Changelog #46 – Theme.json, DevNotes for WordPress 5.8, Gutenberg 10.9 and Upcoming BuddyPress Release 9.0

Gutenberg Changelog
Gutenberg Changelog
Changelog #46 - Theme.json, DevNotes for WordPress 5.8, Gutenberg 10.9 and Upcoming BuddyPress Release 9.0

Birgit Pauli-Haack and Grzegorz Ziolkowski discuss Theme.json, Dev Notes for WordPress.5.8, Gutenberg 10.9 and Upcoming BuddyPress Release 9.0

Show Notes / Transcript

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Show Notes

Full Site Editing & Theme.json

Upcoming Releases WordPress 5.8

Gutenberg 10.9

BP Dev-Chat Summary: june 23, 2021

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Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, hello, and welcome to our 46th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog. We recorded this on Friday, June 25th in 2021. In today’s episode, we talk about theme.json, the dev notes for WordPress 5.8 Gutenberg release of 10.9, and the upcoming BuddyPress release 9.0, and so many more things. 

I’m Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator at the Gutenberg Times, and I’m here with my co-host, Grzegorz Ziółkowski, code ringer at automattic and WorePress core contributor. Good afternoon, Grzegorz, how are you doing? 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Good morning, Birgit. I’m great. I’m enjoying the benefits of remote work again and working from my temporary office at the Baltic sea. It’s so exciting to be after the second vaccine and now I can fully enjoy life again. And it’s also like the lockdown is almost nonexistent in Poland, so you just need to wear a mask inside and in general just do a social distancing and you are good. So I’m happy about that, getting back to usual activities that we enjoyed so much before and we miss them. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: And how about you? How is life?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, it’s good to hear that Poland is opening up again, and you can really go out and enjoy the summer. We did a similar thing. We met friends that we haven’t seen all year and also went to beach locations in Venice beach in Florida, and ended up at the Nokomis beach drum circle which we haven’t seen because it’s new in our area. So we explored a little bit there. It was quite a nice relaxing Saturday afternoon, but I’m also glad that it’s Friday and this week is over because it was four days and we’re not done yet repairing the washing machine, yeah. So we decided to repair it instead of creating a new one, but then that has its own hazards, and the process of figuring out what’s wrong, reminded me pretty much like the searching for bugs in software where you do, “Oh, let’s test this,” “Let’s test this,” just interesting from that point of view. Well, let’s get into the show. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yes, let’s do it. 


Birgit Pauli-Haack: We have a few announcements. Anne McCarthy posted the summary for the full-site editing program of the seventh call for testing, where testers created polished portfolio pages. So we will share that note in the show notes. And it’s interesting that a few topics about the full-site editing keep coming back, like the one that users all confused and are there changing content now or are there changing templates, and is it possible to change content accidentally? That’s certainly a fear, but it comes along very nicely, and if you haven’t done that yet that you start heeding those calls for testing, there is a new one out and it is the call number eight and Thrive With The Theme.json, it’s called, and it walks us through how you can test the theme.json for the comfort editing. This comes right after it was coincidental, of course, but we had our live Q&A yesterday.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Right. 

Live Q&A

Birgit Pauli-Haack: With Daisy Olsen, Jeff Ong and Tammie Lister talking about how the theme.json changes theme developing for designers. And it was a very insightful discussion and I will share the YouTube link of the recording. But we also had a demo by Jeff Ong, he did a phenomenal job. I’m doing a live demo on how he changed the settings file theme.json, and then how it reflected it on the editor. So he showed how to remove the custom color thing with just one line of code, and he showed how to add additional color palette, which was quite an interesting method before, but now you only do it in one file, and you don’t have to do it in a separate CSS file either because it’s now automatically created through the block editor. 

And there are some more of those interesting, “Oh, this makes it so much easier, and why should I use CSS files?” And there was a great discussion about those questions with Daisy Olsen and Jeff and Tammie. Tammie expressed that we give the theme specification to the designer and the themes just doing that, what it’s supposed to do and not being a secret plugin, there’s so many other things that keep people from switching themes and without using content. So this was definitely an eye-opener for me to have the discussion with those three experts, and you might really learn from it if you are interested in themes. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: So my question would be, do you think that this whole concept simplifies things for a team developer, or the other way around it opens new possibilities, but makes it all more complicated? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, certainly the theme.json itself can be quite big, but if I look at themes CSS files, they’re even bigger. So it definitely simplifies it in my view. It also keeps it all contained in one file, and it hooks into the editor’s native features that deal with themes. That’s one thing. I also see that right now, there is no interface, no GUI for setting up a theme.json fine, but if I read the tea leaves correctly, the predictions or what people are discussing, or the team is discussing is that as soon as the global styles interface and the side bar is finalized, there will also be a place where a theme developer can say, “Okay, I use the graphical interface and to just set those defaults for the global settings,” that tool will come out. There was a prototype developed a few months ago, and it certainly hasn’t kept up with the development of theme.json, but that was a theme.json creator tool. And it seems that the team is looking at bringing that to the block editor as well in a different form. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, I guess with the complexity of the format of this theme.json file, it’s inevitable that the tool must exist to help to move that forward because otherwise, I guess with new capabilities with every Gutenberg plugging release, that would be impossible to keep track of the options that you have. So I’m looking forward to how this evolves and in particular the color for the full-site editing mode, the top who is global style, that has a lot of features planned will be essential to make that work. Yeah. And definitely we’ll check out the video recording from this Q&A, you hosted yesterday once I’m back home.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: So thank you for doing that. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, sure. And I was glad that we were getting back into the live Q&As after we had a half a year hiatus there. So I can see that there will be a few in rapid successions coming in as well, especially with the full-site editing catch up with our guests that we had previously there. It was also good to see Tammie again. Yeah. She was the last time on the live Q&A with Mathias and Joen Asmussen when we were just about to have the block editor be merged into core in November 2018, and so it was good to have her back. Yeah. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: It’s nearly three years. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. It’s almost three years. Yeah, I Marvel at the time all the time when I keep that in mind, but it’s already three years week after week. Yeah. 

Community Contributions

But it’s not all that comes up, there’s the WordPress 5.8 is in a state of beta, and the beta four will be released today, Friday, the June 21st and then comes release candidate one next week. But if you want to catch up on what’s all in 5.8, Hari Shanker from the community team published a post actually for meetup organizers, but it will also help agency owners and freelancers to quickly get an overview what’s coming to the new version, and he clusters the upcoming changes per stakeholders. You’ll find sections for publishers and users, and the other section is for builders and developers. So if you just want to read one article, I think this would be it. And it was composed together with quite a few others from the team. So it’s a great host and of course in the show notes.

Kjell Reigstad, reported in his updated initial patents for the pattern directory that about 80 patterns have been published now in the pattern directory. And over the last two weeks, Kjell, Mel Choyce and Beatriz Fialho have filled in community submissions to the pattern directory, and we’re working with the designers. There are beautiful, wonderful, and useful patterns in the directory, and you definitely should check them out and you can use them for your site. So I think that’s a great initial state for the pattern directory to be released. It’s still in beta, but of course you can view it. And the meta team is working on making a little bit have more features in there like you can cluster per designer or you can filter it down by what pattern you’re looking for. So that’s from the community contribution.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. 80 patterns already, it’s growing pretty fast and we are logging or like last month we started discussing that this pattern directory is going to be a thing and we already have so many contributions, and just wait a few more months and see how it evolves and how it grows. It’s really exciting to see that the community likes this idea, and so we discussed that before, that’s going to be really important part of the success of this template editing, full-site editing mode. And also I recently checked the plugins directory and there is now 25 pages of plugin that contain blocks. So this is also growing really fast.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I need to dive into that again. I had a two-year-old post with 100 plugins for the blocks and not all of them are still existing and there are so many new ones. I think I need to really dive in into doing some testing there. All right.

WordPress 5.8

So now we have what’s released. As mentioned, WordPress 5.8, you had a beta three this week, early on Tuesday, and beta four is coming today. So the testing is almost at the end because release candidate one is scheduled for June 29th, and that’s Hard Code Freeze, yeah and String Freeze. So the about page and all that needs to be in there. We have some settled just to recap on. Block-based widget screen is opt-out. 

So the team created a documentation on how a developer can enable the transformation from a legacy with widget to a block. And once they created the blocks for content, but I hope that this opt-out also triggers a few plugin developers think about creating blocks instead of widgets for the features that they bring there. When you click, what does it mean opt-out? Well, you can opt out by installing the classic widget plugin, that was created by the WordPress contributors, Tonya Mork. We mentioned before, and Andrew Ozz. Tonya Mork, Andrew Ozz from the core team. So you can opt out of the widgets screen.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, that’s one option. As far as you remember, there is also a team option that you can just call inside your team, and that would do exactly the same. So it’s similar to how block templates, which we are going to cover soon are handled. And there is a documentation page in the block editor handbook that covers that, so we can include the link so people can see what options there are if they don’t want to see this new blog base widget screen on their websites. And speaking of template editor, so originally the idea was to have that always enabled in classic themes. However, there was a discussion between release leads for the WordPress 5.0, 5.8, and they decided that it needs to be optional and only site owners can decide or team authors can decide that it should be enabled.

So this feature will be there, but it will be rather hidden for users, and unless you are one of the authors that built and submitted to the team directory the full-site editing enabled team that has this option enabled by default. So it’s quite a complex setup, but I think that’s the best one to have based on the feedback received from the testing, and also circling back to what you said about the inline editing of the content when in templating mode, that’s the biggest confusion so far, and reports from testing say that they have troubles navigating this setup. So that was one of the reasons why it isn’t that enabled. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And I myself really fall into that trap as well until I realized, okay, I don’t want to do an endless loop with my post content when I was playing around with the query loop. So yeah, I think it’s a wise decision to have that option for classic themes, so nothing changes there. 

Dev Notes

With the release candidate, coming up at June 29th that’s also the deadline when developer notes, the devnotes, so to speak for the release should come in. There are four more that that were published. And one that’s the block editor API changes, so it supports multiple admin screen. I think we mentioned that before. 

But it’s that the admin screen is now in the widget editor, it’s now in the theme editor and in the post editor. And so the API that changed that and made that possible will also make it possible to be used in plugins for instance, or I’m still hoping to get it into the dashboard. When I log in at the first address, I use my editor and I can start a new post that is my dream of things. So I need to talk with some developers to do that.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. So this one is definitely something that is on the minds of many developers these days. And we are discussing that because that’s just mind blowing that you would have a front-end inside the dashboard, which is, it’s different front-end, a lot of more confusion for everyone contributing to WordPress core, but it also opens so many new possibilities, how to use blocks and how to integrate them.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Well, most of the time when a writer logs in, the username and password people understand, but then they have to search for the add new posts, another click instead of just going to be in there in the editing. But it’s just the writer or the publisher at the blogger from 10, 15 years ago that wants to do that. And then Riad published an introduction to the template editor in WordPress 5.8. So that’s certainly worth anybody’s read who wants to learn more about it and how it works, and what it wants to accomplish.

Then another one definitely is the bundle theme changes in WordPress 5.8 with having the block patterns be also introduced to other 20 themes. Like 2015 received a gallery, two columns block pattern that is in the style of the theme that 2014 received and got an about page or list page, a block pattern in the style. 2013 has some funky colors in there, and it has a decorative gallery. It’s very interesting how to go back and see how those can come into the 21st century, so to speak. It was the block editor. It goes back to 2011, actually, I think. No 2010 as well. And they’re all really….

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, I think it’s…. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: I think it’s pretty impressive that you can use the same paradigms because of the backward compatibility and bring that to software that was created 10 years ago, and it works integrated nicely, and it just send labels users to create content faster and the content would be better. So it’s just amazing dialogue that about WordPress backward comparability being strong about that and thinking in front of not only users, but own also developers that extend the core. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah, well said.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: There’s one more. It’s the dev note I compiled with the help from other folks. This is about block API enhancements. It’s about block registrations, and the gist of it is that we want to promote block registration on the server with PHP, APIs that allow the plugin directory to get the blocks, and these also integrates nicely with REST API, so the headless solutions who would benefit from that. So I really encourage all the block developers to check out this post and in the future updates, if they didn’t so far and start using those PHP-based APIs and blog Dyson format to make sure that they can get all the benefits that full-site editing will bring, you do all style sheets on JavaScript, we loved, and only when the block is rendered on the front and showing. We see a lot of comments now that people notice that the cost for web vitals are very high for the teams that use this FSE paradigm. So this is one of the reasons why it all clicks because we can take more informed decisions about that. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Talking about FSE themes, there is, and Justin Tavern wrote about it. There’s a new full-site editing theme available now by Ana Segota from Anariel Design and it’s really made for full-site editing as well, and has a great array of black patterns also in there. So I’ll share that also in the show notes, there are many more dev notes to come, I think, because there are so many features in the WordPress 5.8.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: There’s going to be a big one about the theme.json format. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes. That’s still in the works, yes. With all the documentation and everything. But WordPress 5.8 has the Gutenberg plugins from version 9.9 to 10.7 in there. And some of the bug fixes that came with 10.8 and also with 10.9 are backported to 5.8. 

Gutenberg 10.9

But Gutenberg is moving forward into the next era and Gutenberg 10.9 came out this week, George Mamadashvili, I hope I pronounced his name right, in his core contributor sponsored by GoDaddy, and he worked through this release process for the first time. He did an awesome job in all of it and including the post on the make blog about the Gutenberg campaign. So let’s dive in. 


There were quite a few enhancements, and so the latest post is now limiting the latest post author dropdown to users that actually have published posts. So you don’t see everybody who’s an author in that list that definitely improves the workflow for that. The big one is that the query loop, which is a very confusing name, has been renamed to post template.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: It brings in more confusion, but I think it’s for good.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, the post template it’s the template how a post is displayed. It will have a sister block, which is called the post list. And a prototype of that is already the latest post block that gives you a list of the post, how they are displayed on our summary page with some nice pattern, and so renaming the query loop to post template is the latest of this development.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. So just to summarize to make sure that it’s clear for everyone. So now we have the query loop look that is something that you search for in the inserter. And the post template is the inner block that gets inserted together. So the names before were query and query loop, and the query loop is something that you just transform from one block to another. So it’s very confusing, but it’s far better to have the distinction now, and it better explained. And that will be included in WordPress 5.8 is because it was one of the issues that was also raised during the testing phase.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Thank you for setting us straight here. Then I think you need to see it and touch it again to become really tangible and make it click, especially as a content creator it really helps when you’re trying to use it and then figure it out. There will be documentation, so I know that the block end user documentation is in the works. I saw early drafts of that, and it will certainly contain all the content creators facing documentation for those new blocks. It’s not the only block there but 13 new blocks that come with the template editor, and so it’s site logos item. Yeah, Riad listed them all in his dev notes definitely see that. 

Okay, from the enhancements, I have one other thing that’s supposed terms that our CSS class is now available to identify the taxonomy that was hard to stay on before. And while the legacy widget moved to the block WordPress widget package, what is that about, Greg?

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: So before that change, you should to be able to use the legacy widget inside the post editor, which it would be nice to have, however, it brings several implications, like you would have to make sure that all the JavaScript for custom widgets is loaded, which didn’t quite work well. So the decision was made that it should be only available inside the widgets editor, and it also has a good implication on the post editor because it decreased the amount of JavaScript and CSS style sheet that has to belong there. So it has a nice impact on the loading time.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm. Well, yeah thank you for explaining that. It’s definitely a great thing to not confuse things so much because in our brain we still have posts and widgets. They merge all into blocks but the legacy is the old way doing this and that shouldn’t come over here. I understand that.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: I see there’s a similar approach, how you would consider meta boxes in the post editor is also something that has to work. But the question is how much you want to support that in all the contexts that are available. And probably does for the best, just to limit that to the screen where it was present before, and….

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And that also has the tools in there to handle all the legacy widgets options. All right. Well, for the work editor, there is an enhanced link control with rich URL previews. We mentioned that before, Dave Smith has been working on that. So when you link to a page outside of your own site, it gives you a preview of the meta data that’s on that page in terms of title, a little excerpt and also the feature image so you quickly can on hover, see if you found the right link there, and you link to it hear. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, it looks pretty sleek. I like that one. And it’s fine because when you added the link, you also see the changes on the fly, and so that helps a lot to make sure that your link is proper.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I need that because I changed keyboard, and now Control V and Control C is on a different space, and I’m always to Control something else. I have still the previous link in there because the copy of the new link didn’t work. Yeah. But it’s me and my problems, okay? Yeah. So what’s next?

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: There is a very nice change introduced to the list view. It gets another improvement this time. There is an option for expanding collapsing groups. So let’s say when you get inside the footer, you can collapse that group if you don’t want to edit. So generally, you can just narrow down what you see in the list view, and to make sure that you can operate only on the bits that you are interested about at the given moment. The only downside I see there is that when you refresh the page, all the collapsing and expanding disappears, because it isn’t stored anywhere. 

So I hope that the next situation we bring persistence, and then it will be fully fledged solution for navigating inside this sidebar. And yeah, there is another change also related to the full-site editing thing that helps to identify what you are about to do is the changes to the breadcrumb that is on the very bottom area of the page, and it now contains, instead of saying “document,” it will say the name of the content you are editing, so that could be a post, a page, or whatever custom post type you are using.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, a template for that, because I think that’s also very important for the template editor that you trying to diffuse that confusion we talked about before. Yeah. So the blog support as an additional feature now that you can use in your theme.json, or in your functions PHP, is that it allows you to use non-pixel units for the border support. I think that’s very important for a lot of designers when they do responsive things, and also to non-pixel, so you can… Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: And we have a set of new icons to use, and that’s a pretty nice change. There is a lot. I see a bug, a key, at post author and some security icons, and there are some contributions from various people, and I see more. So one of them is from Filipe Varela, a product designer an Automattic, but there are also icons trending down, trending up by Tetsuaki Hamano.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes. I’m not quite sure how those icons are exposed, but they’re definitely part of the G2 component reviews, and so they’re hopefully come to fruition in the editor UI pretty soon. So if the attempted editing mode got a few enhancements as well, the welcome guide language for the template editor was updated and could use probably some more eye balls on it and to make sure it’s not too confusing. And then what’s certainly helpful is that renaming from templates that are created by core, that’s forbidden otherwise it gets really confusing. And then I like the update of the template creation modal where when you create a new template comes up and asks you for a name and all that, and explains a little bit more. So that’s that.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. We have also some changes to how the preferences are managed. So like before, when you wanted to change how blocks are used in the inserter, you would go to the separate modal that who you could reach on the right top side, in the more menu that’s available through the three dots icon. And now it was consolidated and moved to the existing preference screen that already had some options matched together, and there is now another tab that you can use and disable or enable some of the blocks so they don’t show up in the circuit to that screen. 

So there’s also some feature requests to open that preferences screen for third parties, a plugin could bring their own preferences. I like that idea. It’s quite complex in terms of how to achieve that, but I hope that’s something that’s going to be looked into in the near future so this screen is more powerful and more user-friendly as it grows, because now you have four or five stops already. It can get pretty busy.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Crowded, yeah. Yeah. We spoke earlier about the breadcrumbs also having the entity in there. With this release, the team also added the bread crumbs to the bottom of the widget screen. I have not seen this in the customizer widget section, but it’s definitely in the widget screen when you go to Dashboard Appearance and then Widgets, you can see it there. Yeah. And that brings us to the bug fixes.

Bug Fixes

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. So there are a few of bug fixes because we obviously are still in the beta phase of the WordPress major release. So one of them is for the site logo blog, and there was a bit of going back and forth how to approach that in the most viable way. And so I think that the last fix was to update some hooks to make sure that they work properly with the core integration. So some changes weren’t updated, and now we removed team mode, filter takes care of that. So that’s going to see that everything is going to be good there.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: And for blocks, there was also a change that was arise that you couldn’t add inline styles for blocks when they were using the new option to use individual styles for core blocks, and that was fixed by ensuring that for every core block, there is always a style handle available that you can use to hook into to add inline style. So that’s pretty nice now that you can just move very simply to include some simple overrides for core blocks.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent. Yeah. And then there was the bug fix for the post editor and it now prevents locking users in a safe state when the saving meta box has failed. So that was often the case, and I ran into that quite a bit when you have meta boxes in the side bar from other plugins or from a theme, and they were all stored in Meta and that saving failed, you were also not able to save the post editor. It was just stuck in the saving mode and would not come back to this is saved thing. And that has been fixed now, yay. Thank you. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, that’s great. You don’t want to get stuck during saving

Birgit Pauli-Haack: No, you don’t want want to get stuck there. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: There is also a bug fix for a feature that was added folder for full-site editing. It’s a pretty nice from the accessibility perspective, so the idea of having skipping, so when you are typing and the skipping allows you to move to skip some of the existing answers to get to the mind content of the page. So when you are on the front end, you can just go and start browsing the content of the post, rather than going through all the menus and stuff like this. And this one was enabled in too many places, and it’s now fixed and it’s limited to block teams and templates on the front-end.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that’s good to have that there. And then I stumbled over one data, and that’s, I think state management. Bug fixed that, but it only got my attention because it had the words blocks zombie children in there, which remind me of a different area. Yeah, like the song becoming out. And then when I read it that Riadwas also talking about zombie bugs, so there’s something going on in the data state storage, but it’s fixed.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Well, it’s fixed as well.  We don’t have to worry about zombies entering the world, and their children.


Birgit Pauli-Haack: The 10.9 also brought some performance and fixes or fixes that increased performance, decreased page load, and one of them was to remove the is-Typing root class. That sounds quite technical. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yes. I don’t know in which place this class post applied, but it was through React and it wasn’t the most performant way. And there is no different solution that achieves the same goal. So in the writing flow, you just can, the tag that someone’s writing so it impacts how the block tool bar is displayed and similar stuff like outlines and such. And this improved the performance of typing. And there was also an upgrade now, before we had to React 16 and 13, and it was upgraded to React 17, which has almost an identical API, but it’s a bit more performant. And it took a lot of time because it was bundled with the ability of React Native to version 0.64, which is for the native mobile apps for Android and iPhone.

And now having that, we are also looking into React 18 that is still in development, but there is already discussion even in one of the core team members from React team. Don Abramoff chimed in and gave some hints how to test that, and going in-depth into the future, this new version, React 18 will be now the center of improvements to the typing, so that’s great that the development of the library is going the direction that benefits also WordPress and all the users. So that’s nice. And if you check the table is the performance improvements. You can notice that if you compare previous Gutenberg release 10.8, and we used WordPress 5.7, we are now much better in terms of loading time. So it was like 5.7 seconds, now it’s 4.5 seconds. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s quite an improvement. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yes. And even for the key press, as it’s improving. Like in WordPress 5.7 it’s 32, in the Gutenberg 10.8 is 30 milliseconds, and in the lightest version of Gutenberg is nearly 29. So the trend is in the right direction, it’s improving all the time. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: And looking forward to the future in the React 18 that has also some exciting features like transitions that align with exactly what we need in the block editor to improve the keeper as the smooth experience you are typing, you see immediately what’s applied, right. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent. Yeah. I’m not sure if the keypress event, if you actually will notice four milliseconds, but you definitely notice the 1.2 seconds faster load time of the Gutenberg 10.9. Yes. 


So in the experiment section, there is one thing that Jeff yesterday also demonstrated in our theme.json, live Q&A that there is now a feature that makes syntax arrows in the theme.json file visible to users. So when you reload the editor and you have some syntax…. And that’s very, very easily done. You can miss a comma, you can miss a colon or a quote and it picks it up. So Gutenberg picks it up and the theme developer made a mistake there. I think it shows us that there’s definitely a need for a user interface to assemble your theme.json file, because if you worry, okay, “I just wrote the word green, and why isn’t it showing green? Oh, okay. I forgot a quote,” or something like that. That can be really frustrating, especially when you start out and you’re doubting everything you’re doing. So that is definitely helpful. Good call. And then….

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah in the….

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Go ahead. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: In the ideal world, you would have an editor for the theme.json file inside the block editor so you just edit and save that and update, you just have to have a special permission to do that, and that would override the file, and that’s all you need basically, and just go from there and just update and send to the team director and you are done.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. It sounds so easy when you say that, right. Yeah. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Easier said than done. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And then on the full-site editing, there were quite a few additional experimental things, but there’s one that says split theme CSS styles loading. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: So for every block you can define three types of styles. One is for the editor, one is for the front and plus editor, and the other one is a theme CSS. So it was probably something buggy in a way that you didn’t have to split for individual files for the team dot CSS for every block, and now it’s fixed.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Okay, good. Thank you. 


So we’re coming to the documentation section, and there were quite a few — one is the duotone support documentation that was updated then the detailed Gutenberg released post-process, the team definitely worked on, but for the developers there’s also the update preferences for the register of block type from metadata. We talked about it our last episode, but that’s pretty much what you also talk about in your dev notes.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yes. It’s block API enhancements dev note. So generally we will reference it now as you registered block type, because it just act at the same signature as the ultimate of the ultimate still remains for backward compatibility, just shorter.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And the documentation also has an update for legacy, which a documentation with the new information on showing the instance and REST feature, meaning that it only uses widget options now instead of the class property. And that is important for plugin developers and theme developers that use widgets in there in their code and to update that. So it will be able to be exposed on the block editor and the legacy widget. Okay. 

Code Quality

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: And we reached the code quality section and as usual there’s a lot of changes in that. Is there anything you would like to highlight? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I didn’t come across something that stood out for me, but sometimes I read over things. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, I’m just double checking if there is one of the changes in these reviews that I work on, so the idea was to stop using hard-coded strings for stores and that was some of changes that help us catch some unnecessary dependencies. So for the widget screen, we were loading post editor by accident, and because we have tools for that now, we catch that and we fix that and we find a temporary solution. So it might be just one of the latest backboards that it’s not here on the list.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm. Yeah. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: But it’s, it’s very important and we had some issues with end-to-end tests also in the last weeks and it has improved a lot, but the toning just ensure that we can confidently iterate and be so fast. So I think that this section is often overlooked, but it’s so crucial to the success of this project. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. The updates with the end-to-end testing, that definitely is the quality assurance part that a lot of people take for granted, but it definitely needs to be worked on. We also have the one package introduced to your line. You to wanted to talk to him about that?


Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yes, but I cannot find out because it’s in tooling. So yes, this one is one of the contributions that I really appreciate because it took several months of discussions and updates too in upstream projects to make sure that happens. So the issue was that in JS Dock, we had just quite random alignment for parameters for the descriptions and so on. And so this one not only introduces linting that ensures that it conforms with the coding styles for the JavaScript code base, but it also introduces an automatic fixes that are integrated with IDEs, so you just click like align that properly and just boom, everything is done for you like magic. 

I like those little tools that just make your life easier and make sure that the code base looks the same in all places. It’s pre-care for code formatting, which is capable of changing not only JavaScript, but also CSS, JSON, YAML and so on. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Ensuring that the code looks like one person wrote it is in my opinion, the most enjoyable part of this.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Good. And that is the end of our Changelog for Gutenberg 10.9. 

What’s in Active Development or Discussed

We have just one thing that I came across for the active development. Of course, there’s a lot of active development discussions going on, but our episode today is already coming up to the 40-minute or an hour link. So we want to keep it short too. 

But I came across a post from the BuddyPress team and they all looking at a 9.0 release and it has a very short release cycle, but they want to make sure that they have for the block-based widget editor, they actually have blocks and they are migrating their legacy widgets to install with 10 new blocks. And BuddyPress has a ton of widgets because all the dynamic content that comes with a social network, be it an activity which would be in a post per person widget is the members widget. 

Yeah, there is a lot of dynamic content that needs to come over and they’re all hidden in widgets. And of course they could use the team is going through them and migrating them to blocks. It definitely is also a good place to study how to make that migration for other plugin developers. So I wanted to highlight that. And of course, I’m going to put the note that the Buddy team posted on their blog. And that’s all I have for that section.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah, it’s very exciting. Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: I just wanted to add a note to that, that this widgets screen, it was a lot of work to make that happen, but it also ensures that now all the widgets that existed that they could be artist to blocks, there’s now an opportunity to make that happen because you see that people can use a different version up to date. And by doing that for the widget screen, the new updated one, you ensure that people can start using those functionalities also in other places when creating content and soon when the full-site editing is in full motion, you will be able to use this blog anywhere you want. So that’s definitely a stepping stone for the project, and I’m glad that we stick to that plan and have this, although it was a massive amount of work for the team that was busy for a year or even two.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Two years. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Yeah. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I think the first time I started testing it, it was something like August 2020 or something like that, and it was already in full development. And that’s almost a year ago, but there was some additional lead time to get it to that point to be testable. So yeah, the widget screen is going to be quite an interesting new feature in WordPress 5.8. And I know there have been a lot of tests for legacy widgets and quite a few plugins, but definitely any site owner should try to test it, or at least if you don’t have time to testing, install the Classic Widget plugin, you shouldn’t, unless you want to really test it to the full measure, not have to interrupt your own website to house that. It only comes actually to pass if you want to edit your widgets, yeah. If you’re not doing anything, yeah nothing will happen to your website, but if you want to edit, that’s where the testing would come in and that needs to be compatible. Yeah. So that’s my call to remind everybody to make sure that you test your widgets. All right. Anything else that you want to add? Grzegorz?

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: That’s all on my side.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Regarding the announcements updates and active development. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right, so there’s this new test thing called number eight out for the theme.json. If you’re interested in themes and building themes, that’s definitely something for you to check out and report back any bugs and any quirks and any confusions to the team so it can get better before it’s then released later on in 5.9 or 6.0. As always, the show notes will be published on And if you have questions, suggestions, or news you want us to include here, send them to That’s Thank you so much, Greg, for spending the time with me again here on the Gutenberg Changelog, and thank you to all the listeners that have been subscribers and to all the new listeners. Thanks so much.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Thank you, Birgit. As always, it’s my pleasure to talk to you, and I’m looking forward to the WordPress 5.8 release that is around the corner. It’s like four weeks left on. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. All right. Well, that’s it. Thanks for listening. Goodbye. 

Grzegorz Ziółkowski: Thank you, bye. 

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