Advanced patterns, collaboration, underrepresented-gender led WordPress 6.4—Weekend Edition 261


There is so much going on in the WordPress space: The next major release is less than four weeks away, Community Summit and WordCamp US will happen next month, the 6.4 release is getting started and while contributors are polishing, fixing and cleaning up the Site Editor, others are already working on Phase 3.

And next month I will be on vacation starting August 5th, 2023. Yes, for the first time in six years, I will miss WordCamp US, and seeing my WordPress friends. Lots of FOMO will come my way.

Thursday, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, release lead of WordPress 6.4, kicked off the first Zoom meeting of the all-underrepresented-gender release squad to work on the next major release.

It was lovely to see all the faces of the wonderful people. 6.4 Beta 1 is scheduled for September 26, 2023. It’s not that long until a ton of great new features will come to WordPress in November. It will bring a bit of Phase 3, a lot of polish for Phase 2, the Interactivity API, the fonts API and the interface to manage fonts for the site. I’ll watch the Make Core blog for Chomphosy’s ‘official’ Roadmap for 6.4.

Part of the underrepresented gender-led WordPress 6.4 release squad. Follow the people on Twitter.

Alright, that’s about the future. The first Dev Notes for WordPress 6.3 have already been published. And I hope to see you all at the Live Q & A next Friday! It’s going to be mind-blowing! Really.

Have a wonderful weekend and start into the next week!

Yours, 💕

PS: If you are new to Gutenberg Times and are interested in how it all began and became what it is now, Nadia Maya Ardiani interviewed me for Hostinger’s WordPress Experts blog.

Next Live Q & A: Design Systems and Theme.json on July 21, 2023

David Bowman and and Alec Geatches from WordPress VIP will show off how they keep design systems developed in Figma and themes in WordPress in synch and their workflows streamlined. Joni Halabi, senior developer from Georgetown University will join me as co-host.

Developing Gutenberg and WordPress

WordPress 6.3

WordPress 6.3 Beta 4 came out this week. It’s really coming down to the wire. If you haven’t tested your plugins, themes and other customization of your website, you should start now. You got less than a month to fix if something breaks. 

Next week, the squad will release WordPress 6.3 RC 1, and with it the Fieldguide with the accompanying Dev Notes.

Anne McCarthy published three videos to show off great features coming to WordPress with the next version.

This is also a reminder on the WordPress 6.3 Live Product Demo on July 20th, 2023 at 16:00 UTC (12 pm EDT / 18:00 CEST) with Rich Tabor and Anne McCarthy. There will be a Q&A session, and you may submit questions in advance via the #walkthrough channel on WordPress Make Slack

Leonardus Nugraha, co-lead on the docs release team published WordPress 6.3: What’s Coming In the Next Major Update for Hostinger’s blog.

Paul Taylor of Big Bite also What’s new in WordPress 6.3 and sized up the second major release of 2023, which includes key improvements across page speeds, accessibility, and the editing experience.

Gutenberg 16.2

Gutenberg 16.2 was released and release manager Bernie Reiter highlighted in the release post What’s new in Gutenberg 16.2? (12 July)

  1. Consolidating Patterns
  2. Footnotes
  3. Vertical text orientation

Sarah Norris, JavaScript developer and 6.4 editor tech co-lead joined me on the Gutenberg Changelog for the first time, and we discussed Gutenberg 16.2, WordPress 6.3, also 6.4 and Phase 3. It was a great joy and we had great fun recording and chatting. The episode 86 will arrive at our favorite podcast app over the weekend.

🎙️ Latest episode: Gutenberg Changelog #90 – New Testing Call for the FSE Program, Gutenberg 16.7 and WordPress 6.4 with Tammie Lister as special guest, hosted by Birgit Pauli-Haack

Phase 3: Collaboration

Last week, Matias Ventura published four posts covering various aspects that will be considered for Phase 3 of the Gutenberg Project. This week, the series continued with one article on Block Library and the other one about the Admin Design.

Riad Benguella did a deeper dive into the architecture of developing for Real Collaboration in content creation. To accomplish this, Benguella proposes a Data synch engine, so developers on the project and those extending WordPress with plugins don’t need to know much about where the date is coming from or going. The technical solution for this is a “conflict-free replicated data type” (CRDT) and the most promising open-source framework to implement it in a web application is YJS.

The six posts about Gutenberg Phase 3 have been out for a few days. The most excitement gathered Matias post on the new Admin Design. Sarah Gooding followed the discussion and summarized it in her article: WordPress Plans Ambitious Admin UI Revamp with Design System, Galvanizing Broad Support from the Developer Community.

Nick Schäferhoff reported about the Real-time collaboration aspect for Gutenberg Phase 3: Real-Time Collaboration in WordPress: Here’s What to Expect. He not only gives you an overview from last week’s posts, he also help us understand why it’s important to expand WordPress in this way: “Seeing as many websites and content strategies are run by teams, giving people tools to collaborate directly in the environment they are working in would go a long way in making the creation process more seamless.” Schäfterhoff wrote. Towards the end of his post, he shared links to project where you can start experiencing a collaborative approach, starting with Asblocks by Riad Benguella.

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

The video Designed with WordPress “is an ode to the editing and customization phases of our roadmap, and the beauty they can bring to your designs. It celebrates the tools and the possibilities they create. It encapsulates the exciting steps made in the past that propel the vibrant future of WordPress” It is so beautiful! Take a few moments and enjoy the sheer beauty.

We discussed the Block Editor and WordPress 6.3 on the 260th episode of This Week in WordPress. It was a great pleasure and joy to talk again to Nathan Wrigley, and Michelle Frechette and to meet Katie Keith. “How many times can we say patterns?” Answer: A lot.

… and when you read Anne McCarthy’s post below, you also will know why!

"How many times can we say patterns?" - This Week in WordPress #260 - WP Builds

In their latest post, Core Editor Improvement: Advancing the power of Patterns, Anne McCarthy covers new features, big and small, coming to WordPress 6.3 that impact the experience of creating and using patterns. You can explore these features if you’re using Gutenberg 16.2 except the ability to rename and duplicate custom patterns coming to 16.3.

In the latest Learn WordPress workshop, Bud Kraus Demystified the Navigation Block and showed you how to set up your site’s navigation now and in the future. How you build menus for your website had changed considerably and this is a great workshop to learn, what you have to relearn and unlearn 🙂

Justin Tadlock migrated one of his long-time plugins to also work with the site editor as a block: Breadcrumbs. You can now add a breadcrumb block to your pages and posts and archives, and it will automatically pick up the hierarchy and nested pages. You can change text color, background, and link color, including the hover state and adjust the padding and the margins. The plugin, I hear, has been submitted to the plugin repository, but there appears to be a 2-months waiting time to get approved. You can use it now by grabbing it from the GitHub repository.

Theme Development for Full Site Editing and Blocks

Isabel Brison, co Editor Tech lead on the 6.3 release, published the first Dev Note from the Gutenberg project: Layout updates in the editor for WordPress 6.3. You learn more about the changes to layout support, CSS specificity, the new Grid type, to post template and spacer block of the Site editor.

 “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

Mary Baum posted her the first post on the WordPress Developer Blog. Make your site’s typography make a statement is the first post of a series of six tackling the ins and outs of typography in general and specifically for designers using WordPress and its site editor as a design tool. As the new #nocode site editor also attracts new designers and those without a long career in design, this series will help everyone to level up and build attractive, readable and fast websites.

Building Blocks and Tools for the Block editor.

On the WordPress Developer Blog, Justin Tadlock published What’s new for developers? (July 2023). The sixth edition of a monthly roundup that showcases features that are specific to theme and plugin developers. The latest updates are focused on the upcoming WordPress 6.3 release.

Eric Karkovack interviewed Riad Benguella about the Command Palette coming to WordPress 6.3 next month: A Closer Look at the WordPress Command Palette. “It opens up a world of possibilities. Imagine being able to change the price of a WooCommerce product without having to edit its post. Or you might display the latest entries from your contact form. The potential time savings could add up. Suddenly, what used to require dozens of clicks could be reduced to a few keywords.” Karkowack wrote.

Asked about the next steps for the feature, Benguella answered: “Right now, the Command Palette is available in the Site Editor and the post editor. But we need to add it to more pages and more contexts to take advantage of its capabilities. For instance, when a block is selected, we may offer contextual commands to manipulate and interact with that block.”

The next WordPress Developer Hours will take place on July 26, 2023, at 11 am EDT / 15:00 UTC and will cover the topic of Styling Blocks. It will have two presentations: Two demos/presentation:

  • Michael Burridge will how to allow users to have control over the styling of inner elements in blocks which have complex markup. You will learn how you can assign values stored in block attributes to CSS custom properties and use them to apply user-defined styling to sub-elements in both static and dynamic blocks.
  • Justin Tadlock will show you how to integrate CSS custom properties into your block stylesheets that play nicely with themes. The technique used integrates block plugins and theme.json while still giving preference to user choice.

Need a plugin .zip from Gutenberg’s master branch?
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Have you been using it? Hit reply and let me know.

GitHub all releases

Questions? Suggestions? Ideas? Don’t hesitate to send them via email or send me a message on WordPress Slack or Twitter @bph.

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Featured Image: Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany exhibits art by Hamid Zenati. Photo by Birgit Pauli-Haack

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