Happy Holidays ! Peace and Understanding around the World!
Hopefully you can fully unplug and be with your families and friends. Be present, be in the moment, look up! — Yours, Birgit 💕
Last week was probably the busiest week in WordPress community: WordPress 5.0 was released and WordCamp US happened. Also in Nashville, the inaugural Automattic Design Awards were announced. And by the time, I thought I was finished, 5.0.1 came out with a security patch all the way back to version 3.7.28. As I can’t keep track of it all alone, we followed -up on all-things Gutenberg during WordCamp US in our Live Q & A on Friday (12/14) with Mel Choyce, Chris Van Patten and Joshua Wold.
WordPress 5.0 was released with a nice little video and Jeff Paul’s Field Guide provides all the additional information on the changes for developers, designers and consultants.
At WordCamp US the talks were live streamed and volunteers on the WordPress TV team are working on getting them sliced and uploaded to WordPress.tv. Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word is already on YouTube. In my previous post on Gutenberg Talks at WordCamp US, I added the time stamp links to the live stream videos for you to review.
During State of the Word, Matt Mullenweg showed off some of the work that has been done with Gutenberg and we followed up with a #280Blocks section and links to plugins offering Custom Blocks for content creators. The same with displayed Themes. There is even more to read, but that’s it for today.
With WordPress 5, the new block editor, codenamed Gutenberg made its way into the core of WordPress. Some of you might heed to the calls of caution. Every new feature has some teething problems and unless you want to spent some of your time troubleshooting update issues, the prudent thing for you to do is to resist and to install the Classic Editor plugin.
At Pauli Systems, we have been using Gutenberg in production for many, many months for new site projects. And from experience, I can tell you, once you get into the habit of working with Gutenberg you will prefer it, and it will be hard to go back to the old editor. However, for content heavy and complex sites, we go the route of caution ourselves. For most of our long time clients we will wait for later versions of WordPress 5.0 to start the implementation process. We estimate it’ll happen in February or March 2019.
If you business depends on your website being up and making you money, you, too, want to hold off and install the Classic Editor, or just wait with the update. You also need to have a safe space to test your site for Gutenberg readiness. We show you here how to create the safe space.
There are quite a few options for you.
Local install a local development suite like Local by FlyWheel or Desktop Server by ServerPress. Both have easy installs for Mac and Windows. We use them, for instance, to quickly create new WordPress instances for clean out-of-the-box testing of plugins in combination with Gutenberg. Both applications require some RAM and CPU time on your machine, though.
Managed hosting companies, like WPEngine or Pressable, provide you with easy “Clone-your-site” features, some for free some will charge additionally, depending on your contract.
What’s a small business DIY site owners, a blogger on shared hosting to do? The fine folks of Pantheon, provide staging sites for free and you can use them as long as you need it. We walk you through the process in this post.
This post has three sections:
Detailed instruction, you should read before starting. We show you also screen shots and videos. The videos tie it all together, illustrate the flow, and help avoid problems.
Found Trouble, you see instructions are easy to follow, mistakes can be readily corrected, and the videos are important for a smooth migration.
The short of it – Bare bones instructions to perform the migration when the you are ready.
How much time is involved?
To read this post, you probably need about 5 minutes. It’s mostly text, screenshots and 3 mini-videos of 30 to 40 seconds videos.
Getting everything set-up is as complicated as logging in to your live site as an admin.
Starting the process and letting the robots do the rest of the work, will cost you probably another 5 minutes.
Then another two minute to check back if the migration process is finished.
Total 12 minutes.
A few ‘accidental techies’ at nonprofits tested these instructions and the whole process. We incorporated their feedback to improve these instructions. You can do it too! Let me know how it went in the comment section.
“The videos are really helpful and you should watch them before you start on this journey!”
Pantheon has a heart for WordPress site owners and provides free staging development space, knowing you can’t experiment or improve a site without having a safe space that doesn’t interfere with your organization’s live website. And you can use it without a change of the hosting for your live site. But of course, if you like it, you should stay. I have been using Pantheon way longer that they were a sponsor of Gutenberg Times.
What will happen throughout this migration process? An overview.
You need to be able to open browser in new tabs and navigate a multi-tab browser window
You need to have administrator permissions on your site
You need to have one of the browser tabs logged in as administrator at current website.
This process takes three steps:
First you tell Pantheon which site you want to migrate and what CMS you are using.
Then you install a plugin that copies the site, connects it with the new space at Pantheon, and installs the site on the development server at Pantheon.
Finally, you log into the staging site with the same credentials as your live site.
Most of the process happens in the background, and it can take about an hour for a fairly large site. But don’t worry: neither your browser nor your site will be “bogged down” during the time it takes. Just leave the browser tabs open. Everything will happen in background, and you can stop by at your Pantheon dashboard to see if the migration has finished.
If this is the first time you are done something like this, you might wonder if it will change anything on the existing site. The answer is No. It will need to know your live site’s URL, and it will help you install a plugin on that live site. But it will change nothing else, and your visitors won’t notice anything different.
You might also fear that this is a technical process that is over your head. Don’t worry! If you are able to fill out online forms, you can do this. And if you are stuck, Pantheon has a Live Chat to connect you with a technician. Or you can just ping me and we’ll figure it out together.
After the migration you can test and play around on your staging site to you heart’s content. That won’t mess up your live site. In fact, that’s the whole point of this exercise!
How long you might ask can the staging site be hosted on Pantheon? You will rejoice to read that it can stay on Pantheon as long as you need it. And it will do so at no charge.
One more thing: Make sure that on one of your browser tabs you are already logged in with your administrator account on your WordPress site. I’ll help with the seamless background processing Pantheons support through their migrations process.
If you already have an account, now is the time to login.
For your Sign-up all you need is your
Work email address and
No credit card, no long form to fill out or decisions to be made. When Pantheon writes “You only pay when your site launches”, it means you pay only when you connect your site to a public domain name, the url changes from “dev-some-thing.pantheo.io” to “mydomainname.org”.
Once you are on your dashboard, you can start with the migration.
Select “Migrate Existing Site”.
It will be a 3-step process, as indicated on the top of the screen.
Watch this short video before you start. It’ll helps you get comfortable. When you watch it the second time, I want you to watch the the “Site-Url” changing while typing to see the context
And then there they slip in another step: Install and Authenticate. It’s ok. It’s easy.
Install the Migration plugin on Your Live Site
Next you’ll click on “Install on /wp-admin” See in below video what will happen once you do:-)
This feels like a local news teaser: Your World will change for ever. News at 11
Seriously, what will happen is that the “Install on / wpadmin” Points to a page on your live site’s plugin page and once you click “Install Now” in the right corner of the screen, it will initiate the plugin install on your site. Then you have to active it.
Once installed and activated, you will first connect the plugin to your Pantheon site. Next add the “Machine Token” from your earlier screen (the tab is still open in your browser). Finally click on “Migrate”
Now we wait.
Copying and migrating is all done by means of the Blog Vault tool which Pantheon provides for this process.
You will be able to follow the process which will take between a few minutes and an hour.
That part is as interesting as watching grass grow or paint dry. It has a zen kind of way to it, so if you need a break from an otherwise hectic day, this is a good way to calm your nerves.
You can leave the tab/window open and get back to your Pantheon screen and click on “Confirm Migration Progress”
We’ll come back to this after the process is finished.
At any time, you are free to stop the migration process either on this screen via “Cancel Site Migration” or from the screen on your site which displays the Blog Vault screen. Just click on “Cancel Migration.”
You also don’t need to wait for a “block your browser” tab. You can just continue your other work. The fine folks at Pantheon give you permission: “You don’t have to wait here – we’ll email you when your site is ready.”
Depending on how large your site is, and how many posts and plugins it has, the migration may take more than hour or two. Keep an eye out for that email:-)
And be aware that each server site has its own time-out settings. Don’t worry about that. If the process stalls for any reason, go back to either your live site or to your pantheon dashboard and restart the process. It will begin where it left off on time-out.
Migration is Complete.
Congratulations! You did it!
Click on “Visit the Site Dashboard”. You may feel a little overwhelmed as a new comer. Ignore the techie stuff and just concentrate on the grey buttons.
When you click on “Visit Development Site” you’ll see the public view of the copy of your site. You might want to bookmark this page, so you can easily return to it or share the URL with your team members or bosses or your consultant.
Click on “Site Admin” to enter the WordPress Dashboard of your staging site.
You can even use your customary username & password: since this is a copy of your live site, it also copied all users with their credentials.
Are you able to take it from here? Need more assistance? Let us know in the comment section or via the Contact Us – page
The Short of it
Preparation: On one of your browser tabs log in with your administrator account on a WordPress site.
Create a Pantheon Account. (Or log in if you already have one. )
Work email address
Select “Migrate Existing Site”.
Enter the existing site URL
Select that site’s CMS ( click on WordPress)
“Step 1. Install the Migration Plugin” (Important: Do not close this page. You will use it later.)
Check your wp-admin page: (The Pantheon plug-in may already be on it.)
If the Pantheon plug-in is NOT on your wp-admin page, click on download the plugin. When the plug-in is there, click on the button in the grey box Install on /wp-admin
“Step 2. Paste This Information into the Migration Plugin”
See 2 boxes with entries: “Pantheon Site Name” & “Your Machine Token”.
Paste those entries into the Migration Plugin Blog Vault.
Click on “I agree” box.
Click on “Migrate” box.
Wait. It may take an hour or more. When finished you will receive an email with further instructions.
PostScript: Found Trouble
A note from Mary Rack who went before you and ran into minor trouble
I started the migration process after reading the explanations and studying the screen prints, but without viewing the videos. That was a mistake. Those videos are important.
I followed instructions blindly, and made tabs of some pages, but I had trouble finding the right tabs later. Fortunately, when I could not locate the one with the “machine token” when it was needed, I recalled reading that I could create a new one if I failed to save the original.
I had been rattled, but was relieved by that recollection. I created a new machine token easily, and finished with no more mishaps.
Had I viewed the videos, I suspect I would have had no trouble returning to the original token’s location.
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 email@example.com
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.