Gutenberg Changelog #15 – Global Styles, Plugin Releases 7.5 and 7.6, WordPress 5.4 and #WCMIA

 
 
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In this episode, Birgit Pauli-Haack and Mark Uraine discuss the release of Gutenberg 7.5 and 7.6 as well as WordPress 5.4, Global Styles and using Block Editor outside the editor screen — plus community contributions and WordCamp Miami.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello, and welcome to our 15th episode of Gutenberg Changelog. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about the plugin releases, 7.5 and 7.6, and what will be in WordPress 5.4. We’ll also talk about Global Styles, and using the Block Editor outside the editor screen. 

I am Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator 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? 

Mark Uraine: Hey, very good. I’m doing well. Back from a few illnesses, and traveling, and all that good stuff. So, we’re home now, it’s great to collaborate with you again on another episode today. I heard you were at WordCamp Miami. How’d that go?

WordCamp Miami

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, your life sounds almost like mine. I traveled for a bit, I was sick a bit, and I just returned, as you said, from WordCamp Miami. 

Kudos to the organizers, sponsors, volunteers, and speakers for an awesome three-day WordPress weekend. On the Gutenberg Times, you’ll find the slide decks of the four talks about the Block Editor, with Victor Ramirez, Michelle Schulp, Jean Felisme and yours truly. I had some great discussions about the Block Editor after my talk, and how it makes the life of content creators so much easier. I think I also turned around a few skeptics, after my enthusiasm in the talk. 

Mark Uraine: All right. Now, we just need them to go out there, and tweet about it, and share their experience. If it’s been an improvement for them, we’d love to hear that. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. For today’s podcast, we have a big list. Let’s get started. 

WordPress 5.4 Release and Beta Tester

Tomorrow, WordPress 5.4 release candidate one is scheduled. If you want to help testing, there’s also a new version of the WordPress Beta Tester plugin available, so now you can download the beta and release candidate versions directly into your WordPress staging and testing site. I would not advise to do this on your live site, these are not yet finished products, so there might be some quirks if you put it live. If you help testing, the more people test those beta and release candidate versions, the better is the end product, so we all need as many people as possible to test things. 

Mark Uraine: Right, right. I know we were saying tomorrow today, but by the time the episode gets out …

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It was this week. 

Mark Uraine: Yes. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: You’re right. You’re right. So, on March 3rd …

Mark Uraine: There we go. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The release candidate one is scheduled to come out. 

Mark Uraine: Excellent. Please everybody, try to test that out, it just ensures a better product in the end. Thank you, for everybody who does spend time doing that. 

Semplice

Today, we have a community contribution I wanted to talk about, Birgit. For those of you who know Semplice, the portfolio platform, which is built on WordPress, co-founded by Tobias van Schneider. They’ve introduced some blocks recently, and what they call blocks tend to be more along the lines of block patterns. But nevertheless, they’re designing some really beautiful sections, that are very inspiring. You can see those in the link in the show notes. 

But, I love to see when really great quality designers are out there, building things on WordPress, to see how far they’re pushing this tool, what they’re doing with it, and where they’re going. It’s always inspiring, to see this stuff that people do. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, thank you for pointing that out. I didn’t know about Semplice, so I definitely will go and check it out. Hopefully, we come up with some great inspiration, there. 

Block Editor Release Notes

Speaking about inspiration, the Block Editor … or, the Gutenberg development team has published quite a few release notes for the changes to the Block Editor in WordPress 5.4. So, this falls along the core practice to have additional make blog posts.

Mark Uraine: Yeah. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: For the Block Editor, there have been published–nine of those.

Mark Uraine: Wow.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And I’ll just point them out, briefly. One is the new and updated blocks in WordPress 5.4, and we talked about that. It’s a refactored Social Links block, with some breaking change from the plugin implementation, so be aware. Then, the Buttons Block comes in new, as well the TikTok embed. Yay! I know we talked about that already, but I’ll just mentioned it again, because it’s so exciting, for the young ones. Also, the featured image for the latest Post Widget Block is now. Also, it will come to core.

The second release note that was published is about the Block Variations API, with code examples and documentation of how you can have different variations of a block, that then show up in the inserter for editors to use, instead of having to configure each variation, over and over again. That’s a wonderful enhancement for faster editing. 

Mark Uraine: Yeah, that one always … what do you think about that, Birgit? Just to sidestep our conversation here a little bit. Because these block variations, they are variations of a particular block that a plugin author can introduce. Yet, we have block style variations as well, which are also in the block itself, that you can change the style variation of a block. 

So, I guess a block variation that might be surfaced in the inserter, would be more than, really, a styling change is my understanding. Does that sound right? Because, if you want just the styling change of your particular block, well then, we have style variations. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right. The style variations, you can actually pick a default variation of that saying, “OK, my images are always round, and make that the default style.” 

So, if you have a standard on how things are going to be published, and sometimes you have a heading, and that’s the example that the developer used, if you have sometimes a heading red, and a heading green, every time you use the heading, you need to make the trip to the sidebar, and change the color of it. 

Because it’s not a default one, so now you can surface that heading red, and heading green, in the inserter, and it’s just a one-step configuration. So, it can do quite a bit more. I think it’s in between the reusable blocks, and the template, or a pattern. It’s kind of a smaller variation of that. 

Reusable blocks, we know when you change them, if you use them and then change them, it changes throughout the site, when the reusable block is used. But, you cannot use them as a pattern to say, “OK, I want just this part of the block reusable, but the rest should be editable.” Maybe, sooner or later, we’re going to get to that. 

Mark Uraine: Right.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So, the block variations might be a good replacement for thinking, have smaller changes to the block, and reuse it over and over again.

Mark Uraine: You know what, Birgit? I’m sure that people are going to find great use with those block variations, and probably come up with some beautiful ways to actually offer variances for their blocks. So, I’m excited to see where that goes. I’m still curious to see, where are the styling variations going to be. Is that going to be that styling variations start going away? Because if I’m surfacing a green heading, and a read head, well those are styling variations. So, maybe I don’t need a styling variation on that block? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Think about if you do a heading, or a/Red Heading and then start typing, you don’t have to configure it. 

Mark Uraine: That’s true, that’s true. So, it does raise it up one level? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. 

Mark Uraine: Style variations will be diminishing, though. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, you could also go a little bit further. If you say, “OK, I have a list block with everything in blue, and then a list block with everything in green,” making those changes is even harder to do. Or, “I have a cover block that has images in there.” 

I’m not sure how far, I didn’t look at the API directly, but I think there are some changes possible, some examples. Yeah, that’s something new, and I’m really curious what other people do with that. 

So, the third release note was miscellaneous developer-focused changes, but it only mentions the new block related, or Block Editor related, it was only two things. One is the new embeds for TikTok, and how to do this for a code. Not only for the Block Editor, but also for the Classic Editor. And the core team also removed the College Humor embeds, because College Humor’s site was discontinued. 

The fourth one is an updated button component, information about that. So, instead of having a button component, now it’s a buttons group, and then smaller buttons in there. That can, then … I think that came out of the navigation block development, where the team found it necessary to update the button component. 

Then, the fifth one is about the keyboard shortcuts that are coming. They are already in the Block Editor, but now the team has also implemented in API, to register new shortcuts, and also remove shortcuts for site developers. So, if you don’t use all those shortcuts, you can remove them and then re-add additional ones to make the editing even faster. 

The sixth release note is about the Create Block package, for block scaffolding, which gives you scaffolding for all the files that you need, including ES Next JavaScript packages, to create a single block plugin that is ready for the soon to be available Block Directory. We talked about a Block Directory before, but this package is really cool. It came, inspired from WP CNI, but then added the JavaScript build steps, including name spacing, and the Read Me, the plugin PHP, and the header information for the plugin, everything that you need there. It’s quite nice to start out. 

The seventh release note has some general Block Editor API updates. It mentions five of them. One is the short code transformation, so if a plugin developer had a short code that was used within the Block Editor, and now found the time to create custom blocks for those, the developer can also, then, assign transformations to certain short codes. So, they will automatically be changed into blocks … not automatically–the content creator can then transform them into native blocks. 

There’s also a Sync Mode provider that speeds up the page reload and only reloads the block somebody’s working on, the others are only reloaded when the page is saved, so that speeds up the whole thing. 

Custom media upload handler, not so quite sure what that would entail, but it could be that you could use a shorter process for media uploads in your Block Editor. I don’t know. Mark, do you know? 

Mark Uraine: That’s a good question. I’m trying to think it through, myself. I’m not entirely sure. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Another API is the easier drag and drop component, and a new guide component … that is now appearing for first time block users, but any block developer that tap into that component, and make it available for their own blocks. 

Mark Uraine: I like that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that’s really cool. 

Mark Uraine: That was an early on thought, I think, by @noisysocks (Robert Anderson).

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. 

Mark Uraine: They really make that into a component, so that others can use it as well. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. It’s definitely helpful for content creators when they see something new, that they get a little bit more information about it before they head on, head first into the adventure. 

Then, there are three theme-related changes, in the release notes. One is mark-up and style related changes with simpler block margins, blocks enriched text components, loose redundant wrappers, removed some legacy editor class names, and all that. 

The last one that was published also this week, is the new gradient theme API. 

Mark Uraine: Woo!

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yay! We’re all fans of gradients–backgrounds for the buttons and the cover block, and now you can also use them in your theme. And, it also has a method to turn them off, not everybody’s a fan, I’ve heard. 

Mark Uraine: Oh no. Allow them to turn it off? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, to have an add action, turn off gradients is in there, and the code is in there. 

Mark Uraine: If it was up to me, Birgit, we’d have gradients as the default option for everything. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. 

Mark Uraine: Yes. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I did some very nice candy designs, or tried them, at least, out for my blog. I then removed them, went back to black and white buttons. 

Mark Uraine: Oh, they’re fun to experiment with, but when you go live it’s always like, “Oh, do I really want that many colors?” 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and does it really add to the value of that information? 

Mark Uraine:: It’s gradients, it always just makes people smile. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. Especially the candy ones, yeah. 

Mark Uraine: Yeah. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So, those were the Gutenberg release notes, or the Plug Editor release notes for the Field Guide for WordPress 4.5 release. 

Mark Uraine: Right. It’s so good to see that happening. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah, it’s very helpful for everybody who needs to stay up on top of things. The release is scheduled for March 31st, so we have, with this week, three release candidates, and if necessary a fourth one, so every week is a new release candidate, so that’s it. 

Gutenberg 7.5 and 7.6

Mark Uraine: With that, Birgit, we have Gutenberg 7.5 and 7.6, which are the two recent additional versions that have been released on the plugin, of which both those should be getting into 5.4. Am I right? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I think so, at least 7.5. I wasn’t quite sure about 7.6. I read in Justin Tadlock’s piece that it would go into 5.4, but it was after beta release, so there might be just the bug fixes and enhancements. 

Mark Uraine: I think you’re right. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That made it into the next beta. 

Mark Uraine: So, let’s see, containing one week of updates from 45 contributors. This was 7.5? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes. 

Mark Uraine: Yeah, because 7.6, we couldn’t really see. It wasn’t listed in the post, anyways, all the contributors. So, the release cycle was temporarily shortened to align features with WordPress 5.4, beta one. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. 

Mark Uraine: So, we did a cycle of releases, one right after the other, and then we skipped a week. Jumped back into it, and now we’re back into the every other week release cycle, for Gutenberg again. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: We all hope. 

Mark Uraine: Yes, we very much hope so. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. 

Mark Uraine: With this, we can talk about the features. Last episode, we talked about some of these already, because we had some idea of what was coming for 7.5, but 7.5 included the Social Links block. Let’s see, there was support for adding featured images to the latest posts block, which I love. Now I can actually start having images on my latest posts. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I like that, too. Now I don’t have to install a plugin for that. 

Mark Uraine: Right, right. You know what I tend to do too, Birgit, is in CSS, I’ll hide the feature image from my actual post, because on one of my blogs I’m not a big fan of that, necessarily. But, where I list my latest posts, I want to show the featured image, and I could never really do it, until now. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right, right. Yeah. I think I’m torn between having on the single block, the featured image, but what I like is when I share a single blog post … we need to be careful. A single blog post, not block post, to the social webs like Facebook, or LinkedIn, or even Twitter, then I would like to have the featured image also come with. 

Mark Uraine: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So it stands out a little bit, and it’s not just the headline there.

Mark Uraine: I have that as well, that desire. Same thing. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. 

Mark Uraine: So, as we mentioned, the 7.5 included TikTok video embeds. We also included the in-line text color support, so you can change the color of a single word within the paragraph of a block. Text color support for columns block. 

And then, in 7.6, there was an added a rotating list of tips, to the inserter help panel, which is really nice. We’ve been really working to integrate more tips and to really help inform people. There’s a few things, in fact, I’m going to check this real quick, this particular PR that we have in the show notes. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: While you do that, I wanted to say one word about the text color within a paragraph. There’s also a feature to do this for the image caption section, of an image block. I think it depends on the theme, if that actually shines through, as well as in-line text color. So, those things need to be also matched up on the theme. I have not yet investigated how that will work, but I found some of the themes are not displaying those in-line text colors, or text colors. I found that interesting. 

It’s a feature in there, but I think it has a little bit of a hiccup there. 

Mark Uraine: I just glanced at that tips, more tips in the inserter help panel, and yeah, these are basic tips that help with the Block Editor, overall. I know that there’s another PR … or, is it an issue in GitHub? I can’t think of which one, or what it was called, or which number it was, but it was a recent addition about adding tips based on people’s search criteria. 

So, if someone searches for SEO, or searches for, maybe, URL, and they’re trying to figure out how to add a link, that maybe on basic search keywords that people tend to do, we can provide a tip in there that says, “Hey, it looks like you’re on the URL, it looks like you’re trying to add a link. Just highlight the word, and you’ll see a link icon in the block toolbar.” Something like this, to just better inform people based on common searches that happen.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So, one of my favorite secrets, just to do a little side note, here.

Mark Uraine: Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: My favorite secret feature on Gutenberg Block is that if I have a URL, if I want to link to another page, be it on my own blog, or away from a third party one, and I have that link already in my clipboard, I just highlight and Control V on the text, and it automatically puts that link underneath that text that I just highlighted. I don’t have to even go through the link componen, there. 

Mark Uraine: Whoa! 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s really cool! 

Mark Uraine: Fantastic! That’s really cool. I haven’t fiddled with it that far. Yeah, wow. OK, that’s great. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Big love.

Mark Uraine: Speaking of links, link insertion and that whole bit around that, Google recently, I was fiddling around with their links in Google Docs, or some other thing, and if it’s a web URL, actually the link interface changes for you to click over if you want to visit that site, or edit that link. It’s real interesting. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It actually gives you a little preview of that page. 

Mark Uraine: Yeah. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s really cool. I would love that, WordPress. I’m not sure if I have time to write the issue for that. 

Mark Uraine: Oh, no, you don’t even have time to write an issue. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: In 7.5 and 7.6, we have a few enhancements. And I really like the first one that’s here listed, is the angle picking interface for the custom gradient component. 

Mark Uraine: That sounds complicated. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It sounds complicated, but if you have a gradient you can decide if you want it going from top to bottom, or if you want to have 45 degrees through the button, and on that line, diagonal kind of gradient.

Mark Uraine: That’s cool. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: If you play around with it, you can spend quite some time there. 

Mark Uraine: You get that gradient just right. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Well, if everything is diagonal on your website and you want to have an offset of that diagonal. 

Mark Uraine: You know what? I want to know how much time is wasted on trying to get gradients just right before the person actually says, “No, I don’t want gradients.” And then, publishes without them. Like, how much time of their time is wasted, trying to get gradients perfect before they decide not to actually publish with them? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that would be me. 

Another enhancement, and we already touched upon them, is to transform from button block to buttons block. We can have multiple buttons in a row, and nicely lined up. The navigation block, which will not come to 5.4, also received some enhancement, with a new design for sub-menus, inheriting the color of the anchor elements, and getting some width caret in there, or show the caret for the sub-menus. 

Mark Uraine: Right. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Improved color handling, and some background color CSS classes, so themes can style those as well. 

Mark Uraine: Which, by the way, I’m going to jump us back to the buttons block. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, sorry. 

Mark Uraine: Is that OK? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, of course. Sure. 

Mark Uraine: Even though it’s called the buttons, with the plural, block, you can have just one button in there.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. 

Mark Uraine: It doesn’t need to be plural, you don’t have to have two. You can have one button, a singular button, inside the buttons block. But, you know what? You know what’s interesting? Is that you cannot have a single column inside the columns block. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, that’s interesting. 

Mark Uraine: Isn’t that interesting? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. 

Mark Uraine: I found this out this last week. I was trying to create some block patterns but with one column, and I couldn’t do it. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So, you would use the group block for that? 

Mark Uraine: Yeah, but there were some things I wanted to … There was a way in which I wanted to change this, I guess. Because the group block, you can set the group block to full width, right? But, any blocks you add in there still respond only if they can … Like, if I added a paragraph block to a groups block, I couldn’t make that paragraph block full width, because paragraph blocks don’t have that option. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: But, if you use the columns block?

Mark Uraine: Right, I wanted to make one column full width, right?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, right. 

Mark Uraine: I don’t know, I don’t know if I’m thinking of this right, but there was something in … I was trying to create a pattern, and I realized this. That buttons block, you could have a button, but columns block, you cannot have one column. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I experimented with some of the third-party blocks for my talk, and I had a testimonial block from Cadence where you can add multiple testimonials in columns, but the block developer didn’t add the wide width, or the full width in it. 

Mark Uraine: Oh. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So, I put it into a group block, and then the full width, and it actually expanded. 

Mark Uraine: It worked, really? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that worked. So, it could be that the paragraph block that you were using had actually fixed width, that wouldn’t work. But if it has a percentage width kind of thing, then it would work. 

Mark Uraine: Blocks are still pretty complex little nuggets of adventure.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. 

Mark Uraine: It’s always fun, trying to see what various design patterns and things we can create. Anyway, go on. I’m so sorry. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: No, I think it’s important to talk about things a little bit more in-depth as well. 

Mark Uraine: We aren’t the only ones having some of these discussions, right Birgit? There are others out there? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: There are others out there, but they’re not on a podcast. 

Mark Uraine: OK. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: We were still in the enhancements of 7.5. There were also some accessibility enhancements that had to do with title attributes that needed to be removed, and then an additional setting for the edit state of a link control component, which needed to be more accessible. And then, announcement component for all notices, that come from various blocks, or plugins, or so. Those are very important enhancements. 

Mark Uraine: There are a couple there, for accessibility. It was good. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. In 7.5, where a few new APIs … We touched upon them already in the release notes, so we can jump a little bit. One of them I wanted to point out is the block variations API, that’s the … oh, we already talked about that as well. And, the gradients theme API. We talked about all of those, so there on 7.5. And in 7.6, there were a few enhancements, but they are not so dramatic, that they impact the blocks, or the handling of blocks.

Mark Uraine: I agree. You and I, Birgit, we are very particular about which enhancements that we vocalize on our episodes here. I’m sorry, if they don’t cut the cut, they’re not going to get a mention from us.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, it’s also something that we don’t want this episode being a whole hour. I mean, the last one was about 40 minutes, that was really long. 

Mark Uraine: Right. We don’t want to just sit here, and read over every single change. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right, right. So, why don’t you help us with the experimental parts of the 7.6? 

Mark Uraine: Yes. So, 7.5 had a few, which we’ve talked about before. 7.6 had some, regarding the new blocks for full site editing. 

These included things like the post featured image block, the comments count block, the comments form block, and the post tags block. These are like, we’re getting into the minutia of blocks, now. Maybe minutia is the wrong word to say, but they’re very important blocks. But it’s like blocks that you wouldn’t imagine, oh yeah, we need to have. Everything is a block now, we need to have blocks for all this stuff. It’s been quite an interesting discussion going through, and trying to figure out how we build these blocks. What parts of these blocks do we allow users to really interact with? Are they blocks within blocks, are they just settings within a block? Anyways, listeners, if you have an opinion please jump in on that, and give us some guidance. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I guess it’s more like, for the theme developer to get the fields out of the database and onto the template, how would an end user do that without a block, inside the Block Editor? That’s suddenly not possible. I think an additional load, there, to figure out that is repeated on every post that is then displayed. 

I think, once they see it, it’s like the normal, “We don’t know what we want, until we see what we get,” kind of thing. Some exploration will be necessary.

Mark Uraine: You just made me think of a great question I’m going to tweet on Twitter, after our show. I need to find out, I want to find out from people who build templates, do you just want to see placeholders when you’re building out a template? For a template for your post, or something. Or, do you want to see actual content within your template, to get a better idea for how the layout is constructed? 

Anyways, if I don’t get around it, Brigit, or if you’re listening, you always tweet good questions. That’s an important one, I want to find that out. I explored down the route of not having a visual representation of the content, and just making block placeholders for things, just to lay out on a page. And it seemed pretty quickly that might not be the way to go, that people might be able to handle better a template that displays actual content that they can position and move around. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I think you might be onto something for that, when I think about editors for some of your clients. But, on the other hand, they already have a theme, so they wouldn’t fiddle with a full site editing, or wouldn’t be allowed to do the full site editing. It needs to be one person that has a little bit more abstraction anyway, or capabilities for abstracting these technologies. Yeah, it’s an interesting discussion and a balance to strike. 

Mark Uraine: Right. Birgit, I want to say thank you so much for just venturing with me, on these tangents that we keep talking about today. It’s been such good conversations we’re having. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, all of that. They are good questions. 

Mark Uraine: Right, right? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. 

Mark Uraine: It’s fun. So, experimental, OK. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I think we went through that, right? 

Mark Uraine: We’re through, yeah. Yeah, we talked about some of these newer blocks. OK. 

For everybody listening, there are probably about 30 bug fixes, between 7.5 and 7.6 combined. That leads us into documentation. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. In the documentation, there was a contributor guide. Or, the documentation for how to contribute to. Gutenberg has now more sub-pages, so there’s a little bit more detail for those who need it. Also, an updated getting started doc to use the WP INF package for local development. That was all in 7.5. 

For 7.6, there was a basic storybook listing for the WordPress icons. There’s a new package in WordPress that is the WordPress icons package. The first documentation about that is on storybook, available now. 

Mark Uraine: Well, that’s cool. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I think the team wanted to do a little bit more icons, but I think right now, it’s the basic part of it. 

Mark Uraine: Yeah. So, can we actually see the icons in storybook?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. 

Mark Uraine: That’s really cool. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I will have the link in for that particular item in the show notes because I don’t know how many, but it’s 60 or so. 

Mark Uraine: Okay. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: For the blocks. But, I think the team wanted to go, actually, really all out, into 4,000 or something like that. But, that’s yet to come. 

Mark Uraine: Yeah. I want to also add that the icons for the new G2 UI, user interface on Gutenberg, the FIGMA file is public, and can also be checked out, with a lot of the icons that are coming with G2. There needs to be some sort of proposal process, I believe, still integrated, so that people can actually design icons, and propose them to be added to the library. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So G2, that’s an acronym.

Mark Uraine: Oh, thank you. Yes, please clarify, Birgit. Thank you. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, you clarify. I don’t know what G2 is. 

Mark Uraine: I think we’ve talked about, in our episodes, about this new UI, this new design of Gutenberg coming. It involves a lot more high contrast, very black and white. It gets rid of some of the borders around the blocks and the UI elements that seem to cause more visual cognitive load for people. It really cleans up things.

There is a PR in place, I believe it might have been merged, or it will be merged very soon. You’re going to see Gutenberg, the design of it, changing a bit to really be a little more minimal, simplified, a little easier to understand and interact with, without so much visual distractions. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. That’s pretty much the learned lessons from two years of Block Editor. 

Mark Uraine: Yeah. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Kind of reimagined. 

Mark Uraine: There’s been some really great design thinking throughout.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, I’m looking forward to that. I think there was a link to the Gutenberg.run, with the PR. One of our previous show notes, I think. I’ll dig that up and add it to this episode’s show note as well, so people can check it out. 

Mark Uraine: That’d be great. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. 

Mark Uraine: I know the accessibility team is going to be looking at that, as well, if they haven’t already. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, definitely have to. 

Then, the other part of the documentation, there were also variations for the block registration, or the documentation for the block variations that you can put into your register block type code, and how that works. That’s not documented as well. 

So, that concludes the various sections, for both releases had 18 items that you can check out on the two release notes. One from Ella, the other one from Riad I think? Or, was it Jorge? Jorge. We’ll link it in the show notes. 

And that brings us to the section of what’s in active development, or what’s discussed. 

Active Development

Mark Uraine: Yeah. One of the current active developments is Dave Smith has written a rather lengthy tutorial on how to create your own custom Block Editor instances. He did this on his own repo, to really experiment, and has been asked to bring this over to the Gutenberg repo. It’s really well written and a lot of information there. We’ll include that pull request in the show notes, but check it out if you’re looking to create your own Block Editor instance. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and also Anders Noren has prepared a proposal, how to be able to target blocks within the Global Styles initiatives that’s headed by Tammy and John Cue, I think, for the overall WordPress project. He definitely needs some comments there, on how theme developers and plugin developers would do this. 

Mark Uraine: Yeah, how we target individual blocks with Global Styles, so that’s good. 

Another one is the block patterns. We’ve spent a lot of time, Enrique, other designers … Enrique Sanchez, I’m referring to, have been working on the UI for incorporating block patterns into the block inserter, and having one area where you add either patterns, or you add blocks into your page or post. While that’s been going in a great direction, we have now shifted to a smaller MVP, a minimum viable product, of this interaction. 

Our desire is to get these block patterns into Gutenberg as soon as possible, so what we’re going to do is just create a sidebar. Almost if you’re plugin was to add a sidebar in Gutenberg, that’s where it’s going to go right now, just to get things in there, so people can start interacting with patterns, and we can start getting some feedback. But, in the whole process and scheme of things, we’re going to work it into the block library, for the inserter. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I’m going to check that out, I’m really interested in that. I think we need to rework on a glossary for blocks, because I think there are a few terms…

Mark Uraine: I’m nodding my head. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack:: That are exchangeable, but target the same thing, but are actually different. Like, block pattern, and layouts, and page layouts, and all this. I found this when I was preparing for my talk. 

Mark Uraine: And templates, and [crosstalk]. How about we put all that in your hands, Birgit?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right, right. I was just thinking that this documentation gig is going to be a never-ending story, because the documentation team now needs to catch up on 5.4, but then there are the new icons coming for G2, everything’s going to change again. It’s going to be really interesting, for this year. 

Mark Uraine: It’s going to be a fun year. Yeah, words and terminology are the biggest challenge right now. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, it’s something to think about. Dear listeners, thank you for staying with us until the end here. We are at the end of our show. And, as always, the show notes will be published on the GutenbergTimes.com/Podcast. If you have questions or suggestions, or news, please send them to Changelog@GutenbergTimes.com. That’s Changelog@GutenbergTimes.com. 

If you like our show, please add a review to iTunes. Even if you don’t like it, a review will help us to bubble up in all the searches. If you don’t know how to do this, you can go to GutenbergTimes.com/iTunes to see some instructions and screenshots on how to get a review into the Apple Store for our podcast. 

So, that’s it. Thanks for listening. Goodbye until the next time. 

Mark Uraine: Goodbye everybody, thank you for listening again. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Thank you, Mark. Bye bye.

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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