Designing Block-based Child Themes, Plugin Machine, WooCommerce Blocks and more – Weekend Edition 191

Howdy, howdy!

How was your week in the WordPress ecosystem? I hope got to enjoy the creative energy around the Gutenberg project, despite encountering the little quirks and bugs.

In this edition, you’ll find updates from the team working on WordPress 5.9, tutorials for the new features coming in WordPress 5.9 and tools and videos for theme and plugin developers.

Don’t forget to stop by at the Patternspiration site by Tammie Lister who added a few more beautiful patterns. Today’s creation shows a beautiful DropCap design.

Last week, I visited the local contemporary art museum, was fascinated by Robert Colescott‘s art. I am also a sucker for museums shop and spend some money on books. What brings joy into your life? Hit reply and let me know, please.

Yours, 💕

Table of Contents

WordPress Team updates

WordPress 5.9 is coming up fast. Robert Anderson, editor technical release lead, posted an updated list of Must-Have features of the block editor to be merged to core for the release.

On the WPTavern, Sarah Gooding recounts a discussion among Gutenberg Contributors Focus Efforts on Navigation Block for WordPress 5.9, Navigation Editor Punted to Future Release. We discussed it before, navigation menus are super important for site owners, as they guide the site visitor through the site. WordPress’ plugins are extending in many ways the menus and front end. The first version of the navigation block will not offer any additional extension and will be used in a block theme made for Full-site-Editing. It will not be part of the main navigation for classic themes.

Gutenberg 11.8 is now available in the WordPress repository. Vicente Canales published the release and Make Blog post: What’s new in Gutenberg 11.8 You’ll find instructional short videos as demos for some features. My favorite new feature is the auto-generated Anchors for Headings and the opacity controls for background in the Cover block. Developers might be happy to learn that a child theme’s theme.json file can now be merged with the parent theme.json. There were 166 PRs merged in total, and the changelog lists 80 Enhancements. 🎉

Grzegorz Ziolkowski and I recorded the Gutenberg Changelog episode #54 on Friday, published Saturday. You might see it pop up in the WordPress Dashboard News section.

Justin Tadlock took it our for a spin and posted: Gutenberg 11.8 Adds Dozens of Features, Including Featured Patterns and Automatically-Generated Heading Anchors

The third round of Q & A of the FSE Program yielded quite a few new questions. Anne McCarthy has connected with the teams and got you the Answers from Round Three of Questions.

Now that the block editor has been in the WordPress ecosystems for a few years, it’s time for a Redesign of the Gutenberg Page. Beatriz Fialho has a proposal and a few first prototypes.

 “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.

Content Creators and the Block Editor

Jamie Marsland published a tutorial on WordPress Gutenberg Full Site Editing for Beginners. He explains in short demos what new blocks come to WordPress, how Templates work and how you can control your site with Global Styles.

Courtney Robinson takes a deep dive to help you to Navigate WordPress Full Site Editing experience. She also provides links to tutorials on some components of Full-site-editing, like the Query block, and the template editor.

Joe Casabona asked in his post Should You Really Write in the WordPress Editor? The quick answer is probably not, neither in the classic editor nor the block editor.

Casabona uses Ulysses as his writing app (mac only, paid) and he lists a few other writing tools. I mostly use Google Doc, as I often collaborate on articles, especially when working with WordPress teams on the Make blogs. Being able to access the Google Doc app from all my devices and continue where I left off, or to answer comments, is invaluable.

The block editor’s power feature is that you can copy/paste from almost any tool into the block editor, and it just works. I remember the times when I had to spend another hour after finishing a long form piece to format it in the classic editor. Here the block editor shines widely. (Excerpt of a longer blog post by yours truly)

If you are looking for a more distraction-free writing experience based on the editor, try Iceberg by Rich Tabor and Jeffery Carandang.

Jeff Chandler also chimed in via WPMainline: I Hope This Is All Worth It

What is your writing process like? How does the block editor fit in there, or does it? Share in the comments or send an email

Wes Theron published the workshop “Using the Block Widget Editor” on Widgets provide a convenient means of adding content and features to a website and require no coding experience. This five-minute lesson will give an introduction to finding and including widgets on your website.

The list of workshops regarding using the Block Editor has grown quite a bit. If you are looking for tutorials to share with your clients and their editors, follow this link the page with all videos available

List of Workshops on about using the block editor

Design and Theme Building with Gutenberg

Eric Karkovack posted an Introduction to the WordPress theme.json File. “Developers no longer have to settle for Gutenberg’s out-of-the-box defaults or deal with clunky workarounds. “ He wrote, and went on to walk you through the various settings and their purpose.

Two weeks ago, we had Ellen Bauer, Anders Noren and Carolina Nymark on our Live Q & A and here is the post on the Discussion: Going from Creating classic themes to Building block themes with the recording, a ton of resources and the transcript.

Justin Tadlock posted about his journey into the weeds of Designing Block-Based WordPress Child Themes With a Single JSON File.

“Block child themes have partially worked in the Gutenberg plugin for months. However, the feature that I was looking forward to the most was not ready until a week ago. A new patch allows a child theme to overwrite single values of its parent’s theme.json file. Essentially, the two files are merged, with the child taking precedence.”

Justin Tadlock

Take a look at the post and learn why Tadlock got all excited about this feature.

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

Building Blocks for Gutenberg

Bob Dunn and Noëlle Steegs hosted on their show Darren Either, and Gary Murray, WooCommerce, and Manos Psychogyiopoulos of SomeWhereWarm. for An Inside/Outside Conversation Around WooCommerce Blocks in this #105 episode of DotheWoo Podcast.

This week, I hosted on the Gutenberg Time Live Q & A, members of the BuddyPress team, Mathieu Viet, Varun Dubey and David Cavins and discussed their journey converting classic widgets to dynamic blocks. The recording is available on YouTube. The post, with resources and transcript, is in the works.

Brady bunch view: Varun Dubey, Mathieu Viet, Davic Cavins and Birgit Pauli-Haack

The @wordpress/create-blocks package now supports local templates. Ryan Welcher took it out for a spin on this week’s Twitch stream. On GitHub, you find the corresponding Issue and PR. The documentation was updated as well.

For advanced Gutenberg developers, Adam Zielinski wrote about Thunks in Gutenberg.

Plugin Machine is the name of a new tool, Josh Pollock has been working on for a few months. It’s an Electron app for plugin developers to get a head start on the plugin development and deployment.

He wrote: “ It can create plugins with blocks, editor sidebars, custom admin pages, remote updater, common actions and filters, custom content types, local development, tests, GitHub actions, and many other things. The UI for creating plugins, managing features, modifying generated files and downloading development versions of the plugin is nearly done. I am also making good progress on the CLI. I am almost ready to start early access.”

Josh Pollock was one of the early JavaScript educators in WordPress community together with Grzegorz Ziolkowski, Zac Gordon and  Brian Richards at WordCamp Miami in 2018. Pollock is also the original creator of Caldera Forms plugin that was sold in 2020 to Ninja Forms and will be phased out by the end of this year.

It’s a shame as it was one of the few form builders, who offered more features beyond creating forms. Other plugins developers could connect with it and create sophisticated processors for the submitted form data and integrating other systems.  Josh certainly knows what plugin developer might be looking for. 

WordPress Events

November 3rd, 2021 2pm EDT / 18:00 UTC
What is Full-Site Editing in WordPress?

iThemes Webinar w/ Birgit Pauli-Haack

November 3rd, 2021
WordCamp Spain 2021 Online
Please note: all presentation will be in Spanish

November 4th, 2021,
WPEngine Summit 2021 (EMEA)
starts at 10 am UTC / 6am EDT

With many fantastic speakers, among them CEO Heather Brunner, Chris Weigman, Rob Stinson, Hashim Warren, Grace Erixon, and Brian Gardner

November 16th, 2021 – 11am EST / 16:00 UTC
Testing the latest features in Gutenberg
GoDaddy Pro Online w/ Andy Fragen, Birgit Pauli-Haack, George Mamadashvili

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.

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“blocks” by ye auld bugga is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0