Gutenberg Changelog #14 – Gutenberg 7.4 and 7.5 Release and WordPress 5.4.

 
 
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In this episode, Birgit Pauli-Haack and Mark Uraine discuss the release of Gutenberg 7.4 and 7.5 with more enhancements and fixes. They also cover some interesting block editing features, Community Contributions, and the upcoming release of WordPress 5.4.

Show Notes / Transcript

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Show Notes

How to leave an iTunes rating and review for the Gutenberg Changelog podcast?

Block Editor Talks at WordCamp Miami #WCMIA

Post Status Newsletter and Membership Club ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Block-based Themes Chats

Plugins

Gutenberg 7.4 and 7.5

There will be another Gutenberg release on Monday the 10th RC 7.5 as a few more PRs ought to be merged into Core.

WordPress 5.4

Navigation block exclusion from WP 5.4

In Discussion & Active Developement

How to best persist user preferences using meta (JB Audras)

Introducing CSS-in-JS tooling Discussion alert from Isabel Brison

https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg/pull/17963
https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg/pull/18495

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

Transcript

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello, and welcome to our 14th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog. In today’s episode we will talk about Gutenberg 7.4, Gutenberg 7.5, new plugins for the block editor, and then we will also cover what’s in WordPress 5.4 regarding the block editor. Hello, everyone. It’s February 2020 and it’s Gutenberg release week. I’m Birgit Pauli-Haack, publisher of Gutenberg Times, and I’m here with my co-host, Mark Uraine, designer at Automattic and core contributor to WordPress. Hi Mark. How are you today? How’s it going?

Mark Uraine: It’s going so fast, so quickly right now. As you mentioned, it’s a release week, not only for Gutenberg, but we’re ramping up for WordPress 5.4 right now, as you know. So anyone out there, all our listeners, if you see a WordPress release lead ever in your life, please give them a big hug or a high five if they prefer because wrangling a proper release takes a lot of time and effort. And often it’s volunteered time. So, big shout out to everyone who’s ever helped lead a WordPress release. Y’all are heroes out there. Thank you for the effort you’ve put in.

WordCamp Miami

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and the component maintainers and everybody trying to figure that out, and be ready for it, and make a good release. It’s flawless. So, I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with longtime friends next week, and later this month. I’ll be in WordCamp Miami, and I get to hang out with a lot more great friends and make new ones. If any of you who are listening will be there too, please introduce yourself. I’d love to chat with you in person. Not everyone can make it to Miami though, and in the Gutenbergtimes.com, I listed the four Gutenberg-related talks and they will also be on the live stream.

The link to the posters and the show notes, there will be rethinking themes, embracing automatic design with Gutenberg, with Michelle Schlup, creating stunning layouts with various image blocks in Gutenberg with yours truly. And then on Sunday that is beyond the block, cool stuff with Gutenberg besides the blocks with Victor Ramirez. And then there’s on Sunday morning as well creating Gutenberg blocks with advanced custom fields with Jean Felisme.

Mark Uraine: Those sound like a lot of really good talks right there.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Mark Uraine: I’m so glad you’re going to be speaking there, Birgit.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, me too. I love it. Yeah. And I’m glad I sent in two proposals, so they took this one. I’d love to do a new talk about that. So, what’s February doing for you?

Mark Uraine: February. So this month, Birgit, for those of you don’t know, today’s my birthday.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Happy birthday to you.

Mark Uraine: Thank you.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: OK, I’m stopping now.

Mark Uraine: And we are still here doing this podcast, preparing for release, there is no slow down in this open source. So yeah. So one thing I’m really looking forward to this month is a WordCamp Asia.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes.

Mark Uraine: I have never been to Asia or on that side of the world really. So, I’m so looking forward to going and meeting other WordPress people over there, getting to really see the environment and the culture and just hang out with some really fun people over there. I will say this is like, while I’m very excited about this, I’m also a bit nervous because we’re all aware of the Coronavirus right now and the outbreaks that are happening in China and kind of spilling out into other Asian countries. And so I trust that the WordCamp team out there is really on top of things. They’re smart people who are considering all the facts and what’s going on, and I trust they’ll make the right call. Either way, I’m both excited and nervous.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s probably another week or two until it’s kind of figured out either way, but yeah. This month we got a lot more new listeners. Welcome! 

We also received some nice emails from our listeners, and I want to share with you one from Peter Ingersoll who wrote the other day, “Gutenberg Changelog has become one of my favorite WordPress podcasts. I really appreciate the time and effort it must take to put together and maintain. I believe more and more will be on board as Gutenberg continues to make the amazing progress that it has. So Gutenberg Changelog will definitely gain an audience. Thank you.”

Mark Uraine: Thank you.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Peter also helped us figure out what was wrong with our 12th episode release. It didn’t have a recording date and then was placed into 1969 on the bottom of your feed rather than on the top end, and we fixed it quickly but some of you might have gotten the episode a bit late in your podcast app. Apologies. That’s quite the rookie mistake to make, but a huge thank you to Peter Ingersoll.

Mark Uraine: That’s very helpful of Peter to give us that suggestion there to help bring up that episode again. But as Peter said, he’s amazed at how much work goes into preparing this podcast and sometimes things slip through the cracks, right?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Things happen. So we fix it and move on. Yeah. And last week the Gutenberg Changelog also gained the first mention in the Post Status e-newsletter in the podcast section. So thank you to Brian Krogsgard for spreading the word. Thank you. 

Post Status Newsletter

Post Status is definitely a must read for any WordPress developer, designer and business owner. If you haven’t subscribed to the newsletter yet, don’t hesitate. Go to poststatus.com and the Slack community is also very engaged and amazing. So I really…I’ve been a member for five years now, and I’ve never had to think twice to renew it.

Mark Uraine: There’s a lot of good information that comes out in that newsletter. I’m always very impressed at how they aggregate all that information and really bring up the highlighted points there.

Leave an iTunes Review

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and Brian has a new partner now. Cory Miller is now part of the crew there and a partner in post data. So they have quite a few ideas as to what’s coming for 2020. And, you too, dear listeners can help us gain a broader audience and with it spread the knowledge about the latest news and updates of Gutenberg. If you have a minute or two, please write a review on iTunes. Even if that’s not your favorite podcast app, it’s the largest app used, and reviews help the podcast to bubble up on the searches.

Go to gutenbergtimes.com/itunes for instructions if you need them, but what you definitely need is an account with Apple. And for our new listeners, feel free to connect with us via email at changelog@gutenbergtimes.com, changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. Or on Twitter, @GutenbergTimes. Or DMS, direct messages are open, so is my personal Twitter @BPH or Mark @MAPK. MAPK.

Mark Uraine: Yeah, it’s the Russian spelling of my name. Mark.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I know, we’d really love to connect with you.

Mark Uraine: Yes, please. Anybody wants to DM us and connect with us on Twitter or elsewhere, don’t even hesitate, we love talking about this stuff. And it’s really exciting to see people who are passionate either way in regards to Gutenberg. I love talking to people who disagree with some of the choices that we make because it forces me to learn and grow.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So if you need more, if you can’t just wait another week for the biweekly update through the Changelog, you can also subscribe to the weekly e-news on Gutenberg Times, and I share links to other people’s blog posts or to the Make blogs that are otherwise hard to surface but important voices in the community. So we really appreciate you, listeners and subscribers.

Block-based Theme and Future Themes Meeting

Mark Uraine: Yeah. We have an announcement here, Birgit, because Wednesdays don’t have enough meetings, at all.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I was thinking of you when I write that.

Mark Uraine: Kjell Reigstad and Jeff Ong, Kjell’s begun a new block-based theme meeting in the theme review Slack channel on Wednesdays. And this is a biweekly meeting on Wednesdays at 1600 UTC, which is 11 o’clock Eastern time or 8:00 AM Pacific time. And it’s cross-team discussion, there are designers, core editors, theme review team all in there discussing the future of themes and how they relate to WordPress and Gutenberg, the block system. So look for an official post about the meeting on makewordpress.org/themes.

And this last one that occurred this week, Kjell and Jeff, Jeff Ong, they introduced a current concept around the block-based themes, which was really fun to watch and see how they worked through. I know that Jeff has, which we mentioned I believe in our last podcast, our last episode about the post on themeshaper.com.

Let’s see, Tammy Lister also gave an introduction on global styles helping to bring everybody in there. That’s a huge theme that theme authors are interested in, right? Like that’s a big item for themes to really tie into global styles and how to really style things through that system.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: To also standardize how we work.

Mark Uraine: Yeah, right? So good. I love seeing this stuff just really come together and tie together. Like we have been talking about global styles, I was wanting global styles since I came onboard with Gutenberg like a year ago. And to help get involved with it and to see it coming to fruition now is just so pleasing. I’m so happy about it. So, yeah, Eileen Violini posted a detailed meeting notes about the theme reviews meeting on the Make blog. We have a link in the show notes, so please check that out. 

Let’s see. Oh yeah, and Justin Tadlock from WP Tavern also wrote about it and shared an article there as well. So just to repeat, our next meeting is on February 19th at 1600 UTC, 11 o’clock Eastern time and 8:00 AM on Pacific time. So if you are interested in the future of themes, please attend. That’s in the Slack theme review channel.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I’m sorry I missed it, and these articles really help you figure out what happened there. And if you’re not getting enough, Eileen has the link to the Slack transcripts of the theme. So the other day I found a nice Easter egg in the editor’s kit plugin. I was writing some random thoughts into a test blog and then just hit randomly the inter key. Suddenly, I get a pop up asking me, “Do you want to automatically transform four consecutive empty paragraphs into a spacer block?”

Mark Uraine: What?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And then I got the choice was yes, enable it, or no thanks. And so Jeffrey Caradang did some very nice mind reading there, and the prompt will only be shown once and will remember your preference. So that’s a nice UI there. I want to know what other surprises Jeff has hidden in the plugin, so if you discover more, share them with us and we’ll talk about it.

Mark Uraine: Jeff, I absolutely love that. I do not know about that. So Birgit, I’m so glad you stumbled upon it.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Me, too, yeah.

Mark Uraine: That, so intuitive, right? You’re just hitting enter, enter, enter and then it pops up, asks you if you want a spacer block instead, that’s so good. Smart, smart technology.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Bulk Block Converter

Mark Uraine: So there was also a new plugin released recently by organic themes. It’s called the bulk block converter. Yes, everybody, I could hear all our listeners right now flipping out. Yes, this was one of the key questions asked Matt during his state of the word, how do we convert all our existing content to the block-based system? One way I’ve always shared with people is that the cool thing is, is you don’t have to, right? If it’s a post and it’s already, how often do you go back to an archived post and update anything, right? The post is still going to work regardless, but the fact that now there’s a plugin that organic things created that will take that existing content and convert it all to blocks for you. This is really cool.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that’s fabulous. Yeah, because you can go and say, well, don’t touch the old stuff and only when you have to, but sooner that’s only a temporary solution. Sooner or later you want to change the theme and then have it all block-based because the theme then just goes for blocking and not for the old stuff.

Mark Uraine: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So sooner or later you want to have your hundreds and thousands of posts and pages converted. So this really helps.

Mark Uraine: It does. And I have not tried it yet. I’ve only seen it, so I’d love, I do want to take it for a spin though because I want to see how intuitive it really is, how it feels and is there any sort of layout of content that maybe that it struggles with? And if so, like it’d be interesting to know why, what’s going on there? Like how can we all on the Gutenberg site really build this stuff so that converting to blocks is a smoother transition?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. There’s a challenge.

Mark Uraine: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I embrace it. So again, Justin, Justin Tadlock wrote about it on the Tavern, and he actually tested it a bit and also interviewed the organic teams people about it and so you get the background. Yes, it was good. 

Rich Image Tools

So the last plugin we’re going to talk about briefly is rich image tools plugin on the automatic block experience. So the question is when we have an image broken, you want to edit the image, do you need to go and use a different image editing tool that is on your local machine but not on the system? So automatic has put together this plugin and it looks really interesting and it seems to be working quite smoothly. So check it out. And, of course, link will be in the show notes.

Mark Uraine: Yeah. You know what the cool thing about that plugin is that they’ve included all the, or the majority, maybe all of the interactions are right there in the block. It’s on the block toolbar or the interaction items to really crop your image if you want to. You can now add filters to the image, you can rotate the image. This is really good stuff because I’m pretty sure if I remember right, that’s one of the principles of Gutenberg is that all the major interactions are right there in the block and this adheres to that principle.

Gutenberg 7.4

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and thanks to Marcus Kazmierezack who mentioned that…I think I grabbed it from one of the issues that I read and found this. I thought oh–I’ve got to mention that. So we are coming up now to this week’s release, Gutenberg 7.4. Do you want to start us out, Mark? What’s in there?

Mark Uraine: Yeah, so Wednesday we had Gutenberg 7.4 come out everybody. We’ve had two features that were included with this release. The first is add background color support to the columns block, so if you were looking to add background to the columns, you no longer have to take the columns block and put it in the group block to get a background color. It comes with its own ability for background color now.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, that’s cool. Now, I have a question there. Can I change the background color for each column?

Mark Uraine: No, not for each column yet. That’s something I’m hoping that could come because I think that would be really creative. You could do some really creative things with that. Right now I believe it’s just the entire block. The other feature is adding text color support for the group block. This is another interesting one because the group block is so often used to really group content together, rather than going through each nested paragraph block to change colors of the text, you can apply that straight from the group block, and it will pass that color down into the nested blocks, which is nice.

And we’ve really kind of tested it so that like if you take a paragraph block out of the group block and put it back in, like whether or not the class or the color kind of stays. So I went through a lot of testing. We had, let’s see, five enhancements. The navigation block received a lot of attention. We were pushing to get this into 5.4, so there was a lot of development help on this navigation block and kudos to everybody who’s spending time making this happen. Navigation block has come so far just in like the last week or two. It’s been amazing. But we’ve added like a little Chevron or a little arrow to the navigation item if there are sub items or sub menu items in there. So you know, a visual indicator.

We’ve moved the link settings panel over, improving the UX to add links and this is kind of around which I want to talk about the new link control component in the rich text link format. This is kind of a more intuitive way to add links to specific text and ways to go about doing that. It’s pretty clean, it’s got a very nice UI. I encourage everybody to test it out. It is a bit different, so just expect that, but try it out. I’d love to hear people’s responses on them.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and the head for the navigation block, it seems that they had to refactor the whole link control component.

Mark Uraine: Yeah. That was a big part of bringing that, now we’re kind of bringing that link control component into other areas, right? We had to start in there.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So, the new release also has three APIs, new APIs. One of them I’m really happy that it finally landed is a new and official WordPress package for create blocks. One block plugin. It walks you through some inputs for your future block namespace and then spins up all PHV, JavaScript and CSS fonts you would need for a single block plugin that then will also go in the future of block directory.

Mark Uraine: I love this stuff. This release, I’m amazed with how much was in this. Like that, we’ve been talking about that forever I feel like. We had the, oh goodness, I can’t even remember.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Gutenblocks.

Mark Uraine: Yes, Gutenblocks, and that was working, I’d used that before. Now there’s this one as well, I haven’t tried this.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, we had, there’s also the scaffolding from WPC Ally, which was the inspiration for Greg Ziolkowski who put this together, and he expanded that to also include the PHP and to make an extra plugin and not just a block. It’s available from within the Gutenberg plugin and you can call it up. So the instructions are straightforward. I know this because I tried it out. I wasn’t with the Guinea pigs and I actually got my plugin working. So that was really cool and I definitely like it. It’s not good to use if you want just to add blocks to an existing plugin because it kind of speeds up the whole new plugin thing again. So it’s just for that one single purpose. And I love that.

Mark Uraine: You know what’s really cool, too? I actually like that differentiator that you just mentioned because we have the single block plugin directory, right? That’s being worked on and really like the focus of that is that one plugin per block sort of thing. And this is an experiment in Gutenberg right now, but eventually this is going to get merged in where you can just add that block straight from Gutenberg. We’ve talked about this before, but those were, those are all single block plugins. So using the system, perfect for that scenario.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, you get so much faster started up with that. Another API is the new WordPress icons package. So the design team actually plans to add hundreds if not thousands of icons to this package for third party developers. And this new package doesn’t include all the icons and it just will load when it’s needed. So if a plugin only uses four or five, only those would be loaded on the webpage. And I think it was a long time coming that the icon handling in WordPress is a little bit different now or needs to be reworked. So this is the first, it’s experimental or it’s not kind of fully fleshed out on how there is no documentation yet, but the team is contemplating actually to use the 4,200 material icons from the Google repository and make that available. I find this very cool.

Mark Uraine: Yeah. In fact, it’s so cool, I’m going to pull all designers off of any Gutenberg development and we’re all just going to design icons now because we need hundreds and thousands.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Mark Uraine: I’m just kidding everybody, that’s not going to happen. But you icon designers out there, look at this opportunity for you to contribute right here. This is awesome.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And for someone who tries them out because you figure it out without the documentation. The team can always use another person who writes documentation. Or a blog post on how to walk a lot of people through it. So that’s another chance. This release also had 25 bug fixes of the various sizes of importance. I only want to point two of them. One is the media and text block will reset the crop image to fill entire column. That’s a very nice feature, but when you change out the image it didn’t reset it. So all of a sudden their image changes and yeah, and now it doesn’t do it anymore.

And then they also fixed the O-bug component, cleaned up the animation frame and also fixed some typos that were irritating the mobile insert. There were four experiments in the release, one that’s called the angle picker component and use dragging hook. This is super cool. From the line you wouldn’t recognize it, but it’s the angle picker for the gradient. Can we say all gradient.

Mark Uraine: Gradients. So this is like the angle, right?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes, the angle.

Mark Uraine: Like I want up my gradient to change from 45 degrees to 33 degrees. This is that component.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s that component, yes. You can kind of make it a little softer. You can make it a sun going down kind of.

Mark Uraine: Nice.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So it’s really cool. So if you use it on a couple of blocks instead of a solid color, use the gradient and then play around with it and you’ll pick it up. Another experiment we mentioned in global styles, CSS variables, generation mechanism. Sounds really cool. When I read the PR that is linked in the release note, it has instructions on how to enable the WordPress global styles variables, the theme JSON file. So you can test it and then it also works when the user changes the color or the styling on a block level to override the global style. So that is the proof of concept that’s now in the experience.

Mark Uraine: I believe there is, there is a theme JSON file now?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Mark Uraine: Whoa. This is the first, right? That’s what’s new right here.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s new and the variables that kind of build up.

Mark Uraine: Yeah. How cool?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Very cool. Oh, and the next one is also a proof of concept, but it sounds really useful for plugin developers and implementers. It gives the option to register, so it’s called allow blocks to register variation that shows up in the inserter. So the use case is, or a simple example is you have a block that’s a heading two and you have one in red and the other one in green, and you can now search or register those with the inserter and then the user can just search for red header or green header and bypass the need to style those headers every single time when you use them. It’s opened up quite a few new approaches inside standardization for the small and large publishers out there. And the slash command of course also workers here and you can now do everything but keyboard.

Mark Uraine: Yeah. So we’re looking at getting the social links blocking to this release as well. So if you’re typing in the insert, like I just want a Facebook and Twitter social blog. That would be cool to see a variation like that, right? Like there it is, there’s my block and I just add it and it’s already got those Facebook and only the Facebook and Twitter icons ready for me to add my links to, right?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Mark Uraine: Like that’s really intuitive.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And then kind of a further development or idea from the reusable blocks which also have content. So that if you don’t want the content to replicate all the time, you couldn’t do that before with a standardized kind of block that has already additional features. But right now that it’s only, I think it’s on for block developers, plugin developers, you can’t as a user decide that yet. So it needs to be in the inserter. So you need to do some coding. I don’t know what’s the next version or the fifth or fourth version of it is, but right now it’s all four. So your implementers and your plugin developers do this. They will also see a seven, seven that’s German like Gutenberg. But anyway…

Mark Uraine: I like that, that’s great.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The documentation section for the release note has seven items on there. I just wanted to highlight the reorganization of the contributors guide ready for WordCamp Asia contributor day. Marcus Kazmierezack started reorganizing the guide for the block editor with getting started section on how to set up the local environment, explains the naming principles. And naming is really hard. Remember the article that Mark wrote.

Mark Uraine: Oh, goodness.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And then also the key concept and we’ll have FAQ’s and a glossary. Yay Marcos. And the last section of the release on all the various section which is kind of your kitchen drawer. Well this time we’re going to skip it. It had 29 items in there, and we skipped it because we want to talk also through the things are that coming into core with 5.4. So Mark, I think you had a pretty good list to talk through.

Mark Uraine: Yeah, that’s one of the things I’ve been doing this week is really trying to wrangle this list together. So yeah, to give everybody an update, 5.4 is coming out at the end of March. The first beta release is going to be on February 11th so all the features from Gutenberg 6.4 to 7.4 will be coming into core. For the most part. There will be another Gutenberg release on Monday the 10th. RC 7.5 and as a few more PRs get merged in. There’s a couple of ones we’re really watching right now. One of them actually I’m going to talk about getting the gradients redesign UI into cover and buttons block that’s already been merged, but then there’s also the addition of like the feature image edition to the latest post blog. We’re kind of working on that right now. That’ll be merged in and a part of this next quarter release, which is really fun.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, I have been waiting for these featured image in the latest post blogs for two and a half years now.

Mark Uraine: That should have been like number one on our list, right?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It was number one on the atomic block.

Mark Uraine: Yeah, right?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That was one of the first things I wrote in there. And also a rich table, I had some great post-grid co-blocks there.

Mark Uraine: Nice.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Just mentioning those.

WordPress 5.4

Mark Uraine: So WordPress 5.4 has a number of great features for the block that are coming and I’ll sit through a couple of those today. We’ve got a couple new blocks, like the social links block, the buttons block, two very fun blocks. Some of the major block improvements are going to include things like adding the featured images to the latest posts, the gradients, and adding color options to the toolbar of rich text blocks.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, that’s cool.

Mark Uraine: This is one of my favorites, I believe, or two as well, here it is. I’ve been wanting to change various words within one block and I’d love to change them all different colors and it’s probably not very good for the eyes and readability, but that’s what I want to do and now I can do this.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: You’re not alone.

Mark Uraine: There’ve been a couple of really big UI improvements. One of them is the breadcrumbs, as you all know, for those of you who are using the plugin. That’s getting merged into core, the block breadcrumbs I should say, to help navigate the block hierarchy. And this latest Gutenberg has seen a performance improvement that’s just incredible. A 14% loading time reduction, and a 51% time to type reduction.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: This is massive.

Mark Uraine: Yeah, there’s going to be an inclusion of plenty of accessibility improvements. One of those I want to touch on is fixing the tabbing experience from the content area to the sidebar. This is a big one because it came up in the accessibility meeting just today again. The sidebar is a point of contention because for keyboard navigation users, right, like people who just use the keyboard to navigate through Gutenberg, they need to be able to jump. We put settings in the sidebar and so oftentimes they need jump over to the sidebar, jump back to the block and be able to change various settings.

This experience helps alleviate that so much and Ella did a fantastic job with this. And then there’s a lot of other stuff. I’m not going to mention here yet, but the one thing I do want to touch on is I did just post today about this on the make core blog. The navigation block for Gutenberg is not going to be included in WordPress 5.4. And there’s been a lot of discussion about this in the Slack channels or the core channel, and the feeling is generally agreed upon by the release squad, the seasoned contributors, that while the navigation block is basically ready to go, the code is good, it’s usable, it’s just not in this current state of Gutenberg, it’s just not going to be useful quite yet for the user.

Because oftentimes when you add a navigation block, you want to add that to maybe the header or the footer area, right? You don’t want to add it to the content of your posts or the content of your page. So until we get those regions opened up in Gutenberg, where you can add blocks to your header or to your footer, that navigation block is just not going to be as valuable to people right now. So we’re going to hold off on that, and we’re going to look for a time when we’re ready to release those other block areas and we’ll include it in that release.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I saw the discussion flying by one of those Wednesday meetings, I don’t know if it wasn’t cool or designed, but it was very interesting to think through this. Yeah, would people be distracted by seeing it in the inserter, but then how does it look and then well, I can’t put it in the header. So there’s a whole lot of thinking behind it and kind of get distracted.

Mark Uraine: Yeah. Because a user who might find the navigation block could possibly get confused that that’s how they need to create their menu. And having that in the content, it could cause some usability concerns right now.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I think that’s a very sound decision. Not that it matters for me, what I think. Now, if you want to use the navigation block, you can always download the Gutenberg plugin. It’s functional in there and I have used it on a very long post of this one page landing page and just added some navigation to that, which is fun. But that’s just such an edge case that not a whole lot of people would think about that.

Mark Uraine: And we figure now as well, we do have the buttons block going into core this time. So that, when you lay out a series of buttons in a horizontal row like that, it kind of can achieve that same sort of feeling for the most part.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right. And you can use the gradient.

Mark Uraine: Gradient.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So that’s the two releases, 7.4 Gutenberg and then the WordPress 5.4 block parts that will be released. So releases, end of March you said. And then first beta is next week.

Mark Uraine: Yeah, and 7.5 Gutenberg will be next week as well.

Active Development and CSS and JS Tooling

Birgit Pauli-Haack: We have only a couple of things that are in active development that we haven’t discussed, that we haven’t yet mentioned. So J.B. Audras pointed us to a discussion on how to best persist user preferences using meta. And there has been a lively discussion and there is some, if you are a plugin developer, I think it will be good to follow up on that poll request and add your 15 cents or $2 because that’s certainly important for future plugin development and that should be done right.

And then there’s another discussion on introducing CSS and JS tooling and Isabel Brison pointed that out in the def-chat agenda for that two weeks ago I think in a comment section. And it’s definitely, for those of you doing JavaScript and are part of the religious wars, what to do with your CSS, certainly a good place to see what other people think that I never faced. And if it makes it into the components of Gutenberg.

Mark Uraine: Yeah, that’s another great meeting. What day is that on? I’m looking right now. Because I’m so hoping that it’s on Wednesday.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Of course, it needs to be between, so you have a six o’clock and then an eight o’clock, so it needs to be seven o’clock, right?

Mark Uraine: Yes. My day isn’t completely full of Wednesday meetings yet.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So it was mentioned in the def-chat actually for 5.4, end of January, and then there is not, I don’t think there’s a meeting yet. It was in the comments section. She had three poll requests where that was in there. And then there was a discussion at the core JS three weeks ago.

Mark Uraine: Oh wait, here we go. There’s going to be a CSS meeting discussing the evolving standards. This is going to be February 13th, I don’t know what day that is, but at 9:00 PM UTC. It is Wednesday. 9:00 PM UTC. So if you are interested in the future of CSS for WordPress, that’s going to be a fantastic meeting. I’m going to make a point to try to attend that one because I’m very interested. This whole CSS and Java script stuff is really, really interesting.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, definitely, and it’s going to bump up towards the global styles too.

Mark Uraine: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: One is global and then the other one is like unit atomic design level, so it’s really interesting. Yeah.

Mark Uraine: And Isabel is a fantastic person to get that started. She was really championing that really well.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So, now we’re at the end of the episode. As always, the show notes will be published at gutenbergtimes.com/podcast. And if you have questions or suggestions or do you want us, you have some news items that we should include, send them via email to changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. Changelog@gutenbergtimes.com. Thank you so much for listening. Goodbye, and I hope I see you, some of you, at WordCamp in Miami.

Mark Uraine: Yeah, thank you everybody. Goodbye. Have a wonderful day.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And thank you, Mark.

Published by Gutenberg Changelog

Updates and Trends around Gutenberg, the block editor of WordPress - A podcast with Mark Uraine & Birgit Pauli-Haack

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