Block-Based Widget Screen and DevNotes Galore for WordPress 5.8 – Weekend Edition #176


July is the month celebrating North American Independence (for white people) and the start of the French Revolution.

Happy 154th Birthday, Canada 🇨🇦 (July 1st).
Happy 245th Birthday, USA 🇺🇸 (July 4th)
Happy 232nd Bastille Day, France 🇫🇷 (July 14th)

There are many more countries celebrating Independence Day in July, though. Here is the list. Take a look! 🌐

July 20th, WordPress 5.8 will be released and there are a ton of block editor related dev notes for themes and plugin developers. Use this week’s RC 1 version to test your sites, plugins and themes!

Be well! Have a great weekend, wherever you are located!

Yours, 💕

WordPress 5.8 Dev Notes for Block editor features

This week was also the deadline to published Developer Notes around the upcoming WordPress 5.8 release.

Block-styles loading enhancements by Ari Stathopoulos – Ari has the details on how the two new features – Load styles only for rendered blocks and Inline small styles – work and how theme developers and block builders can tap into it.

Blocks in an iframed (template) editor by Ella van Durpe – The new Template editor is the first block editor loaded in an iframe and isolate it from the rest of the admin screen. Ella has the benefits for you as well as the details on how to adjust your blocks if you rely on document or window and provides code fixes for your ReactJS blocks. There is more. Definitely worth a read if you are deep in plugin development. Ella’s post compliments Grzegorz Ziolkowski’s post: Block Editor API Changes to Support Multiple Admin Screens

On layout and content width by Riad Benguella – This is a shorter post, introducing the Settings for layout and content width and how you can adjust your theme to take advantage of them.

Block-based Widgets Editor by Robert Anderson. He wrote: “WordPress 5.8 introduces a new block-based widgets editor to the Widgets screen (Appearance → Widgets) and Customizer (Appearance → Customize → Widgets).” and continues to explain the three methods (including the Classic Widget plugin) of opting out. You might find interesting to learn how the Legacy Widget block helps with the backward compatibility for existing widgets and widget areas.

Various Block Editor API removals by Riad Benguella has the details on the removal of EditorGlobalKeyboardShortcuts, hasUploadPermissions and their alternatives. Also, the block “Subheading” has been removed, too.

Timothy Jacobs post lists all the REST API Changes necessary for the Widget Block Editor. He also shows how to adjust Legacy widgets, so they are seen and handled by it. Timothy illustrates the changes with extensive code snippets, that should help you get up to speed fast.

And if that isn’t enough already, Milana Cap lists Miscellaneous developer focused changes in her dev note. The team removed support for IE 11 from build and test tools and gives you more control and consistency for the document title. WordPress 5.8 also brings a consistent type for integer properties of WP_Post, WP_Term, WP_User and a bookmark object and better caching of post/page IDs for subsequent request. There are quite a few more goodies in this upcoming release. Take a look!

 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2021” 
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

User-facing changes in WordPress 5.8

Timothy Jacobs gave a detailed preview of What’s coming to the Block editor in WordPress 5.8 to the members of the WordPress NYC meetup. You can see a demo of Duotone for image & cover, Single Column color and spacing settings, Table block updates, and reusable block changes. He spent a few more minutes on the new Widget Screen as well as the Post Template Editor and the new Query Block.

Courtney Robertson wrote in What WordPress 5.8 means for your clients’ websites “This release expands the role of the block editor to include nearly every area of WordPress. You’ll want to check out all the updates to discover what WordPress 5.8, Full Site Editing, and Block-Based Themes mean for your clients’ websites.”. The post is a fabulous comprehensive list of what is new in WordPress 5.8 with short videos and the relevant details.

Block-Based Widget in WP Admin and Customizer

You can also watch Anne McCarthy Exploring the Block Widgets Editor in WP Admin and Customizer on YouTube. She wrote in the description: “This video seeks to give an initial look at this feature and answer some top questions people might have. Shout out to Channing Ritter who put together the demo portion!”.

Eric Karkovack also did a deep dive into the block-based Widget Screen for you: The WordPress Widgets Screen Joins the Gutenberg Era and provides you with a great tutorial on how to use the new screens with screenshot and all.

Diving Into WordPress 5.8’s New Widgets Screen by Justin Tadlock. He is a fan of the new feature and glad it made it into the WordPress core for this upcoming release. While the WPAdmin Widget screen feels like a good block editor, he wrote about the block widgets in the Customizer: “Customizer support for block widgets is light years ahead of where it was just a few short months ago. However, it feels awkward at best. There is a deep feeling of not belonging. While it was a remarkable programming feat to make the two features work together, the user experiences are nearly a decade apart.”

Need a plugin .zip from Gutenberg’s main (trunk) branch?
Gutenberg Times provides daily build for testing and review.
Have you been using it? Hit reply and let me know.

GitHub all releases

Plugins for the Block Editor

This week, I found quite a few people sharing their experiences with block editor plugins.

Chris Lema compared in his post Content Visibility for Gutenberg three plugins that allow you to control the visibility of single blocks on your page or posts. We mentioned two of them here multiple times. Chris tested the pro version for his purposes:

Episode #46 is now available with transcript.
Next recording July 9th, 2021

Send questions, comments or news to

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Rich Tabor released Markdown Comment Block in the WordPress plugin repository. He wrote in his description: “Having the ability to add, and keep, any relevant editing comments within my posts, without rendering them on the front-end, means that I am freed up to mentally jot any idea down without thinking about it. It is simply natural and convenient.” Justin Tadlock gave it a review in Add Editor-Only Notes via the Markdown Comment Block WordPress Plugin

Thanks to Remkus De Vries’ new newsletter “Remkus Ramblings“, I learned about two more plugins for the block editor:

Highlight and Share by Ronald Huereca – “It’s a social sharing plugin that allows you to highlight text and and share among several social networks including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more,” Remkus said. I wished I had this plugin when I ran a social media marketing agency….

The second one is Block Editor Colors by MotoPress – Remkus wrote: “(…)which allows you to edit default Gutenberg block editor colors or the ones registered in a theme, as well as add your colors!”

Remkus de Vries, Head of Partner & Customer Relationship at ServeBolt, started his newsletter last month, and he uses – you probably guessed it – my favorite newsletter plugin: Newsletter Glue. 👋 Waving at Lesley Sim

I got quite excited when I learned about Automattic’s Sketch plugin, a plugin that allows its users to sketch within the editor and show it immediately on the front end. Based on perfect-hand library, it is the product of a collaboration between Matias Ventura, Pablo Honey and Oscar Lopez. It’s one of Automattic’s Block Experiments.

Building Blocks

Ben Gillbanks shows you how to get a list of all blocks in the editor of a post or page. He wrote: “It’s particularly handy for WordPress plugin developers, but will also be useful when setting properties in theme.json a new feature that is part of the upcoming Full Site Editing functionality of WordPress.”

Fabian Kägy‘s WordCamp Europe presentation Building great experiences in the new editor is now available on WordPress TV. He wrote in his session description “Starting out building blocks or experiences for the WordPress block editor can be a bit daunting. Where do I start? Custom blocks, block patterns or just styling core blocks. In this talk, I will walk through the different options and share the benefits and downsides of each while talking about overall good practices for building great editorial experiences.”

If you are looking for other talks, you might have missed, 23 WordCamp Europe 2021 talks are now available on WordPress TV

Upcoming WordPress Event

July 7th, 2021 -1pm EDT / 17:00 UTC
Hallway Hangout: FSE Testing call #8 theme.json with Daisy Olson

July 17 + 18th, 2021
WordCamp Santa Clarita

  • 1pm PT / 4pm ET / 20 UTC – FSE: What’s Coming to 5.8 & the Story of the Outreach Program w/ Anne McCarthy
  • 2pm PT / 5pm ET / 21 UTC – How Theme Developers Should Approach Full Site Editing w/ Joe Casabona
  • 3pm PT / 6pm ET / 22 UTC – Rapid Landing Page Creation With the WordPress Block Editor w/ Daisy Olsen

July 23, 2021
WordFest Live The festival of WordPress

  • July 22 – 10 PM EDT / 2 UTC – Learn to Build Blocks with Advanced Custom Fields w/ Cameron Jones
  • July 23 – 3:20 pm EDT / 19:20 UTC How to Create a Fast Loading Stylish Homepage with Blocks & CSS w/ Davinder Singh Kainth

August 6 + 7, 2021
WordCamp Nicaragua

September 21 + 22, 2021
WPCampus 2021 Online
“A free online conference for web accessibility and WordPress in higher education.”

On the Calendar for WordPress Online Events you can browse a list of the upcoming WordPress Meetups, around the world, including WooCommerce, Elementor, Divi Builder and Beaver Builder meetups.

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