Gutenberg Changelog
Gutenberg Changelog
Changelog #43 - Gutenberg 10.5, Block Patterns Directory and a Call for Testing for WordPress 5.8 Release
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Birgit Pauli-Haack and Grzegorz Ziolkowski discuss Gutenberg 10.5 release, Block Patterns Directory, WordPress 5.8 release progress

Show Notes / Transcript

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Show Notes

Gutenberg 10.5

Block Patterns Directory

Block Pattern Directory Update

GitHub Repository

Pattern Directory Targeted to Launch with WordPress 5.8

End of Life for Internet Explorer 11 Support

Process: Gutenberg Merge into Core bleeding edge

Editor: Update WordPress packages to use with WordPress 5.8

GitHub Pull Requests for Code Review

WordPress Beta Tester Plugin

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Transcript

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello, and welcome to our 43rd episode of The Gutenberg Changelog podcast. In today’s episode we will talk about the new Gutenberg plugin releases, Gutenberg 10.5, then about the block patterns, and a call for testing, not only full-site editing, or the refactored gallery block, but also the 5.8 alpha releases. 

I’m Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator at the Gutenberg Times, and I’m here with my co-host, Grzegorz Ziolkowski, JavaScript developer at Automattic and WordPress core contributor. Good afternoon Grzegorz, how are you today?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Good afternoon, good morning, or good evening, depending where people live. I’m great. We finally have a proper spring in Poland.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Believe it or not, I could go out today in a T-shirt for the first time this year.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Wow. Good.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, but there is more. I also signed up for my first COVID 19 shot and it will be happening next week, so I’m very excited. It feels like the rest of 2021 is going to be very exciting. How about you? Did you get your first vaccine already?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, I’m glad you’re getting yours next week. Do you know what you’re getting? Are you doing Pfizer or….

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes, so I could peak. And I went for Moderna, because it was the shortest period of time. I would have to wait. And also, this is MRNA so it should be good. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. We got our Moderna shots, the second shots, already last week, so we are one week into the waiting period. And then hopefully we will first meet with friends mid-May, because they got their second shots as well, and we will go out for dinner somewhere. 

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Oh, that’s a new world.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: We were really looking forward to that, yeah. That’s a new world now. After-

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Like a newborn.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Exploring the world again and see what’s out there.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Absolutely, yeah. 

Announcements

So before we get into our Changelog or the Gutenberg plugins, I wanted to do a few announcements. If you, dear listener, haven’t heard the W briefing episodes, it comes out fortnightly, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, the executive director of the open source projects does tend….

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: And also my boss.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And also Greg’s boss. My boss too, as a contributor. This week she talked about, in an open source project, “Your opinion counts.” The user’s opinion counts, quite a big deal. The work is done by people who show up. I found the whole episode quite reassuring for me, as an existing contributor, and it also had an appeal for WordPress users to get more involved in communicating back to the team about bug reports or also, chime in on the public discussions on features and design. 

She also explained why and how user feedback is so important for building software for millions. We cannot think about all the things all the time. I think WordPress is translated into 200 languages. A lot of people around the world that are not English speaking, are actually using it. So it’s really important for everybody to … not everybody can do that, has the time for it, but it’s absolutely great to listen to that. I really appreciate Josepha’s leadership style, she is so good, and the show warmed my heart.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes, I totally agree with you. Josepha is always thinking about the community. She’s so compassionate and dedicated to help everyone succeed in the project. That’s great, that she’s so much reaching out to people now and sharing her vision, so more people can hear about that in her podcast.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. She also has a new editorial calendar for the new section of WordPress.org, and she started that I think, about a month ago. There’s a new post out. Mark and Grzegorz and I, we have been talking for over a year about full-site editing.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: We might lose the people who’ve come in new on our podcast, because they might feel that they’re jumping right into the deep end of the pool. If it’s not the case, you might talk to customers or other WordPress users, and they start now beginning to think of it, or learn about full-site editing, and how to explain that, might be hard for you. So, Josepha published a WordPress.org news post called, “Curious About Full-site Editing.” There she explains briefly what full-site editing is for each group of the users, being a site owner, or operator of a site, extenders, and contributors. It’s a short post in comparison to other people’s posts, and it definitely gets you a head start with the resources that she points out, with how to dive in. I just wanted to talk about this earlier in our podcast to show that there are new things out there for normal users, that are not so….

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Regular users.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: … to the regular users, not the ones that are so deep into the development, or into their WordPress core kind of thing.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, I think that’s quite important. Also, in the news section of the WordPress.org, there are more posts being published recently, related to full-site editing and the block editor. So definitely, you should subscribe and how to use everything related to the Gutenberg Project, because there are tutorials now, and there are some resources to learn WordPress website where, there is even more resources to explore if you want to get deeper in how to mostly, use WordPress as a product or website.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Glad you mentioned that. The learn.wordpress.org site has exploded with a lot of tutorials that are either, half and hour or 15 minutes. And then what is really helpful, is the discussion group afterwards. So even if the workshop has been up there for a month or two, you always get ongoing discussion groups on Meetup. So you definitely should follow up on that as well, if there’s a new feature out there, or you wanted to dive into a different area of WordPress.

Testing

Speaking of testing, there are only a few days left to work and comment on the latest call for testing, and your query quest. March 5 is the deadline. It’s an interesting test because you get to go to the heart of WordPress as a blogging platform or a post platform, where the loop is now in a block, it’s called the Query Block. We talked about this on the show before, about that, but I just wanted to remind you. If you wanted to participate, May 5 is the deadline. And if you listen to this afterwards, you definitely can go into the show notes and read up about the summary and what people surfaced about that particular Query Block. I think Anne McCarthy does a fantastic job.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Oh, yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Curating all of the feedback. Even if you only have 10 or 15 testers, but they surface so many bugs and so many additional ideas, that is very helpful for the team. So you can definitely contribute for that if you just go through the testing there.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, I must agree. This is one of the best things happening recently. If you compare with the initial Gutenberg release two or three years ago, I don’t remember. We didn’t have this type of testing, which shows that it was a big missed opportunity. However, I want to emphasize that Anne is doing an excellent job going through all those reports and picking the most important issues, so it’s not like, flooding with every single report, but she’s trying to combine the feedback and distill what’s the most important. Remember the second round of Ask Me Anything. She will be answering questions related to full-site editing, so if you have any questions you can send it to Anne, and she will go through that later.

I also listened to a piece of WPTavern Podcast, I think they started recording that again with a new host. Anne was also a guest there, and she was talking more in-depth about all the efforts she’s doing with calls for testing, and all the outreach. She’s trying to help find people to talk more how they feel about the full-site editing. It’s really insightful, you should check it out.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Nathan Wrigley did a great job in interviewing Anne about the full-site editing program on the WPTavern Jukebox, which is the new title of the podcast that was revitalized a month ago with Nathan Wrigley as the host. We will have other things; the call for testing, the call for questions, and the link to the Jukebox episode with Anne McCarthy, in the show notes, so you don’t have to Google with it. Now, speaking about podcasts, a big shout out answer to Bob Dunn and Mendel Kurland and the Do the Woo podcast. Grzegorz Ziolkowski was the guest in their….

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: That’s me.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s him. Was the guest in their 110th episode. I listened to it on my drive back to Sarasota yesterday, and it was a fabulous discussion about the opportunities of working with blocks in an e-commerce context, and also beyond the full-site editing. Mendel did a great job with his questions, and Grzegorz had some excellent explanations about micro templates and blogs, as the small building material for more complex implementations, and the advantages of a standardized interface for users and extenders in WordPress Core. So listen to that also, in the show notes. How did you feel about it?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Oh, yes. That was very hard. I was almost like doing interrogation, but I mean it in a very good way, because the questions were very well prepared and we went very in-depth in many aspects. I tried to think out of the box of the user, while thinking I have when I contribute and work on the features for full-site editing, or extensibility for plugin out-ers. The Woo is completely different landscape. They have different type of customers, they have different requirements. It’s more about making money. So the approach that has to be taken there is much more complex, in terms that you need to ensure that nothing breaks. So using alternative plugin product is not a good option on their website when you want to sell something. So that was an interesting perspective, to think about those types of website builders. If you want to learn more, definitely check out the podcast.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Ooh the Woo. And of course, a link will be in the show notes. 

Block-based Theme

I also want to give a shout out to Marcus Kazmierczak, who has on his Twitch channel, you can watch him build a block-based theme. He narrates the steps and the reasoning behind it. I learned a lot about watching Marcus and really, nothing beats a hands-on demonstration and walkthrough. So compliments to Marcus, and also, thank you to him for the shout out of the Gutenberg Nightly plugin build, available on the Gutenberg Times, that I create almost every morning so you have the newest merges from the Gutenberg team, that you can test. 

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, and I encourage everyone to try this plugin. Most recently we had Gutenberg 10.5 release, and we had three follow-up fix releases. So, that’s why I really think that it’s quite important to make sure that more people start testing this Nightly version, or you can also test using the RC that is always published a week earlier. It will help us to prevent these type of issues that we encountered this week after releasing the new version of the plugin. I just hope that more people start doing that. So speaking to….

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, go ahead. I’m sorry.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: We have a new version of the plugin that was released on Wednesday night … I’m not quite sure. Maybe it was even Thursday, my time. So, depending where you live. 

Bug Fixes

Before we get into that I just want to mention why we have back fix releases. Just after the release there were some major issues discovered, one of them being the feature for drag and drop from the inserted stop working, and there were some minor issues. The Select mode, it didn’t quite work, but it was very quickly. Like now, where we had bug fixes, but it introduced another regression. This is what happens when you try to fix things quickly. But we also have another back fix release. This is something very specific. If someone opts in for loading styles per blog on the front end, they could encounter these issues, that style would load in a wrong order. So some of the blogs wouldn’t be styled properly, but it’s also fixed. It was actually fixed a few days before, but somehow it was missed to be back imported.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Didn’t make it into the plugin somehow, yeah. I think some of the things also happen because now the time between the release candidate and the final release is actually a week.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: When you merge it you need to make sure it’s not going into the old release, it’s prepared for the new release. But then everybody’s working from the new stuff and, “What happened with the old stuff?” kind of thing. I’m not sure if the longer period actually did for the team what it was supposed to do, that people test more and longer on the new features, so when the release comes out, that it’s actually more stable. I think it could be that the opposite actually happened, yeah? 

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, you can tolerate it. You see the issues in the development branch and people react to that pretty quickly, however for the RC, I have no idea how many people actually test that. I know about Automattic, that there is a team that test that against WordPress.com, but how it’s happened, I have no idea. I know that when we release and it goes to people, and you get the auto update enabled on your website so people then go…. You know what I mean? It’s in the report issues, but otherwise… I don’t know if you can improve it. I like personally, this one week period that gives a lot of flexibility for the process. We probably just need to make sure that the feedback from testing is better communicated, maybe something like that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Just another thought for our listeners. If you want to use the Nightly to get the new features either, sooner, or get the fixes already that you found. Because, that was the original idea for me in October, that I was testing a lot for 5 point … I don’t know which was it, 5.5 probably. I connected with the team and there were so many updates already merged that I had two or three times the answer, “Can you test in master again?” “Yeah, it’s probably already fixed.” And I had to do it all over again, but only after I actually find the issue, and creating an issue is rather time intensive. So I said, “Okay. I learn how to do that and do a Nightly build.” 

Andy Fragen, who is also a core contributor on the beta tester plugin, helped me connecting that with another plugin that will update when there is an updated Nightly there. So once you install, not one plugin, but two plugins, you get automatic … not automatic updates. But you get the notification in your plugins that a new Nightly is there, so you don’t have to come back to the website. It will just be in your testing site, and you just click on the, “Update now,” like you do with other plugins, and you get the new version. It’s an interesting conundrum and we have some more information about that. 

So that’s about the updates of the point releases, but what is actually in Gutenberg 10.5, Grzegorz?

What’s Released – Gutenberg 10.5

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes. Finally. I think this release was really nice. It is fully packed with features. We still don’t have new features enabled for the major WordPress release, so we are still waiting, let’s say, for widget screen to be enabled for the inclusion in core. But let me go just into the Changelog and I can talk about some interesting stuff.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes, please do.

Enhancements

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: There are some changes to core blogs. One thing is very interesting; file block it now got an enhancement so you can embed PDF files and it shows now, a preview of the file. There is some little remark that it doesn’t work with all mobile devices, but in general it look really nice. You can also pick the height of this preview. So, definitely a very interesting option.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I remember we talked about it here on the Changelog before, but a lot of people really like their PDFs on their websites. If you can do previews, you can actually create some nice grids with columns to show more than one document on one page. So, I really like that.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. And also, people are discussing other file formats, so I hope to see more in the future. There is a new block, each release we have new blocks. This one is, post comments link block. It is just a tiny link that allows you to go to the comments section on the website for the given post. There is one interesting improvement. In the columns block, before you’d only hear when using assistive technology, and that you are in the column, and you are editing another column, and another column, but it wouldn’t tell you which one. Now it’s fixed. It tells the number, so this way, someone can navigate easier in the columns block.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that was really missing for a long time. We will have the link in the show notes as well. For someone who can see, it’s really important to learn how this … with a screen reader actually works. Or at least, how that sounds to someone who is only listening to it. It’s quite an interesting experience. The PR has actually, the video on how it is done now. A video, meaning what happens on screen, and with the voice announcement from the assistive technology.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. It’s very challenging to close their eyes and navigate in the detour. But in general, it’s really hard. We have also, another change related to global styles for the buttons block. We have now typography support so you can change font size.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yay. I was looking for it the other day.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: And there is a huge change for block patterns. As far as I’m aware, all existing block patterns were removed, but we have now, 15 new patterns, and they are updated. Also, that isn’t all. 

We discussed in past episodes that there is ongoing work on integration between patterns and the query block, and now there is also integration for other blocks. So if you go and click in the toolbar, on the transform button you could transform your block into a pattern. So it opens a lot of new possibilities. Some of the blocks that were enhanced in this way are paragraph, heading, list, and similar formatted in blocks. So it’s really nice, because it allows you to add some additional content to those blocks, like you can transform paragraph to a paragraph that is styled in a given way, and might add some media, or stuff like that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I really like that, yeah. It’s a very interesting interface now. And you can get to a very styled website pretty quickly now, with all the block panels that are in there. There were some nice ones, I just tested them just before we started working on it. 

Block Patterns

While talking about the block pattern, the meta team also just recently published a post, updated us on the block pattern directory on WordPress.org. Kelly Choyce-Dwan introduced the directory in a beta version, so now you can go to WordPress.org/patterns and they’re arranged in squares, in five categories, with button and columns, gallery, header, and text patterns. 

You click on a square and then you see a details page with a larger representation, and a button that says, “Copy pattern,” or you can favorite them. And there are handles on the left and right sides on it where you can test the pattern for different screen sizes. So you can use the handle and make it smaller or bigger. It’s a really interesting experience. You can also favorite them. Kelly wrote that the copy button doesn’t work yet, but I quickly tested it and just pasted it in a new post, one pattern in a new post, and it worked fine. So she might have, since she published that post, updated that, and maybe it’s not always working for everyone. But you didn’t even have to be in the code edit mode to actually, copy paste it. I was wondering about that, but that worked fine.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, I saw that as well, probably on my phone. It looked great there as well, so that means that patterns are really nicely prepared for also small viewpoints.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Screens, yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. I really like how it looks from the design standpoint, and I’m looking forward to how it develops. Also, one thing I wanted to mention is that, eventually block patterns bounded with the Gutenberg plugin, and soon the WordPress 5.8. They will eventually be moved out and they will be available only in the block patterns directory. So the integration between those two tools will be much more tighter.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Kelly also mentioned in her post that the interaction with the block editor is actually coming to the 5.8 release, and what else will be in there. So, anyone will be able to browse through the pattern on the website based on the categories and searching for them, then anyone can live preview them, and copy into their own code. You will also able to create and share block patterns on the site, so you can view and submit their own patterns. That’s where, I think, is the big power of this feature.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes, super exciting. I think that will be a game changer for people, that they will be able to go to one website, play with the blocks, create some incredible design, and share it with the rest of the community.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And if you, as a theme developer or designer, think about patterns, in the first iteration you won’t be able to upload any media, but you will be able to pick from curated images. So, if you have combination images with patterns, that’s how it’s going to work. To submit it, block pattern will also have a basic validation and automated moderation. And then, from the block editor you will be able to fetch and search the Core patterns from the directory. That’s coming to 5.8, to a WordPress instance near you. 

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Oh, that’s surprising. I didn’t know that there will be integration in the block editor.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I completely missed development on that part.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Similar to the blocks’ directory. So for now, if you go there, use at your own risk. It’s beta, it’s not in production yet. Check it out. Comment on her post. You can also follow along and contribute to the via the GitHub repository at github.com/wordpress/pattern-directory. Any comments on existing issue are certainly welcome. This was a little side note on the block patterns. Now we’re going back to Gutenberg 10.5.

Gutenberg 10.5

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes, and we are still talking about enhanced improvements. There is this new feature finally, it’s there, it’s called, template editing mode. So when you are editing your post or page, you can create a template, like something that will span over the whole page and plays the default PHP template using the theme. You will be able to use all the blocks available for full-site editing there. It got several enhancements just after it was merged when you open that. This will be in the sidebar. It has its own section in the document setting, so it’s probably under post status and post info. There you will be able to give it a name, then it will transition to a different view with nice animation, and it will have border, and some type of shadow just to stand out that it’s a different type of editing than you usually see. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, so it has its own section and then you can create a new template. Yeah? 

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, and then you will open a model when you can give it a name. And then it will transition to a new view that has a special border.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and you can add all the other blocks to it.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Full-site editing blocks. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Once you are finished you can go back to editing your post, and once you click publish, it will ask you if you are happy with the changes applied, so you can decide whether you want to save changes to that template as well, or you can also, well, revert that change. So, that’s the really exciting other thing with it.Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, that’s exciting because that’s pretty much the feature that will be in 5.8, and needs a lot of testing, and a lot ideas to come with that. It’s definitely the place we have said, “Okay, I want to have a landing

page that does not look like the rest of the pages, because I separately advertise it or share it with others.” So a user gets a lot more creativity going on their own site.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes. And also, one important note, in the plugin, it says, “Opt out.” There is a field there that allows you to say that you don’t want to expose it to users, so that’s really important. I’m looking forward to see how it ends up in WordPress 5.8, in what form. We will keep you updated on that one, for sure.

Bug Fixes

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent, yeah. So that brings us in the Changelog to the bug fixes, and there are plenty, like in every Changelog, concerning the block library, all the different blocks; there are additional refinement, like for instance the image block, now the media buttons are disabled when things are updated, when a new image is uploaded so you can’t go further without having a finished upload there. The block editor itself has a few refinements there, components were added and fixed, and the general interface … now there is a way to take the colors from the WPAdmin theme and have it in the block editor. One is, you can also hide the template selector and the template mode from non-viewable post types. I think the template only works with pages right now, and not for posts, and not for events, or anything else, so it’s hidden for that.

Experiments

This brings us to the ever smaller becoming experiment section, with right there now, instead of four, there are only three in there now. Because full-site editing, the editor itself, is out of experiments. So for the block-based widgets, we have a few changes and great progress in the integration to the customizer. There are now media upload capabilities in the block-based widget customize screen. You can now add rich text and also images, and video, and all other media, audio. And then there are quite a few fixes on the customizer integration. So this is definitely progress, and we’re looking forward to the next version of it, which will be 10.6. 10.7 will be the last one before the beta, so there are a few iterations to be seen.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: There’s two more releases. I hope that this will land finally because it looks really nice, I saw also, those changes and how they look, and indicates a lot of power. Now you not only can add widgets but you mix them with blocks, and that opens a lot of possibilities for site owners and in particular, for those who have classic themes. They don’t do anything, they can just start using blocks there.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And the legacy widget, that’s the method on how the existing widgets from your theme and plugins, are actually converted to block-based widgets. And they are always working on the backwards compatibilities. So if you are a theme author or a plugin author, and you have widgets in your plugins and in your theme, use this release to test your implementation and see what breaks. Definitely report it back to the team so they can now work on your use-cases and catch as many edge cases as possible, so when the rollout comes it’s not so pain inducing.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, I think they are working mostly with Core widgets, which is a quite limited list, so any feedback is very valuable in this context. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Because it’s also one of the most different integrations, similar to what we had with meta boxes, and initial Gutenberg rollout. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. This would really good to test this out. 

The navigation editor is progressing fine as well. There are really nice refinements. Only one stands out for me, for a user point of view, it’s that it will limit it to how many levels deep you can actually create a nesting navigation. Right now it’s five. It’s something to figure out because the real estate on the screen is limited. And what the interface does when it’s more than five is kind of up in the air, and they wanted to limit that. You’re not limited in not have more, but the display is only for five right now.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Oh, okay.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. The team around global styles is definitely working on integrating the theme.JSON, information, that it’s housing all the settings and all the styles for blocks, and template parts, for block-based themes. Do you have anything to say about that, Grzegorz?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. It’s also block support. This is features so you can disable some features for block, so if you don’t like a typographic that was just added to the buttons block you can just disable that using this theme.JSON. Also, it’s now a way to opt in for a full-site editing team. More so, I think the work is taking so long because Hunter, who is leading efforts, he is working on a mechanism that will allow in the future to introduce another version of the schema. So if you want to add new capabilities that won’t be very compatible, this will be the translational layer that will bring that. So it’s not necessarily something that is required for the initial release, however this is a great way to test existing experimental teams, that they will transition smoothly to the schema that will be included hopefully, in WordPress 5.8. So far everything’s looking on track.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Interesting experiment there. Definitely. Yeah, which brings us to documentation.

Documentation

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes, and there is a lot happening in that space. I think also, thanks to you, Birgit, the recommendation for Gutenberg is getting a lot of improvements. We are also working on tools. There is this tool called,Docgen, and this is a way to generate from the cold comments, the documentation for public APIs. So whenever something changes, it automatically gets updated and propagated to the block editor handbook. There was four changes, mostly how types of params are presented in the out. There was also an interesting change how block API are referenced is organized in the handbook. Marcus Kazmierczak works on that, so he sorted it differently by name, because there are so many sub pages. You should definitely check it out if you are interested in block development. Also, there is some general cleanup to make sure that it’s easier to scan and navigate. There are also many changes in the code quality section. 

Code Quality

One thing I personally work on is we are trying to standardized the way block editor settings are exposed from the server. The challenge is that in the initial release of Gutenberg we assumed that all happens around the posts, so those hooks that we want to change depend on the post object, which aren’t present on the edit widgets page, or in the future edit navigation page. So we will have probably to deprecate some PHP filters and create new ones. So if you have plugins that depend on the block editor settings, or allow block types, then watch progress on that, and they will a dev note as soon as we sort out how to move forward with that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes, interesting. It’s definitely a work in progress of so many years before, because you cannot anticipate what you do in 2019, what’s happening in 2021, right? Things need to be updated over and over again, it’s interesting, but it gets on the nerves on a few people.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, there’s more to it, but I could talk for an hour.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, yeah. 

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: On different considerations.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I have no doubt about it, yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Getting back to code quality, we also have a change for how drop zone works. It’s very technical, but we had this react component called providers that were used for this functionality, and now it’s refactored to use react hooks, which makes it much easier to maintain, and it will probably help also plugin out-ers to add drag and drop to their features. So check that out if you want to integrate better with this type of interactions.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Is this change responsible for not having that endless scroll when you’re on the bottom of things, and it kind of scrolls and scrolls, and scrolls, you never can land a block on the bottom when you go multiple screens?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: It might be, I’m not quite sure. Ella was working on that, and she was working also on the fix you mentioned, so that might be interrelated. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I’m glad.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: What I know about is that one of the bug fixes that we had out there, the plugin release, was related to this improvement. And the only change they had to do is just add one line to make it work. It just shows the power of the new API, the way it integrates. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s awesome. Yeah, I’m glad that that is finally fixed. All right.

Tools

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: We are in the last section, which is tools. There’s one thing that I’ve found interesting, that looked like an improvement into integration text for the web version, however it slipped in from the release for the mobile app. So if you are using WordPress mobile app on Android or iOS, those are created to ensure that everything works there correctly. Yes, I think that the way the app works is improving a lot. They add more Core blocks there. I don’t know. Do you use this app?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I try to but I always get stuck when I want to type text on a keyboard size of a brownie. And then I give up and say, “Oh, wait.” There was a very interesting plugin coming to the system from Felix Arntz, who actually has plugins called Save Target, and I was testing around with that. So you could use your own website similar to Instagram where you just kind of take the photo from your cell phone and then use the share functionality with your own website, but for that, a few things need to happen. I’m just mentioning that, that I’m not there yet but I want to get there, because I want to finish deleting my account from Facebook, and I’m still on Instagram, and that’s owned by Facebook. It’s so easy to publish your photos that I really don’t want to leave it, unless I have something that I can point people to. That kind of digresses a bit. But we have a few things more from build tooling in this release, and that’s your specialty. 

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. One thing that I wanted also to mention, it’s called WP ENV, it’s a package that you can download from NPM, it’s called WordPress/ENV. It is basically the development environment for Gutenberg. So if you are contributing, you most likely are interacting with this one. It got several improvements, I have no idea what that is, but it looks very advanced. So something that get a lot of improvements lately. 

One thing related to the PDF preview is that, there is now a way to build a script that is only used on the front end, so that lens will also be included in the navigation block. It will have this hamburger menu that, on the smaller screens, allow you just to show the icon, and upon clicking it will show you the menu. So it will be developed using that. That’s also one thing I discussed during the Woo podcast about Woo blocks, they mostly depend on similar techniques because they use a lot of interactivity on the front. That’s something that we’ll probably end up with a public API to use with all blocks, so plugin out-ers will benefit from that but we need to have more examples before we solidify that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm. Will that feature also make it easier to integrate with third-party API? Where, only the front end is actually displaying something, you don’t have to do a lot in the back end, like just a API key, or some authentication, but the rest is all always done in the front end, unless you want to have a preview in the editor. So would that also be possible, to use those front end points for display?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, I think that this is where it is heading. At the moment I have no idea how people do that, probably they just use some code that integrates. Maybe they bring some div tag and apply some data attributes to share those type of information. If you have some insight and you have plugins, reach out to me, give me some tool over your feature, and I will be more than happy to think how that would translate into the API that could benefit more plugin out-ers.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Okay, cool. Cool, yes. We’re almost at the end of the Changelog, right?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And that brings us to the end of the Gutenberg Changelog, from the plugin changes. 

What’s in Active Development or Discussed

We have a few things that we wanted to share with you from active development or a discussion. The previous two years when block editor changes come into Core, the earliest that was happening there was at beta. And that’s sometimes a little late to catch a few bugs and usability issues with Core. Grzegorz, you have been working on patching well, not patching. Yeah, patching Gutenberg plugin releases after plugin releases to WordPress Core, so that when somebody uses the beta test or plugin, and used the Nightly stream, and the bleeding edge channel, you could already see all the changes that were in the latest plugin, right? 

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: … did I say that right? 

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes, everything is correct. I made a promise one month ago that I will look into it, and with big help from Riad, we managed to back port all the non-experimental changes from Gutenberg 10.4 to the WordPress Trunk, which is the name of the branch where development happens in Core. We should have an update early next week. This week was a little bit hectic because of these bug fix releases, so I didn’t manage to get to it, or anyone else, but next week you should expect another update. I hope that after 10.6 you will see a lot of experiments enabled in Core as well.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s good. Then you can see it in its native habitat, the new things and the… But there were some other things that you want to point out, Grzegorz?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes, just one more thing about these changes in the WordPress Core. If you want to watch changes and be sure that you are testing the latest Gutenberg plugin, we’ll leave a link to the ticket, which is 52991, in the WordPress Trunk. There are more things, so I think one of the big news to share that, WordPress is officially dropping support for Internet Explorer 11 so I can tell that in Gutenberg 10.6 we won’t support IE 11 anymore, because all the changes required are already included in the development branch.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent. That’s for the admin part, it’s not for the….

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Users, who use Internet Explorer 11 and come to your website, still can see your website. Although, I think Microsoft has a tool where it actually interfaces with the Internet Explorer and shows you Edge instead. So there’s a push from Microsoft as well, to discontinue Internet Explorer 11. It’s not just something that WordPress Core contributors have from thin air. Some research went into that decision and we have the link in the show notes. You can read up about what brought us to this decision there. 

WordCamp Europe

All right, so before we end the show, I only have one more item, that’s the WordCamp Europe is coming about. Again, it will be a virtual event. We all had hoped we could go to portal if not last year, then this year, but there was the decision that it’s going to be a virtual event again, and it’s June 7 through June 9 in 2021. One of the three days will be a contributor day. I just remembered the contributor day from last year where, I did I think, eight hours of Zoom meetings, and meet all the other documentation contributors, and we on-boarded quite a few new contributors for the block editor end user documentation. It’s always good to see our friends from Europe, even if we are not able to do it physically, or in person. But it’s definitely one of the larger WordCamps, and the organizing team has always good ideas on how to make it still interactive, even if you’re sitting in front of your computer for another few hours.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes, it was a really interesting experiment last year, because it was one of the first online events like that, and a big one. I remember also sitting in front of my computer on Zoom and going through those charts. It was very interesting to see it from a different perspective. I hope that next year it will be in person and portal at last will have an opportunity to meet people, but let’s see how it goes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I remember last year, it was actually a decision within two months that needed to go from in-person meeting, that the whole year was kind of pushed into the in-person meeting before that, and then two months before the WordCamp was planned, there was a decision, “We go virtual.” So all of a sudden all the work, everything, needed to be canceled. I just wanted to remind that, that the organizing team spent a huge amount of time to, not only organize for an in-person event, but also cancel the event, and then gear up again for a virtual event. It was a great WordCamp. So June 7 to June 9, 2021, is WordCamp Europe. 

If you get a minute, you listeners, write us a review on Stitcher or iTunes, or any other podcast directory. We would love reading your comments. It also helps with the propagation.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes, you would like to hear from you what you like or not like, and how we can make the show better for you.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and it’s all for you. So as always, the shows will be published on the gutenbergtimes.com/podcast. If you have questions and suggestions and don’t want to write it in a public review, you can always send us an email to changelog@gutenbergtimes.com, that’s changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. Thank you Greg, I wish you all the luck for your COVID vaccine shot next week. Glad that you took the time again today to put this episode together.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Thank you very much. I hope it goes smooth and we will see in two weeks.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: It was great talking to you.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Thanks so much. Bye-bye, dear listeners, be safe. That’s it. Thanks for listening. Bye-bye.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Bye-bye.

Published by Birgit Pauli-Haack

Curating Gutenberg News since June 2017 web + mobile strategist & coder 4 nonprofits. - Day job @paulisystems Learn more

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