Changelog #45 – WordPress 5.8, Upcoming Live Q&A, and Gutenberg 10.7 and 10.8

Gutenberg Changelog
Gutenberg Changelog
Changelog #45 - WordPress 5.8, Upcoming Live Q&A, and Gutenberg 10.7 and 10.8
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Birgit Pauli-Haack and Grzegorz Ziolkowski discuss WordPress 5.8, Upcoming Live Q&A, and Gutenberg 10.7 and 10.8.

Show Notes / Transcript

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Show Notes

New Podcast Review by Dave Smith

Announcements

Next Gutenberg Times Live Q & A on June 24, 2021 11 am EDT 15:00 UTC

WordCamp Europe 2021 Block Editor, Future of Themes and FSE

WordCamp Europe: Full-Site Editing Panel discussion

What’s Released

WordPress 5.8 Beta

Gutenberg 10.7

Gutenberg 10.8

What’s new in Gutenberg 10.8? (9 June)

Gutenberg 10.8 Adds New Typography Controls and Block Previews

What’s in active development or discussed?

Word flow in columns

Connect with us via Twitter:

 If you have questions or suggestions, or news you want us to include, send them to changelog@gutenbergtimes.com.

Please write us a review on iTunes! (Click here to learn how)

Transcript

sponsored by Pauli Systems

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello, and welcome to episode number 45 of the Gutenberg Changelog podcast recorded on June 11, 2021. In today’s episode, we will talk about WordPress 5.8, what’s in it, what didn’t make it, the Gutenberg plugin releases 10.7 and 10.8, and a little bit more. 

I am Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator of the Gutenberg Times and I’m here with my co-host, Grzegorz Ziółkowski, JavaScript developer at Automattic and WordPress core contributor. So how are you feeling Grzegorz? You’re back from vacation?

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Hello Birgit. Long time, no see. It’s so great to meet you again, to discuss all the things Gutenberg. It really looks like I missed a lot while I was completely disconnected for nearly two weeks. I enjoyed the beauty of nature on the east side of Poland, places like the Bieszczady Mountains, Dunajec River, that was a blast. So how have you been?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, I definitely miss you and I’m glad we are doing the show again. I have been very well, not much happened on this side of the continent or the Atlantic in terms of that. 

So let’s catch up together with our listeners. It’s also been four weeks that we connected with you. And first up, is Dave Smith gave us a wonderful review. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, so Dave works at Automatic and he’s a longtime Gutenberg contributor. And he recently moved to one of the teams that works primarily on the WordPress core and in particular, the widgets editor. So let’s go and read the review. 

“So he titled it as “The only podcast you need for keeping up to date with Glutenberg and WordPress.” It begins very well. “As a long time listener of the Gutenberg Changelog, I felt it was high time I left a review. Quite simply, if you are interested in Gutenberg or indeed WordPress in general, then you need to be listening to this podcast. Things happen very quickly in Gutenberg land. And this podcast gives you a quick and easy way to keep up with everything without having to read a lot of blog posts or attend meetings. 

“The teams tried an excellent balance of covering the various topics from the perspective of both site owners and developers. This ensures each episode has something that will appeal to everyone and doesn’t ever become too heavy. One piece of feedback I’d like to see if we can get some guests on the podcast to talk to specific features or releases, that would be great. Thanks again to Birgit, Grzegorz and previously Mark for all the work they put into this. I look forward to many more episodes.”

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Wow. That’s a wonderful review. It really warms my heart.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. That was highlighted when I read that review. Now that was during my vacation. So that was like a good break.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So the listeners, again, love your comments and suggestions, and if you send us a review, it helps others to subscribe to our podcast tape. So by the way, this show has been running now for exactly two years. And we have about 26,000 listens in total, and the bulk of it actually in 2021 where it really took off and we gained a lot of new listeners. So your reviews help, but also if we can keep up with those reviews would be really great.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. Wow. That’s impressive that you and Mark you went and started in this place. I wanted to send greetings to Mark who contributed to all of that. And from my perspective, I think that’s quite important that more people can learn about that. So thank you, Dave, for sharing your perspective and it helps us and the idea of bringing guests, that would be fantastic. I don’t know, Birgit, you are doing other sort of reaching out like Q&A that we are going to cover soon.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I connected with Dave on Slack a little bit about inviting guests and it would change a little bit the tone of the show because then it’s not about the Changelog and it’s much more about the guests and kind of what they bring. And then yeah, it would be a separate show pretty much or we can just say when Gutenberg team stops doing releases every two week which has not happened. So but we keep thinking about it and yeah, we need to find this out but you’re right, Gutenberg live Q&As are actually back after a four-month vacation or break more. It wasn’t a vacation because I renovated a house and all other things. 

Announcements – Live Q&A

And so June 24th at 11:00 AM Eastern 15 UTC, 1700 Central European Time. And the topic we will talk about, the theme.json for theme authors. 

And I’m thrilled to have Daisy Olson, Tammie Lister, and Jeff Ong to demo this new feature and discuss what it all means for the future of theme development in WordPress. So join us, the link will be, of course, in the show notes and it’s going to be a great show. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, it sounds great. I think that people can learn a lot from the team that you found for this episode. And in general, the future of teams depends on this file format that we hope that we’ll enable so many new possibilities, both for the team outward, but also indirectly to the users that will be able to consume the features that this format enables and all the customization that they can do on their own in the editor. So that’s something that definitely people should check. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So there are other announcements that we wanted to make or just point you to posts that have been published. One is the core editor improvements on improve your workflow with the list view. The list view is a new feature, not a new feature, it’s a revamped feature. Most of you will probably remember it being called the block navigator. It’s the three lines on the top toolbar, when you click on it, it kind of comes out and shows you a view of all the blocks that are used on that particular post. And it had been revamped also to be used in the template editor. And there’s some great information in that post. Now the initial patterns are in the WordPress pattern directory with 10.7. Also, the block patterns are not coming with core anymore. They are also pulled from the directory. That’s a great enhancement because now other people can submit block patterns to the directory. And there is a big shout out or call for patterns from the design team. And I will add that also to the list of posts here. Another post is….

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, I think….

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Go ahead. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: I think for now there is a special category which allows to mark some of the patterns to show up in the core by design. So it’s not that people will see all the patterns at once, and this is something that probably will evolve over time. But initially there is a small subset of patterns that will be available within this feature.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So Kjell Reigstad has a post on the design make blog about the initial patterns for that. Oh, it’s in the list and also a call for people to send in the new patterns. Right. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. And in the last episode we covered the new feature, Duotone block support and now there is an official announcement post that explains in detail how it will work and what possibility because it’s very much expected for people to read because you will learn a lot how to use that in practice and this is really nice.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah, they did a great, good job and putting that together, and you can actually find it under the wordpress.org/news which is a new place to find some of that information, but it’s part of Josepha Haden Chomphosy’s initiative to make the news a little bit more user centric and actually give some new features there. 

Community Contributions

So, what also happened this week was WordCamp Europe. And it was from Monday through Wednesday, the 7th to the 9th. And there were quite a few topics and talks and discussions on Gutenberg. And there is a post on the Gutenberg Times where I’ve collected everything. And I will update that also with the links to the videos as soon as they are on WordPress TV, so we can keep that handy. So Fabian Kägy talked about building great experiences with the new editor and….

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: I enjoyed it so much. It so goes in line as if he was a Gutenberg core contributor just speaking for the team.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. And yeah, well, Fabian Kägy is not a stranger to Gutenberg Times. He also was on the Gutenberg Times live Q&A with you, Grzegorz on creating third- party templates for the create blog scaffolding tool. Yeah. He since then has started working with-

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: 10up.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: 10up. Right. Yeah. Thank you. Then there was also a full site editing panel and the panelists were secret still on Monday, but now we know, Grzegorz Ziółkowski was on it and others.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, first day at work already on the panel. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So what was it all about?

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. So we discussed the implication of the project, how it will impact all the people in the community especially team out or how will that impact users, will they stop using builders and switch to Gutenberg? This type of controversy that everyone likes. So it was really great to hear all the different perspectives because all the panelists do a different type of job. So I was on the development side of the features, but other people were more on the side of working for customers, creating products. So it was really great to combine all this knowledge together and share experience.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Awesome. Yeah. And Koen Van den Wijngaert was on that panel. Then Milana Cap from Serbia and then Danielle Zarcaro and you’re right, that was quite a mixture of people. And I really liked how Jose Ramon Padron and Leslie Molecke put the questions together and moderated that, it was quite a nice panel discussion in that regard as well.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: I just want him to say that there were more talks about Gutenberg and one of them, or there was another panel slightly related to Gutenberg about the future of Teams. I didn’t watch that one, but based on the panelists, I expect that it was a great one.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It was. Yeah. That was also very interesting in terms of, yeah, how can I narrow down the full-site editing and not have the user mess up my design and all these yeah, how everybody approached it. That panel had Ben Dwyer on it, Imran Said, Daisy Olson and Ratice Servales from page builder and also moderated by Leslie and Jose Ramon. The videos will all be sooner or later on WordPress TV. I tried to get them and then also create the transcript so we can publish them on the Gutenberg Times. There were two more talks or workshops. One was by Herb Miller, and he did a great walkthrough through the full-site editing piece. It was not something that’s coming to 5.8, but it’s more how future block theme could be developed and what would be parts of it, yeah, how you do templates, how you do template parts, some code examples. And also he answered also a few questions from the audience.

And then Lee Shadle had a workshop and it was called blazing fast block development. And it was about his tool he created inspired by the official create block scaffolding tool. He expanded on it and it’s called create block plugins scaffolding tool. And he walked us through this and what the changes are, what the differences are. And it’s quite helpful for those who develop blocks as well. And of course….

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, go ahead.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: I just wanted to say that I saw his talk at WordPress conference a few weeks back, maybe two. And also about the same topic, similar, it was more in a talk format and I was very impressed by all the improvements he added on top of create block and also like his own customizations to meet his vision. And one of the things that I always wanted to have for the tools that are shipped with WordPress core, is the ability to publish with GitHub, to SVN, it’s something that we really discussed on GitHub sometime ago, how to build a zip for the block. So you don’t have to go through this painful step when you have your code ready, but now what. So he solved that, it’s based on the work that Helen did at 10up for thinking to SVN and those generated zip files. And it’s pretty nice to see how all different projects inside this WordPress space, when they are combined together, how great products they can create. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. And what he also did was he included tailwind, cascading style sheet framework out of the box. And he also has a few different templates. And one of them is to also create a store which is state management for that particular plugin. So it’s a quite an extension and certainly worth checking out. And then the conversation with Matt Mullenweg closed WordCamp Europe and it was a two-part event. One was when Matias and Matt Mullenweg were on the show and talked about what’s coming up in the future releases. And they also published a great new video about the upcoming features. And it’s now available on the new section of wordpress.org with the Gutenberg highlights. So of course we want to link it in the show notes.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. It’s also available on YouTube and on WordPress TV. So in every place you want to consume that, and it’s very good. It shows the power of Gutenberg and how it’s evolved in the recent months. It’s really impressive.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And so was it Beatriz? Yeah, Beatriz Fialho did a fantastic job on that. That’s really wonderful. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Together with Matias.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, nobody’s an island, right? Yeah. And the second part of the conversation with Matt Mullenweg was an interview by Brian Krogsgard from formerly Post Status publisher. And he has this routine with Matt. So every 18 months or so, he does an interview with Matt, and they were talking also about the business of WordPress. And it was really a very interesting conversation. It was also the last time Brian is going to do that because he has handed over the torch on Post Status to Corey Miller who has been a partner for a year in Post Status. So it was a great off for Brian and Matt show the great work that he did. So it was quite heartwarming to see that.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: It sounds great. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right. So this is all what happened long before we actually had a release. So let’s get through the meat of the meadow. What do you think?

What’s Released

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, let’s get back in time, two weeks earlier. So on May 26th, that we had the feature freeze for WordPress 5.8. What that means in practice is that from that moment, all the features that were included in WordPress core are scheduled to be in the final release. So if there isn’t anything spectacular exploding in the core, then all of those features will be there. And so far everything is on track. So let’s hope it remains like this. 

And this Tuesday, we had WordPress beta one which is the first version that you can use for the testing and expect that this is the software that all the users will get on July 20th. And yeah, the next step in the process will be RC1. This is a release candidate that is scheduled for June 29th. 

And this is also this period of time after the beta one. And the RC is when all the development notes are compiled. Some of them are already published. We mentioned some of them like Duotone manual. There’s also one the documentation thing that you can really tell is working to cover all the new features in the documentation update, all the features that were before and have slightly changed. And so that’s more or less how this process works. And just let’s review what’s actually going into the release and that’s related to the block editor. 

Gutenberg 10.7

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So 10.7 is the last release. The release candidate for that was before feature freeze. So whatever is in 10.7 will be in the final version of 5.8, whatever comes afterwards can only be bug fixes. 

Enhancements

So the enhancement that came in were for some support scripts, the editors are now pulled as IFrame. I’m not quite sure what that means, but I have a specialist here on the show who can help me out with that. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. So the IFrame approach, this is the solution that allows to isolate CSS style sheets and JavaScript file. So the problem that we faced when the block editor was initially published for the post content, I think it didn’t have so many styles that impact that full page. But as soon as we expand the canvas to the full page, you’ll now have some of the styles that are related to WP Admin, and you have styles related to the front-end and they often gets into conflict. So to get us there, we had to isolate that and the IFrame was the perfect solution to here. And also to expand on that, the other benefits from doing so is that we can start using this preview mode. 

So previously there was a very elaborate way of doing previews for the smaller screen like the mobile or the tablet view, and with the frame approach, you just need to change the weight and height of the IFrame and everything inside it scales nicely because it’s everything that browser provides out of the box. So you get all those nice improvements, but it took a lot of time to get that in because this was a very complex process.  

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, and that also then enabled the block editor to be used for the template editor and also for the customizer. Yeah. That’s all supported by that. So that was a great feature to come in, enhancement for that. 

Then we have a few block library enhancements. So the buttons you now can… So the columns gap is now exposed for styling. So you can expand the buttons block with having additional styling there. The column block got color and padding support for the individual columns, that has been requested for quite a long time. And the padding we will also see is coming to the cover block as well as, I think, no, also to the cover block. And you can also now transform a cover block into a group block. So those are the changes for the blocks. The media texts received a little bit more media with control and oh yeah, the social links got some more padding or styling as well although that was only for the click plus to add. 

Yeah. So there were some cosmetic changes there. Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: I’m seeing that it’s now possible to disable Duotone. I have no idea why someone would want to do that, but it’s possible I guess.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s WordPress pattern, everything, every new feature also gets the questions, how do I disable that? So it’s obligatory to have that and it’s available. You can disable Duotone.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, I understand that. It’s just this feature, no, that shouldn’t be allowed.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. It’s the same way that you can disable pulling in the block patterns because an enterprise client doesn’t want to have users to play with things.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. I think that’s the power of the global styles and the team Jason that you will cover in the Q&A coming up on 24th is that the global styles gives you this power of controlling all those features. And that’s built into the framework that was built. So that’s great that it follows those principles. And one big change is that this list view, participant list view mode that we discussed today already and in the previous episode was enabled also in the post editor. So that’s something that was added on almost on the last day, but it’s a nice unification that will make the experience better for user. And I guess it gets enough testing that it’s ready for the prime time. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. And it’s really a nice way now to navigate the blocks in both the post editor as well as in the template editor to find your way around. If you’re lost through all the blocks that are nested within nested and is nested, so you can bail yourself out there.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: And so the only difference still is between this template editing mode and the post content editing mode is that IFrame is still applied to the post content editing mode because it wasn’t tested enough in that context. And we want to enable that first in the plugin before that gets enough testing because some of the blogs that were built a long time ago, might depend on some special characteristic of the editor that was present back then.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s good point. Well, thank you for pointing that out. Yeah. So the patterns, as I mentioned is now the patterns that come with core are now loaded through the wordpress.org API, and the block pattern, the beta team will have some information for that. And also how you can submit blocks. Right now blocks are submitted not directly into the directory. There’s a review by the design team and they make some changes, but at least I know of one designer from the community here has actually already submitted and you can find them in the directory. 

Also new and updates enhancements were made to the template editing mode. So there now is a welcome guide and also a delete the template action which was for whatever reason missing, but now it’s there. You can then clean up all the experiments that you did. And just keep one of the 15 that you created. Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. I think it was present in the full-site editing mode. So in the screen that isn’t that part of WordPress 5.8 release. So they just had to bring the same functionality. And the welcome guide is similar to what people can see when the install WordPress and when they enter the post editor for the first time and just adjust it to explain better how this template editor works. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And there is another welcome guide to dismiss multiple times depending on how you arrange your cookies. Yeah. So what’s new for the APIs in there?

APIs

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: I just wanted to say that I’m surprised seeing this unified start block toolbar in this section, but there might be some underlying API that was built before that, but it’s a user-facing feature, right? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. The block toolbar. Yeah. So what I also was surprised to see, register block type from meta data is now again, register block type. So we go from the big words to the small words, to the big words. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yes. That’s on my side. So I’m responsible for that. And you can expect that covers that in depth, that should be published in the next week or in two weeks depending how we go, because it’s a long one. It will contain all the changes that are planned for the block API. And this is one of them. So this register block time from metadata on the JavaScript side, we decided to consolidate it under the existing API register block type. I don’t expect that this API will be used for the WordPress context, but it’s more for people that want to experiment with using the block editor outside of WordPress. So if you want to build a JavaScript project that uses that, or the actual use case that we have is the native mobile app that’s using and it doesn’t yet use rest API to fetch older registered block types. 

So they need to find another way. So they are using JavaScript to read block json file that contains all that metadata for blocks. And this is specifically for this case.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Okay. So but it would also help the group of people who have flocked to the Gutenberg editor.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: The lot of Laraberg users. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The lot of Laraberg users, yes, exactly.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, the lot of that.

Bug Fixes 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The lot of that. Yeah. Yeah. And then there were a ton of bug fixes in this release, be it the cover block, image block, the post common block which will not be in 5.8. And all the post blocks, the site blocks, they got quite a few bug fixes to make them more stable for the 5.8 release. I don’t see anything to talk about there specifically as they’re mostly not user-facing or good fixes.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. You can expect to see a lot of bug fixes because that was their last to release. So all the features that were still in progress, they took a lot of efforts to back port them to WordPress core which is, I must admit that last week was a bit hectic because of that, because some APIs on the PHP side, once they were added to core, they duplicated what existed in the Gutenberg blogging. So we had to do these feature guards that if something exists in the core, then don’t provide that. But otherwise, if you are using an older version of WordPress, then we want you to be able to use the same feature. So okay, we will provide the definition for you. I really love the PHP about that. That is so flexible and allows this type of solution that allows so easy to bring the same experience. No matter if you are using, no matter what version of WordPress you are using, the plugin can reach all that. And that’s beautiful, but it’s also a lot of work to make it right, so.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: It requires some tries. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, And the plugin as I remember that still, you need to have at least 5.6 to be able to use the plugin.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: I can expect that plugins also have to deal with the same issues when they want to support APIs that evolved over time. So they need to have a different version depending on what API was available in the version they want to support. So it’s quite common to have one or two past major versions.

Performance

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right. And so 10.7 also had a few performance updates. One is have the block editor async mode enabled only for blocks out of view.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. It’s a nice change. You probably don’t know how it works behind the scenes, but before we had this solution, once you were typing in one of the blocks, then to make it as performance as possible, the updates for other blogs were delayed. So as long as you were typing and the browser was busy, other blocks could be delayed with all the updates. So it might be slightly out of date, was this change. The solution is that all the blocks that are within the view of the user of the site, they will get updates. So it’s a bit more blocks that get updated with every keystroke, but it brings a much better experience and it didn’t impact their performance at all. So I think that will be a really nice improvement for you there.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And I think that the block editors who are working on their own block and have a lot of categories or tags, they will appreciate the improvements of performance for those tags when they search for them to add them to the posts and pages, that improvement also was in 10.7. It’s still listed on the experiments, but I think it came out of it, the block-based widgets because it….

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, that was the last time.

Experiments

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It was the last time in 10.7 because they are all slated to be available in 5.8, come to WordPress in July. And in two forms. There is the appearance widgets menu item from WP Admin where you just have the widget screen and now everything is in blocks. And for now I think the idea is that it will be opt out and will come to your WordPress in store and it also uses the new block-based widgets in the customizer. There is also, as we mentioned before, a new feature comes and you will get the possibility to switch it off because your site might not be ready, or you have too many third-party plugins with the widgets that are not yet compatible. There is also a classic widget plugin available that is in the report and was created by the core contributors, Tonya Mork and Andrew Ozz. 

And so I’m just kind of warning everybody to look for that plugin, if you are not able to test your sites, your live sites before with the new widget editor. I have found a few plugins that on and off were compatible to it. So I’d definitely say, be cautious, proactively install the plugin and then test it out later on a test site. So Pantheon has actually free developer sites that you can migrate to and clone your site to so you can test things. And this is definitely something I would suggest you do.

All right. So the widget editor screen also comes with a welcome guide. It will have a tool bar and all the good things that come with blocks. There’s also one thing for the content creators. If you use one of the, not a legacy widget, but one of the core blocks or custom blocks from your plugin or theme, there won’t be a title to the widget. So if you add the categories block to your widget section, it will not say categories. You need to kind of add a heading block to it to say whatever you need it to say. So that’s a little switch in workflow for using widgets. And then we have the navigation editor and block, that is not going to come to WordPress. But one thing, the navigation block is already in Gutenberg. So you can use that, but it’s not going to be an overall site navigation. And the big enhancement there is the responsive navigation block, which was quite a hard thing to do, was it?

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, it was very complex. It took a lot of time and effort to make it right mostly because the navigation, as it grows, it doesn’t fit on mobile screens. So you need to have a differential representation, different navigation. And in general, there was a lot of technical consideration to make it right but the team made it and is now in the Gutenberg plugin, it won’t be part of WordPress 5.8 release. But it’s something that now is ready for testing. And you can know that if you have a blogging style. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Great. Right. And for the global stance, there are quite a few changes in the framework. But the biggest one is the theme.json that hard-code of CSS units will have been replaced with the units from the theme.json file. So it’s all in one place configured for the theme authors. Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: And just to remind that theme.json all the framework behind that is going to be part of WordPress 5.8. So some parts of the global style section is no longer experimental and we should see less items in this section.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And that was the message heard loud and clear from the original Gutenberg released 5.0 that extenders like theme authors or even plugin authors did not have enough time to experiment with things and get ahead of the curve when things finally land for the users in WordPress. And so the global standards framework will come to 5.8, but not the UI for the interface for the user to change color settings or anything for their site. That is not yet coming to 5.8, that’s slated for 5.9 or even later 6.0 because it has some, yeah, some major user interface implications there. 

Documentation

Now coming back to 10.7, we are now in the documentation section of the Changelog. And of course there were quite a few changes there or additions pretty much. So there is a dedicated block style page under the block API directory now.

Well, it explains the block styles for, yeah, its fancy quote or for the core quote, that’s just an example that it has a list of all the styles that come with the core blocks, say they can be looked up and don’t have to go back and say, if you have to fiddle with all the developer tools to find that out. It also has a first pass on the documentation for the widget block editor. And that is however not end user, that’s more developer oriented.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, it’s developer focused. I think there are three pages at the moment that cover the cases, how to integrate widgets. Like the pre-existing widgets with the widgets block editor, how to set up everything and some clear cut that you can use, general staff that is always required for a screen inside WordPress. I expect that to grow over time, but it’s a good start.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent. And so the document for the theme.json, they made the examples now copy-pasteable.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: A big win. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s a big win because now you can just use them on your own theme.json file. And there is also an updated glossary for the full-site editing terminology because that’s a big, big plus. So we all have the same terminology when we talk about things especially when it goes into feature requests and bug fixes and these, so we all know how to call all those things, what to call all those things. Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, especially when you use acronyms like FSE. I always dislike that because when you are not in the circle that knows about them, then you are quickly lost.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. Good. 

Code Quality

So there were a few changes to the code quality, a huge chunk was attributed to the rich text functionality. And that has to do with Ella being the lead developer on that. And she has been back from vacation. I hear from Grzegorz. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yes. Yes. And in general, Ella is one of the most experienced contributors in the area of rich text editing. So she knows everything about that and she’s just making that better each week. So that’s great to have her in the team.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And the consistency in updating things. Yes. So do you have anything else that you want to talk about from that section?

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. I mean the Changelog for this series is so long as I already mentioned that it’s related also to the code quality parts, bug fixes is related to the fact that we were trying to make all the promises, to fulfill all the promises that we made on what’s going to be included in their release. So we can recap what actually got in the release. From the list that were shared previously after the demo that Matias made during this meeting when he was discussing with Matt Mullenweg, with Josepha Haden Chomphosy and Helen Hou-Sandi, they were discussing what’s going to be in the release. And I’m impressed that almost all the items from the list are there. That’s a great thing from all the contributors. And I don’t remember being on the projects in the past that were so successful in meeting the goals that were shared before.

So from the list, we have a lot of improvements like the widget screen and widgets blocks integration, the customizer. We have template editing mode. We have new blocks that will help with editing those templates for sites, posts or the query block which at the last moment had a new name. We will cover that soon. And there’s the Duotone feature, framework, integration, everything that will be necessary for global styles. So there are two items that didn’t get there, but I see them as marked as not certain, at least in my mind, I don’t know what was in the original announcement post, but the gallery factor. That’s a very technical challenge we didn’t make in the release and I hope it will get in the next major WordPress release. And the other big chunk of functionality is navigation blog and then navigation screen. It also didn’t make to this release.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Well thank you for summarizing that again. So for the user-facing parts, that’s definitely, but there are also updates to the reusable block that come right from the plugin that were not new features, but it’s still a different workflow there. And then also the block patterns will come to 5.8, to WordPress. They were before, but now they are in full force and we’ll also have block patterns for the query block which will be called post block to just finish it, what Grzegorz said just before. And then it also has a new preference model that we talked about before in this Changelog, but there are quite a few changes also that come because remember there are 10, no, eight WordPress plugin releases that will now be coming to WordPress 5.8. So it’s not only what’s in 10.7, but also from 9.9 from 10.0, 10.1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 and 6 that will come to the WordPress install near you.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. I’m not surprised that I missed some of those features because the list is so long. It’s really hard to remember all of them. So thank you for sharing also those bits. And I also think that some of those features that might be already so stable before the demo, so they didn’t discuss that. Like the changes to the reusable block flow which is so nice. I like all the improvements also, how nice it became because it was one of the nice features that were already present, but it wasn’t so popular because it wasn’t advertised enough, but now it’s so much better.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. 

Release Team Channel

So what’s also new on this release, the WordPress 5.8 is that the release team channel is for the first time a public channel. Not that everybody can have their opinion and kind of chime in there, but you see all the discussions that are there and what kind of thoughts go into certain areas. And also that people from other teams that are part of the release team can raise some flags or throw a flag as the American football sports metaphor would go. And I just was listening in or reading in the public channel. And for instance, Marius Jason from the support mentioned that there’s still some confusion, yeah, with the query block than it was in the previous version that you could change the content while you were editing or configuring it for your template editor and that confused quite a few people.

And so there was another discussion that would have been a support nightmare. So I really appreciate that Marius stepped up and said something in the release squad channel and Matías Ventura chimed in and said, okay, yeah, the query block, we need to settle on the nomenclature and that’s the new name change to post block. And also that it needs to be disabled, that editing in a template view is not possible to actually alleviate that user confusion. And that’s also what happened with the full-site editing testing outreach program that was always a point where new testers or even past testers were kind of totally confused. What am I doing now? Do I edit content or do I edit just the layout of things? So that’s just one example on how these discussions happened quite around the team.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: In some ways, I like that feature because you could provide that feature image to your posts when it was missing because you had the nice view to filter your posts. It’s definitely something that we should consider in the future but for different screens. And it’s going to be really powerful because at the moment, when you go to the post list page, then you don’t have so much power and that would enable so much better workflows for people to book, update, post, apply taxonomies and whatever.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. But I think you’re right. It needs to probably be in a different screen to make not one screen do too many things at once. And then all of a sudden, it’s stops people like, I didn’t think that would happen. It’s kind of the expectations, what happens when I press this button kind of thing. 

Yeah. And so that was the Changelog for 10.7. 

Gutenberg 10.8

We are right into this week’s release of Gutenberg 10.8 and there’s another huge release, but it’s mostly bug fixes. And the few enhancements that are in that release probably won’t make it into 5.8. They are dropped into the plugin now to have a more exposure on the plugin side for the plugin users to be tested before they come to the big WordPress community so. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, as you mentioned the development process in the Gutenberg plugin never stopped. So we will see those enhancements, they won’t be included in the WordPress 5.8 release. However, they will surely make it to WordPress 5.9 and we can expect to see some bug fixes that will be identified as the blockers for the release that we will be back ported. And that’s to the release team, as you mentioned, they have the channel when they discuss all the occurrences and decide whether it’s worth the hassle of back porting that to core. And Benguella, he’s responsible for core editor. And he will make the decision. He usually does it on Monday and then the patch will be prepared. And so if you want to follow that along then, one way of doing that is either this channel you mentioned on WordPress slack, or just following the NPM packages releases that will happen on Monday with all those changes. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Well, thank you. Well, that’s a great explanation to how this all works together. And how we know what will come to 5.8 from later releases or from 10.8. There’s also a GitHub project that belongs to the WordPress 5.8 must-haves. And there still are some issues in there, but that’s also where you can follow along on those decisions.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: And you can also help with tackling those issues and prepare patches and do reviews testing. And everyone is welcomed. It’s a friendly environment. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Even finding the bugs is a huge job already. So go and test the beta which is now available through the WordPress, the official beta testers plugin. And you can test your WordPress site and local or maybe have a public test site that you can install a plugin.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. Most likely with the Gutenberg plugin disabled in this scenario.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Good point. Good point. Because otherwise you get all the new features as well. And yeah, they’re not ready yet for WordPress 5.8.

Enhancements

So what we also find in this 10.8 are additional design tools for letter spacing and enable the site title and site tagline, block supports for skipping the spacing support serialization. And then one tool or one feature I really like is the link URL. So when you have a post and you want to add links to your text, now the Gutenberg goes out to that URL and grabs meta information from that particular page, be it title, you see title already in the plugin, but now with the new enhancement there, you will see also the feature image of that particular post or page that you’re linking to. So when you come back in two or three weeks, I will update that post. 

You can then just hover over your links and you see immediately if a link was broken or if you grabbed the wrong link or something like that. So it definitely helps you with quality assurance of your own blog posts or pages with that feature. I really liked that. So what else? 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: I was off. Sorry. I don’t know much this time. I’m just exploring the list and trying to find some interesting changes that landed. I would expect that this was mostly about stabilization, improving blocks that were introduced during the integration with WordPress core and also some performance improvements that were discovered. So in general, we always try to improve the performance with every major WordPress release. So this is the time when the core team members go into the performance optimization tools, check what’s possible, how to make it better. So we have this type of exploration at this point, and you can see that reflected in the Changelog because the number of bug fixes is quite huge. And there’s one performance change that was surprising for me to learn about. It’s about external, they were internal images embedded as data for the welcome guide. 

So to ensure that you have well nice pictures next to the texts that explain how the feature works in different contexts, they were included in the JavaScript bundles which was really bad for performance because you cannot use all the techniques that browser use with images. So it decreased the size of the JavaScript bundle for the welcome guide. And it probably had a good impact on the loading time of the page because now the browser doesn’t need to process the JavaScript before it can even display this image. Even in this scenario when you disabled all those welcome guides and you no longer need to see those images. So that’s a great discovery after a year and that will improve the loading performance.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent. Yeah. Yeah. And when I was looking through the 10.8, I’m also probably missing quite a few things. But what stood out for me is that in documentation, the create a blog theme tutorial is now updated. So when you follow along with one of the talk at WordCamp Europe, or if you see, so you can prepare yourself as a theme author to get ahead of the curve on the full-site editing for blog themes with the updated documentation. That’s great. I also see that there were some linting problems on some of the packages that have been fixed and some of the components and functions now are all increased more half types, so they can be used as TypeScripts or actually used as TypeScripts.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. It’s an ongoing effort on the WordPress components project which was formerly called G2. And now it’s does improvements to components and it’s like the work is at full steam. There are new contributors, there now. So it accelerates and when you mentioned the global style user interface, this is all the building blocks for that project. So once we have those components improved, polished, then that will build that interface.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I’m glad. I’m glad that I know that context now. Thank you. Yeah. So I think if you don’t have anything else Grzegorz that you want to point out from that release, I think we’re coming up to the end of our show. 

We always had a section that what’s in active development were discussed. I just wanted to point out there are a lot of things that are in active development and discussed. And I think we will talk about it quite often or more in depth again, in the next shows. But one I wanted to point out is a discussion on word flow in columns. So it’s a discussion of a feature that allows the text to fill up the columns automatically so you don’t have to drag and drop individual paragraphs into the columns. And then when you change it, you have to do it all over again when the size change.

So the idea is that this feature enhancements, you create something similar to a group block and then highlight the paragraphs that you transform into a multi column display. And that is a very neat feature. It reminds me back to Ventura Publishing where you kind of said, okay, this is the paragraph. And let it throw all those columns. So when you use columns and Google Docs, and that will be great to come to WordPress in the block editor. And I just wanted to tell you it’s being worked on.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, I like those nice enhancements that you can add on top of their existing features. And it’s always amazed me the idea that people have and how creative they became since the block editor was released.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. So before we end the show, I want to remind you June 24th, join our Gutenberg Times, live Q&A with Daisy Olson, Tammie Lister, and Jeff Ong to talk about the theme.json and global styles and settings, and the full-site editing block themes. And as always, the show notes will be published on gutenbergtimes.com/podcast, that’s gutenbergtimes.com/podcast. And this is the number 45 edition. And if you have questions and suggestions or news that you want us to include, send them to changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. That’s changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. But you can also reach out to Grzegorz and myself on Twitter. So my Twitter handle is BPH. And what’s your Twitter handle Grzegorz?

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Mine is G-Z-I-O-L-O. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Gziolo. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: It’s a complex one. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Gziolo. G-Z-I-O-L-O, yeah. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: I ran with this part. And even in Poland, I have hard times explaining how to write it down.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you, Greg. Welcome back from your vacation. I hope reentry is not too hard on you, and it was great to have you on the show again.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Thank you Birgit. Yeah, it was really great to talk again about the business and it went very well from my perspective. I enjoyed it a lot. So I’m happy that I had some time off and now I can enjoy all those developments of the Gutenberg project. So see you next time in two weeks. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right. Thank you all for listening and be well. Bye-bye.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Bye-bye.

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