Issue #45
grey 2
MailPoet logo
yellow 1@2x
orange 2@2x

This week in WordPress

Block-based navigation screen dropped from WordPress 5.6, pushed back to 2021

The new block-based navigation screen in WordPress 5.6 has been sidelined, again, after it was originally planned for inclusion in WordPress 5.5, reports Sarah Gooding for WPTavern. WordPress 5.6 Editor Tech Lead and Automattic JavaScript engineer, Isabel Brison, made the call to drop it from the upcoming release lineup after it missed a deadline to remove its experimental status.
According to Sarah, the feature still requires a "substantial amount of development work and accessibility feedback." Contributors will instead focus on making sure the Widgets screen is ready for WP5.6, with plans to continue working on navigation again towards the end of November for inclusion in core in 2021.
In his write-up for Search Engine Journal, Roger Montti says WordPress 5.6 has been scaled back and without the navigation screen, the block editor's interface "may feel like a ghost of the modern interface it is intended to be."

Tip us off! 👀 Share your news tips with The Repository anonymously →

WordPress 5.6 release update: what's in and what's out

So what is landing in the next version of WordPress? With Beta 1 due out on 20 October (well, that crept up quickly…), release lead and WordPress Executive Director, Josepha Haden, gave an update on WordPress 5.6 release progress this week.

What's planned for Beta 1: automatic updates for major core releases, new features from block editor upgrades, widgets editing support in core, Twenty Twenty-One theme, PHP 8 support, and oEmbed updates.

What we won't be seeing in Beta 1: Twenty Twenty-One block-based editing, Customizer support, full-site editing, and support for PHP 5.6 removed.

"… I was relieved to learn that Full-Site-Editing, Global Styles and Navigation Screen + Block will not be part of the upcoming WordPress 5.6 release," tweets Birgit Pauli-Haack, who runs Gutenberg Times.

Meanwhile, Automattic Design Director Kjell Reigstad, who contributes to the Design and Themes teams, has clarified how block-based themes fit into the upcoming 5.6 release.

Block-based theme development enabling easier theme creation

In other theme development news, WPTavern's Justin Tadlock writes in Kick off Block-Based WordPress Theme Development With the Theme.json Creator about two things that will help theme developers move into a "new era where themes are made almost entirely of blocks and a config file."

Firstly, Yoast core contributor and Themes Team rep, Aris Stathopoulos, has put together a guide to Gutenberg's new JSON structure for full-site editing theme.json files. Secondly, Jon Quach, a Principal Designer at Automattic, has created a tool to help theme authors transition to block-based themes.

Summing up, Justin writes: "While plugin development is becoming more complex with the addition of JavaScript, theme development is taking a sharp turn toward its roots of HTML and CSS. We are barreling toward a future in which far more people will be able to create WordPress themes."

Call for PHP 8.0 testers

With support for PHP 8.0 set for inclusion in WordPress 5.6, the release team has put out a call for testing. Core contributor and Automattic code wrangler, Andrei Draganescu, reminds us the next major version of PHP (version 8.0) is scheduled for release on 26 November. Core contributors are working hard to ensure it's supported in WordPress 5.6, which is due to ship on 8 December.

If you can help test, Andrei has listed several ways you can test and more ways to help.

Cloudflare launches Automatic Platform Optimization for WordPress

"This is incredible news for the WordPress world… On sites I manage this is going to lower hosting complexity and easily save hundreds of dollars a month in hosting costs."

That's long-time core contributor Mark Jaquith's take on Twitter following the news Cloudflare has launched Automatic Platform Optimization for WordPress. The new APO service boasts staggering performance improvements for sites that might otherwise be slowed down by shared hosting, slow database lookups, or sluggish plugins, writes WPTavern's Sarah Gooding.

According to Cloudflare, testing "showed a 72% reduction in Time to First Byte (TTFB), 23% reduction to First Contentful Paint, and 13% reduction in Speed Index for desktop users at the 90th percentile, by serving nearly all of your website's content from Cloudflare's network."

But don't just take their word for it.

"Added @Cloudflare WordPress APO to my wife's site. Instant 150% increase in performance with zero additional optimization work. If you're using #WordPress, give APO a try. Will be publishing additional thoughts on @kinsta blog soon. #WebPerf" tweets Kinsta Website Content Manager Brian Li, who also shared why he's excited about APO for WordPress on his personal blog.

ICYMI: Cloudflare's APO launch came a day after the web infrastructure company launched its new free, privacy-first analytics product.

WPComplete joins iThemes family

A month after announcing it had bought out Restrict Content Pro, iThemes (and its parent company Liquid Web) revealed this week it has added WPComplete to its product lineup for an undisclosed sum.

WPTavern's Justin Tadlock says the acquisition is for the product, website, and customers only. Paul Jarvis and Zack Gilbert, who created the interactive course completion plugin in 2016, will be stepping away from the project.

"So excited @wpcomplete is joining the @ithemes family! Combined with @rcpwp, the possibilities for online courses + membership sites with WordPress are 🙌🏼" tweets iThemes Communication Coordinator Kristen Wright.

Security flaw in WPBakery affects 4.3 million websites

"Hi #madewithqirastudios clients 💙 Please update WPBakery to 6.4.1. Version 6.2.0 is massively vulnerable and represents a security risk. Thank you, Qira Team," tweets Qira Studio, just one of the many creative agencies and theme developers scrambling this week to update customers' sites.
Wordfence revealed this week it discovered a vulnerability in WPBakery, formerly known as Visual Composer. It's the most popular page builder for WordPress and is installed on an estimated 4.3 million sites.

Wordfence security analyst Chloe Chamberland says the vulnerability makes it possible for authenticated attackers with contributor-level or above permissions to inject malicious JavaScript in posts. "After a long period of correspondence with the plugin development team, and a number of insufficient patches, a final sufficient patch was released on September 24, 2020," Chloe writes.

WordPress IPO?

MasterWP has reported on speculation of an Automattic IPO (initial public offering) in the next 12-18 months. Strategist, evangelist, and entrepreneur Robert Jacobi believes the recent launch of the Long-Term Stock Exchange (LTSE) offers a possible path to an Automattic IPO. He believes it will happen next year, with a dual listing on the Nasdaq and LTSE exchanges.

"Why am I bullish on a 2021 IPO given what a crazy year 2020 has been? I'm expecting a slight run on the market over the next few months because yeah 2020. There will be pent up demand for someone exactly like Automattic. Or WP Engine," Robert writes.

MasterWP's Alex Denning, who runs Ellipsis Marketing, notes an Automattic IPO would bring a lot of attention to WordPress and its economy, and could spark a fresh wave of investment from more "traditional" funding sources as we've seen this year with Elementor and Strattic.
yellow 2@2x

In other news...

orange 2@2x

Not subscribed? Join the most conversational weekly email
in the WordPress community!