Gutenberg Changelog #20 – Gutenberg 8.1, Upcoming WordCamps, Full Site Editing, Community Contributions and Active Development.

Gutenberg Changelog
Gutenberg Changelog
Gutenberg Changelog #20 - Gutenberg 8.1, Upcoming WordCamps, Full Site Editing, Community Contributions and Active Development.

In this episode, Birgit Pauli-Haack and Mark Uraine discuss listeners’ questions, Gutenberg 8.1, Full Site Editing, upcoming WordCamps, experiments, and what’s in active development.

Show Notes / Transcript

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Show Notes

Listener Questions

5-star Review on Stitcher

I always look forward to the Gutenberg Changelog podcast. It gets me excited about WordPress and the Gutenberg block editor, and it’s a great way to keep up to date with all the latest talk and developments around the subject.

Henrietta Stewart

Full Site Editing

What do you need to start testing Full Site Editing?

  1. Gutenberg 8.1 or higher
  2. Enable Full Site Editing in Experimental settings
  3. Use Experimental themes

Resources: Full Site Editing

Creating a Block-based Theme Using Block Templates

Pull Request: Full Site Editing: Add a Site Logo block


Upcoming Virtual WordPress Events

Community Contributions

What’s Released? Gutenberg 8.1

What’s in active development or discussed

Friday Design Update #53 by Mark Uraine

Did you like this episode? Please write us a review


If you have questions or suggestions, or news you want us to include, send them to

Please write us a review on iTunes! (Click here to learn how)


Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello, and welcome to our 20th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog. In today’s episode, we will talk about Gutenberg 8.1, the full site editing experiment, community contributions, and plugins. No, we don’t talk about plugins. And we’ll have some opinion pieces that happened around the WordPress space. I am Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator of the Gutenberg Times. And I’m here with my co-host, Mark Uraine, designer at Automattic and core contributor to WordPress. Mark, how are you today?

Mark Uraine: Very good. I’m doing quite well. I sprained my ankle about a week and a half ago, and it’s still bruised. But I’m getting better. And of course, my injury wasn’t from anything exciting. I was merely walking in the backyard and just twisted it.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, no.

Mark Uraine: I know, I know.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s painful.

Mark Uraine: But it’s great to join you today Birgit for our 20th episode.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes, and I’m glad you’re here. Well, I have been well. It’s the same-old, same-old. But the last two days, we were having some weather issues here. And I wasn’t able to go outside for exercise, so I’m a little bit antsy. I want to go out and run. Not sprain my ankle, though. 

Mark Uraine: Good. Good call.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Which I tend to happen sometimes also. But this week there were some great things happening about Gutenberg and WordPress. Almost every week. 

But before we get into our listener questions, I want to tell you, well, tell our listeners that we were over the moon as we received a five-star review from Henrietta Stewart from Scotland’s Highlands. She wrote on Stitcher, “Great service to the WordPress community. I always look forward to the Gutenberg Changelog podcast. It gets me excited about WordPress and the Gutenberg Block Editor. And it’s a great way to keep up to date with all the latest talks and developments around the subject. It really makes you realize how much community effort is behind the upkeep and driving of changes on WordPress in the Block Editor.” So a big thank you to Henrietta for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review on

Mark Uraine: Yes, thank you, Henrietta. That’s so kind. And that is exactly what we hope this show, or this podcast does is inspire some excitement around the Gutenberg Project. Thank you for that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Dear listeners, we hope that you also write a review on iTunes or on Stitcher or Google for our show. It helps us to spread out the word, and get it higher in the recommendation engines. And of course, we also thrive on that. We do this for you. And if you don’t know how you do that, there is, at least on iTunes, there is a page on the Gutenberg Times. that teaches you how to leave a review on the Apple iTunes store.

Listener Questions

Mark Uraine: So here we’ve got a couple of listener questions today. One came from Jimmy, directed towards you in connection with some notes from Wednesday’s post by Josepha Hayden regarding the WordPress 5.5 planning Roundup. Jimmy asks on Twitter, “Does Gutenberg ‘current release’ as it is mentioned, mean 8.1 Ms. Birgit, thank you in advance.” 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, hello Jimmy and I…when Josepha writes the Gutenberg current release, she means when the beta one is up to be released the Gutenberg version of that time. So beta one for 5.5 is scheduled for July 7th, 7/7/2020. Is beta one for 5.5. There’s some repetition in there.

Mark Uraine: Easy to remember it that way. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So, and that date is about eight weeks away. And with every two weeks of release, went out by 8.1, four releases, either 8.5 or 8.6 that will be 5.5. So it’s only four releases away. And I don’t want to scare everybody on the development team, but there’s some things to be finished before they go in 5.5.

Mark Uraine: Oh, boy. There really is, with real development and design all around.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And we have a second person who sent in some questions. Geert Baven from the Netherlands sent in a few questions about the full site editing in Gutenberg, and I’m sure many other people have those questions too. So let’s go through it. So just take it one step back before we go into the details question. 

Mark, if someone wants to start working with the full site editing experiments in Gutenberg, what are the prerequisites to make this work?

Mark Uraine: So that’s great. One is to have the most recent Gutenberg plugin or version. So right now that’s 8.1. That would be great to have that installed. And then inside the plugin’s experiments page, which is accessible from the menu, the plugin menu, there’s some FSE or full site editing experiments that need to be turned on. So they need to be checked on. 

And then there’s also some experimental themes that are underway on a GitHub repo for under WordPress called theme experiments. And if you wanted to try downloading one of those and fiddling with it a little bit to see what’s going on there, in the underpinnings, that would be a great starting point. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, excellent. Thank you so much. There’s a few things to do, but I think most people already have that. So what are Geert’s questions?

Mark Uraine: So let’s see. There’s FSC or full site editing, “I try to make a layout in the Johannis theme, but I did not get any content to display apart from the full site editing template. Tried several combinations using 5.4 or 5.5 alpha, but that does not make a difference. Page content is not displayed.”

So I’m not entirely too sure what’s going on right there, but I know we’ve mentioned that there is a great post on called, creating a block-based theme using block templates. While it digs into more creating a theme, it might help shine some light on around how to work with those themes in the editor and actually create the layout that you’re looking for. And as mentioned before, just make sure you have the latest Gutenberg plugin version with those things turned on.

The other question here is, “I try to use the navigation block, but whenever I select the vertical mode, it’s not working.” And that sounds like a bug, quite honestly. So there’s something not right there. It should work and provide you a vertical navigation. 

Another question is for the navigation block, “Is it possible to add menu icons?” It’s not currently possible, but this is something that’s been discussed before. So it’s a great feature request, and something we’d like to include. Right now, I think we’re really focused on getting an MVP or really solid first experience of a navigation block into core. And then we’ll look at probably enhancing that with icons and things like that. 

But there’s also some experiments right now, designwise, adding in any block to the navigation block, we’ve talked about like you see some sites have those mega menus, right? Or they’re really bad images and all sorts of things…well, we want to somehow maybe allow that to happen in the navigation block as well. So that’s a phase iteration too, on that. 

Another question is, “In full site editing, I wonder whether a logo image can be added to the header or any other template parts.” So that’s a good one. There’s actually a logo block PR right now in the works from Ben Dwyer, and ideally a user would be able to add anything to the head of the template part, but having that specific logo block might be something that’s pretty cool. Just need some reviews and it’s ready to be merged. 

And, Birgit, I think we’ve got one more question here. This is a list, huh? “In full site editing I wonder whether the template parts can have a different layout. For example if my design is a split layout with a header on the left side and page content on the right side, will that be possible?” That reminds me of the 2015 theme. Is that right Birgit? 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. 

Mark Uraine: Similar. So that’s a good question. I imagine that is a possibility, but as with the other ones more likely a future iteration. I think we’re going to try to just get these template parts in place and really usable in a standard header form, and then look at how those might be manipulated so that they can be a little more adventurous as far as being on the side or other places. Great questions.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Those are great questions. And it seems that Geert is a little bit ahead of his time or our time with all these, “Oh, that’s what I want to do.” And I love that that comes out in people when they read about new features and said, “Oh, can I do that? Can I do that?” Yeah, it’s great energy. And so thank you for sending those. 


We have a couple announcements, but they’re all about virtual events coming up. And one of them is WordCamp Europe with two days, two tracks on June 5th and 6th. They just published the schedule and you can pin the sessions to your personal schedule. And once you are done pinning your favorite sessions, you can receive an email or special online scheduling and then have them. And so you can make the decisions now. And then when it’s time to go online, you don’t have to rethink the decisions and, “Oh, that’s what I wanted to do.” 

Maybe you want to rethink. But at least you have a plan. And then the feature is actually pretty nifty. WordCamp Europe has also some great Gutenberg-related sessions and there will be a contributor day. And I just saw that it was closed, ticketing-wise, but they opened it up again. So if you didn’t get into contributor day, because it was closed, you should have received an email from the WordCamp people, Europe people, to give you a link where you can edit, if you want to participate on contributor day.

Mark Uraine: That’s really great. Yeah. That closed down really quick. Birgit, will you be at contributor day?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I will be at contributor day and I will head the…I will try to find contributors to help me with the end user documentation for the block editor and get ready for 5.5. Right now, for me, it’s an attainable goal, but the more people come in, the faster we get to a 5.5 stage, when it’s released in August. So I will be there. I have a task list and some of the contributors’ ideas, so just need to get it.

Mark Uraine: You just need the people. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Just need the people. Yes. And I also have some early contributors that raised their hand in the meetings. So I will try them out as well.

Then there’s also May 30th. So a week earlier from WordCamp Europe, there’s WordCamp Kent, and they also went virtual and announced that schedule this week. And on Saturday we will have friends and business track and user and marketing tracks. So two tracks two days On Sunday it’s more the freelance developer track and WordPress 101. So it’s one track, just beginners WordPress user track. And on both days there will be a third track called the happiness bar, which is an all-day WordPress help desk. 

That’s going to be a very new experience. And I have not seen that done on a virtual conference. So I really am interested about that. Also shout out to Eileen Violini’s talk on Sunday, March 31st at 3:00 PM. Theme of the future, grading block templates and patterns. Right on the time where it’s actually needed by a lot of theme developers. So I hope she gets a lot of people in her talk. 

Mark Uraine: Good timing. Yeah. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Eileen is also the…she works on the design team as well as note-taking, facilitating meetings in the core editor team too. She’s a strong contributor to the WordPress community. I’m really looking forward to hearing her talk. 

And the last virtual conference that I wanted to give a shout out to is WordSesh Americas. It will take place on May 27th. So even, that’s next week. Yes. Is it next week? No, the week from next week. And it’s a one track, one-day event, with 12 speakers. And Brian Richards is the producer of that from WP sessions, and he succeeded making it the first technology event that is in WordPress mixed, that’s 88% female speakers. And at least half of it are women of color. So it’s going to be a really an amazing event.

Mark Uraine: How cool.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Kudos to Brian to put this programming together.

Mark Uraine: Really good work there. That’s going to be a fun event, really informative and educational and helpful. So way to go Brian. That was great. 

Community Contributions

Next on our list for today, listeners, we’ve got some community contributions, and the first one Birgit and I talked about is a post on WPTavern from Justin Tadlock, who wrote an opinion piece about where Gutenberg went wrong. And it’s a where Gutenberg went wrong theme developer edition. And as Birgit knows, I’ve got opinions on Justin’s opinion piece.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. 

Mark Uraine: I have a few quotes that I just wanted to go over that he had mentioned in the post and give you my feedback, as being part of the Gutenberg team and an active contributor and really trying to help out in the community. 

But one quote he mentions is “Whether you like the block editor is of little consequence when there is no buy-in from theme authors.” So that one hit me. I don’t think it’s about buy-in right now from theme authors. It’s about trying to build something on a moving foundation. It’s hard to do. And I don’t think it’s that theme authors are not buying into this. I think it’s just hard to do. And so those of us contributing to Gutenberg, we get this. 

And one of the problems I see is that themes are often considered like an end product. I’m building this theme and I want to release it into the theme directory. There’s a definite end and purpose in mind. I want to build it, package it and give it right. 

But right now we need a little different shift in focus. Like theme authors, now’s the time to really experiment with what’s going on. It’s not so much about building the end product, that’s going to build on top of a full site editing experience. It’s about experimenting with the full site editing experience. And we need to figure out where these limitations are, that the theme authors have. And they’re the best ones to help us identify these. So I think there’s really good communication right now. There’s better communication. We could always be better, but better than where it was. And I think it’s on a better path right now for that. But quote number two, I think I’ve got three, three things that I wanted to….

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, I think one of the commenters on that post also said, “Well, who has time for that?” That experimenting and I get that. And I don’t think that someone who is depending on the theme to make a living is able to revamp it on the fly and keep on making a living with that older product. I think it will be a new product, but it’s not yet ready, pretty much, because the end version is not yet in a proof of concept thing where…so yeah.

Mark Uraine: It’s a big ask. I will admit. It is a big ask by our team to really say, “Can you just come with us on this journey?” 

I empathize with that very much. And I know that themes are a big deal. They are people’s revenue sources, right? They are their lifeline in some cases, right? So when you touch those things, it can have ramifications. And it’s important for us to really respect that and do our best to inform and help and bring anybody along that’s interested in trying to figure it out with us. 

But another quote I wanted to talk about was from Justin He says, “Every week I check out the theme directory for new themes, hoping to find that hidden gem and every week I’m disappointed to see new things dropping in 2020 with no support for the block editor.”

And honestly, I think that’s an expected occurrence right now. Building on a moving foundation is difficult. And as things settle with feedback and direction provided by theme authors, it will most likely ramp up again, but we need the people who can guide this transition in the community right now, the people who can record the videos, write the teaching material. This is how we’re going to educate everybody who wants to come along with this ride. And that that’s going to…we’re going to take a little hit in this process. Because we don’t have it completely figured out yet, but we need to stabilize the foundation, I guess.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I want to just point out to a talk that was on WP BlockTalk a month ago, or six weeks ago, with three theme developers, one was Bill Erickson who creates custom themes for his clients. He’s not producing product or he’s not creating products to be on a theme marketplace or something. And then we have Beth Soderberg who also creates themes for her clients. But she has a process that says she always starts with one theme out and then modifies it to the customer’s need. And then Ellen Bauer was in there, and she is the head of a theme shop who has been an early adopter of Gutenberg Block Editor and now is moving into the full site editing part. But all three of them say the same thing. It’s really hard to stay on top of it. 

Even if you only gear towards the core block editor, that’s in 5.4 right now. It still changes from 5.3 to 5.4. And there was a great discussion afterwards that Mark facilitated on that virtual event. And I will put the link again into the show notes. So people can also hear from their peers on how they approach the block editor. 

And if you only do one thing to get up to speed on themes of block editor, go to Bill Erickson’s website. He has shared great information how he adopted his theme or approach on building client sites for the block editor. And he was very generous in putting it all in writing and as a tutorial. So yeah, that’s going to be in the show notes as well. And now comes number three.

Mark Uraine: Another quote was from Justin, it was, “A holistic approach needs to be taken toward theme and site design. Theme authors need to see the details of the roadmap and contribute to it, carving the features they see as relevant into stone for the coming years.” And I really think that’s a good point. 

Gutenberg has been around for a while. I think you and I were talking. It’s almost three years or three years now. The suggestion to learn JavaScript deeply has been long said, and the roadmap and direction for the project has been in a post for a while as well now. So I’m glad to see theme authors are vocalizing their concerns. These discussions need to happen. And whether that looks like, as Justin puts it, a lack of trust, there’s going to be strong opinions either way, which I believe, Birgit, that’s actually the sign of community growth. That’s a healthy community to have discussions that border on debates, or really dig into deep things that are hard for people to come to terms with. It’s a healthy community. I’d be a lot more worried if there was absolutely nothing happening and nobody’s saying anything. But the fact that theme authors are vocalizing their concerns right now, there’s actual meetings happen. I heard there’s posts that the theme team really want to get out. To start sharing the progress of Gutenberg, a healthy, healthy community. I don’t know how I could stress that any other way.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I think that this course and different opinions coming to merge into a better product now because many views make it happen. I really love that about the WordPress community, that it’s very passionate. There’s a lot of pattern in there. There’s a lot of also care for the open sources. We all have a little ownership in our heart for that. So we want it all to succeed. And sometimes the confusion with learning something new is something that really keeps us or holds us back when we also want to succeed in a business area with the work that we all do. So it’s a lively community, definitely. 

Mark Uraine: That’s all I’ve got regarding that post. It’s on WPTavernand we’ll have a link in the show notes. But Birgit, we have some more. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes. So when I was reading through Justin’s opinion piece, I heard a lot of “That’s right. There is no consistency, or there’s a little lack of consistency in CSS. How sometimes it’s inland, something that’s…there are margins in there that I can’t tackle,” that kind of thing. 

Matias Ventura’s Thought on Themes

There is a new design out there for the block UI. I’m sorry, but it’s not the end of it yet, there will be changes to the block interface. But what I was missing in that piece was that Matias Ventura, one of the architects of the Gutenberg project, has also a post about thoughts on themes. And I just want to quote a paragraph on that, that although it was published probably a month before Justin’s, could be an answer to him. 

“A lot of the conversations about the themes have been cast perhaps all too eagerly in doom-colored clouds, but focusing on the underlying infrastructure and perceiving the shift at play, giving more tools to the user is one that makes every user responsible for their site design. That shouldn’t be the reality,” Matias writes.

“The role of themes is not really changing. They’re still meant to provide template resolvers, design parts, styles, and all its various layout decisions. The only difference is that blocks would be at the center, making things more portable and easier to customize, given the editor engine understands them better. Users, in turn, will see a familiar interface for all aspects of their site appearance.”

I think that can be stressed enough that the user interface needs to be standardized. And some of it is the noise of destruction that we have when we internally disrupt something like WordPress. But the piece was much longer. So I would urge you to read it as well and it has a few more details in there. And then our lesson learned from the block editor release was that there were not many people involved testing it, they didn’t get early input into the design or the workings of what’s out there.

Josepha Haden – Experimental Outreach – Full Site Editing

And Josepha Hayden published on May 1st an “Experimental Outreach Project for the Full Site Editing,” a call for people “to provide feedback and get it to the developers faster.” She extended the deadline for the submission to May 22nd, that’s next week, Friday. And if you are interested in testing early versions of upcoming releases that will make the full site editing experience work better for you, your customers or anyone who is building or maintaining a WordPress site, please fill out this interest form. 

And that is your opportunity to get involved, get your hands dirty and see it from the ground up. Just one note of caution, if you are not patient enough to work with a half-finished product, this is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t have the patience to go through, “Oh, that’s a bug, let’s do a bug report.” It might not be for you. But I think that theme developers that are working on the next generation of the products, that would be a good place to be, to figure out how that works and best for them.

Gutenberg 8.1 Release

Mark Uraine: I’m looking forward to that study and all that testing is going to be great. So, Birgit, I think almost a half-hour into our show or something, pretty close. But we haven’t even gotten to 8.1 yet. 

Gutenberg 8.1 was released. Quite a few new features and enhancements. Again about 125 line items on the release notes here. 

So jumping into this, there are about six new features that showed up here. There is a pattern search now. So we talked about how patterns are included in the inserter, now you can search for patterns as well. Testimonials block pattern was integrated. There’s some new transform abilities like in bed blocks and compared to that graph blocks, code to html block and the opposite, and copy action to the blocks. So adding a copy action. So you can, instead of copying all the content of your page, as many people have done in the past, you can copy individual blocks now, and just carry those over to other posts and pages. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, that’s a great feature. Yeah. 

Mark Uraine: Yeah. I didn’t realize that that was even a PR, Birgit, and I was so trying to do that just the other day. Three days ago, and I’m so happy to see that one. 


So we had about 21 enhancements with this release. A couple of them I’ll shoot through here–implementing a block navigator, a selection on the nav menus page. So if you take a look at the nav menus page there, there’s some good experiments going on. Post title now handles pasting as blocks. 

So if you ever tried posting the content of a post written elsewhere, into the title area in Gutenberg, it would paste it all as a title. So now what it does is it pastes it and it detects where the break is and just keeps the title and then makes everything else part of the content, which is good. 

We have a clear publish date. When you schedule a post, you can now reset that. Oh my goodness, this was something that was long overdue. Let’s see, the block library enhanced the author’s blocks. So we’ve got a little more features into the author block, add black and white color options to default color palette.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I was looking for that, especially for the white, it was always missing.

Mark Uraine: There were colors in there. So there’s some more G2 icons added, allow the column block in the inserter. This was an interesting one. I don’t know if he ever had the column block selected, and you go to view, or you had a column set selected, one of the two, and you go to view the inserter and there’s no blocks available. So now they realized, “OK, well we need to offer the column as a block.” And you can actually add a block column. So before I keep rattling on, let me…or I’m rattling on too fast, but let me see, visual and experience improvements to existing sub navigation flows. 

And finally there’s the moving entities staying states, from a modal to the sidebar. There’s a lot of things I notice in here, Birgit, that are very full site editing focused as well. So this whole entities thing where we’re exploring right now with the idea that you may make multiple changes to a template, a template part, your page content, and before you even really save, go to publish the thing, and so when you actually hit the publish button, now we’re showing you all of the changes that you’ve made or all the parts that were affected, and that will be published with this.

API Changes

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, that’s definitely helpful. Yeah. Now, and coming right along on the changelog, there were some five API changes. No plugin developer or theme person really likes when I say this, there were Apiary changes. “Nooo.” But there is an update to the patterns API and it’s to avoid ambiguity, when it happens, yeah.

Mark Uraine: Ambiguity.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The Rest API changes that had to be made to accommodate the block directory. And then the Block API, we talked about the block context API. So the ancestor and the child, the parent and the child blocks, they know about each other and a block can, depending on what his ancestor is, have different attributes and different properties or behavior which is really helpful for a developer. 


Then experimental, this is for the edit site and edit widgets. There’s now a undo and redo, future available, yay.

Mark Uraine: Good, good, good. Good to see that getting some love there. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And the site editor, the full site editing experience. So I’ve got quite a few button updates or editor background updates, or also an update on the template content, and they fixed a spelling mistake. 

But there were some quite a few or four performance-related items in this release, and concerns the block styles and the block preview that that moves and then avoid the re-renders for the block inspector which is a jerky move every time something changes on the right-hand side, it needs to also change on the block in the content. And then they also optimize the block styles using hooks and React.memo which is a package to increase performance. All right. 

Bug Fixes

Mark Uraine: And that brings us to bug fixes. There are 24 bug fixes, a couple of which I’ll go through. 

The range control, we’ve fixed the number input change interaction. That was one that was brought up recently at that, it would increment by five or by 10. And if you typed in 13, it wouldn’t accept that. So now it will accept the number increment accordingly. 

Move the carrot to the end of pasted content. Another one that drove me nuts and here it is in merged fixed. I didn’t even realize it. Pasting content, right? And your cursor would be at the front of the content, the beginning. Like, “What is going on?” Fixed, so fixed template part placeholder previews. So that’s really cool. Another full site editing, right there. There were a couple of fixed flaky tests going on. So I guess our testing system was a bit flaky for a while. And a gallery block, immediate placeholders, preserving changes made while upload in progress. That’s a pretty cool one to keep doing stuff, right? Even though it’s uploading.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and remembering it. Yeah. That’s definitely helpful when you wait until everything uploads and you change the caption or the title of images and all of a sudden it’s gone because now it’s finished uploading. Yeah. That’s aggravating, to say the least. 


Mark Uraine: And then we have about, there were about 10 different tooling improvements. And is tooling a new category for us or has that been around?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I think it came out of the various section. 

Mark Uraine: Yeah. OK. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The various section is pretty thin now.

Mark Uraine: You’re right, normally the various section was the big one. But those developers, they must be listening to this podcast. Because we questioned that various section all the time. Like, “What is various?” So we’ve got 10 improvements to the tooling stuff. I won’t go into deep detail on those, but they can be looked up in the changelog. What else?

Code Quality

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So we come to the code quality section, which I understand it’s not only the quality of the code of Gutenberg, but it also is the changes are actually helping with the quality of whoever builds on top of Gutenberg. And so there were 22 of those, and I’m going through a few of them. 

One was that the audio and video blocks, they are now using a lighter wrapper from the editor. So it can be styled. The columns remove the top and bottom margins. So there is more control to the themes or at least to the CSS. And then the block directory gets end-to-end tests. So there is something happening with the block directory. We don’t know exactly yet what, there’s not a whole lot of communication coming out of it, but there are things in motion. 

Then for the group block, also a margin error fixed or margin theme fixed for every block in the editor. And then the block library also post author has now referenced attribute for the arguments, meaning we can reference other things from the author block. The author block is actually something from the full site editing experience. You wouldn’t need it unless you have a post you want an author box or something like that in there. And that’s, I think what stood out for me. 

And they are extracted the move from the mover buttons. They’re extracted from mover buttons so they can individually import it to wherever you as a plugin developer need mover buttons. 


And then there’s documentation settings, 14 items in there, of that, concern various documentations, all developer documentation though. The docs have been updated for the inspector controls. There was some confusion in the existing documentation, which used the old package font and now that is all updated. 

And for the block variation documentation, there is now an example in there on how to choose the style variation for a block. So block variation is also something that makes working with blocks so much easier. You don’t have to come up with a custom block just because you want to change the core block variations is the way to go. And there is some documentation available for you, coding guidelines and some “gotchas” and optional training. I liked some of the booting there.


Mark Uraine: And finally we’ve got about three various improvements here or changes. Two of which I’ll read exposing presets declared via add theme support and global styles and blocks registering FSE blocks, if the experiment is enabled. So a couple more of those full site editing stuff. Love seeing those in there. 

And we have a section for the mobile app as well. There’s been some improvements like color settings, global styles provider, which is going to enable global styling to be a thing on the mobile app. They now have the pull quote block as well and a few others, are about nine of them all together. And that closes out the 8.1 changelog there, right?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes. And here we are. I did not know. Oh, I didn’t realize for a long time that actually the mobile team has to create almost all of the interface again from the block editor. So when it says, OK, and able to pull quote now, it’s actually a real great progress for the mobile app, and editing your websites from your phone. To some people it’s still a little hazardous. 

Active Development

So now we’re in the section of what’s an active development or what’s discussed, and one thing has been pretty new and that’s the idea to have a “what’s new section” in the block editor for the end user. Similar to Slack, there is a little notification on the right hand side with a bell. And when you click on it, you’ll get the what’s new, what are new features in Slack or Trello has the same thing. So there is an issue out there if you want to chime in that’s pretty new. Well, I think it’s from Enrique Sanchez, right? 

Mark Uraine: Yeah, correct. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And then another thing that I noticed was that there is a big push for the block patterns that are in the works. And so we have a new testimonial block pattern in the editor or in the inserter, but they’re also working on a priceless pattern on multiple bureau patterns, and also a feature or service pattern that you can use on your website. We will put in the show notes a link to the label of the future patterns. So you can follow along just about that, because I think that’s one of the most important things for theme developers to get on it because it’s also relatively stable already. Users love the block patterns.

Mark Uraine: They do, they do. And we’re trying to…and those block patterns are really informing a lot of the design tools that we’re including in Gutenberg now, because there’s a lot of things that maybe we can’t achieve with the basic Gutenberg functionality. And so they inform us that, “Oh, you know what? We want to allow users to also be able to change line height or something like that. Right?” And so then as we get that feedback, we’re able to incorporate more functionality into the software.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I think it’s also a good indication of what is requested to find the demarcation line between what is core and what is plugin and what a theme territory that can be let go from core. But it needs to have the tools in there for the plugin developers and the theme developers to tap into it, like hooks and filters have now, that also needs to recreate, be recreated for the full site editing. So you have get involved and chime in.

Mark Uraine: And then for our listeners who saw WP Engine came out with their Genesis Pro not too long ago. They said it is a way to enhance the Gutenberg editor. They provide a modal, they offer some beautiful block patterns that can easily be added to the content and they offer some block permissions settings, which answer a lot of the concerns that website builders have conveyed in the past about what you allow and disallow users to do with that content in the block. So that’s an interesting exploration there.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And you don’t have to be a web… Well, you have to be a WP Engine to get the Genesis Pro, but Genesis also has a free…doesn’t have free versions, but the Atomic Block, that’s also owned by Genesis. That’s a free plugin, which also it’s actually the first block collection that actually had something like block patterns. Mike McAlister was definitely ahead of his time in putting those in and figuring out how that works with the back then block editor. All right. 

So this is the end of our show. Mark, do you have any last reminders of announcements?

Mark Uraine: Yeah, I do. Actually. I published the Gutenberg design updates, number 53, earlier today. So you can see that on the

And one other thing I wanted to mention Birgit is that I don’t know if people are aware, but there’s been some public Zoom calls happening in…and they’re pinged in Slack. The design team has had a few now, I’ve seen the docs team recently had a coffee break meetup, a few others if I’m right. But these are great opportunities, especially in this time with quarantine going on, that we can really see each other. And I encourage anybody to really give this a try, like spin up…if you have a Zoom account or something you just want to spin something up, post the link in one of the Slack channels and let everybody join you and talk about their day, each other or whatever you’re working on. They’ve been really a success lately. And I’m glad to see that. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, it’s also part of the…like the virtual events boot camps and virtual meetup. There is also a link or a webpage on the community site where all the online events that are happening around the world are actually listed. And I was talking with Pascal Pensees, and he’s the tooling of the meta team. And he has always good ideas, and he actually created an RSS feed for all those events with 300 items. And so you can plan into August all the virtual events, but those are actually occasions to just hook up with other WordPress people and discuss some things and going on Zoom, you see each other, you make a connection. So it’s a really good thing. Thank you for bringing that up Mark. 

As always, the show notes will be published on the And then just scroll down to episode 20. Is this here? And if you have questions or suggestions or news, you want us to include, send them to That’s

Thank you for listening, everyone, be well and goodbye for me. 

Mark Uraine: All right. Thank you everybody. Birgit, thank you very much for joining me.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Thank you, Mark.


Mark, great thoughts in terms of the discussions happening. This is a sign of a healthy ecosystem. The more that theme authors are vocal the better it is for the platform.

Thanks, Justin! I couldn’t agree more. The discourse is important, and I’m excited to see people getting involved, sharing their opinions, and digging into the details.

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