209 Block Themes, Query Block Variations, Forms with Blocks, Block Art and more – Weekend Edition #240


Tomorrow is the 5-year anniversary of Gutenberg Times. It feels like I just started yesterday to be fascinated by the possibilities of the block editor. For many people, it actually was just yesterday that they dipped their toes into the world of the new thing. Not you of course. You have been a wonderful subscriber and reader for a while now, and I am infinitely grateful for your support. Thank you!

Welcome to all new subscribers this year. So glad you are here.

Let’s dive into the sixth year together, and learn what will be next for the block editor and what other people make with it and for it. The ecosystem seems to keep expanding quite a bit with the block editor.

Wishing you and yours a fabulous 2023. May you be prosperous, happy, and healthy!

Yours, 💕

PS: Reminder: Hope to see you next week at the Gutenberg Times Live Q & A. Get your seats now for January 11, 2023, at 5pm / ET 22:00 UTC

Developing Gutenberg and WordPress

Hector Prieto published the WordPress 6.2 Planning Schedule Proposal, and it’s also a call for volunteers for the release squad. The 6.2 release squad will then decide on the final release schedule. For now, Feature Freeze and Beta 1 would be on February 7th, 2023. Tthere are four Beta releases planned before release candidate 1 will be available on March 7th, and a final release on March 28th, 2023.

Reminder: January 10, 2023, at 9:30 ET / 14:30 UTC: Hallway Hangout: Performance Considerations for Block Themes Anne McCarthy wrote: “At a high level, we’ll go through general intros (what each person does/focuses on), current work underway to address performance, what work is being done specifically for block themes, and general open Q&A. Hallway hangouts are meant to be casual and collaborative so come prepared with a kind, curious mind along with any questions or items you want to demo/discuss.”

From the WordPress Developer Blog

Justin Tadlock published a tutorial for building a book review grid with a Query Loop block variation. WordPress 6.1 introduced an extension to the Query Loop block, which allows plugin developers to filter existing functionality in core WordPress rather than building custom blocks to query posts. This tutorial shows how to build a WordPress plugin that display a list of book review posts including post_meta` data, using a block variation for the Query Loop and set up rendering it on the front end.

Nick Diego tweeted: I always knew the Query Loop block was incredibly powerful, but I had never explored integrating post metadata into custom block variations! Learn how in this fantastic article by @justintadlock on the new WordPress Developer Blog.

Micheal Burridge composed a Roundup post to review 2022 from a block developer’s perspective in is post. You’ll find a select list of resources, to get started or to catch up on the development from the last 12 months, via the Make Blog, WordPress TV and the Learn WordPress site.

Gutenberg plugin releases

Gutenberg 14.8 was released on December 22, 2022, and release lead Ryan Welcher highlighted in his post What’s new in Gutenberg 14.8? (21 December)

Sarah Gooding reported on the release as well via the WPTavern: Gutenberg 14.8 Overhauls Site Editor Interface, Adds Style Book

Gutenberg 14.9 is the first release of 2023, and release lead Justin Tadlock pointed out a few new features in his post What’s new in Gutenberg 14.9? (4 January):

On the WPTavern, Sarah Gooding took the version for spin and reported on the new magic: Gutenberg 14.9’s New Magic: Push Block Changes to Global Styles

In the upcoming Gutenberg Changelog episode 78, Hector Prieto was my guest. He is a full-time core contributor and coordinator of multi-release WordPress and Gutenberg releases. We discussed Gutenberg 14.8 and 14.9 as well as 6.2 release schedule proposal and other topics. The episode will hit your favorite podcast app over the weekend.

Plugins, Themes, and Tools for #nocode site builders and owners

Sarah Gooding wrote about Block Protocol Announces New WordPress Plugin Coming in 2023 It will allow users to embed interactive blocks that are compatible with Gutenberg, and will include blocks for drawing, GitHub pull request overview, timer, calculation, and more. The plugin will also include new blocks powered by OpenAI DALL-E and GPT .

The Block Protocol project is open source and designed to be an open protocol, and WordPress hopes to integrate more with it in the future.

In the latest WPTavern Jukebox podcast episode, Damon Cook, developer advocate at WPEngine, discussed with Nathan Wrigley the future of website styling in WordPress. Wrigley wrote in the introduction: ” Block-based themes are revolutionizing website styling. You’re going to be able to change any aspect of your website from the UI that you’re familiar with. The hope is that it’ll make styling more accessible to a wider audience.

Damon talks about the fact that we’re in a period of flux right now. The documentation and tooling needed to work with website styles is maturing, but is by no means complete.”

Torsten Landsiedel scratched his personal itch and built the plugin Ignore block name in search, after finding that the WordPress built-in search included in the findings posts where the search keywords are in the HTML comments of blocks, and with that skews, the search result less relevant. It’s particular helpful when your blog is about working with the block editor or about content creation with WordPress. Landsiedel feels that the block editor makes the shortcomings of the built-in search feature worse because blocks contain full words, and not just HTML tags. It’s been a long-standing issue, that this plugin now solves.

209 Block Themes are now available in the WordPress repository with new submissions by Themeisle, sparklewpthemes, olivethemes, deothemes, sonalsinha21, Blockify, hamidxazad, WPZOOM.

Ana Segota of Anariel Design also announced Yuna, a block theme for Nonprofits that comes with 100+ Design Patterns, you can add to your page with a simple drag and drop. Use built-in options to arrange and style them any way you want. It also includes built-in styles for the popular GiveWP donations plugin and is also ready to house your ecommerce store.

Making Block Art

Curious about some art behind Matt Mullenweg during State of the Word? Below are those pieces designed for the Museum of Block Art which represent the creativity that Gutenberg blocks inspire. Be sure to stop by and experience the museum’s digital interactive exhibit.

You can see

Anne McCarthy, instigator and curator of the Museum of Block Art, wrote an insightful blog post about how she approached making art with the Block Editor. Take a look Behind the scenes of creating art with WordPress.

Chuck Grimmett has more examples of WP Block Art on his blog.

Rich Tabor and Courtney Portnoy discussed The creative side of blocks on WordPressTV. Rich Tabor walks the viewers through one of his block art creations. It’s quite inspiring to watch Tabor’s exploratory creative process using the block editor. I learned quite a few things about the power of the various color features: gradient, nested group blocks, and how to replace the theme’s primary and secondary colors for the whole site. You’ll also get an introduction to the Museum of Block Art, where Rich and other block artists showcase their creations. (also mentioned in GT 239)

Form Plugins working with Blocks

Two plugins emerged that take advantage of the block editor and its components and scripts so site owners and builders can use them to create forms.

Munir Kamal, created a block integration for the popular CF7 Forms. It’s aptly names CF Blocks and available in the WordPress repository. He wrote in the description: “With CF7 Blocks, you can easily create and customize contact forms within the familiar block editor interface. No more fiddling with short codes or HTML – just drag and drop blocks to build your forms exactly how you want them.” Sounds spectacular, doesn’t it?

In here article New CF7 Blocks Plugin Brings Blocks to Contact Form 7, Sarah Gooding, took a more in-depth look and shares her findings.

On Twitter, JR Tashjian developer at GoDaddy, introduced OmniForm, the next-generation Form Builder for your website. Sign up for early access now and be among the first to try it. The plan is to make the plugin available in the WordPress plugin directory at the end of January, with early access provided to users the week prior. Tashjian continues: “OmniForm embraces the block editor to the fullest extent and unlike any solution right now. The block editor is the future of editing in WordPress and building any kind of form will be no different from creating a post or page.” Tall order. Looking forward to doing some testing, too.

Theme Development for Full Site Editing and Blocks

Anne McCarthy has a new video up on YouTube: Building a site with WordPress 5.9 vs. WordPress 6.2 (in progress features) – To better show what’s changed with the Site Editor from when it was first introduced in WordPress 5.9, this video goes through both a demo of the original state and a brief look at what’s in place today and what’s to come, especially as 6.2 looks to wrap up much of the work around site editing/phase 2 of Gutenberg. Keep in mind that WordPress 6.2 is not out yet and much of what’s being shown is very much a work in progress with big opportunities to provide feedback along the way. Either way, I hope you enjoy taking a peak back and a look forward.

 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2022” 
A chronological list of the WordPress Make Blog posts from various teams involved in Gutenberg development: Design, Theme Review Team, Core Editor, Core JS, Core CSS, Test, and Meta team from Jan. 2021 on. Updated by yours truly. The index 2020 is here

In this video tutorial, Jonathan Bossenger gives you an Introduction to theme.json. You will learn how the theme.js file works, and how you can control these settings and styles.

Daisy Olsen started a new Live Stream schedule and will show off Block Themes in WordPress every Friday at 10:30 am ET / 15:30 UTC on Twitch.

The inaugural show took place Friday, January 6th, 2023 with the topic: Building a Block Theme. It’s a great opportunity to follow along with Daisy and ask questions along the way.

Building Blocks and Tools for the Block editor.

Munir Kamal takes you on a journey of From WordPress to the World: Intro to the Standalone Gutenberg Block Editor. In his new plugin, Kamal made the journey and found a few challenges along the way, overcame them and new put it all together for others to follow. Using the app ‘Isolated block editor, from the public repo, maintained by Automattic. Matt Mullenweg in the State of the Word emphasized that the block editor is also used outside of WordPress, with Tumblr, Day One app and with bbPress instance.

The team working on GiveWP went on a similar route on the revamp of the highly popular donation plugin. Post Status recently posted an article about that: The Future of GiveWP and the Block Editor

GiveWP will hold a Town hall event about the new version on January 25th, 2023 at 10am PT / 18:00 UTC – in case someone is interested. Learn more Town Hall: GiveWP Design Mode and What’s Next for 3.0

Kyle Johnson, JavaScript developer at GiveWP will present his talk: Using Gutenberg as a Development Foundation, Not Just a Block Builder at WordCamp Birmingham on February 4th, 2023. As far as we know, the talks will be recorded, but not livestreamed. So, they will show up on WordPress TV in the weeks after the WordCamp.

Mohammed Noufal of Hubspot wrote about How to Create Custom Blocks in WordPress, providing answers to the questions: why use a custom block, how to make Custom Block Templates and how to use custom blocks on your site.

Jonathan Bossenger‘s last section of his series: Let’s code: developing blocks without React!  is now also available on WordPress TV. Let’s code: developing blocks without React! – Review. If you followed along over the past few weeks, you would have learned to build a small WordPress block using plain (vanilla) JavaScript. In this session, we will review everything we’ve learned so far, by rebuilding the entire block from scratch.

The other editions for the series are in order of broadcast/

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Upcoming WordPress events

January 10, 2023 – 9:30 ET / 14:30 UTC
Hallway Hangout: Performance Considerations for Block Themes with Anne McCarthy

January 11, 2023 – 5 pm ET / 22:00 UTC
Gutenberg Times Live Q & A: Layout, layout, layout
Panel discussion with Isabel Brison, Andrew Serong, Justin Tadlock and Birgit Pauli-Haack

February 4 + 5, 2023
WordCamp Birmingham, AL

February 17 – 19, 2023
WordCamp Asia 2023 

Learn WordPress Online Meetups

January 17, 2023 – 3pm / 20:00 UTC
Patterns, reusable blocks and block locking

January 19, 2023 – 7 pm ET / 24:00 UTC
Let’s make custom templates in the Site Editor!

January 31, 2023 – 3pm ET / 20:00 UTC
Creating a photography website with the block editor

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Thank you, Jan, for pointing out Jetpack’s from block! It’s indeed fairly easy to use. There are other form plugins already available for blocks. I didn’t mean to sound exclusive when writing about CF Blocks and Omniform.