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Issue #108
MailPoet - Zeplin 2019-10-25 17-00-44

This week in WordPress

WordPress 5.9 "Josephine": Full site editing is here 🎉

It's here — say hello to WordPress 5.9 "Josephine". The long-awaited release is aptly named after jazz entertainer, spy, civil rights activist, and all-around risk-taker Josephine Baker. And as Release Lead Matt Mullenweg notes in his announcement at WordPress.org, "Full site editing is here."

Sarah Gooding has the analysis at WPTavern, WordPress 5.9 "Josephine" Released, Introduces Full Site Editing and New Twenty Twenty-Two Default Theme.

All up, 624 generous volunteers contributed to this release, including Jonathan Bossenger, Senior Technical Writer at Delicious Brains, who tweets, "I try not to #HumbleBrag too much on here, but this is a bit of a personal milestone. That's me, alongside a group of truly amazing individuals who I had the pleasure of serving with as a member of the WordPress 5.9 release squad."

Full site editing. Delays. Working through the holidays. It's been a heck of a release cycle. "Hey WordPress contributors, now that 5.9 is released, please rest and recharge," tweets Automattic-sponsored contributor Tonya Mork, the core tech lead and release coordinator for WordPress 5.9.

But you know what? As Hashim Warren, Senior Product Marketing Manager at WP Engine, tweets, it's been "A truly remarkable journey from 5.0 to 5.9 🚀 " He reminds us that "While blockchain and the JavaScript ecosystem gets a lot more news, the WordPress community just put modern, drag-and-drop site-building into the hands of 43% of the web - for free." Incredible.

WordPress 5.9: What's in it?

So what's in this monumental release?

WPBeginner has published its usual walkthrough, What's New in WordPress 5.9 (Features and Screenshots), and at iThemes, Communication Coordinator Kristen Wright looks at the release’s top 20 new features and improvements.

Podcaster Joe Casabona digs into the details in Long Live Full Site Editing on the WP Review podcast. Tonya Mork tweets "I enjoyed listening to the podcast and then watching @jcasabona walk through what's new in WordPress 5.9!"

Meanwhile, developer Ebonie Butler, who leads the WordPress Women of Color Slack group, live-streamed herself using WordPress 5.9 for the first time on her popular Twitch channel.

Posting at Gutenberg Times, Automattic-sponsored core contributor Anne McCarthy, who co-led testing for the release, shares how WordPress 5.9 creates a strong foundation for the future.

Wondering what happened to the Customizer? At WP Mainline, Jeff Chandler looks at where it's been, where it is, and where it's going, noting "One thing is certain. WordPress 5.9 is the beginning of the end for the Customizer."

If This Is Modern WordPress Theme Development, Sign Me Up, is — unsurprisingly — Justin Tadlock's take at WPTavern.

At the WPMinute, writer Eric Karkovack explores what full site editing means for freelancers and says while there's no need to be hesitant about updating to WordPress 5.9, "Adopting the technology now is a bit like buying an electric vehicle with a very limited range. It's cool but nowhere near ready to be your everyday driver."

WordPress 6.0 roadmap, and two more major releases proposed for 2022

"If you thought WordPress 5.9 was a big release, 6.0 is shaping up to be 🤯" tweets PublishPress founder Steve Burge, who links to Matias Ventura's Preliminary Roadmap for 6.0 (Gutenberg Phase 2). The roadmap includes extensive work to further improve the block editor, expanding the usability of patterns, more block enhancements, and new design tools.

Ventura, an Automattic-sponsored contributor and the Gutenberg project's lead architect, notes, "The overall aim is to consolidate and expand the set of customization tools introduced in 5.9 for creating themes with blocks, with a special focus towards usability and refinement. This new release could be considered a conceptual wrap for Gutenberg: Phase 2."

In related news, WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy has proposed two additional 2022 releases of WordPress: WordPress 6.0 in late May and WordPress 6.1 in mid October.

Business Spotlight: Cloudways

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Cloudways is a managed WordPress hosting provider known for its scalability and reliability. Trusted by over 250,000 WordPress users, Cloudways gives you the freedom to choose from any of the top IaaS providers for ultimate performance. With Cloudways, you can forget all the hosting hassles and experience an ascending glide coupled with a smooth experience.

Meanwhile, work continues on the Gutenberg plugin

Matias Ventura points out in his preliminary roadmap for WordPress 6.0, "Since the main focus of the WordPress project right now are the 4 phases of Gutenberg, the roadmap [for Gutenberg and WordPress 6.0] overlap almost entirely."

So where's Gutenberg at? Birgit Pauli-Haack has published the 200th Weekend Edition at Gutenberg Times, the best place to get all your Gutenberg news. And on the Gutenberg Changelog podcast, Pauli-Haack and Grzegorz Ziolkowski discuss Gutenberg 12.4, developer hours, and the extensibility of the block editor with Fabian Kägy, Senior Frontend Engineer 10up.

At speckyboy, Eric Karkovack has put together An Introduction to WordPress Block Themes. He notes, "Finally, block themes do not spell the end for classic themes – at least not for the foreseeable future."

Meanwhile, WordPress tutorial company WPMarmite has updated its full site editing study, Will WordPress theme shops embrace this new paradigm? first published in May 2021. According to the study's latest findings, 62% of theme shops now feature their Gutenberg compatibility (up from 57% in May 2021), 25% offer custom blocks (up from 17%), and 6% provide block patterns (up from 3%).

Community team publishes updated Covid guidelines, and Post Status launches career summit

The WordPress Community Team has published updated guidelines that relieve volunteers of the burden of enforcing Covid-19 safety measures at in-person events, reports Sarah Gooding at WPTavern. Meetup and WordCamp organizers will need to follow local laws for events with more than 50 attendees and the guideslines put the onus on venues to provide staff to check vaccination status and enforce mark wearing where required.

The updates come after WordCamp Birmingham was postponed to April or May due to rising local Covid-19 infection rates. The event, planned for February 4-5, was anticipated to be the first in-person WordCamp for 2022.

Year three of the pandemic and virtual events continue, but it's not so bad. This week, Post Status launched its latest initiative, WP Career Summit. As Gooding reports in WP Career Summit Opens Registration, Calls for Speakers and Sponsors, the summit will be the first of its kind in the WordPress space — an event entirely focused on job seekers and employers. Post Status is also holding two other events in the first half of 2022 — the Weekly WordPress Job Chat on Twitter Spaces and the first-ever Post Status Twitter Conference.

ICYMI, BlackPress held its first online meet and greet mixer on January 27. Gooding says the group, started by Automattic-sponsored Developer Relations Advocate Destiny Fox Kanno and WordPress Accessibility Team rep Joe A. Simpson, Jr, wants to bring more creators of Black African descent into the WordPress community and provide a community where people can connect, learn, and support each other.

Calls for conversation about our commons and funded WordPress research

After tweeting about the work of Elinor Ostrom, the Nobel Prize winner who solved the problem of the tragedy of the commons, Lesley Sim, co-founder of Newsletter Glue, dives deep into WordPress as a commons for Post Status.

Sims asks some weighty questions like how are the various WordPress and Automattic entities inextricably linked? What are the potential conflicts of interest? Who officially speaks for the WordPress project? And where is the transparency and formalization around governance?

In Post Status Slack (Editor: we don't usually quote from private Slack channels , but we're breaking the rules just this once) Recapture.io founder Dave Rodenbaugh says, "May I just say that Lesley Sim's article was seriously bad ass? That's a WHOLE LOT of philosophical questions to ask across so many different aspects of the WP space…I was blown away by it, personally. Woe be to the folks who have to answer those…they're ALL heavy hitters."

Also at Post Status, Jordi Cabot, has published a proposal for a program of funded WordPress research, Can Five for the Future Fund WordPress Research? Cabot, an ICREA research professor at the Interdisciplinary Internet Institute (IN3), a research center of the Open University of Catalonia, says many big tech companies have a practice of issuing annual calls for proposals for research into key questions relevant to their industry and the challenges they face — Microsoft, Google, IBM and Amazon all sponsor research awards and academic programs, so why not WordPress?

WooCommerce calls for feedback on custom tables for orders

"📣 ICYMI: #WooCommerce is restructuring under the hood and needs your input! New database tables for scalability, simplicity, and reliability are coming," tweets GoDaddy Marketing Specialist Marcus Burnette, who links to core developer Vedanshu Jain's post The plan for the WooCommerce custom order table on the WooCommerce developer blog.

As we reported last week, it's a long-awaited yet complex update and WooCommerce is seeking feedback from developers. (Editor: the word "feedback" is mentioned 11 times in Jain's post.) In the meantime, Mighty Swarm CEO Zach Stepek, Ymir founder Carl Alexander, and Object Cache Pro developer Till Krüss will be discussing the topic on the Do the Woo podcast on February 1.

#WPCommunityFeels: Aurooba Ahmed

This week, what's inspiring Aurooba Ahmed, a self-employed WordPress developer, co-organizer for the Calgary WordPress Meetup, and organizer for WordCamp Calgary.
A podcast worth listening to: I’m a sporadic podcast listener at best. But I almost never miss an episode of the equally sporadic podcast Above Board by Fathom. Paul and Jack are ridiculous in the best possible way.

A concept worth understanding: Now that I’m not in school – I think tests are cool. Approached right, tests are a great way to catch problems before they become real issues. Right now, I’m a little obsessed with automated visual regression testing and how it can help front-end development work.

A Twitter account worth following: Ness Labs. Improving our mental models and skills is a big part of living a happy life; I think our current culture has made it really easy to live mindlessly, too busy to notice our constant low-level feeling of discontentment. Ness Labs always has great links to help you examine how you think and how you approach life that I find valuable to counteract that.

An article worth reading: Money is the Megaphone of Identity. This is a fairly long read, but it made me think so much and so hard about my relationship with money, my mindset around comfort, and where I want to go in life.

A habit worth forming: Setting intentions at the beginning of the week and reflecting on how it went at the end of the week has been a big game changer for me, not only for my emotional and mental health, but also for my productivity. It’s far easier to be purposeful if you’re actually pausing to consider how you are spending your days.

First Look: A WordPress 5.9 + Full Site Editing Demo

WordPress 5.9 is available now. Join Courtney Robertson to get a demo of all the new features. We'll install and activate the latest block theme, create a front page, and style our site.

While it is one of the largest releases to date, many of those changes may not be apparent at first. In fact, many of the features we see in this release were also available in WordPress 5.8 if you installed the Gutenberg plugin to test these features out. Now you will see these features available if you activate a block theme, no additional plugins are needed.

You'll still want to test block themes even if you aren't ready to change themes yet because:
  1. When a new user installs WordPress for the first time, their experience will be with a default theme. This is the standard they may expect in sites they hire others to configure.
  2. When you use a plugin on your site and experience conflicts, one of the common ways to identify the source of the conflict is to deactivate the normal theme and install the latest default theme. Testing plugin functionality with block themes to become familiar and test results is important.
Read more – First Look: A WordPress 5.9 + Full Site Editing Demo.

In other WordPress news...

  • LearnDash founder Justin Ferriman has launched NoFilter.fm, a new Twitter Spaces gathering with Ross Johnson, owner of 3.7 Designs. Ferriman says every two weeks the pair will share proven methodology, tactics, and opinions directly responsible for generating multiple millions of dollars in revenue.
  • WordPress.org has a new global header and footer design. Justin Tadlock at WPTavern says the upgrade is the first stage of a longer-term overhaul of the site's front end, and the News will be getting a new coat of paint any day now.
  • Google has abandoned Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) in favor of a new Topics API to replace third-party cookies, Sarah Gooding at WPTavern reports. The controversial FLoC origin trial caused a group of WordPress contributors to propose blocking it in core before it was even out of the experimental stage. Topics, an interest-based advertising approach, would be implemented at the browser level and curated to exclude topics like gender or race, data that could be deemed sensitive.
  • Pixelgrade has published its latest transparency report and the theme shop's revenue has experienced a big drop in the past six months. Chief People Officer Oana Filip says it's likely due to the market for classic WordPress themes shrinking faster than had anticipated. Over the past two years, Pixelgrade has been working on a new system for building sites based on full site editing.
  • BuddyPress 10.0.0 has been released and introduces site membership requests and visual improvements to activity logs, Sarah Gooding at WPTavern reports. The release also updates the BP Theme Compatibility API so that BuddyPress content is compatible with full site editing in WordPress 5.9.
  • The HeroPress Network has added Automattic to its lineup of investors. Currently, 53 investors support the network, run by Topher and Cate DeRosia, which includes HeroPress and other free initiatives for the community, including HallwayChats, WPPodcasts, and FindItWP.
  • iThemes has released its first-ever WordPress Vulnerability Report. It includes some eye-opening stats: 97.1% of all WordPress vulnerabilities disclosed in 2021 were due to issues with plugins, 23.3% of the 1581 plugin vulnerabilities reported had no known fix, and 29% of reported plugin vulnerabilities have yet to be patched by their developers.
  • Accessibility expert and WordPress core committer Joe Dolson has hit back at tweets suggesting that an increase in the number of open accessibility issues in the Gutenberg repository over the past few years means WordPress isn't taking accessibility seriously. In his post, Don't judge progress by the number of open issues, he says it's "a shockingly disingenuous claim from people who are otherwise reliable sources of good information."
  • Popular plugin and theme company AccessPress was recently compromised and its software replaced with backdoored versions, according to Jetpack security researcher Harald Eilertsen. In all, Jetpack found 40 AccessPress themes and 53 plugins were affected, but themes available from WordPress.org were fine.
MailPoet - Zeplin 2019-10-25 17-00-44

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