Anniversary, Open Verse, Performance measuring, Interactivity API – Weekend Edition #249


Greetings from Munich, Germany! It’s good to be back in my hometown. Let the honeymoon phase of rekindling begin!

In the WordPress world, the last two weeks were quite busy. The major release of WordPress 6.2, a preview of Gutenberg’s Phase Three, a new Gutenberg plugin version, and so much more.

Enjoy. Wishing you and yours a great weekend and Happy Easter to those who celebrate it.

Yours, 💕

PS: Did you know that as part of the 20-year celebrations coming up next month, Julia Golomb, published a play list on Spotify of 20 Years of WordPress Jazz? From Miles Davis to Mikhail “Misha” Alperin, this playlist includes one song for each of the 45 jazz artists selected to represent the releases. Have a look at the site of what is in store for the 20-year anniversary coming up next month.

20-Anniversary of WordPress' 1st release on May 27, 2003. Follow the link to learn more about the activities around this anniversay.

Developing Gutenberg and WordPress

It is finally here! WordPress 6.2 “Dolphy” was released on March 29, 2023. Over 600 contributors made the first major release in 2023 possible. They come from at least 50 countries. With 900+ enhancements, ten full Gutenberg release features, and a slew of performance improvements, you might not be surprised to learn that “Dolphy” reached the impressive milestone of 2 million downloads in under 2 hours after release. After the first week, it reached over 18 million downloads. 

Here is a highly subjective list of detailed articles on various sites about the release and the features in WordPress 6.2:

🎙️ Latest episode: Gutenberg Changelog #89 – Gutenberg 16.6, default theme and Font Library with Nadia Maya Ardiani as special guest, hosted by Birgit Pauli-Haack

Leonardus Nugraha joined me on Friday for Gutenberg Changelog episode 81, and we also talked about WordPress 6.2. We also covered Gutenberg plugin releases 15.4 and 15.5, Phase 3 and the Interactivity API proposal. If you are a subscriber, the episode will drop into your favorite Podcast app over the weekend.

In the Weekend edition #248, we shared Matias Ventura’s announcement on the Phase 3: Collaboration

Josepha Haden Chomphosy and Hector Prieto discussed a few questions the community had about Phase 3 in the latest episode of the WP Briefing: Episode 52: Workflows and Phase Three Visioning with Special Guest Héctor Prieto

In his Design Share: Mar 13–Mar 24, Joen Asmussen showcased the latest work by the WordPress Design team. One display is particular interesting as it imagines how the block options menu can scale and house even more options. In another section, Asmussen shows how the team is thinking about the template management.

Illustration: Scaling the block options menu

This week, Ryan Welcher and Justin Tadlock wrangled the Gutenberg plugins release and published the release post: What’s new in Gutenberg 15.5? (05 April). In it, they highlight

I am particularly, curious about how the grid layout works. It seems quite complex as the editor needs to deal with several levels and Inner Blocks and how they follow the overall grid layout. It’s important that theme builders test this and provide feedback, so it can be solidified.

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

Anne McCarthy, manager of the FSE-Outreach Project hosted a Hallway Hangout with Blake Bertuccelli-Booth on Moving to the Site Editor. Bertucelli-Booth “sees a huge advantage in using the Site Editor directly as a design tool rather than using Figma before replicating in WordPress.” and “Generally speaking, they try not to build that many custom blocks and instead rely on patterns with an emphasis on employing as much as possible from the curating the editor experience doc.” McCarthy wrote. It’s a great conversation to have and one I will revisit, when starting to migrate the Gutenberg Times to a block theme.

Munir Kamal launched GutenbergHub Shop where he offers an extensive range of Gutenberg Blocks, Templates, and Extensions, designed to facilitate and enhance the website building process. Kamal has big plans for the future. I am excited to see what’s in store next

Anders Noren, an early adopter of block themes, published a new theme in the WordPress repository called Abisko. “Abisko is a stylish blog theme with a heavy emphasis on bold typography and generous amounts of whitespace. It comes with 5 different theme styles to choose from, and over 30 different block patterns that you can use to build unique page layouts quickly.”

Sarah Gooding has the skinny for you: Anders Norén Releases Abisko, a New Free WordPress Theme with 30+ Block Patterns

Features pattern in Abisko theme by Andres Noren.
Features pattern. Theme Abiski by Andres Noren.

WordPress 6.2 comes with an Openverse integration for media and block inserter. Wes Theron has a tutorial for you on how to Add media and Openverse images to your content directly from the Inserter

Theme Development for Full Site Editing and Blocks

James Koussertari at GutenbergMarket, published A Comprehensive Guide to Building WordPress Block Themes with links to official and other sources. Apart from the official sources, Carolina Nymark’s has the most details resources.

Previously, Felix Arntz shared his experience of rebuilding my WordPress website using a block theme. In his latest blog post he shared how he was measuring website performance using WebPageTest, using the latest WordPress version. Arntz shares his plan, how to select relevant test scenarios and what exactly he wanted to measure. It’s a great case study, that will help you to also benchmark some of the sites you are dealing with. Felix is super detailed in his post, and you might get lost in the weeds. Make sure you check out the tools he mentions to help with the endeavor.

The WPEngine team has released the Pattern Manager plugin in the WordPress plugins directory . The description reads: “When you design beautiful block patterns for your theme, Pattern Manager by WP Engine will automatically push them into PHP files for you, every time you save.”

 “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

Ben Ritner elaborated on the state of FSE themes, “…there is a lot about the site editor and FSE themes that are not quite ready…”. Ritner and his team at Kadence theme were early adopters of the Block editor and built a very popular Block Collection plugin. Together with the Kadence Theme, the plugin elevated the user experience to page building capabilities with features the block editor was missing for a long time. There are still things Ritner finds missing. Read the article and see if his gaps are also relevant to your theme building journey.

Nick Schäferhoff found 10 WordPress Site Editor (FSE) Features You Didn’t Know About, even if you know about some of them, you might not know all of them.

Building Blocks and Tools for the Block editor.

In his post, Quick and easy local WordPress development with wp-env, Michael Burridge introduced you to the WordPress development tool that comes with the Gutenberg plugin and allows you to quickly spin up a WordPress site on your computer to start working on proof of concepts, or follow an interesting idea. (Docker required

Jonathan Bossenger‘s new course is online on Learn.WordPress site. Converting a Shortcode to a Block. This is a newer style of course, where we’re using existing tutorial content, updating it with images, code examples and quizzes, and bundling it as a short course. A short version of the course is available as a tutorial on the WordPress Developer Blog: Converting your shortcodes to blocks

Michael Burridge and Jonathan Bossenger held live Developer Hours for the Asia/Pacific timezones and uploaded the recording to WordPressTV: Developer Hours: Migrate a plugin to blocks (EMEA / Asia-Pacific)

Ryan Welcher invited developers to bring block development issues to the live stream on Twitch. Some recordings are available on YouTube: Block Development: Bring me your issues! In this edition, Welcher covers about 14 different issues submitted by viewers.

Among those:

  • Adding some checks to only show the link to users with the correct level of access.
  • Creating a post-placeholder block and creating the parent/child relationship with the post-picker block.
  • Updating the Edit component to match the output of the front end.

Ryan Welcher streams very Thursday at 10:30 ET / 15:30 UTC on Twitch

Mario Santos posted on the Make Core blog the Proposal: The Interactivity API – A better developer experience in building interactive blocks. The vision: “Imagine plugins providing interactions like “heart this post” or “add to cart” without page reloads. Picture instant search, commenting, and native full-page transitions as best-in-class built-ins without complex scaffolding or external tools. Envision achieving this in any block theme by default without sacrificing PHP server rendering and the plugin ecosystem for a JS runtime. Visualize block developers easily declaring and extending such behaviors in a way that is immediately familiar and compatible with the block ecosystem.”

Santos also shared a short demo of Favorites in a Movies app. You can browse it yourself on the live site, and if you are interested in the implementation, the demo code is also available on GitHub. This post definitely has a high Geek-factor, but the aim is to make it easier for any developer to create interactive blocks. Stay tuned for more examples and examples code.

Two developers from the team working on the Interactivity API will be speakers at the Developer Hours on April 17, and give an Introduction of the Interactivity API. They will hold two events to accommodate as many times zones as possible: at 8am UTC with Mario Santos and at 17:00 UTC with Michal Czamplinski

Need a plugin .zip from Gutenberg’s master branch?
Gutenberg Times provides daily build for testing and review.
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.

For questions to be answered on the Gutenberg Changelog, send them to

Featured Image: Munich, view from the tower of St. Paul by Birgit Pauli-Haack, found on

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