We are running towards WordPress 6.4 Beta 1! Gutenberg 16.7 RC candidate was released this week. What are you most excited about for this major WordPress release? For me, it’s the Block Hooks that allow you to auto-insert blocks and the font library it empowers users to manage local fonts for their site that are independent of the design of the theme.
The best way to learn how all the new features with WordPress 6.4 work is to follow along with the 26th Call for Testing coming out of the FSE Outreach program: FSE Program Testing Call #26: Final touches by Anne McCarthy.
Congratulations to the team of Openverse for winning the Open Infrastructure Award! Many of our featured images originate at the directory of Creative Commons licensed assets. Did you know that you can search the directory directly from your image block? Try it out.
And as always, there are more updates in this edition. Enjoy!
Developing Gutenberg and WordPress
Next week is release week! WordPress 6.4 Beta 1 will be released on Tuesday, September 26th, and Gutenberg 16.7 on September 17th, 2023.
Apart from the gazillion ‘quality of life’ improvements of site editor, writing flow, list view and blocks, there are four big features coming to 6.4: The Font Library and Management, Block Hooks, user added categories for Patterns and the image Lightbox feature
As mentioned above, Anne McCarthy published FSE Program Testing Call #26: Final touches. The instructions lead you through the array of new features for WordPress 6.4: You get to learn how to manage fonts, get your side organized using the Command Palette and rename Group blocks. Then you are asked to create a new Pattern and finish a Portfolio page. You also get to swap out patterns, and handle the display of a like button. It’s a fun call for testing for sure and the deadline for feedback is October 9th, 2023.
Gutenberg 16.7 RC
Gutenberg 16.7 Release candidate is now available for testing. It’s the last release before WordPress 6.4 Beta 1 and all new things should be already in there, except for three features, Lightbox for image blocks, Block Hooks and Font Library. Additional refinements will be made in upcoming Gutenberg releases that will be synchronized with the WordPress 6.4 release cycle all through the Beta period.
Gutenberg 16.7 has a whooping 290 PRs merged. When you consider that there has been an additional week to merge new code, it maybe isn’t so much. But of course, the changelog is again a mile long. Sarah Norris handled the release as part of the Editor Tech lead role on the underrepresented led WordPress 6.4 release.
Tammie Lister is Norris’ co-lead and joined me again for this week’s Gutenberg Changelog recording. We discussed the most important PRs during the recording of the 90th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog podcast on Thursday. The episode will arrive at your favorite podcast app over the weekend. We also discussed the features that will make it into WordPress 6.4 and what we are excited about.
Plugins, Themes, and Tools for #nocode site builders and owners
Nick Diego announced Block Visibility 3.1.0: Introducing WooCommerce and EDD controls, after improving the WooCommerce and EDD integrations for sites with large product/download catalogs. Diego mentioned a notable change to the product-based rules. “Previously, you had to select which product you wanted to target with the visibility conditions. While this is still possible, Block Visibility can now detect the current product.” he wrote.
With this version, the migration from Pro features to the free version is complete. Once you update to 3.1.x it’s safe to deactivate and uninstall the Pro edition. The complete changelog is available on GitHub
Sarah Gooding has a reported on the plugin update for the WPTavern, too.
Jamie Marsland interviewed Mike McAlister creator of the Ollie theme on Will WordPress Block Themes ever be as popular as Classic Themes? They discussed some reasons for a seemingly slow adoption of block themes.
Right on cue, Fränk Klein tweeted about the key benefit of Block Themes and Full site editing: Interoperability.
- Content written with blocks is stored as HTML. So you can transfer it to another CMS.
- Plugins that use blocks work with all block themes. Without needing an extra compatibility layer.
- These plugin blocks, if written the right way, inherit theme styles.
- And in the near future patterns (previously called reusable blocks) will be portable between themes.
- There is no page builder, theme framework, or metabox plugin that can do the same.
What do you think are the biggest hurdles for you? Hit reply on the email or share in the comments here.
New tutorials on Learn.WordPress
The WordPress Training team released new tutorials for WordPress users:
- Intro to the Site Editor
- Scheduling posts and pages
- Creating your own custom synced or non-synced patterns
- Using Block Patterns
Theme Development for Full Site Editing and Blocks
The new default theme: Twenty-Twenty-Four is progressing fast, too. You can follow along via the demo site, the Slack channel, the GitHub repo and via the meeting notes:
- Demo Site on 2024.wordpress.net/
- Meeting in #core-themes channel
- GitHub Repo: TwentyTwentyFour
- Meeting notes on Make Core blog: #twentytwentyfour
Building Blocks and Tools for the Block editor
Matthias Hunt and Michelle Schlup released their VS Code WordPress Syntax Highlighter. This extension provides syntax highlighting for the following WordPress syntaxes that exist inside traditional comment blocks:
- Plugin header fields (PHP)
- Block pattern fields (PHP)
- Theme header fields (style.css)
- Block markup (HTML + JSON)
Ryan Welcher started a series of twitch streams working on Block Developer Cookbook recipes. The first few broadcasts are now available on YouTube:
- 🧑🍳 Block Level Validation – How to create block level checks to ensure that button blocks have text in them before the post can be published.
- 🧑🍳 Connecting to Post Meta – How to create a block that can read from and write back to WordPress custom post meta.
- 🧑🍳 Block Variations is the latest in the series, streamed last Thursday and is only available on Twitch
Every Thursday at 10:30 ET / 14:30 UTC Ryan Welcher goes online on Twitch with live programming sessions.
🗓️ Save the date: Hallway Hangouts Galore
September 27th, 2023 at 14:00 UTC Developer Hours: Building better blocks with the ‘create-block’ package. Ryan Welcher and Nick Diego will be diving deep into the functionalities of the create-block package. Developed to simplify and accelerate the process of building custom WordPress blocks, this package has become an indispensable tool for developers of all levels.
WordPress Developer Hours are held regularly on the last Wednesday of each month (except October 2023)
Thursday, October 12, 2023, at 18:00 UTC Hallway Hangout: What’s new for developers in WordPress 6.4 Justin Tadlock, Ryan Welcher and Nick Diego will host a casual conversation about the most important and exciting developer-related changes coming soon in WordPress 6.4. From Block Hooks and the Font Library to improved Editor flows and the new Twenty Twenty-Four theme, there is just so much to talk about.
Thursday, October 19, 2023, at 15:00 UTC Hallway Hangout: Performance Improvements for WordPress 6.4 The hosts Emily Clark, Joe McGill and Felix Arntz will go through quick intros (what each person does/focuses on) before reviewing WordPress 6.3 performance impact in the field, diving into WordPress 6.4 performance improvements and looking ahead at what can be learned for WordPress 6.5.
Questions? Suggestions? Ideas? Don’t hesitate to send them via email or send me a message on WordPress Slack or Twitter @bph.