Grzegorz (Greg) Ziolkowski and Birgit Pauli-Haack talked about the release week with WordPress 5.8 out the door, followed by the new WordPress.org Pattern Directory and Gutenberg 11.1. They also discussed what’s next with Gutenberg.
Releases WordPress open-source project
Too Marvelous for Words by Art Tatum Indeed, marvelous! 🙂
What’s in Active Development and Discussion
Global Styles: Design Tools Overview by Matias Ventura
Widget Editor: Widgets editor refinement by Robert Anderson
Gallery Refactor: Convert Gallery block to use Image blocks instead of having its own nested image format
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello, and welcome to our 48th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog Podcast. In today’s episode, we will talk about the release week with WordPress 5.8 out the door, followed by the new WordPress.org pattern directory, and Gutenberg 11.1. We’ll also discuss what’s next with Gutenberg.
I’m Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator at the Gutenberg Times, and I’m here with my co-host, Grzegorz Ziolkowski, code wrangler at Automattic and WordPress Core contributor on the Core editor team. Good afternoon, Grzegorz. How are you doing?
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Hi, good afternoon. I’m great, feeling relaxed. It’s the middle of the summer. The weather is good. It’s so nice to meet you again. How are things on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, we are getting ready to jump over it on a plane to head to Germany in a week. We are glad that we finally can visit our parents after two years. We’ll stay for a while and work from home-home, like the real home. We think of our parents’ homes as home still. We’re again quite excited, and we’ll stay for a long time, for five weeks to eight weeks. Really our parents are delighted, it is the least to say about it.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: That’s really exciting. Also we will be on the same side of the ocean when you fly to Germany, and also it’s the country next to Poland, so that’s exciting.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right. Same time zone.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: We will be a few hours away. Same time zone.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Same time zone. Makes scheduling so much nicer. I don’t think we’re going to travel a lot to other places than just hometowns like Munich and Saarbrücken and Freiburg, Kenzingen, so it will be more on the southeast side than on the northwest side or northeast side, but I will go back to Poland very soon. I really loved Warsaw when I was there. It’s now five years ago. I met so many nice people there. It was really great. I want to go to Krakow, I want to go to Danzig. They’re a German word, so it’s really ….
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: You should go visit Ratzwaf, my hometown. It’s eight hours away from Munich by car, so I recommend that one.
What’s Released – WordPress 5.8
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I’ll definitely do that, but getting back to our Changelog here, what’s being released? There were a lot of things happening in the WordPress space this week, especially around Gutenberg and the new features in WordPress 5.8. We will catch up with it also in upcoming episodes, but for this week, I’m quite busy from all the releases.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Who isn’t?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I don’t know how you all do it. I think a lot of people are doing on it. WordPress 5.8 Tatum is out. It’s named after the American jazz pianist, Art Tatum. If you ever had hear him play, there are quite a few videos on YouTube that I played them. He’s a virtuous jazz piano player and it was just amazing to listen to it.
The release is the reflection of hard work, of 530 generous volunteer contributors. Collaboration occurred on over 320 tickets on track and over 1,500 pull requests on GitHub. These are mind-boggling numbers, but that’s what Matt Mullenweg wrote in his release announcement. Yay contributors and yay Gutenberg team.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, that release is spectacular, in my opinion, one of the biggest at least since I joined the Gutenberg core team and I’m contributing to the core. This release is really packed with new features. As probably our listeners already know, because we talked about them quite a lot, this is the block widget editor, template editor, duotone feature, list view, and the new preference modal.
Also, it’s not only the WordPress 5.8, it’s also new WordPress packages. All the updates were published just after the release went out, so if someone is using pieces of WordPress in a different way, they also can benefit from all the same functionality to everything that was added to the Gutenberg plugin after the release was cut out.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s awesome. Those who use Gutenberg and Drupal or those who use Laraberg also get these updates in their system. On the evening of July 20th was the release date for 5.8, but on the evening, the meta team also announced that the first version of the WordPress pattern directory is live, and it comes with a ton of curated block patterns that were curated by the design team as well. Now you can just copy-paste them into your block editor. How cool is that?
Block patterns are available in 13 languages, so the polyglots not only had to translate the WordPress 5.8, but also block pattern sites. Many more languages will follow. Shout out to the polyglot team that had to work on a lot of more translations than usual for a release. I think 55 locales, not necessarily languages, but 55 locales are actually 100% already finished up the translation for 5.8. That’s really amazing.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, that’s impressive. It always amazes me.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: The pattern directory has, I don’t know, over 80 patterns in there and the patterns themselves are also released. There was a moment in time before the release where you saw the same pattern in 15 different languages, it was just interesting, where you had all the Korean signs and the Chinese signs and then the Hebrew. It was, I’d say, wow, this is amazing. It’s a worldwide project. Sometimes we forget about it, but when you see all the languages coming in, it’s so eye-opening for me.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, but this is not all because we had block widgets editor enabled. The BuddyPress team, they released a new version, 9.0.0, and it contains … they transform all the legacy widgets into blocks, so you can use them now on the widgets screen. That’s a great way to start with blocks when you try to convert shortcodes or widgets into blocks. Then, of course, on Wednesday the Gutenberg team released Gutenberg 11.1.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s a good point with converting widgets and shortcodes into blocks, yeah. I think you can connect with a BuddyPress team, and if you have trouble, connect with them and see what they did and how they did it and what trouble they had and how they overcome that. I think that will be a good way to start if you haven’t worked with blocks yet.
Gutenberg 11.1 – Enhancements
Now, Gutenberg 11.1 comes with a lot of enhancements. I really like that release because some of the blocks actually got some additional features. It was more a content creator and those who work with blocks to actually publish things get a lot more features now again after many, many releases where it was more about foundations and it was more about the future of Gutenberg rather than the here and now.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I think that’s the benefit of having this big WordPress release out, that contributors can finally focus on bringing maybe not big features but some small enhancements, some small improvements about their workflows that improve that daily work for the whole group of people who are using Gutenberg, not only those who are waiting for full-site editing but also all the users that use it for a few years now and can benefit from all the feedback chart during that time and it’s now materialized into nice user experience.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Speaking about user experience, Ella van Durpe has added a PWA, and we talked about it I think on our last show, a little bit about it, but PWA is a progressive web app that you can install on your mobile phone. She has normally the front end of a website is installed as a PWA on a mobile phone, but the backend lives from the mobile responses side of the desktop version.
Ella did something else and it allows the WordPress admin to be installed separately as a home screen and you have easier access, and it’s separated from the front end. I tested it yesterday quite a bit and it works very well for adding content to a site from your mobile phone. I used it together with the Hypernotes plugin, that’s a private notes-taking app, and it works very well with the PWA features there. I can make notes when I’m on the plane, on my phone. When I’m on the internet again, it updates the site when I’m back online, so that’s really cool.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I guess the offline support is only for the plugin you mentioned that Ella published together with this change, because I don’t think that it would work out of the box for the regular post or page publishing.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: I will need to test this. Right now it’s just theory.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, but I guess that’s the ultimate goal, to have the support. That would be a game-changer for all the content creators. They could just write wherever they want.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s the aim for it. I hope. There might be some overlap, just for those who test it out, with the PWA plugin that the WordPress team at Google put in the repository and has already add quite a few installs, I think about 40,000 installs, active installs, but I saw on those PR notes or issue notes that one of the developers, Wes Rutter, is actually actively working on the Google PWA plugin to avoid any possible conflict with the Gutenberg WA experiment there. We’ll see how that works out. Good.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: We have some enhancements also to the blocks. One of them is at least the block, it has now link color control. For instance, columns block, it has a new feature which allows to stack columns on the mobile screen. Instead of having six columns displayed in a tiny screen, now you can enforce the setup wherein just like every column tags the full width of the screen. It’s a very nice enhancement that probably many website owners had to work around with CSS now it’s natively supported.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and it’s supported without actually mobile breakpoints because those are moving targets. You don’t have to set them out, but you could if you want to.
The PR that’s linked in the release notes, there were quite a few discussions and design testings, and everybody shared how they worked it out and what still needs to be done. I find it quite educating to go through that and read up about what the problems were, how they were solved and how they fixed the edge cases on it. Sometimes you just go and read up a bit some of those PRs.
Also, in this release, the post term block now has support attribute for the separator. Sometimes, you want to separate them by comma. I think that’s the default. The separator of the post terms, so when you have multiple categories or multiple tags for a post, you can now also decide on the separator. You could even use emojis as a separator, I’ve seen. That’s quite funny.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I think there is also for the tag cloud block, there were some changes that removed editor styles that were causing the different presentation in the editor and on the front end. I don’t see that so often these days, but there are still cases that are actively being improved, and that’s great, because the goal is just to have one-to-one experience. Especially with the full-site editing view, that will be very important because people don’t want to jump between the preview and the editing mode too often and anywhere in one canvas, not like in Customizer when you have this sidebar and you edit inside there. It’s just one place to edit everything.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s a little bit different from the block editor in the post and page screen. When you go there on preview, you open up the front end and look at it, but in the template editor, that’s not how the preview works. It’s a little bit different for the template editor. Really, I just read it again, and I really like that you now have the ability to change the number on the tags that are shown. If an editor puts 20 tags on a post but your designer says, “We only show five of them,” so you can put those in as a setting on the tag cloud block.
There’s also for the link editing. It was a little bit cumbersome where you have to figure it out by osmosis, I guess, how to unlink a section from the link, and there is now an unlink button. It’s more on the link control pop-over. It’s more a link rather than a button, but now you can just click on it and the link disappears again, which I think is nice. It’s a fast way to do this.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: There is also a very important enhancement that we probably should mention earlier. This is for the change for the list view. Now, there is support for drag-and-drop functionality. Previously you would have to go to the canvas of the editor and just grab one of the blocks, which is, some blocks take a lot of space, so sometimes it’s really hard to precisely pick the place or scroll the screen.
Now you have this much smaller handles because it’s just one row in the list view and you can just take it and drag it to another place. It’s much more smoother experience and much more easier to put the block exactly where you want, especially when there are a few levels of nesting.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s a really nifty feature. I tested it then I’m just, wow, this is a game-changer. Now you can put something that’s off the screen, grab it, and move it just up to a higher place on the post without having to screen things or if you don’t get it right in the selection, and then you just … it’s so much nicer because the drag-and-drop from off the screen to up the screen, off the screen, it was a little cumbersome, but if you use a list view drag-and-drop, it’s so much easier to change things around. Yay, good work, team.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: The one thing that I just thought about is, can you drag something from the list view to the editor, or the other way around?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: No. No, you just drag it up and down the list view, but it will be copied on the editor.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I don’t know if it’s something that people would want, but it’s a nice technical challenge, right?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. That’s a testing challenge. Good.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I just wanted to tell that there is one small enhancement. When there’s only one block in the drop-down menu in the block’s toolbar, that’s from the three dots icon, you could move to even there was only one block, which was impossible. Now this is fixed. It’s more like a bug-fixing in my opinion, but it’s also an enhancement for the experience.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: In the same region, it’s pretty much disable the post publish button if it’s saving non-post entities, if the meta tags or something like that is saved, non-meta box items that are in post meta. Also the preferences have publish label and consolidated option in the preference modal that was just released, and of course it’s the second iteration of it, and it gets some new updates then.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I really like this new … not that new, but the way how it evolved and everything is consolidated in one model. That makes it easier to discover all the options that are there.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: I’m just still not getting, for many, many years, now I can say it for many, many years, it’s more than three, I would like to have the block manager be a little bit more feature-rich because if I switch off a block, I would really want to know if I used it multiple times, especially when it’s a block that comes from plugins. If I want to do a review, which blocks did I use and all that, I need a separate plugin to do that. I think it would be really helpful if it were out of the box in the block editor, but yeah, I’ll try my best and there are some plugins out there that can be a good inspiration for it.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I agree.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s my soapbox of the block manager.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: On this note, we can move to the new API section. There are two changes there. One of them is, in the Gutenberg plugin, we have now a new stable endpoint which allows developers to get the list of block editor settings. It’s more or less the same what is exposed from the server for every instance of the editor, but this one is a nice way to grab the same set of settings for a special way of dealing with the editor. The mobile app is a great example because this is the actual use case in this case, but it also gives the opportunity for other plugin developers to find ways to build their own instance of the editor and have all the settings.
The other change is that we now have a new search control component that’s inside the WordPress components package or under WP.components.globalnamespace inside the editor. This control was used in a few places, so it was just extracted to make it available for third-party usage, which is a really nice simplification if someone needs that UI interaction.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Thank you, yes. Back to the block editor settings, what kind of settings would that be? Is it per block or is it the editor itself?
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: No. It’s per screen. At the moment, there are two different screens out of the blocks. One of them is for the widgets and the other one is for that post/page editor which is hard to tell what will happen with the site editor if it will be a new screen in the future, but that’s the distinction.
What you get from there is there is a set of some default settings like all the types of the images you can use in the editor or you can get list of color presets, you can get the list of phone size presets. There is all those features that you have, and some of them can be customized and changed by the plugin with a big range of filters. In general, it’s all those things that you would like to customize for your site, and that’s set on the server.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: It would also be something like the screen has a full-site editing mode or the spotlight on or something like that? Is that part of that endpoint?
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, some of those settings might be there. If the full site editing team is enabled, that would be one of the settings, but for the spotlight, I think it’s only set on the client side.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Right.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: The best way to check is just go to the WordPress code base and check all those options. Maybe it’s documented somewhere. If not, we probably should do that and expose in the developer documentation.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: I’m assuming then, from the list that you had, it reads the theme JSON file or from the theme as well, so you get all the color palettes and all that. Good.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. It compiles from the different servers, so it’s not only that, but also some existing functions that are in the WordPress for quite long that you normally use like, for instance, a set of image presets like the thumbnail, large and so on. Just consolidated in one API. I know that the folder for the REST API endpoint, there is always an API schema. This is a good way. Probably this is how it will be documented because this will be published to the REST API documentation, so you have automatically generated docs.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Exactly. That’s definitely a place, when you write plugins or themes, to check it out and see if you can refactor some of your work before because that is now much easier to do.
There were just some performance features. One is, we talked about the list view, and the team also improved quite a bit the performance on it. That’s all in one package, but it’s in different places here in the changelog.
There are quite a few accessibility improvements here, but one is highlighted that the high-contrast mode is now available for the icon buttons. That certainly is for those who are visually a little bit impaired.
Then there were 34 bug fixes and there are some of them are cosmetics, some of them are just some edge cases, like the search block button position drop-down had some accessibility issues that are fixed. Now you can change the border radii. Sometimes when the Italian word has a different plural, sometimes it makes it into English language and sometimes it doesn’t. Comma and commas, it doesn’t, but radius and radii, it does. That’s why I’m a little chuckling a bit as I’m reading through this.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: There was also a bug fix for the duotone feature. Now, it allows to avoid rendering duplicate style sheet and SVG files. As far as I remember, there was a change that consolidates all the changes to duotone and it’s moved to the footer, so that improved the readability of the DOM tree, which helps with CSS styling.
There was also some technical changes. That was targeting the widget screen. That shows how the required compatibility is important in WordPress. In the past, long, long before the Gutenberg was a thing, there was the classic editor that was exposed under WP.editorglobal. When the Gutenberg was born, it was also put under the same namespace, which probably wasn’t the best idea in retrospect, but to work around that, there is now a special so-called “shin” that allows those two objects to coexist and they just merge together and show that all the functionality is exposed also on the widget screen.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Exactly. Thank you.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I know that there was also a last-time change for WordPress 5.8. There was this fix for select-all, if you are using mark comment A shortcut. The way it worked in WordPress 5.7 was if you wouldn’t have any selection, it would just copy all the blocks, whereas for WordPress 5.8, it didn’t quite work, but eventually the last approach was that if you click anywhere in the editor’s canvas, then it will copy all blocks, but if you use this comment A shortcut, when you click, for instance, on the header, then it would just work as in on other websites. There’s these distinctions that in my opinion make sense, but maybe it’s confusing for users if they are familiar with the old behavior.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Thank you for pointing that out. I didn’t realize that, but it makes total sense. What we heard from the tags block were the editor screen and the front end screen is matching the layout, that goes actually … some of the big fixes where these kinds of changes, where some of the styling that was applied to a block or after the block has been removed so it better matches the front end. It goes through quite a few of those updates.
For those who work on the theme JSON and try to switch off and on some of the features, like the color duotone or the spacing units, you now can add empty values in the JSON file to signal that there is no feature for that. All right, that brings us to the … there’s one item that’s highlight that extracts snack bars into a separate component. Is it lunchtime yet?
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I’m after lunch.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: You’re ready for dinner.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: … but I guess it made you hungry.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Made me hungry, yes.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: It’s a funny name for this little pop-up that shows up in Gutenberg on the bottom left of the screen after you do some impressive action, like you publish a post. There was some issue with the layering, so this is Z index in CSS. It was covered with something, it was fixed, and it was also extracted to its own section in the abstraction that is built inside the block editor which is called layout in the interface package. There’s some planned follow-up work for all the notices to have a special handling, so they are always displayed on top of everything else.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, yeah. Makes sense. It’s not covered up and people don’t know if it worked. Thank you.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Now we can go to experiments. We have 16 items in this section. It’s not the usual number we saw in the past because some of those experiments are now in Core, so that’s a great progress.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Or are in the Gutenberg plugin. They’re not necessarily all in Core because the full site template editor is not yet in Core, the site editor stream, but it’s out of experimentation. The plugins, when you install it, you have it right away and don’t have to look in experimentation.
The experiments are actually only three sections now. That’s a component system, it’s a G2 we talked about quite often already, but it’s now getting into the plugin, and then there’s a navigation block and the screen and the global styles. They are still in experimentation.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: In the component system, we have a new experimental component, so to speak, and it’s called flayout. Flyout?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Flyout.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Initially, the idea was to call it pop-over, but this name is already taken by the existing component, but it has some different mechanics. It was really hard to map the new functionality to the old one, so the decision was made to just introduce a new one.
The follow-up work is planned to use this flyout in as many places as possible and figure out if the old components still need to exist or it can be duplicated or just maybe the name will be pop-over after all. It’s really hard, all those changes for the UI to make it happen, especially when you know that so many projects use those components, which is both handling but also brings this complexity.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: If a plugin developer develops a block or something like that, they could use all those components, right, and experiment with it?
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. They can, but there is no guarantee that the API will stay and they are also prefixed with underscore, underscore experimental. Use it at your own risk.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Don’t try this at home.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: It’s always like when you are in States, you just need to sign a waiver before using any of the….
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Experiments, yeah.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: … excursion of ….
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Navigation block is getting some attention now that all the widget things is at least released in its second iteration and has quite a few changes there, be it from color options for the sub-menu to improved handling of the overlay to the inheritance of the placeholder for the menu item. Also made it into the release is a refractor of the navigation block rendering using allocation attribute.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: The change is for global style. Sound very technical even for me.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: We talk about that a little bit on a higher level when we talk about what’s next for Gutenberg.
In the changelog, we’re coming to the documentation section, and that definitely had quite some updates that are interesting for the developers that are working on extending Gutenberg.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I guess at least for the block API and for block editor API, this is something I worked on, it’s all the content that you would be familiar if you read Dev Notes for the same topic, but it’s brought to the documentation. I think the more interesting part, at least for myself, is the theme JSON changes. We have now examples and highlighted backward compatibility usage. That’s quite important I think to look at if you are experimenting with this theme JSON format.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: With that, of course came an update on the format with the WordPress 5.8 changes.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Also for the same topic, I think the biggest challenge now is that there is still an active development, so new features are added. In the documentation, it needs to be very clear what’s already in WordPress Core and what’s part of the Gutenberg plugin experience, so I think there is also an entry and a change that covers that.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s a good point. I think the last few years, there was quite some confusion. Especially when you have plugins and you need to gear it towards multiple versions of WordPress, who is on 5.7, who is on 5.6 to make that all work was, even if the new features come, you need to go back and say, not for you, not for you, not for you in your code. It’s not for WordPress 5.1 or 2 or 3 or 4, but it’s only for 5.6 and 7.
We’re coming to code quality changes, and it seems that there are quite a few that you could be talking about that changed.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I highlighted changes for the API fetch that we discussed in the last episode. There was some follow-up on that front. Now there is a user auto-completer component in the block editor that doesn’t use this API fetch directly by the abstraction built on top of that. The same applies to the latest post block. Those things are in motion and very quickly are changed in the WordPress.
There are new components that were … those components were experimental: the gradient picker and the custom gradient picker. Those two components are now considered stable, so everyone is encouraged to try them out and to use in their products. The backward compatibility will be assured from now on.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: This is the keyword for me is gradients! I love gradients, yes, and I like that we have them in Gutenberg so much.
Then there were some additional tool changes, 16 of them for testing dependencies and workflows. Now, previously-skipped widget tests are now enabled.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: There’s some back and forth. I highlighted those items that I consider interesting, that some tests were enabled, they’re disabled, enabled again. It’s very important for the projects to have a reliable verification from end-to-end tests, unit tests and all sorts of tests that you can come up with. It’s a very strong emphasis to have that always be something that you can look at and say, “It’s working. I can just merge the change,” because otherwise, if there’s so many contributors, it will be impossible to keep the pace on the tests.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, keep the pace or not. I have to go back and do a regression testing as well, which you do.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: There are also some new tests other than that. I encourage everyone, if they want to figure out how they could contribute with code, so finding a piece of UI interaction that isn’t covered through this test and writing end-to-end tests is a great experience in both to see how this automation works, how you can see the interactive mode and look how computer is just doing user interactions in your Chrome browser. That’s really nice experience and really rewarding when you make it go and to test passes and all the verifications are checked.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s instant gratification. What can be better than that? I have found that that’s my programming style is I need instant gratification. I can’t wait until everything is compiled and all that. That’s why HTML was so fabulous for me. I can see it right away.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: With CSS, it’s even better.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s even better? Yeah.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: You just open dev tools and just change something and you know that it works.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and you can change it only for you, and you don’t have to even publish a code for it.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: The last item I had is just mostly for us when we are going to the changelog is that now those, as I said, some of the experiments that were moved to the stable feature, so that’s why we don’t see as many items in that list.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: I think what also was on the list, but we skipped it, is that the changelog automation, when the plugin is released, there is now a process there to look at each automation process to look at each PR and classified at the different categories, and then put it into the block library, so when you read through the release notes, you can better identify what the change actually was about and have some of the changes clustered in one category. I really like that. There’s some great work to be done there.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I think that we should see that in two weeks, when the new changelog is generated, because it was too late to use those changes for the release. I’m really looking forward to it because it will have a better grouping, and that will improve the reading experience.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: That was then the Gutenberg 11.1. Go out and test it and try it and work with it. I don’t know how many of you use Gutenberg actually in production. I do on many sites. I have yet to have to return to a previous version, but I also know where the pitfalls are that I can work around and say, “No, that doesn’t work. Don’t do it,” to some of the code editors.
What’s in Active Development or Discussed
That gets us into what’s an active development and what’s discussed. Hector Prieto has skipped the What’s Next focus post that comes out every month for July, for beginning of July because of all the work that was to be done for WordPress 5.8, and everybody was focused on that. He published just also this week the new site editor status check for late July, so for one week, and then for the whole of August, which is the focus project. You had a quote that you found interesting.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. I reached out to Hector and asked him about the higher-level overview. The main idea is to turn a page after 5.8 from the classic FSA foundational work to a new iteration that focuses apart from remaining things like navigation, on design tools, patterns and all kinds of interactions that improve and ease the user experience as the editor complexity grows.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: That means that for the site editing infrastructure, there were a few focuses. One is of course the template previewing, making it easier for people to see what they’re doing. Then the browse mode, that’s a new mode, I think. Then, mosaic view for theme template. You get cards from the theme template, so you can choose them and you hopefully also see … I saw some early mock-ups of that where you see some preview of how it looks, how each template looks, so you can select the right one.
Then, restrict the block editing capabilities based on context. That’s certainly important when you have a block that’s used on a page or a block that’s used, for instance, in a block template or a widget setting, and also if it’s an inner block or an outer block or with a query loop block. I think that comes very much into fruition there.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I’m looking forward to see the browse mode because it essentially allows you to navigate with the links that are on the page, so you can just go from the whole screen and see how it looks like, go to the About page, change something there, go to the contact page, change something there, it will be very smooth experience once this is in action.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: That sounds almost like a front-end editing, but in the editor. I’d like to see that, yes.
One other part is certainly the global styles. Global styles was always two parts. One was what then became the theme JSON feature where you have a central place for theme developers to have all the settings for a certain theme, and that’s in a configuration file, but the second part was for user to change global styles with a user interface in the sidebar of the site editor, and has been in experiment I think since last December or November already, but that is now make it ready for more users to test it and get it out of the experiments into the plugin and then make it ready for 5.9 hopefully that will come out in December.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Just to clarify, is it this feature that has its own sidebar presence in the site editor, right?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes. Yeah.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: That’s this section?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. That’s a global style.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: It probably builds on top of theme JSON, so that only shows the customizations you make to the theme.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right. The theme could actually allow you to have multiple color palettes, but then, it gives you that interface to change it up and then react to it. I think it’s a big, big task to get this right and get it interesting for a user to actually pursue that, but also to not be all things to all people. That’s a balance to strike there, but yeah, that’s one of the focus items that Hector Prieto highlighted in his post. I’m just going to look on ….
He has other things as well, one as the theme blocks that have more of the post aid, post excerpt, post feature, post content kind of blocks for the query block, and also the site header, site title and the header thing are already in there, but they of course need to be refined. Then, the query loop block will get some enhancement. Then, another focus is the navigation block and editor screen and site editing gradual adoption, which needs to be seen how can a theme move from a classic theme over a hybrid theme to be a universal theme or a block-based full-site editing theme only. All those interactions are to be discussed and worked on.
There are even more. The whole post is I think about 3,000 words long, but it’s a milestone to look at that, okay, we know that and what’s coming up and we are not done yet. We are not there yet and there are quite a few things to be done.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I think that’s so big because it more covers the scope of the WordPress 5.9 release, at least what’s in plans. Rather than something that you can realistically do in August, when people on the north of the globe spend time during summer vacation, so I don’t expect so much movement in that area, but it’s great to see the vision for the release, and everyone can just focus on their area of interest and drill down in it later throughout there and get involved in those parts.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s really a great way to learn more about the details of all those things that might come for 5.9 or even 6.0, because we will have something like what we had in April, where we go look at all the features or the team is going to look at all the features that, is it ready yet, is it ready yet, or do we punt it for 6.0?
The feature lead, if such a thing is actually there, Robert Anderson talked about, has an overview issue on GitHub now with what’s next for the widget editor now that’s in Core, what are the things to be worked on. That’s definitely something to look through because it’s how to smooth out the rough edges, improve performance and stability, and improve extensibility for all the plugin developers out there that now want to extend the widget editor or widget sections.
That’s a good overview issue and see what’s all worked on. Of course, we’ll share that all in the show notes. What I found was a little bit put on the ways, on the side was the gallery refractor for the gallery block that switches from a … to have nested image blocks in the gallery rather than create the images over and over, but we haven’t gone further with that.
It hasn’t been merged with the Gutenberg plugin yet. It’s still out there, but I’m really excited about it and I have been excited since I started testing it because it has so much more potential and I’m really looking forward to that. I think I’m going to go back to that and see if I can assist in some more testing there.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I think it’s mostly about the Core compatibility. That’s the only challenge that is making this process so difficult. That’s why it takes so long.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: No, I totally get it. I was not trying to be impatient. I know the last 10% normally take 80% of the time that it takes to build something like that. It would be such a rich experience for a content creator that it’s worth spending time on and getting it right, of course.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I think everyone is aware that you could now use list view and use drag-and-drop to move your image to the gallery or move out of the gallery and reorder some of the images. There’s so much potential when you start using those concepts.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Just to apply the image styles, that you have a gallery of head shots that you can make round for a conference or just a little event or so that you have, it’s just a nice experience, rather than….
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Or maybe groups inside the gallery. You could create columns, groups, whatever. It’s so exciting to think about all the possibilities that it opens.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: I like that creativity say, “When we can do that, can we do other things?” Yeah.
That’s pretty much we’re on the end of the show. For all those that are on holiday and a vacation and are outside and away from the keyboard and still listening to it, we’re so happy you’re here. When you get back to the computer, you have so many great things to test out and work on. Do you have any last announcements or things that you weren’t able to get in before that, Grzegorz?
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: No, no. I think we covered everything.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Exactly, yeah. As always, the show notes will be published under GutenbergTimes.com/Podcast. This is Episode 48. If you have questions, suggestions or news you want us to include, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s email@example.com.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: We would like also to hear about our show and whether you like it or not, so we are looking forward for all the reviews so we can improve what we cover in here. We are always happy to hear your feedback.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Good point. Thanks so much for taking that on. Thank you all for being here. Thank you, Greg, for spending time on this and working hard on this. It was a pleasure talking to you. Thanks everybody for this time. Goodbye.
Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Likewise, thank you very much, Birgit. See you in two weeks.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right. Bye.