I am writing this from the Southwest Florida Airport on my way to Nashville, TN, the Music City. About 1800 people will descend for WordCamp US, Mullenweg’s State of the Word and Contributor Day, starting Friday. Finally we have a new release date for WordPress 5.0: tomorrow (Thursday). Read Matt Mullenweg’s post and watch yesterday’s interview with Adam Presser of WPCrafter YouTube Channel. Also on YouTube, the Gutenberg Times Live Q & A with design and tech leads, Tammie Lister, Matias Ventura and Joen Asmussen. A lot more blocks popped up for content creators using Gutenberg and more tools for plugins developers to create blocks for the new editor.
About to board my plane now. 🛫✈️Hope to see some of you at WordCamp US (Livestream tickets are free) 💕 Birgit
If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done
I had a call with Matt Mullenweg to discuss some things regarding the upcoming Gutenberg release, the critiques around accessibility, and thoughts I’ve had around the way this release and other releases are scheduled. I’ll keep this note to the accessibility components.
There have been ample critiques of Gutenberg, with a great deal of heat especially around the topic of accessibility (they’ve been documented in this newsletter). Rightfully, many folks want to see more work done around making Gutenberg accessible for all users. I think that some of the critique is overdone and the temperature is a bit too high around the topic.
I believe accessibility — especially for a tool as widely used as WordPress — is very important. The a11y efforts around WordPress have increased a great deal over the years. However, WordPress, nor the broader web, have a great record for releasing fully accessible features from day 1. Is there more work that can be done to make Gutenberg as accessible as it can be? Yes. Has the team building Gutenberg worked hard to make it accessible? Undoubtedly yes. Is WordPress accessibility in need of more work? Yes. Is there complete consensus around what proper accessibility even looks like in Gutenberg? Not as far as I know.
Shipping software is hard. Shipping feature complete software is impossible. Pleasing every party with a stake is impossible. I don’t envy the team developing Gutenberg, nor Matt leading the effort. I wouldn’t want to touch it with a ten foot pole.
There have been communication breakdowns, it appears, between accessibility advocates, accessibility volunteers, and Gutenberg development team members. I do not think Matt Mullenweg takes accessibility lightly; he told me so, as well. I think that the team working on Gutenberg wants to make it accessible for everyone to use. I think there is a lot of hostility in the air. A11y advocates are an under-represented group, and too many times have had to “fight” for accessible software. I think there is a lane here to not fight, but to work with, Gutenberg team members to move forward. There is, I think, room for compromise.
I think it’s important to continue to identify, work on, and improve accessibility in Gutenberg (and WordPress broadly). I personally, cautiously, suggest we embrace Gutenberg shipping without a complete accessibility audit while seeking more people to help with accessibility moving forward.
It certainly would’ve been easier and faster for Automattic to isolate editor development further to make it available within WordPress.com without it in core first, but Matt tells me he believes Gutenberg in core — sooner rather than later — unlocks a lot of Gutenberg-reliant integrations and feature development from plugin developers and other software makers.
I don’t know how much the community is itching to work on top of Gutenberg but I do trust that it will become an important part of building with and on top of WordPress.
Obviously, we all want all users to be able to user every feature of WordPress. But the standard being put on Gutenberg is not one that’s historically been applied to new features; I don’t mention that as an excuse, but rather to put it in perspective.
The classic editor will continue to a viable and accessible solution for years. There’s a message going into core to propose, “Users of assistive technology who experience usability issues with Gutenberg should use the Classic Editor.”
One of the things I would personally like to see is, what would Gutenberg look like as a 100% accessibility ready editor? Is this out there? Is there a list of what would need to exist? Are there any web editors that are appropriately accounting for this experience — Squarespace, Wix, Medium, or others? I don’t know and am curious what a viable a11y-complete builder experience would look like.
I think it’s important to get above the trees to see the forest. Gutenberg is the vision from the project lead to take WordPress forward. Neither Matt or the hundreds of people working on that software take accessibility lightly. However, nothing is perfect nor just how we want it to be out of the gate. In fact, if we are 100% satisfied with a product upon release, we waited too long. In my view, Gutenberg has been very ambitious, and got very large in scope, and took too long. It’s time to get it out the door and start iterating.
One thing Matt mentioned was that in addition to the release, there will be point releases every two weeks to continue iterating, and fixing, issues. Gutenberg will not be a “set and forget” feature. That led us into the rest of our conversation around release schedules and development flows in WordPress, which I’ll save for another day.
Brian is a web developer in Birmingham, Alabama. He runs Post Status for WordPress professionals and Ledger Status for crypto investing enthusiasts.
Reading list: Accessibility
Accessibility Team Meeting Notes
The WordPress Accessibility Team meets every week on Friday at 16:00 UTC (11 am ET) in the #accessibility Slack channel in the WordPress team space. Here are the links to their meeting notes and the two Gutenberg Accessibility Status Reports.
Actives Installs of Gutenberg just passed the 1 Mio milestone. 👏 🎉 If you are ready or not, WordPress 5.0 will come soon. It’s not going to be November 27, because of the four-day delay for the RC 1 release. The goal is to have a stable release candidate before the final version is released. In the meantime, we found some fabulous themes that shine with the new editor. Plugin developers create some awesome Gutenberg Blocks for your post and pages. If you have questions regarding your site or how to get ready for Gutenberg, we collected a few articles that can walk you through the various aspects.
Today, I also installed the new Twenty-Nineteen theme by Allan Cole, supported by Kjell Reigstad as design coach, who also published the Music Theme earlier this year. The Post Grid on the front page is a Custom block by Mike McAlister and available in the Atomic Blocks collection.
WP4Good: Gutenberg Q & A for Nonprofits takes place on July 26th at 3pm (19:00 UTC) See the website for more information and registration.
Zac Gordon and Joe Casabona are back again with their “The Gutenberg Live Show” – the next event is on July 27 at 2pm ET (18:00 UTC). Starting August 9th they will go online every other Thursday, also at 2pm ET (18:00 UTC). For more information and sign-up click here.
Update May 29th, 2018
May 30th, 2018 at 1 pm ET – Live Webinar with Chris Lema of LiquidWeb. VP of Products, Chris Lema, explains the importance of Gutenberg and how it will impact your customers.
“In this five-session series we will sit down with prominent WordPress experts to find out what every developer needs to know to utilize WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg, the new WYSIWYG editor. They will talk through the details of designing sites, Gutenberg blocks, preparing your sites for Gutenberg, and a ton more!”
Joe Casabona announced the next series of Guteberg Live Q & A. He host the show together with Zac Gordon. Sometimes they invite guests. Updates on the events will be posted here gutenberg.courses/askus
Updated: Gutenberg & page builders, developing for Gutenberg and more.
Guten Tag Events March 5th, 2018
A series of four events is on the schedule on Crowdcast by Guten Tag events. Times listed here are on EST – The Google Calendar below lists them all for your personal timezone. You can register here on Crowdcast
3/5 – 7:30am Guten Tag#2: Fireside chat with Gutenberg team members: Mark Wilkinson (@wpmark ), Matías Ventura (@matias_ventura), Miguel Fonseca & Tammie Lister (@karmatosed)
10:30 – 11:30am Guten Tag #3: Future of Page Builders with David Lockie & Robby McCullough of Beaver Builder (@RobbyMcCulloug)
12:30 – 1:30pm Guten Tag #4: Practical How-To: Staying up-to-date with Gutenberg with Zac Gordon @zgordon
Gutenberg Live Q & A announce their next guests
3/2 – 2 – 3pm Live Q & A: Zac Gordon, Joe Casabona will talk with Ana Silva and Matthew Haines-Young of Human Made
3/15 – 12 (noon) – 1pm with special guest Robby McCullough of Beaver Builder
Update 2/22 We are keeping up with the online events. Doesn’t mean we won’t miss one. If you have an event scheduled and you don’t find it on our Google Calendar, let us know! We’ll update it fast:-)
Today’s update: Pantheon’s Webinar for Feb 27th, 2018 at 1pm ET / 20:00 UTC
Update 2/8: Today I learned about Nikola Nikolov’s “Tour de Core”. Every week on Thursday at noon PT ( 20:00 UTC) he broadcasts his research and development process via YouTube Live. He is building a block for Gutenberg with which a user can add photos directly from Unsplash to posts and pages. Browse his YouTube play list of Tour de Core Parts 1 – 7
Update: 2/6 We also will add future webinars and other online events. If you’d like to get your event lists, just tag @gutenbergtimes in your tweet or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org
Live Q & A w/ Gutenberg Educators
Zac Gordon & Joe Casabona, two educators who have publishin Beginners Tips and courses around Gutenberg since the beginning of the year are holding bi-weekly Q & A session. The
In our LIVE Q&A Sessions you can ask questions about Gutenberg and the changes it will bring and get answers from Joe and Zac right there on the spot.
In August a “Try Gutenberg” call out was released with WordPress 4.9.8 with a button to to install the Gutenberg plugin for post and pages or install official Classic Editor. If you install the Classic Editor, you will be able to keep using the current editor beyond the merge of Gutenberg into Core.
Beyond this global opt-out method, developers, consultants and site admins can make more nuanced decisions on how Gutenberg is implemented on their sites. Here is a list. If you find one missing, feel free to post a link in the comments and we’ll update the post.
Caveat: Use at your own risk. We did not test the latest versions of mentioned plugins.
Built-in Methods and Plugins maintained by Core Contributors
Gary Pendergast, summarized built-in Methods that will be available when Gutenberg is merged into Core.
Note: There is not a single method. It’s all depends on context.
The Classic Editor plugin is the option for reverting to the classic editor across an entire site. It’s being advertised prominently in the upcoming WordPress 4.9.8 release as an option to install now, in preparation for WordPress 5.0. If you’re a site builder who wishes to opt your clients out of the block editor, installing the Classic Editor plugin (and contributing with bug reports or fixes) is the best long term solution to ensure the classic editor will continue to be available.
For CPTs, the gutenberg_can_edit_post_type filter will be renamed when it’s merged (probably to block_editor_can_edit_post_type, or something of that nature), but will also be available as a code-based option.
Methods to avoid Gutenberg nag or modify it.
Built into Core with with 4.9.8
For site – owners, the easiest way is to just use the “Dismiss” link on the right side. Once you dismiss the prompt it won’t show up again. Wow, that was easy:-)
Via code in a plugin or in a file stored in /mu-plugins folder
The is also a new filter try_gutenberg_learn_more_link “that allows hosts or site owners to change the link, to provide extra information about Gutenberg, specific to their service or site. ” (Quoted from the trac ticket)
A recent start-up, intending a fork of WordPress 4.9.8, probably one of the last versions without Gutenberg. At the time of this writing (8/27/28), it’s not ready for anyone to jump on board. Stay in the loop via the website.“Forking is a features” Gary Pendergast, a WordPress Contributor blogged in August.
CalmPress is the name of another WordPress 4.9 fork. “to get a more stable and calm experience to all of its users” writes Mark Kaplun, the initiator of CalmPress. It’s not intended as a “one-man hobby”, but it’s what it looks like at this moment. You can follow along the progress via its blog
Craft is another PHP/MySQL based Content Management System, just released in it 3rd version. Back in April, the Craft Plugin Store was opened, integrated with GitHub and annual updates for residual income for the developers.
Ten days before the initially published releases date for WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg developer lead, Matias Ventura published the modified schedule: final release to November 27, 2018. Beta 4 on Monday, Beta 5 on Thursday and November 19, the first release candidate (RC1) is to come out. Plugins with various sets of Blocks are available to augment the default editor’s set, with call to actions, galleries and various column layouts. What do other people do with Gutenberg? Find out on various blog posts, podcasts and video shows. We gained a week to get ready. If you can, help testing 5.0 Beta 4 on Monday and Gutenberg 4.3. Or get some rest — Birgit 💕
Everybody is getting ready for WordPress 5.0 – Developers on various Core teams are working feverishly merging Gutenberg into the WordPress core. With the 2nd beta version available, Themes and plugin developers are making their products compatible with the new default editor or building guard rails around it. We see lot more opinions on Twitter from bloggers and content creators. Some express joy working with Gutenberg, and some are opting for the Classic Editor. Blocks for the editor are mushrooming in various initiatives. This Round-up post is extremely rich. Grab your favorite beverage and enjoy! — Birgit 💕
Also take your time to read the various comments. It’s gives a lot of insights on what Gutenberg developers are aiming for and what their process is. The discussion is very civil and thoughtful.
The post was one of the more rationale and reasoned looks at everything, and I really appreciate Joe and the team’s work in putting it together. It’s a starting point for prioritizing the extensive accessibility work that has gone into improving WP’s core editor already, but a key thing we have to fix is the team working in a less adversarial way with all the other contributors to WordPress — for example collaborating on posts like this, not tossing them over the transom.
Gutenberg 4.1 lists new features: Page & Block Navigation, High Contrast Mode, Auto formatting, Audible Messages, “options” modal, video for Cover block and plenty of bug fixes. It’s available as release candidate. Speaking of release: Yes, WordPress Core 5.0 Beta 1 was released early this morning. More blocks for your content, plugin authors are getting ready for the block editor as well as Themes builders. Another vast array of goodies for the Gutenberg early adopters. Have fun – and keep testing Gutenberg! — Birgit 💕💕
Peter Roesler wrote in Inc about the new editor in WordPress and reaches corners outside the immediate WordPress Community. This week, it’s all about the good, the great + the “going to take some getting used to” elements of Gutenberg.
WordPress 5.0 – a major milestone, will have the new visual editor, code named Gutenberg, included as the default editor. The WordPress Core Team built fall backs into Gutenberg and also created the plugin called Classic Editor to help sites, that are not yet ready for Gutenberg for various reasons. In addition, plugins like Gutenberg Ramp and others take the idea further and offer more in-depth and more granular migration paths. A warning, for small business site owner or a content creators, this post will lead you astray into the weeds, and might be too much inside baseball.
Over the last couple of weeks, a few people came out with their ideas, how they want to cater to the people who don’t want Gutenberg in Core, beyond the already available Methods to avoid Gutenberg. They oppose Gutenberg in principle. Others fear the Classic Editor might not be around long enough to make it the foundation of a multi-year migration strategy.
WordPress Versions and security patches for older versions.
Several times on twitter or in the support forums, I suggested to people unhappy with Gutenberg as well as the Classic Editor to stay on 4.9.x until they are ready to go Gutenberg. Some laughed at me “Are you serious?”. Well, yeah. People are not all updating to the lasted WordPress version. Only 62% of active WordPress installs are on version 4.9, the other 38% are working with older versions.
All security updates issues via the Core Team are regularly also patched back to earlier version. The oldest is 3.7 released in October 2013. It was the first version that made automatic updates available to WordPress sites. The Security Team issues the last Security updates in June 2018 and WordPress 3.7 is now available in version 3.7.24.
Matt Mullenweg on Classic Editor
I love that people are using the Classic Editor plugin! There is an infinite number of ways that WP can be used and not all will be ready for Gutenberg when 5.0 is released, Classic allows people to still be able to update core and stay current with releases, and with the click of a button try out Gutenberg again in the future if they want to. It’s also trivial to maintain because Gutenberg also uses TinyMCE, so Classic Editor users will still get improvements and updates to TinyMCE — I won’t say “forever” but I don’t see any reason why we can’t maintain classic for the edit screen for many years to come.
“Forking is a Feature” is the title of Anil Dash’ post from 2010 ruminating about the open-source community and marking the point in time when forking went from being the ‘nuclear’ option to a ‘feature’ of creating new things for a projects. He also explains how Git and GitHub facilitated ‘mass-forking’ by design.
In answer to the announced forking of WordPress without Gutenberg – ClassicPress, (more below) Gary Pendergast, composed his version of “Forking is a Feature” for 2018
Both articles highlight that forking is a very healthy way to pursue different paths in software development. Technologists have come to an insight “some problems are better solved with lots of different efforts instead of one committee-built compromise” (Anil Dash)
There a various reasons for the need to postpone or completely forgo a WordPress 5.0 upgrade.
Some projects don’t have the budget nor the resources to keep up with the technology.
Some are working in very large organizations that have a multi-year technology plans.
Some are find Gutenberg is detrimental to their text-heavy content production and will never want to use it.
Some sites have too much custom-built components, that would need refactoring, which might be cost prohibitive.
WordPress Sans Gutenberg: ClassicPress
ClassisPress starts out as a ‘protest movement’ with a petition and all and the promise contributors will keep their fork in sync with WordPress, yet without Gutenberg, and add features.
ClassicPress will announce the final launch date on October 31, 2018
WordPress LTS – A promise
Morten Rand-Hendrickson, WordPress trainer at LinkedIn Learning, and project lead for WPRig, published a post to advocate for WordPress 4.9.8 to be renamed as LTS (Long-Term Support) version. It would be a public commitment by the WordPress Core Contributors to support previous versions of WordPress. Morten reasons that no-one knows that, in fact, earlier versions of WordPress are maintained and receive security updates back to 3.7. WordPress LTS would give site and network owners time and ‘peace of mind’ to make the upgrade at their own time and alleviate the fear to soon run on obsolete WordPress. It might also raise expectations that WordPress LTS is updated with bug fixes and non-Gutenberg feature enhancements, and practically increase considerably the workload for the Core Team.
At the moment, there’s no intention to make WordPress 4.9 an “LTS” branch. The Classic Editor plugin is the way for folks to continue using the classic editor after upgrading to WordPress 5.0.
The WordPress 4.9 branch will continue to receive security updates as long as we’re able, historically we’ve been able to backport security updates back to 3.7. The official policy is unchanged, however: security updates are only guaranteed on the latest major release.
Gary Pendergast, Shepherd of the Merge and commit manager for WordPress 5.0,
What followed Morten’s tweet was an interesting conversation that brought a few more perspectives together, that go unnoticed in the noise around Gutenberg. Read the full thread here. Once we catch-up on all the other interesting Gutenberg updates (3.7 just came out). We’ll create a better readable version of the thread.
Not so fast – Use CalmPress
End of September, Mark Kaplun announce a new WordPress fork called CalmPress, a safe heaven for site owners and developers who got scared by the ambitious schedule for WordPress 5.0 release.