I am back from our trip to Chicago. It is a fun city even when it’s cold. I took it as a training run for our Christmas travels to Canada in about four weeks. One afternoon, we walked Michigan Avenue, The Bean and the sculpture and botanical garden in Millennium Park. Another afternoon, we visited the Shedd Aquarium. It is definitely worth a visit should you ever get to Chicago. Their exhibition space is vast and wonderful. My favorite section was the Caribbean Reef with the most colorful corals, algae and fish. The greatest joy was however to spend some quality time with my coworkers at Automattic, Tara King and Ryan Welcher. Turns out we all like beer and scuba diving.
Now back to Gutenberg News, WordPress release and State of the Word. I had fun catching up on all the good vibe from the community.
Stay warm, stay calm, be brave and wait for the signs.1
1 Canadian Cree
Monday, November 22nd, 2021 at 7pm ET / 00:00 UTC join us for WordPress Meetup organized by the group in Montclair, NJ. I will talk about What is Full-Site Editing? and answer questions from participants. I am looking forward to seeing friends there and make new ones.
The Gutenberg Minute
As part of the WP Minute podcast, we record a minute of Gutenberg updates to be added to the show. Here is this week’s content.
- WordPress Theme Repository – List of Block Themes
- Update theme.json schema to refer to wp.org URL
- Add API to access global settings, styles and stylesheet
- Call for Testing: Site Editing Safari
Big Thank You to Matt Medeiros for including the segment every month.
Updates: The Full-Site Editing will come to WordPress 5.9, however not on December 14th. There are now 28 block themes in the WordPress repository.
Gutenberg Team and Core WordPress updates
The Beta 1 for WordPress 5.9 release has been moved to November 30th, 2021, due to not enough time to fix FSE interface issues for users. This also moves the date for the final release to January 2021. The new proposed schedule has January 25th, 2021 as release date.
- Tonya Mork, Core Tech Release lead posted more details on the Make Core blog.
- Robert Anderson, Editor Tech Release lead, posted the list of pending issues and blockers.
- Sarah Gooding posted WordPress 5.9 Delayed Until January 2022
If you want to assist in testing Beta and release candidate versions, Courtney Robertson, held a panel discussion with Core Contributors George Mamadashvili, Andy Fragen and yours truly on the various options to test upcoming versions. The recording is available now Testing the latest features in WordPress with resources and links.
After the Beta 1 release, you only need to install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin and set it to channel Bleeding Edge and stream Beta/RC Only.
Gutenberg 11.9 and 11.9.1 has been released.
Just before the Feature Freeze of the WordPress 5.9 release cycle, Gutenberg 11.9 was released. Andrew Serong published the release notes in What’s new in Gutenberg 11.9.0 (10 November).
Justin Tadlock posted the details as well: Gutenberg 11.9 Focuses on Navigation Menus and Block Theming
In Gutenberg Changelog newest episode (#55), Grzegorz (Greg) Ziolkowski and I discuss Gutenberg 11.9, WordPress 5.9 and Navigation Block. Surprise guest: Riad Benguella. Listen in and write us a review.
Theme Builders and Block Themes
Ellen Bauer wrote an Introduction to Theme.json and explained how the configuration choices work together to manage a build a block theme, like Aino and can be used in Classic themes as well. Bauer also invites you to a Twitter Spaces conversation on November 21, 2021 at 2pm to the WordPress FSE & block theme chat
In his article “Skins” Are Back in Style, Proposal for Themes To Bundle User-Selectable Design Variations, Justin Tadlock commented on a Proof of Concept by Riad Benguella, who explored “a way for extenders to offer multiple global styles variations and the user would be able to pick up one of the variation for its site.” (on Github).
Channing Ritter also experimented and explored the possibility of switching out different style settings within the Global Styles panel. In the comments, Ritter mentioned that a feature like that could make it fairly quickly into the Gutenberg plugin for users to test.
Developing for Gutenberg and Building Custom Blocks
The latest Decode Podcast episode is titled Gutenberg with Jason Bahl. Kellen Mace and Will Johnston, talked to Jason Bahl, creator and maintainer of WPGraphQL plugin and ecosystem, about the benefits of Gutenberg, what’s lacking in Gutenberg’s current implementation, and what implementations exist for rendering Gutenberg in headless WordPress.
Matt Watson shared his experience in Creating a Custom Block for WPOwl. The task was a Link block displaying and image a text blurb and a URL. Watson then described his implementation journey and covers these steps:
- Building a Reusable Block,
- Convert it to a Block Pattern
- Why use a Block instead of a Pattern
- Create a Block WordPress Script
- Write the edit.js and save.js functions
- Create Block Styles and Variations.
The final block is now used on the WPOwls newsletter. You can study the code via the public GitHub repository
Editor Maciek Palmowski announced the WPOwls Challenge for the WordPress community to build a similar block with different tools. Besides the version built as Block Patterns and Native Custom Blocks (ReactJS) they already have versions built with ACF Blocks, and via Block Builder plugin. There are other tools available, for instance you could us Genesis Custom Blocks or Lazy Blocks or a Dynamic Block.
Ryan Welcher live-coded again this week. He walked us through the first part of Creating a Poll Block for Gutenberg using React Google Charts and the native WordPress Create Block script.
Joe Hoyle, co-founder and CTO of HumanMade, published an experimental library to render custom Gutenberg blocks built in React (front-end) on the server (using PHP V8JS). Hoyle wrote in the Readme file of the repository Block Editor SSR “Building blocks that will render as a React-app on the front end has many possible architectures and solutions. Block Editor SSR expects blocks to be built in a certain way (the way that made most sense to me). Before detailing how Block Editor SSR will server-render and hydrate your custom React block, first let’s go over how building custom blocks in React (front end) is expected to go.”
Gutenberg for Site Builders and Content Creators
Kathy Zant, new product marketing manager for KadenceWP, introduced the new premium plugin, Kadence Conversation, as a no-code interface to create lightweight and performant popups, modals, slide-ins, and banners for your site. At the time of this post, the plugin is available via Black Friday sale at 40% off.
In his tutorial, Ben Dwyer explains how to use the plugin Create A Blockbase Child Theme and employ the existing tools to modify a Blockbase theme, and then export a bundle of templates and theme.json as a new child theme. Justin Tadlock wrote about it, too.
Block Theme No 28 was added to the WordPress Theme repository. Justin Tadlock took it out for a spin and shared his findings: Wowmall: A Free Experimental WooCommerce Block Theme. Tadlock wrote: “For an eCommerce theme, it is much cleaner than others I have seen, and it leverages almost every piece of the block system. It ships over 30 block patterns.”
November 22, 2021 – 7pm ET / 22:00 UTC
Meetup Montclair, New Jersey
What is Full-Site Editing? w/ Birgit Pauli-Haack
November 23, 2021 – 10:00 am EST / 15:00 UTC
WordPress Social Learning
Discussion: Discovering theme.json for WordPress themes with Daisy Olson
November 27th, 2021
WordCamp São Paulo
December 11 + 12, 2021
December 14th, 2021 – 5:00 pm ET / 22:00 UTC
State of The Word w/ Matt Mullenweg + Q & A
February 4+5, 2022
WordCamp Birmingham, AL
Call for Sponsors and Speakers are open now.
March 4th, 2022 all day
a 24-hour festival of WordPress. Call for Speakers is open. Deadline Dec 6th, 2021.
On the Calendar for WordPress Online Events site, you can browse a list of the upcoming WordPress Events, around the world, including WordCamps, WooCommerce, Elementor, Divi Builder and Beaver Builder meetups.