lead different contributor teams! #WordPress #family
— Omar Reiss (@OmarReiss) June 14, 2018
Contributors submitted patches and made more progress online later in the day when the wi-fi resumed.
So proud of the WordPress Coding Standards team at #WCEU contributor day. Look at all the patches which are flooding in!!!!@flipkeijzer @GaryJ @fimdalinha @Wonderm00n @niq1982 @moorscode @vladilie94 @MCiufudean pic.twitter.com/lchrR4ZmHX
— Juliette (@jrf_nl) June 14, 2018
Thank you, you rock! pic.twitter.com/LtRlyolYPL
— Milana Cap (@DjevaLoperka) June 14, 2018
Attendees worked on a variety of different projects from improving the project’s coding standards to documenting best practices for hosts working with WordPress.
Evangelia Pappa traveled from Greece to attend her first WordCamp Europe, joining the community team to get answers about helping her local deaf community.
“In my country you have a lot of deaf people who want to attend WordCamp and also the meetups that we do for the Greek WP community,” Pappa said. “We have found a way to assist them while they are at WordCamps with sign language, but are still struggling with meetups, so I am trying to find answers here in order to help other members of the community.”
Rocío Valdivia traveled from Spain to attend her 6th WordCamp Europe and also joined the Community Team for contributor day, creating documentation and mentoring WordCamp organizers.
“I’ve been having a meeting with the WordCamp Nordic organizing team,” Valdivia said. “We are talking about the next WordCamp Nordic, a large regional WordCamp, that will be held next year in Helsinki in March.”
The Hosting team was also able to work, despite the wi-fi outage, bringing together representatives from different countries and hosting companies.
“We’ve been going through and writing some best practices and documentation,” Michael Schroder said. “We’ve been making some good progress on the performance area of the docs, so I feel pretty good about getting some of that committed today.”
— Remkus de Vries (@DeFries) June 15, 2018
For the first time, WordCamp Europe also set aside a spacious, designated room for attendees who wanted to continue collaborating on contributions during the main conference.
Wifi outages are a common occurrence at WordCamp Contributor days. While many attendees I spoke with said they were frustrated and inconvenienced by the inability to be productive, others expressed happy sentiments about the opportunity to be together in one place.
“The most important thing about contributor day is talking to people, getting to know each other, face timing in real life,” Polyglots team lead Petya Raykovska said. “These are always very useful connections to have, learning everybody’s name, asking questions about their experience contributing, and them asking you questions about general experience with the team. It’s actually been great. I feel like it’s given people a chance to talk to each other. No time is lost in contributor day, really.”