Issue #48
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This week in WordPress

WordPress 5.6 Beta 2 now available

In another busy week in WordPress core development, WordPress 5.6 Beta 2 is ready for testing. WPTavern’s Justin Tadlock reports that dragging and dropping meta boxes might not be so simple in WordPress 5.6, while Sarah Gooding writes WordPress contributors are exploring adding dark mode support to the upcoming Twenty Twenty-One theme via a plugin.

For those itching to play with the full site editing version of Twenty Twenty-One, Carolina Nymark, who’s the Default Theme Development Lead for WordPress 5.6, says development started on the theme this week, with a target release date of sometime in December 2020. The theme will be called Twenty Twenty-One Blocks.

"Don't like to eat on video so I'm still scarfing down some food but will be live and streaming code review and commit on WordPress plus the WordPress 5.6 Beta 2 release party starting shortly :)" tweets Core Tech Lead and 10up Director of Open Source Initiatives, Helen Hou-Sandì, who links to her Twitch account, where she’s been live streaming her work on WordPress 5.6

Speaking of core development, Yoast core team lead Francesca Morano has kicked off a discussion around aligning WordPress release systems with the industry standard.

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Wholegrain Digital’s Tom Greenwood on how to run a truly sustainable company

How do you run a business that’s clean, efficient, open, honest, regenerative, and resilient? Wholegrain Digital co-founder and Managing Director Tom Greenwood reflects on running a sustainable digital agency, sharing how his company has applied the Sustainable Web Manifesto’s principles for the first issue of Mozilla’s brand new sustainability magazine, Branch.

ICYMI, Wholegrain Digital’s monthly newsletter Curiously Green explores how the technology we build impacts the environment.

Take the 2020 WordPress Annual Survey

"Come on all you WordPress users, take the 2020 WordPress Annual Survey. You know you want to!" tweets WordPress Polyglots contributor and translator Mark Robson. He links to this year’s WordPress Annual Survey.

The results of the 2019 WordPress Annual Survey are also available—all 164 slides. If you’ve got time to sift through the results, you’ll find data on Classic editor use versus Gutenberg use (53% vs 41% for professionals), feeling about auto-updates (positive sentiment is on the decline), and the average age of WordPress users (30-39).

Contributors considering a block pattern directory

Meanwhile, block patterns could be getting their own directory. As WPTavern’s Sarah Gooding explains, block patterns were one of most "exciting and transformative features" introduced in WordPress 5.5. Core now includes a handful of default patterns available in the block inserter, but contributors are discussing launching an official block pattern directory.

While contributors have been generally supportive of the idea, Carolina Nymark raises concerns about how content in the blocks would be reviewed for security, license issues, advertising and spam. She tweets, "🙂 Happy me: Block patterns are awesome! 😕 Concerned me: Moving essential design and content presentation out of themes. Patterns are not plugins, they do not provide extra functionality, they are layouts."

Yoast publishes 2020 WordPress and PHP 8 compatibility report

"If you're a WP Developer or in the WordPress space at all you can't afford not to read the latest guide from @yoast about PHP 8," tweets LearnDash Product Manager Jack Kitterhing, linking to The 2020 WordPress and PHP 8 compatibility report.

TL;DR? Winmo software engineer Joe Winter tweets a quick summary slash breakout quote: "Isn’t WordPress already compatible with PHP 8? Well… Yes. Sort of. Maybe. We are highly doubtful. It’s really not possible to tell."

But back to what Jack said: PHP is going to contain a lot of breaking changes, so the report is definitely worth a read if you develop with WordPress.

"I’ll bite: my fears of the transition PHP7 to PHP8 replicating the Python2 to Python3 fiasco seem to be materializing by the day... See the detailed report on WP for a real-life nightmare scenario... Time to rethink the 7.4 sunsetting process?" tweets IT consultant Gaetano Giunta.

WordFest set for the New Year

"Looking for some fun in 2021?" tweets Big Orange Heart, this week launching WordFest, a festival of inclusive events for remote workers. The 24-hour global celebration of WordPress will be held on 22 January and will feature talks about WordPress, remote working, and mental health, as well as virtual tables for networking.

WordFest is expected to raise much-needed funds for Big Orange Heart’s ongoing work providing well-being and mental health support to remote workers. In July, founder Dan Maby revealed the charity had lost more than £275,000 in funding due to the Covid-19 pandemic—funding that would have sustained free mental health awareness and support for two years.
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