Gutenberg Changelog #57 – Gutenberg 12.1, Block Theme.json Builder, WordPress 5.9 Beta 2

Gutenberg Changelog
Gutenberg Changelog
Gutenberg Changelog #57 - Gutenberg 12.1, Block Theme.json Builder, WordPress 5.9 Beta 2

Birgit Pauli-Haack and Grzegorz Ziolkowski discuss Gutenberg 12.1, Block Theme.json Builder, WordPress 5.9 Beta 2 and Twitter Spaces

Show Notes / Transcript

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Show Notes

David Gwyer has been working on a Block Theme Generator

Ryan Welcher is working on a Theme.json Builder

Follow Ellen Bauer to learn about upcoming Twitter Spaces

Recording of this year’s React conference

WordPress 5.9 Beta 2 released

What’s new in Gutenberg 12.1 ( 8 December)

Gutenberg 12.1 Fixes Block Appender Layout Shift, Adds Template List Views, and Enhances Global Styles

New directory names for block-based (FSE) themes

Gutenberg + Themes: Week of Dec 5

Follow Twitter Bot @GoodFirstBugs

Stay in Touch

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, hello and welcome to our 57th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog podcast. In today’s episode, we will talk about Gutenberg 12.1 release, block theme.json builders and WordPress 5.9 Beta 2, and Twitter Spaces. I’m Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator at the Gutenberg Times, and Developer Advocate at Automattic. And I’m here with my co-host Grzegorz Ziolkowski, JavaScript developer at Automattic and WordPress core contributor. So how are you today, Grzegorz?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Oh, thank you, I’m great. Winter is already in Poland. We have a tons of snow outside, so we were outside with my daughter today doing angels. That was fun, so yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: It’s pretty surprising that it’s so early, because usually it’s in January. Anyway, how is it at your place? How are you?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, in Florida, it’s really warm. It’s 70 degrees Celsius, so I’m not going to complain about anything. And I just got back from Germany where it was really cold and I got to test all my winter clothes configurations, and yeah, it was end to end testing and it worked.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Thank you, all good. We are prepared.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: We are prepared. Yeah. And we have to, because we are heading out to Vancouver for the holidays and visit friends. So there is going to be snow in the forecast as well. 

Yeah, so we have a great episode today. No guest, and is also the last one from 2021, the last episode for 2021, because we are going for holidays and there is a release, the Gutenberg release 12.2 is scheduled for December 22nd, but that’s so close to the Christmas holidays that we said, okay, let’s push it into January and we will do two releases with the episode 5.8.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. I’m not sure if there is, will be all on, like the way you said like on time, I mean on time, like at this time of the year. So the Gutenberg core team, there’s always discussion whether to postpone some of the releases or not. So I’m not sure this type of discussion already happened and it can be on 22 because it’s just before major holidays for most of the contributors, so it should be good. But I remember that there was a time when we had three weeks between releases and maybe even once we skipped one of their releases. So it’s something that’s unclear in my opinion.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Okay. So if you want to subscribe, dear listeners, to the Gutenberg Weekend Edition, we will keep up during the holidays, maybe not every week, but definitely more often than the Gutenberg Changelog Podcast. You will learn the newest about the release schedule for the Gutenberg plugin to come. 

Community Contributions

So today I also wanted to, we don’t have any announcements or listener questions, but I found on Twitter that David Gwyer has been working on a block theme.json generator, and I connected with him and it’s still in preview, but it’s a next json, next JS application that he’s building with a form, and then you can then download the theme.json for it. He has different tabs that you can see. So it’s not yet out, but I’m just announcing that it’s something you could keep an eye out for when it comes out. And if you are nice to him maybe, and ask him for a preview link on the Theme.json Generator. Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. I think it’s a very nice idea. It’s something that, it’s been on my mind as well, that we should have something like that already in WordPress core. So I’m glad that the community, as usual, is ready to jump in and accelerate all the explorations in that regard. So that’s brilliant. I’m looking forward to see how it plays out. And yeah, it’s something that we wanted to mention that Ryan Welcher from Automattic, he is already looking into something similar. I don’t know more about the approach he took in his tooling.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. He’s building a plugin that you can install on a site and then you would use the block editor, the forms will show up in the block editor. So you can then do the configuration for the styles, the color settings, and all that right in your block editor. So he is also, he’s not that far yet either, but it’s all something, the two tools to watch evolve and see what is a solution that you would want to use in that regard. So I’m glad that this is going to be a thing over the holidays. And I know that John Q at one point had a site where he started something similar and both Ryan and David knew about that before they started it. But in the meantime, John Q took it offline because it wasn’t updated anymore. The theme.json schema has changed quite a bit since he started that and he wasn’t working on this project anymore. So there are two new initiatives around it. Pretty cool.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. It reminds me a little bit jQuery UI. So in the past, when jQuery was everything, you could use this library for components, and then there was this page that you could tweak the styles using the controls and it would generate CSS files for you. So I think standalone apps is great because of that experience that you have call canvas for you, and you can play with everything and see how it changes. Whereas the approach of using the site editor, it’s a little bit off because you don’t have all the components presented on the page. So that might be a challenge for some of the folks to use a plugin version for that. But it’s like maybe there is something in the middle, that you can combine those two and have this nice experience of using WordPress core and having the standalone experience of the next JS app that you gives you the power of all the components that you could style.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. It’s interesting, different approaches, to see how they evolve and how they probably fit different use cases as well. And Ellen Bauer of Elma Studio, she’s a good friend of the Gutenberg Times, has been on multiple live Q and As for theme as a theme builder, and also has a great block theme in the repository called Aino that’s A-I-N-O. And she started with Twitter spaces and having discussions around theme building, freelancing, and she sent us the dates for her next events and she will have them… so she will have one on December 16th. And that’s on the topic after the State of the Word from Matt Mullenweg, kind of discuss the thoughts from the community there. Then on December 22nd, that’s a Wednesday, it’s probably too early for US because it’s at 9:00 AM UTC, Ellen Bauer is from New Zealand. So she’s kind of very flexible in her time, but sometimes it’s going to be a real rough thing.

So 9:00 AM UTC, that’s 5:00 PM Eastern. I know people who are up there, I’m not. So how to prepare for FSE and the WordPress 5.9 release, which is going to be quite interesting. And then on December 30th at 6:00 PM UTC, 1:00 PM Eastern, it’s a casual end of 2021 WordPress recap and chat. Now I would love to give you links to all of those, but it seems that Twitter Space still has a few restrictions, and one is that you can only schedule one event in advance. So I would suggest you follow Ellen Bauer @Ellenbauer, E-L-L-E-N-B-A-U-E-R on Twitter. So you get the notification for her next events. So Twitter Spaces has kind of come really around in the WordPress community. I know that Post Status is doing quite a few Twitter Spaces. Have you any experience with Twitter Spaces?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: So I participated yesterday, I mean, for 10 minutes maybe, but there was a React conference and afterwards they were doing as well, the session with speakers. So they were discussing some key topics that were covered during the day and discussing how the community fits in, all that pictures, other frameworks and libraries. So that was quite interesting, but I could join only SLD center, but still something that I just joined randomly because it’s like there was this blue button on the top with all the faces of participants and that caught my attention. So I like that. But as you said, the fact that you don’t know upfront, that something like that is happening is a bit annoying, I think. Although it has also some benefits because maybe that’s the whole idea to have it to something that just started because people exchange opinions on Twitter and then suddenly they can just jump in and start talking about the topic.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So I like it as a more casual way to connect with other people that are in your Twitter stream, or you are part of it. One restriction is that on your desktop, you can only connect as a listener. If you want to be a part of the… in speaking with the other people and have your input, you would need to be on the mobile app, the Twitter mobile app. So I don’t know if you said it, but Twitter Spaces is just audio. So that is also a lower barrier than a live stream because you don’t have to be on video. It’s almost like a group phone call, so to speak, with other people listening in, and it’s much less formal. And I like that part. Yeah. Oh, speaking of React conference, I think that we have the link for the recordings in our show notes, if you’re interested in what’s happening with React. Are there anything that stood out for you, what WordPress developers would need to know? I know I’m throwing that at you right now.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: So one thing that they are introducing new features and they’re introducing many changes, although the way how they approach it is very nice because everything will be backward compatible, so they just follow what WordPress does in that regard, which is amazing. And they had some other plans for the next major version, which is 18, that should be released early next year. And what I found very interesting is that initially they wanted to have some sort of switch for new features that is you need to apply for a whole application, however, they changed the plan. And it’s very interesting that you will be able to just pick a subset of your application and enable one given feature.

And there’ll be a few features that you will be able to use concurrent mode, those are very technical things, but in general, they are saying that your application will work exactly the same in 99,999 percent of time, which is great. And yes, I think that there will be a few improvements that the block editor would benefit from. I cannot confirm that because we don’t have any numbers for now, but I think that in terms of performance, there will be some benefits. And yeah, and also Diego Haz had a presentation about accessibility and he was showing his Reakit library that is used inside WordPress.

So that’s an interesting part. And he also was presenting the composite component that we use in the block inserter. And he showed how the new APIs will benefit that. And so one thing that I like the most is that there will be some sort of behavior that allows you to show loaders in a very smart way. So for instance, when you show the results for the blocking set, and the block patterns, you will be able to still present the previous set of results while the new is loading and assume that’s ready, then it’ll replace that. And it’s like very nice APIs for us. So that’s very technical, very deep. And I think the block editor will benefit from that in the next releases in 2022.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So sounds like everything is really evolving. So now let’s get back to our immediate release. 

What’s Released – WordPress 5.9 Beta 2 and Gutenberg 12.1

So what’s released section in the Gutenberg Changelog is, well first, WordPress 5.9 Beta 2 was released on Tuesday, December 7th and the community is going to yeah, asked to really stress test this because it’s one of the latest releases and there are not a whole more to come. There is probably a Beta 3 in the works, but it’s still unclear if there should be a January 4th Beta 4 release before the release candidate comes out. But yeah, so we have the news item, the news page about the release in our show notes. And it gives you great instructions on how you can test things, especially the bug fixes that came in late there. 

And that brings us to the Gutenberg plugin release 12.1. So some of the changes were back boarded to the 5.9 WordPress core. But yeah, so what’s in the Gutenberg, 12.1? Do you want to start us off?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. I’m just thinking about that, if everything was back board, I mean, it will be back boarded as far as I understand that, or no, it might be already there. Yes. It it is already, sorry. I had to think how the process goes and because we are using RC of the plugin when we start cherry picking comments. So that’s like already happened this week on Monday and yeah. So I think the biggest change is that one of the blockers that was right during the time when the release date was postponed, was the experience around picking templates. And now we have a separate page for templates and it contains the list view, that contains the name and the source of the template, whether it comes from the team or maybe whether that was created by the one of the users from the site.

So that shows the list, and on the same screen, there is also a new button that is on the top right side. And it allows you to create a missing template. So let’s say you don’t have a 404 page provided by the theme, and you can just use button to create that one, that experience. Yeah. I mean, it’s like that’s the biggest change. That was something that was missing. I mean, that was in the plugin to work different in a different way. So there was a sidebar on the left side that allows you to do all those things. However, I don’t know. Do you remember why it was not included?


Birgit Pauli-Haack: It was in 5.8. There was a template section in the right hand sidebar. Yes. But that was because the full site editor didn’t have all the right workflow. So you are only able to edit the template that you were on though, the post or the page template, but now they have this under appearance, the additional menu. And that’s where you can look at templates as well as template parts. It’s a separate menu. And that is now available for WordPress 5.9. Another big change is, or what was missing, was that in the site editor, you were able to add blocks as well as block patterns. But now you also can add reusable blocks that you already built to add them to a template. So that was a missing piece right there. And I’m glad that’s in there now for 5.9.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. I think that for sure was overlooked at some point, because there’s so many features already in the post content editor that it wasn’t so easy to bring them to the site editor and it was like, each feature needs to be also evaluated, whether it makes sense in that context.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And I can understand that, yeah, that some features are not finished until they are evaluated for a broader usage. Like if it works in a post edit, it doesn’t mean it works that way in the site editor, so some things need to change to actually make it work for the site editor, which also kind of updates the UI or something like that. So it’s quite a complex system that is back and forth from new features to old features, to new features kind of way. It’s almost like a feedback loop that you also have with users, and you introduced few new features.

So yeah, in the global styles now it’s also possible to opt out of the default palette for the interface. So if a theme and theme JSON opts out in the default colors for a site, then those colors are not shown in the site editor sidebar, which, yeah, certainly that was a big complaint that people said, well, I don’t want users to actually be using those colors. But on the other hand, you need those colors when there is no color palette from the theme. So it, yeah, it kind of offers something, yeah. So it’s kind of an interesting problem to solve.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. But I guess the stats, they still exist because you could change teams and you could be using one of those core colors. So they need to be there in case you use them in one of the overridden templates or template parts, or reusable blocks or whatever. But yeah, I think also on the feature section, it’s something that is more like a developer experience. So we were talking about the schemas for theme.json that helps developers and designers when they building their teams have this hints, what given property could be, or just showing the list of possibilities. And there was change other that allows to use custom blocks. So not only the core blocks, but if you have a custom block and you could apply some style changes and do the hints, because it’s now smart enough to figure out that that’s also a block that could have some styling. So just a handy improvement for-

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: …that use, because if you are not playing with the block Theme.json generators….

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And that’s certainly a challenge for the Theme.json generators, to keep up with the new changes in the schema. And that’s an ongoing story about Gutenberg development that every person involved in it needs to kind of keep up with it, being theme developers or plug-in developers now, tool developers it’s… yeah. I hope it slows down a bit in, I don’t know, three or four years.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. At least because of backwards compatibility, some of the existing features will stay there. So that’s one good thing, but there’s so many new features coming every two weeks. So yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: And so there was one other improvement, is the position of the block appenders and the behavior of it, which is really, it was a long ongoing problem for the last two or three years.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That the layout kind of jumped a little bit when the appenders come in. Appender is the plus sign where you can then add new blocks to it. And now that’s the little plus button and now you can, they are now, what is it, fixed in their positioning. And then so with the relation to the block, so they’re not underneath the block where they created those jumps and that alone is a feature that actually makes the block editor less awkward, I say, yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes, yes. I mean also that helps you to, because it’s now on the bottom right side of the space that the block occupies, the parent blocks that can have blocks inside, which is really good because you exactly know where are you adding this block. Whereas before the plus sign was in many cases it was positioned in a way that you weren’t sure whether that goes to the block you want to add or just is outside. So yeah. I like that a lot. I must admit when I saw that for the first time I was a bit lost. I didn’t know what this icon is all about. I was thinking that something is misplaced, but once you learn how it works now, it’s so much better.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. I totally agree. Yeah. Good job everyone. And there is now a keyboard shortcut to double escape unselected blocks.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: No, no. So you need to press escape twice.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Okay.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: So because now alt select all blocks, whereas one escape just makes you go out on the edit mode. So it goes outside of the single block.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Okay.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: So it just….

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Does that take care of, sometimes it happens that I’m not getting out of select. I cannot edit things. And is that….

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, because we have two modes. One is for browsing. I know, it’s like, what’s the name, but the idea, yeah. The one is that it’s for accessibility. When you are contained in a blog that you are editing and then when you tap, it goes to the sidebar. And when you tap it just go to the toolbar, like there’s a cycle inside the single block, whereas when you escape and you can just use arrow up down just to navigate between blocks. So that makes you faster to move between blocks if you are using keyboard a lot.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So I’m going to test this out over the weekend when I do the weekend edition, because that’s where I sometimes got trapped and I got out of it by just reloading the page. 

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: When you keep press enter, then you go again in the edit mode so that’s… You need to learn some of those shortcuts and just use mouse and…

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So the next thing is adjust the order of theme blocks and reorder the inserted items, the inserter items, sorry. And that has to do with the site editor and the theme blocks that are available. So the order is adjusted so you might find it on a different spot if you have been testing this before.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: There are now so many theme blocks and you know, some of them aren’t that important. so that’s why you can see now, like on the top of that is the navigation block or site title, site logo, or the logo that you would rather prefer to use when you start thinking about building the design for your template.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And also, so it’s more the, oh, I did not know that it was actually a login logout block there. I just saw that because it’s now on the top.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. Awesome. Yeah. What’s next?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. In the block library, there is now a new block, which is comments pagination blocks. So just to explain, there is now an ongoing quark on the comments query loop, which is like more or less the same concept, like query loop, which is a technical name for the list of posts or pages or whatever post type you pick. And the idea is to replicate the same capability for designing how comments look and that pagination is one of the things that you can have with comments in the classic themes. So it’s there and the next and previous blocks for the pagination are missing still, but they should land soon. So in general, this comment square look, I would consider that very experimental in the WordPress 5.9. There will be a different block that is just wrapped around on the comment form or comment template. I don’t remember the name, but it’s just the PHP function that does everything for you and shows you the comments that you see on the single post page.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right. Okay, cool. Yeah. So the comments pagination block and all the other single comments blocks that are in the works, or have been released with the plugin will be in WordPress 6.0, because it’s still all experimental.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes. I mean, if everything is done, which is most likely, yes.Birgit Pauli-Haack: Okay. All right. So then there were some updates on the navigation block and now it shows its changes to the sub menu options to show an error button when relevant and then implement suitable fallback to a navigation block on the front end when there is no menu yet selected. That was something that the team experimented with quite a bit, and there are four or five PRs that are related to that. It certainly is… that’s part of the backwards compatibility also for the navigation block that if there is no menu, because it’s a new site, yeah, you still can use the navigation block and get hints on that. But it also shows you a fall back. I tested this and it was quite interesting to see that it kind of took over and showed me all the pages if I wanted to, the navigation block is coming along quite nicely. Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. I think they also added PHP filter in case someone doesn’t like the default behavior for the fallback. So you can opt out with that. The filter name is block under score core underscore navigation underscore render underscore fallback, quite long one. And yeah. And basically you can just opt out or just provide your own way of doing that, which is pretty nice. And also there’s a technical change, which is less important, but they decided that instead of having the navigation menu ID attribute, there will be a ref which is aligned with how usable blocks work.

Bug Fixes

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Awesome. Yeah. So next item that we want to point out is the template part block that when you convert it to a reusable block, it kind of removes the color space and layout options of the template block. That’s very interesting to kind of test out if on… I’m kind of wondering, the interesting part is because I’m wondering about the use case for that, but I think the more you use it, the more you kind of understand it much better, then there is a change to the gallery block. That’s the refactored gallery block. And now they turned on the auto migration from our version one gallery block to our version two format when the post is edited. So that’s quite nice so you don’t have to physically do anything when you open up a post or a page that has a previous gallery version. It automatically converts it to the gallery version that has each image as an image block and uses the inner block. So you have all the features of an image block also available to your gallery.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, it’s interesting. Although, I guess you still need to save it just to make sure that the version two is stored in the database. Although if you don’t change anything, that’s probably not that important. So, I mean, when you don’t change anything in the gallery, so you probably don’t have to save it. I haven’t tested that yet. I’m just wondering whether the save button just immediately marks itself as actionable, but you need to do something, whether just something behind the scenes until you don’t change any attribute it is just invisible. So that’s the only thing that….

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I’m glad you mentioned that because I’m going through a few tests for the gallery block just to see how it works. And that’s certainly something to test some more. All right. What’s next? We talked about this post featured image to move the width and height controls into the dimension panel.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. Although this, this sounds quite technical. I mean, because it was moved to the dimension panel, is like in a different place now, I mean the width and height is just better organized now. So there’s one important things for the themes. And the change is that when you are creating the structure for the theme, before you would use block templates and the block slash template slash parts folders for your templates and template parts, and the decision was to rename those folder, the old folders you can still use them as long as you use, like you cannot mix.

So you cannot use the new name and old name, as long as you use the old names or new names everything should work as before. And there is, yeah, I think I see that you, I think that there is announcement post for that, that we will link in the notes and yes, so templates and parts, new names, shorter and better. And that is because there are upcoming features coming. It’ll be possible to have a folder for styles and folder for patterns, which is quite interesting, the patterns part, in my opinion that will be great. And yeah for styles, do you know what the plan is for styles? Would it be in there?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, I think it’s a separate PHP file where you register them, and then they’re also talking about variations folders. So yeah. So if you have a block that is an image block, and you want to add additional styles, like frame to it, or a different shape of it, then those don’t have to be in the functions PHP, you can create for each pattern your own file and then have them be added to the theme rendering kind of part. Yeah. So its styles, it’s variations, and it’s block patterns that get a little bit of a better folder structure like that. 

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. But it’s far in the future as I understand it.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right. Yeah. But the only part that is now in Gutenberg is the renaming of the folders for the template parts and the templates, because you don’t need the block in front of them. Yeah. There was another change that is interesting for those who use the appearance menu, that as soon you use a block-based theme that is built for full site editing, the current theme editor, where you get access to the file system on your site will be under tools. It will not be showing up in the appearance menu. It’s not disappearing, but they decided it to hide it or move it to the tools subheader so it’s not confused with the site editor template, editor, it all looks kind of the same. Naming things is really hard. And it was always a little odd that that was actually available for a user to edit the PHP files on your site and kind of render them. If you make a mistake, you render the whole site with a white screen of death, so to speak. So hiding is probably a good, or placing that under the tools menu is probably a good decision.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. So I just wanted to also mention from the… going back to the global styles and changes apply there. So there was one thing that is quite interesting. So there was a change to the typographic panel, so it’s now better organized. So now they call it elements. So by elements, I means there’s text, but other elements can be a link. So now they are separated in a way that you can drill down into the link and see only settings related to the link, like colors, like, I mean, in this case it’s typographic.

So you can change font size, you can change font weight, and so on. And that’s also a preparation for future changes so you will be able to register your own elements, so let’s say when you have a blog that contains a few visual parts, so that you will be able to mark that. So let’s say in the bottom, you will be able to say, I want to have special, maybe for typographic it’s not the best, but for colors there are a lot of requirements like navigation and then it can have now nested menus. So you could just start differently nested menus. And that would be like using this API. So that’s really interesting how it evolves.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And looking at the PR giphy that the designers use there though it has menus and submenu, or panels and then subpanels, so if you want to change the text, you click on text and then you get an additional panel. If you want to change the link, you click on link. So a it’s a multilevel user interface now, and you need to really know where things are to actually change them. But it’s going from the top and global thing to the yeah, single element part.

And yeah, it’s going to be really interesting to see what people do with that and how they find things. I know that the learn team, the team is already looking at creating videos for tutorials for all these features. So I hope… it’s unclear if they will make it to the release, but shortly after, definitely. Yeah. They will have something. It’s a whole new way of editing your site. So we all have to learn how to use it. And sometimes you don’t pick up on the interfaces intuitively unless somebody points you to, well, what was the thinking behind it, you know? So. Yeah, so what else?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. It’s also so powerful that the organization for that needs to be really, really complex, but it’s like as long as you use good workflows that are the same for every block, it’s something that you should learn quite quickly.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Consistency is definitely key for that. Yes. We talked about things, bug fixes, there are plenty of navigation block bug fixes and also for the gallery block that came out of the testing but nothing really major.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah it’s quite expected because the navigation block is the biggest feature that is in there that was also iterated for two years. And yes, it should be in very good shape now. So I think it’s fine to have those bug fixes because it improves the experience further.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So there’s one change in the components bug fixes that daytime picker is now setting PM hours correctly. I don’t know what was wrong with it, but it sounds like times are really hard.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: No, that one is really annoying. I think two weeks ago I ran into this issue that I wanted to post something in the afternoon, but it was published in the future, set in a few days in the morning because it wasn’t working correctly. So that’s a very important feature. So I’m glad that is fixed now.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Announcement. Now you don’t have to double check your times on the publishing things. 


Yeah. And after, aside from that, there is under experiments, we find an experimental confirm dialogue. Did you see what that was about?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, because the browser, I mean, it’s mostly from as far as I understand that they want to remove the confirm function. That is the one that blocks you, that shows you a big popup. You need to click yes or no. It’s like the one that comes from the browser that doesn’t look good. And I guess that is one of the reasons why they want to remove that and there’s ongoing work to prepare a replacement for that. I’m not quite sure if that’s going to work in exactly the same way, because the good part about this confirm dialogue is then when you have unsafe changes in your editor, when you try to close the tab, it will just prevent that and ask you whether, are you sure that you want to continue, and I hope that this is going to be possible to replicate that using Java script. So let’s see how it goes.


Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah, I understand. Cool. And then we come to the documentation piece, documentation PRs that are in Gutenberg 12.1. And there’s some information about the block gap to theme.json and there have been improvements to the greater block tutorial in the handbook. Well, the developers responsible for the documentation also alphabetized the how to guides section, which is probably an improvement. So you can find things. And then that’s pretty much, oh, for the tools panel it’s updated the panel and read me and the stories all have been updated. And there’s also updated documentation for the pattern block category.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I see that there are also changes to the history page. Interesting. Just there is just a news section explaining what it is about. But yeah, if you want to check something the block at your handbook, the history page, that could be interesting to learn about inspiration and like some world post explaining the block editor, and you can learn how far it’ll….

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. It was interesting. We had a discussion when we were at the theme meetup that the interest in the block editor comes in waves. Yeah. And I’m thinking now we are in the fourth waves of having new people coming into the block editor for the first time. And it’s hard for those of us who have been with it for four years to kind of go back in three years and kind of think, okay, what was published back then that would help anybody now three years later to get started with a block editor? And it’s quite an quite a hard thing to solve when you have been so far ahead of those who are just coming in, to kind of think back into the shoes of someone who experienced the block editor for the first time. So yeah. Having a history where people can go back to read those posts is really good and helpful. See anything else that you want to talk about?

Code Quality

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. There’s also got quality section as usual, but that are some minor changes. I think the biggest change is the reorganization in how the PHP files are structured. So there’s an ongoing effort to move some of the functions to folders that are related to the WordPress major version, because we have so many features that we still support for WordPress 5.8, 5.7, and it becomes a pain to make sure that the same features work in older version, even though the code is not in WordPress core, but yes, that helps a lot. And that help also to catch a few smaller bugs that some features weren’t fully backboarded to work with 5.9 release. So I hope that this will prevent some surprises.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right, well, and this concludes our Gutenberg Changelog, going through the Gutenberg plugin release. 

What’s in Active Development or Discussed

There are a few things I wanted to point out in the active development or what’s discussed. There is the Gutenberg, the themes team on WordPress, they actually, every Friday they publish a weekly roundup of theme-related discussions. And this week they published the 75th weekly roundup edition. So if you haven’t followed up on that or followed that particular way, Jeff Ong and and Jason Chris picked four topics to highlight in the post.

And so one was the new color picker that’s coming to Gutenberg. And then the online discussion on how best to add global padding and still allow for full width alignment. There are some ideas that are tested and in the post you find the links to the GitHub issues about that. And also how make the WP block style support available through the theme.JSON, to opt in instead of the functions PHP support, and then contrary to other styling, it seems that global link styles override block level styles.

So they try to find a solution for that as well. And as always the weekly roundup has a list of overview issues for various features that are in the works like the typography tools, the global styles interface, and the default theme, for instance. And then it ends with a general resource section with links to documentation and tutorials. So if you are a theme developer and you want to keep up with the Gutenberg development and the discussions around it, signing up for the theme team make blog would definitely keep you in the loop on that. And of course we have the link in the show notes.

So before we leave, I want to point out that the Twitter bot is called good first bugs, which is maintained by Ryan Welcher and it has been updated. And now you can follow along as it tweets out all the GitHub issues that are labeled good first bugs. And for the Gutenberg group, as well as for the tags in the WordPress track. So if you are ready to contribute to Gutenberg and don’t know where to start, follow that Twitter handle @goodfirstbugs and it tweets out, yeah, I don’t know how often, but several times a day, the links to those issues that are good first bugs to tackle.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. I’m seeing those tweets from time to time. I don’t follow the account, but it looks like it’s popular because Twitter somehow is deciding to show it. So yes, it’s a definitely very good way to identify some areas where you could contribute.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Of course there is a label on GitHub, so we can also share the link to the label. There’s also a good first review label, if you want to review some code, that you can do that too. You could learn a lot by reviewing somebody else’s code. And have a discussion with the developer around it. Yeah. All right. So this is the end of our show today. Let me wish you or us wish you wonderful holidays when you celebrate that and a wonderful new year. Prosperity and health to everyone. Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. I also wanted to wish everyone happy new year and happy release in January and all the best, by using a full site editing experience in 2022 on your WordPress websites.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes. Yeah. That’s the big feature for 2022. Yes. So as always, the show notes will be published on This is the 57th episode. And if you have question suggestions, or news you want us to include, send them to that’s That’s an email address. You could also reach out on Twitter, and the links to that are in the show notes. My Twitter handle is @BPH, like my initials, on Twitter. And what’s your handle?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: My handle is G-Z-I-O-L-O so if you miss us, because we don’t record in two weeks, you can just hang out with us on Twitter.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Or on GitHub, or WordPress Slack.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. WordPress Slack, definitely. And my DMs are open. Feel free to contact me. I might not respond right away, but asynchronous, is it. All right. That’s it for the year 2021. I can’t believe it’s over. It’s not, yeah. It’s still three weeks, but yeah, it’s been a great experience. Well, thanks for listening and goodbye.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Thank you everyone. Goodbye.

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