In this episode, Birgit Pauli-Haack and Mark Uraine discuss the Gutenberg plugin release 7.8 – WPBlockTalk – online conference, news on Block Patterns and experimental APIs.
- Block Patterns Will Change Everything
- Elementor recently released their version of a full site editing experience in WordPress.
- Release Notes by Ella van Durpe: What’s New In Gutenberg March 25
- Gutenberg 7.8 Adds Patterns API and Continues Interface Cleanup
- Block Pattern
In active development
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello and welcome to our 17th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog. In today’s episode we will talk about Gutenberg plugin release 7.8, the WPBlockTalk conference, and some block patterns API landed as experimental in the plugin.
Welcome to our show. We’re so glad you’re listening. I am Birgit Pauli-Haack, publisher of the Gutenberg Times and owner of Pauli Systems, a web development agency in Naples, Florida. I’m here with my co-host Mark Uraine, designer at Automattic and core contributor to WordPress.
Hi, Mark. How are you doing and how’s your family doing?
Mark Uraine: Hey, Birgit. My family is safe and healthy right now, so it’s really all I can ask for. I feel blessed to be here with you today and I’m so thankful to see that you look like you’re doing well.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, we are doing well. We are on our 10th day of social distancing and working from home together, my husband and I, and we haven’t killed each other. And we also talked to our parents in Germany. They’re in their 70s, 80s and 90s, and they are well, too. So we also feel quite blessed and privileged.
Mark Uraine: So good to hear.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Mark Uraine: I am definitely thinking about everybody else in the world right now and especially those who are going through some difficult times with everything. But, wow, we’re going to pull through this. We will pull through this together for sure.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: I think so. As a community we are very strong. Yes.
Mark Uraine: Yeah, so Birgit, we’ve got some announcements. As you mentioned earlier, we have got the WPBlockTalk coming up on April 2nd for everybody listening. WPBlockTalk is a live, virtual event with speakers from all across the WordPress community, from theme designers to plugin developers to the people who’ve been key in designing and developing the block editor itself.
Thank you to Mel Choyce and Brian Richards. The list of speakers and the schedule are now available on the website. So if you all go there, you’ll see the schedule. Who’s speaking, what times? Check it out.
Josepha Haden recently commented about the speaker list, and she says she really appreciates the alphabetical order of the speakers. It creates an excellent row of dudes with glasses staring into your soul. And that was quite hilarious. I have to admit, as one of the dudes in that row staring into your soul is exactly what I’m doing. So when you go there and see my face….
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, there are five rows of four speakers and the middle row starts with John Q. Yeah, it’s the row that everybody’s referring to here. That was funny.
Mark Uraine: So the event runs from 10:00 AM Eastern time, 14:00 UTC, to 11:00 PM Eastern time, or 4:00 UTC. It includes a three-hour break in between. And this way people in Asia Pacific time zones are able to participate in the second half during their daytime hours. But it will cause some European speakers to get up in the middle of the night. So make sure you tell those speakers how much you appreciate them. They’re really going out of their way to bring you some wonderful content.
All in all, 10 hours of brilliant content. So don’t miss the opportunity to interact live with Gutenberg developers, early adopter block builders and theme designers.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: I’m so looking forward to that conference. It’s really an interesting talks and you see a little bit further out what’s in the future, but also how everybody builds blocks, and how they’re doing with the plugin developers, what they enhance the core blocks with and what they struggled with. It’s going to be really interesting.
So for community contributions, we have one article that we wanted to point out to you today, it is from Justin Tadlock at the WPTavern, titled Block Patterns Will Change Everything, and he walks the readers…
Mark Uraine: I love that. I thought it was great. Everything is changing. Everything.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Changes everything. Yeah.
“So no more complicated theme options, no more shortcode soup, no more hours of frustration wondering why you cannot build that custom front page shown in that carefully grafted theme demo,” he wrote. That was in the middle of the article.
So he walks the reader through the whole setup on block patterns, what happened, what was, and what will be, and it’s quite an interesting summary of that. Others say, “OK, with block patterns, themes will die.” I don’t think it’s yet to come.
Mark Uraine: No, no, that’s not going to happen.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: No.
Mark Uraine: Especially, as the listeners are going to realize later on, we’re going to be talking about what’s being released and how these block patterns are really opened up for themes to provide block patterns. So it’s actually beneficial for a lot of the ecosystem in that way.
I’ll also add Enrique Sanchez, who’s on my team, has been working a lot with the block patterns lately. And watching some videos of just being able to grab a pattern and drag it onto your page and you have something really nicely designed that you’re able to edit, and building pages just becomes so nice. And it’s such a pleasant experience with block patterns.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And I really liked the early iterations that Atomic Block had, but that getting that into core is really nice for the content creators. And I think that’s exactly where themes will shine is making a wonderful block patterns for their users.
Elementor Pro FSE
Mark Uraine: Totally. The next community contribution that we noticed this week was from Elementor. They’re bringing a full site editing experience, is what they call it.
And they’ve recently released this with their pro version of their plugin, and I got to experiment with it this week. And I really enjoyed learning about how they were solving some of the issues that we experience daily. And I appreciate the work that they’ve put into trying to figure out how to bring everything into one unified interface that they have with their plugin.
And, yeah, it was fun to explore and experiment with, so kudos to them that they’re really thinking about this and putting an effort towards something like this.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, sounds really interesting. I think I need to check them out as well.
Gutenberg Plugin Release 7.8
Well, this week, Gutenberg 7.8 was released and the changelog has a total of 109 line items again.
Mark Uraine: Whoa.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: In 131 pull requests. So, yay, Gutenberg team. There was a lot of work going into that. There are no totally new features in the release, but plenty of enhancements, 15 of those, 21 bug fixes, two new APIs, 14 updates to the experimental features, 10 documentation items, 9 code quality changes and 37 items in the various sections.
Mark Uraine: Yeah. I wanted to note that 131 pull requests, for most people, I would imagine you’re out there thinking, “That is a lot of code going into WordPress eventually. What are we doing?” Right?
But, a lot of these PRs are removing code. One of mine was just removing CSS. This is how we are streamlining this software right now, and it’s being optimized so well by people who are just so intricate and detailed. And I want to just mention that several of these PRs are removing code. That’s what’s happening.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, but there also were some enhancements. The block pattern picker got some visible labels. There’s now always a display of the media URL in the replacement button, which is quite nice. You always see, “OK, this is the image that I have here,” before you replace it.
And then there’s also the block movers and the block toolbar changed a bit because the block movers are not always visible anymore. And so they enhanced it a little bit in terms of interactions and make it a better, discoverable.
And another enhancement is in the official scaffolding tool for block plugin creation called Create Block. It was improved to kind of, how it prompts and how the prompts and values are handled when you call it up. And then also expanded to include block options that you can add to it on the run process. And it also gives a read me text template for the final plugin build.
And then, of course, we have the patterns, block patterns, and make them easier to add them for theme and plugin developers. So that’s really for those users that kind of help you decide on block patterns. For the content creators, there is some add filter in PHP. You can use an add filter example. It’s actually in the release note, and later on we also have the register pattern kind of API.
You wanted to say something?
Mark Uraine: No, I was just thinking about it in my head. The whole block patterns thing, here we are again, right? This is this show’s topic. I really think this, as you mentioned the registering block patterns is one of the APIs on that had been released with this. And this is showing the efforts that the team is really going to really include the ecosystem in providing ways to build and to create on top of Gutenberg.
That being said, there was a comment in the core editor chat recently or today just talking about how Gutenberg may not provide its set of patterns. We may be looking completely to the community to provide all the patterns for us and for the software through plugins, through themes, whatever.
I just wanted to note that. I’m sorry.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. No, it’s also important to kind of think, OK, so it’s in Gutenberg now. It’s experimental and it’s not the minimum reliable product kind of.
Mark Uraine: Yeah.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, because it’s not supposed to be in the sidebar. It’s supposed to be kind of coming in as a full page, but that didn’t work yet. And it doesn’t get the theme developers early on involved in that process or the plugin developer. So I think that’s really good to reach out to the community and say, “OK, this is how you can do it now. What could we do better to then have the final way how block patterns are added to the Gutenberg?” And then, of course, you can kind of take the block patterns out again.
Yeah, so that’s pretty much it in the enhancements. There’s a little bit of an improvement of the permalink editing. That has been a kind of a sticky point at some point for those who fill it with a permalink quite a bit. And that is really huge for the latest post block to have actually select categories in multi-select, not just one category.
Mark Uraine: That’s really cool.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: So you can actually mix and match multiple categories for the latest post block.
Mark Uraine: I always mix that one up. I’m always saying recent posts. It’s latest posts.
Words, Birgit, words.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. I call it the “lastest” posts, but that’s just a typo that I was … There’s always an S too much in there.
Mark Uraine: Yeah.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: An “s” too many in there. Yeah.
Mark Uraine: Did you mention the bug fixes?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: No, not yet. Well, at the beginning, but, well, as I said, 21 bug fixes and they were for blocks, for UI and quite a bit cleanup and publishing there, and actually fixing some latest post bugs as well. Yeah.
Mark Uraine: And that takes us to the APIs.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes.
Mark Uraine: The one I wanted to bring up, which I already did actually, the block patterns, registering patterns API from themes and plugins. So that was in there in our notes. It has two exclamation marks because it is so fantastic.
And that brings me to the experiments. There were 14 all together, and the site editor had several of these. Of course, we have the adding the full screen mode, adding the full screen closed button.
So as you all have noticed, the full screen default mode is included in WordPress 5.4 now, as of right now. And one of the problems was the back button. So we’ve been experimenting with ways to really try and get around the back arrow within Gutenberg within the header.
And so, right now we’re going with this logo, the WordPress logo, up in the left-hand corner with the black background, and it kind of mimics really what you see in the WP Admin. Normally you see that WordPress in that upper left-hand corner on a dark background if you hadn’t changed your admin styles. And so clicking that kind of takes you back to the WP Admin is kind of the feeling about it.
Although I will say that Shaun Andrews has been doing some really, he’s got a really neat PR out there where if you click that logo, it kind of slides open the WP Admin menu rather than having to do a page refresh to get there, it just kind of slides it open, which is pretty killer. I like it.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s nice. Yeah. Yeah. Do you know if the close button is actually also put into the 5.4 release?
Mark Uraine: Yes, I believe so. We have the W as part of the 5.4 release right now.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: OK, good. Yeah, I think I have seen people kind of be surprised about it but I think that soon, I think the logo is a good visual indicator where to go for the WP Admin because the location of that hasn’t changed yet.
Mark Uraine: Right.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Mark Uraine: It’s still up there.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: I think it’s good, yeah. And I think they also have provisions that, just to kind of finish that up, their provisions in the code to not make this available if you haven’t made a decision on your full screen mode or not and just do the default, that it will not surprise you that the full page editing mode is all of a sudden enabled.
So I think there were some bug fixes in there, too, to make that react to the settings of the current user.
Mark Uraine: That’s very good to point out, actually, and it is a setting. You can always change it back, which is cool.
There were several other site editor experiments there including adding template previews to the edit site template switcher, style resets for top level page, a few things…. One of the other experiments noted is the lighter block DOM, so the group block and navigation blocks were cleaned up and streamlined and made lighter as well. The navigation block itself had about three different sort of improvements — fixing dynamic rendering, recursive function name typo. That’s a mouthful, boy. The other one is avoid hiding submenu when adding a link. There was another one about fixing a toolbar overlap on navigation links.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, it’s a killer. Yeah.
That brings us to documentation, and the development documentation is available at developer.wordpress.org/block-editor and it has been updated with the ESNext example for the unregistered block type method, and then also has additional commands for the getting started and WP-env documentation. It’s the tutorial to create custom editor block, which we talked about last episode, now into the post and it’s a tutorial for better visibility to the table of contents. So these are kind of the highlights of the documentation. There were 10 documentation updates.
Code quality – there were nine updates. They will continue on the polishing and the removing of code that Mark mentioned before. It’s also to remove CSS from blocks so themes have a better handle on it when they want to style them.
What else is there, Mark?
Mark Uraine: So that takes us to the 37 various PRs merged in. The first one is an update to the glossary, which I’m surprised isn’t under documentation. Isn’t that part of it? Isn’t the glossary page part of documentation? I don’t know.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, no it is not. That’s kind of the interesting part.
Mark Uraine: The only reason why I’m stuck on this one is because I added a few changes to that glossary to help just with terminology.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: We’re all grateful for that.
Mark Uraine: I knew you would love it.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Mark Uraine: I thought of you when I did it.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, right.
Mark Uraine: Birgit is going to be proud of me right here.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well done, Mark.
Mark Uraine: Let’s see, there was another one included, edit posts, registering block patterns, as we talked about, because more block pattern changes, Birgit. This is all block pattern stuff. Oh, my goodness.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Can you say block pattern for me, please?
Mark Uraine: Yeah, three times real fast.
So one of the non-block pattern various PRs that were included was an update to the UI controls on the gallery. If you’re into UI, go check that out. Another one includes removing the separator and border and reducing the size of the icon on the preview button.
So if you’re familiar with the preview button, recently went under some changes where we added device sizes to it. It’s a little dropdown now and you can preview your site in various device sizes. Well, that kind of has a really strong border on it. We’ve removed those borders and kind of aligned it more with the G2 redesign of Gutenberg that has been introduced with the last version.
And that closes us out for Gutenberg 7.8.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: May I ask you a question?
Mark Uraine: Yeah.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And there’s one on the various number eight was the add menus end points. Is that part of the rest API?
Mark Uraine: An end point? It sounds like an API.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Sounds like rest API, yeah, because I think there were some to make this all backwards compatible. That is really important that you kind of get out of the site. What’s the current navigation? And we pull it in into the new navigation.
Mark Uraine: Yeah, I’m looking at it right now. You’re right, it’s definitely some API changes, rest API changes.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right, so that gets us to the section which is in active development, and last week Mark published his design update number 46 and elaborates on, you guessed it, block patterns and how they are planned next. And then he also shares the progress on the global styles with a prototype for the settings panel, and also a multi-entity safe modal for the full side editing views. There are a few gifs and also graphics in there so you can catch up on that, how that’s supposed to look.
So there’s a lot going on and being discussed. We hope you could get test it and comment on your experience, and let the design team know how it all works for you. So feedback is wanted and needed, so chime in.
Mark Uraine: The other thing in active development right now is bringing that redesign that G2, what was called G2, the redesign of Gutenberg, into the sidebar or the settings panel for the blocks for the document. Joen has been doing some work there, bringing in the focus state to match it all throughout the sidebars.
And that’s going to be a continual process here. It’s not completed. So any of that is welcome for feedback and refinements.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right. So we all through almost?
Mark Uraine: Yeah.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: But before we end the show, I want to remind everybody, April 2nd is WPBlockTalk. Subscribe to the email list and you will automatically be registered for the crowdcast.
Some of the things that are in active development, like global styles or full site editing, or even the G2 genesis of the new block UI. Is that the synonym to lighter DOM?
Mark Uraine: Hmm.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Interesting.
Mark Uraine: Not necessarily.
Birgit Pauli-Haack:: Not entirely, yeah. But those things will all be demonstrated and the Gutenberg developers will walk you through things, yeah, with the Genesis, what was before, why was it changed and all this. It’s going to be very interesting.
And as always, the show notes will be published on gutenbergtimes/podcast. This is episode number 17.
So that’s it. Thank you for listening. We’re glad you are here. Be well, stay safe.
Mark Uraine: Yeah.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And until the next time.
Mark Uraine: Yeah. Keep practicing physical distancing, but socially, come together in this time, everybody.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Mark Uraine: Bye bye.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Take care. Bye bye.