Gutenberg Changelog #61 – Gutenberg 12.6, Planning for WordPress 6.0 and Universal Blocks

Gutenberg Changelog
Gutenberg Changelog
Gutenberg Changelog #61 - Gutenberg 12.6, Planning for WordPress 6.0 and Universal Blocks

Grzegorz Ziolkowski and Birgit Pauli-Haack introduce Mary Job as the new co-host and discuss Gutenberg 12.6, Planning for WordPress 6.0 and Universal Blocks.

Show Notes / Transcript

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Show Notes

New co-host: Mary Job


Community Contributions

Wicked Block Builder

WPTavern Jukebox #14 Dave Smith, Isabel Brison and Joen Asmussen on the New Navigation Block

Todo Block by David Towoju

Social Sharing Block

Gutenberg 12.6 Release

Ryan Welcher’s YouTube Channel: How to build blocks, Theme building, How to use Create-Block script, Locking down editor features and choices

Twitch Stream

Discussion and Work in Progress

Universal blocks and block hydration

New Style Engine

The next Gutenberg Developer Hours will take place March 8th, 2022 at 11:00 ET / 16:00 UTC


Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello, and welcome to our 61st episode of the Gutenberg Changelog podcast. In today’s episode will talk about, and with our new co-host Mary Job, about Gutenberg’s 12.6 release and planning for WordPress 6.0 and universal blocks. I’m Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator at the Gutenberg Times and WordPress developer advocate at Automatic. And I’m here with my co-host Grzegorz Ziolkowski, JavaScript developer at Automattic and WordPress core contributor. Hey there Grzegorz, how are you today?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Hello, Birgit. Hello, Mary. I’m great. The weather is terrible outside. We have storms going through Poland, so I might lose the connection at any time because we already had a blackout for two hours today.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, my God.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: So, it’s fun, but let’s hope everything’s going well.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So, yeah. So this is the last episode that you and I are hosting together, Grzegorz. I’m sure we will have your back as a guest in the future and we will stay in touch. So it has been a great honor and privilege to host this podcast with you for the last year almost. I cherish the regular chats with you on and off the air.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, that was great. I mean, it’s like every two weeks having so nice and deep discussion about everything Gutenberg, definitely a highlight for me. But it’s also a lot of work and I’m primarily a developer. So I guess it’s a good setup that I will be able to join as a panelist from time to time, and we have more people from the community running this excellent podcast.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, thank you. So we have with us the new co-host, what is it? The king is dead. The queen lives. Hail to the queen. So the new co-host of the Gutenberg Changelog podcast, Mary Job. A WordPress advocate support engineer at Paid Membership Pro and a community organizer for Nigeria. Mary, I’m thrilled that you agreed to go on this new adventure with me. Thank you so much and welcome.

Mary Job: Thank you so much, Birgit. Actually I am also very thrilled to be starting this adventure with you. I wish Grzegorz was staying with us longer, but going to try and do my best and hopefully we talk to him soon as a guest on this podcast.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Wonderful, wonderful. So I’m glad that we can do a handover. So you see how this all works and also chime in and so it’s going to be great. We always have very informal conversations here and we jump right into it. Okay. Grzegorz, you want to start with the announcements?


Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. So we are today. We should expect a WordPress 5.9.1, minor RC version of the release, so the first testing version. And I think if everything goes on track, we should have the regularities next week on February 22nd. And JB Audras is the release lead, and he’s deputy and helper for the editor part is George Mamadashvili. And yeah, I was helping George today to do his first NPM publishing to bring all the code from the block editor to the core and it was like a lot of changes there. All of them are bug fixes, so you should expect next week a lot of improvements in the editing experience. And as we already discussed two weeks ago, the cycles for WordPress 6.0 is in full motion, and we already have a plan in round up and there is a schedule proposed to how that should go and maybe Birgit you can just share more details on that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Sure. Feature freeze is kind of suggested to be about six weeks from now on March 29, 2022, which brings then two weeks to the first beta release, April 12th. The first release candidate will be May 3rd and also when dev notes are due and it’s not a string freeze yet, but it’s almost there. And then the final release is proposed to be scheduled for May 24th in line with proposed schedule that Josepha Haden Chomphosy published two weeks ago to have only two more releases in 2022. So the first one is 6.0, and then end of May, May 24th. And then the next one will be mid October 2022, and we won’t have, that’s the 6.1 release. Yeah.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Does it mean that we should expect another release in January or something like that? So that would be very similar to what we had, like we started this year.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s right. Yeah, that’s right.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I think it works great for many agencies and companies because they have a lot of time at the beginning of the year to catch up and it’s much better. At least people complain a lot about December and every day during that timelines, so maybe that’s for the best.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And the move, the postponement of two weeks kind of resulted because of the holidays into the January release and kind of out of a two weeks postponement, we almost had five weeks delay on the release, and it was good for everybody to kind of have the holiday and then year round changes off the release stress day as well. So do you want to talk about the release quarter Grzegorz?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Just because I’m in it.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Okay. Sure. So the release squad is not yet complete. What we know already is that as usual, Matt Mullenweg will be the release lead. Hector Prieto will be coordinating the release. For the core part, Peter Wilson will be the lead and we still don’t have for Gutenberg, for the leader, we still don’t have the lead picked. So you can still volunteer our listeners. We are waiting for you. And for the documentation, we have great news because Birgit will be the lead there. And how does it feel Birgit?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, that’s right. And because it’s my first release on the squad, being on the squad I’m kind of the rookie on it, but I will be joined by the brilliant Milana Cap and the amazing Abha Thakor and both have experience in the release squad. So I will definitely cherish their import and also their work on it. It’s going to be an interesting time for me between March and May when the thing comes out. So I’m glad, I volunteered for it. So I probably don’t know what I got myself into, but I will tell you afterwards.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. But fortunately you have a lot of experienced people around and like for 5.9, Marc did an excellent job leading the documentation effort. So you have a lot of work that was done before to look at, and I’m sure you would do as excellent as they did.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, thank you. Thank you. I’m definitely going to be standing on the shoulders of giants. So we’ll see. So two weeks ago, Matias Ventura talked to us about the preliminary roadmap for the Gutenberg phase two in WordPress 6.0, and it’s an episode 60, WordPress 6.0 episode 60. I really like that coincidence, and he brought us great insight. So Grzegorz and Mary, do you have any particular feature that you are excited about for the next release?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, sure. I definitely have some peaks. I was very inspired by the discussion we had with Matias and from the features he covered, I think two stand out for me. So first of them is start variation for teams. And this is because it gives a lot of power to users. So when you have a team, you would be able to have some sort of presence and you would be able to change how the team looks with a one click, which is like for me, someone who doesn’t like changing all those aspects, like colors, fonts, margins, spacing, it’s like, it’s too much. It just, it’s like an excellent thing to have. And the other thing is taking patterns to the next level and bringing some semantic meaning, like more semantic meaning to them, what Matias covered.

Like when you go for instance, on the category page and then could be something that is there for a given category, like for instance, someone could register a pattern for a category, let’s say music, and you would have something specific to that. Or you go to a page, you create a contact page and you have pattern that is dedicated to this use case or the gallery sub page, and this sort of thinking. Because as of today, the biggest struggle when you start a new site is that you need to fill in all the content and even having all those patterns in the directory and not having a way to easily filter them is a big bottleneck. So yeah, that my picks.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Mary, did you get through it?

Mary Job: Yes, personally, I think I’m more interested in the long term, precisely with the implementation of most member sites. I think that would be interesting. I’m more interested in that future and also a collaboration, the idea that two people can, or two or more people can. I think it’ll be great for the future of bloggers, right? It has this, you know how Google docs function, where multiple people, I can be very interesting. I can’t wait to see that app like that, because essentially you’d be able to have a perfectly built internet site on WordPress because then you can have different things on one document. Essentially means you can do all your work on WordPress, you don’t having to pick some of it out somewhere else.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. We are all waiting for that. That collaboration part is a good book phase three. So I think that’s phase 3, 23 kind of, yeah. It will be, I’m playing with the numbers again, but I’m looking forward to just have the featured image be dynamic and be able to put it in my cover block for my single post. So yeah, they are all different kind of, but I’m also excited about the pattern stuff, especially that themes will be able to link to the block pattern directory patterns and make them available in their theme without having to add it to the whole theme to it as code. So I think that will definitely speed up loading and developing of themes. So there are quite a few things in there. So we will in the show notes again, put in the preliminary roadmap, post that Matias Ventura had published. And yeah, we also put the link to episode 60 in there, of course. All right. So Grzegorz, you had discovered some amazing plugins you want to share with our listener a bit?

Community Contributions

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, sure. So one of them is wicked block builder. So I think I read about that on WP Tavern when it was covered for the first time, or maybe on Twitter, like you know, I never know what’s first. But the idea is really interesting because we discussed before about other ways of creating blocks, like ACF blocking that allows you to build those blocks, but using more custom post fields, like it’s more in the admin when you need to do a lot of manual work to select some attributes for the block, and then you need to provide PHP template. This solution takes it to the next level because, so you just pre-fill all the regular attributes or settings that the block has, like title, description, category, and all its attributes. And then you go to the screen when you are able to visually, using the drag and drop, inject some, it’s hard to describe even on the podcast that I listened afterwards, it was really hard to describe.

So I’m terrible as well in that doing this job because it’s like bringing mostly HTML tags to the canvas and just like nesting them and using drag and drop to create your HTML code. But you can also mix that with some interactive elements, like rich text or input field, which allows you to modify some data once that’s embedded in the block editor. So it’s like an editor that is outside of the block editor, like a separate page in the WP admin, but then once it’s finished and you are able to fill some of those fields yourself. So it’s a really interesting idea and I know that some people are really excited about the possibilities it creates.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. It sounds really amazing. I also know about lazy blocks where you also have to then provide a template for your content in code and some of us are a little bit shy on it. And so Vinny McKee was also a guest on the WP Tavern Jukebox podcast and had a conversation with Nathan Wrigley, the host, about not only his plugin, but also how to approach Gutenberg and all that. So it’s definitely a great listen to, and I just want to take this as a little opportunity to give a big shout out to Nathan Wrigley, because he has, from a monthly podcast, he’s now doing weekly Jukebox additions or episodes.

So every week there will be new people be on the podcast and he interviews them. And he’s a marvelous interviewer and asks the right questions. And this week just published was the episode 14 where they talked about the navigation block and with the builders of it, like Johan Assmussen, Dave Smith and Isabel Brison, who all worked on it and also what it means to be working for Automattic. Because there are still some open positions there. All right, what was the other plugin?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, so that was the plugin. The other things I wanted to cover are blocks. So first there is a, now a Todo block, by David, I don’t know how to pronounce the surname. Towoju.

And it was all covered on WP Tavern, and if you don’t follow this one, like Gutenberg Times is number one, obviously, and thanks to Birgit. But my second pick for following is WP Tavern. It has a lot of information that covers the Gutenberg plugin and the development and all the things that are built around that. And in particular, there’s a lot of insight after testing those plugins from Justin Tadlock he’s doing amazing job, big shout out for him as well. And in here, one I wanted to show is, Todo this is very popular, if someone is into programming is like, if you want to compare libraries, you either do Hacker News app or Todo app just to show the differences between different libraries, frameworks, and so on.

But this one integrates into the block editor, and before we cover like a few episode backs, we also covered a similar block from each table. But the difference was that the one that Rich created is mostly like a list of things you should to do, but it’s private for the author that creates the post or the page. Whereas this one, we will be also displayed on the front end and when you will click, like the items was created, like completed, then we will show a different style. So if you want to have sort of distinct edge, definitely something you should check out. And the other plugin is social sharing block. And this block, there is a similar block inside the WordPress core, the difference is that the one in core, it’s more like a list of links with icons.

You can style them and they just link to the social services. Like if you want to provide, for instance, in your footer a link to Facebook, GitHub, Twitter, whatever. And this one is more a feature like when you want to share on a given social media, and this one was created by Nick Diego. He just missed those functionality inside the core and I saw that he would be who would love to see whether it’s fit also for the core. So that needs to be definitely checked, although I’m not sure it’s like the target is exactly the same and whether the merging that together into one block would be a great user experience. But that one was also covered on WP Tavern with more details. So check the plugin and the review there.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Nick Diego also has an interesting plugin in the report, that’s the block visibility, and that gives you a lot of choices. How to conditionally change when a block is visible to a visitor could be either, it needs to be, somebody needs to be logged in to see the block or somebody needs to, or a certain date needs to happen that you can condition on that. So you don’t have to go back to the post when the date happens and the content shows, or it could also be, if you have, you could actually hook in some user agents. So it could say, okay, if you’re on Google Chrome, you get this block and if you’re on there, you get that block. So it’s quite interesting to have. And the social sharing is a little bit different because the sharing is, you share something, did your visitor shares, use that button and share something on another social network?

Like share on Twitter kind of thing. And then you help them give all the title and the link all into a tweet. The social links in core are the profile links from your own profile. So yeah, just to make this clear. All right. Yeah. I used both of them. I know that Nick Diego had a post out on Twitter and say, can anybody point me to a social sharing block? I haven’t found one yet that I wanted to use. And I showed him the one from Kevin, and obviously he wanted to have a more modern experience because the one that was very, wasn’t updated for a year or so. All right, Mary, do you have favorite block? I’m sorry, I’m putting you on the spot. You can kind of cut it out if it not.

Mary Job: No, that is so very fine. Actually, this is the first time I’m seeing the Todo block. And what I did previously was I created a list and then I would use the structure to structure when I’m done with that item on this list, but this is a bit perfect. So I’m definitely exploring this afterwards.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Good. Yeah. Yeah. I’m going to explore the Wicked Block Builder. Yeah, that definitely interests me. 

So well, Gutenberg 12.6 was released this week. But before we head into the Changelog, I need to issue a correction from the last episode. Big shout to Dave Smith, who set me straight there, the PR with the title allow for HTML and get the underscore title was just a fix for a feature that was new in 12.5 and won’t be back ported to 5.9.1 because the original feature is not back ported to 5.9.1. The issue I was thinking about was a different one and which I tested. And there was an occasion when you reload an existing post in the editor, it seems to be removing the HTML tags. But then I found out when you put them in again, it saves it again and shows it up on the front end.

And that bug is still in the works, but it’s not, it’s kind of, you have a workaround for it. So it’s not, yeah. Anyway, so it’s not a hindrance on your work. It’s just a little bit tedious to put those tags in when you edit that post, but once you have them in and you’re not touching it, you’re fine. All right. 

What’s Released – Gutenberg 12.6

So what’s new in Gutenberg 5.6.? Andy Peatlng handled the release and now there are few enhancements in there that we are going to discuss and some bug fixes and some excellent new features there, not necessarily for the front end, but for the documentation as well.


So there are new blocks in there. One is the post author biography block. So that’s the block that when you fill out the user profile with the description, that will post it there. And then there is also a new read more block for the post link. So when you have a post with excerpt in your post template or query loop, you can now separate out the post link and make it a button or style it differently, or position it differently in its own block. It’s a simple way to link to a single page or post with a query block.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. I’m just checking whether the post author biography allows editing, because that would be great. You wouldn’t have to go to the set profile setting page, but it’s probably not yet there. So yeah, definitely a good and for that farther enhancement. And that’s my favorite one, because I always struggled with this use case. So I wanted, when I saw that on many block posts under the post there would be author with, usually it’s only a name, a link and something like that. And having an option to provide the avatar that was added previously, and now the biographic that just compliments each other and you can put this nice footer that’s always displayed on the post page. That’s just amazing and I’m happy to see that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, me too. Me too. So the next thing are the transforms as an enhancement, it’s where you can change a block immediately into another kind of block. So for instance, there is a transform now. So there was a transform from the beginning from paragraph to list, you have six paragraphs and now you have a six bullet point list and in one step. And that feature is now expanded, and you can now transform a block from tag cloud to categories. So you don’t have to highlight it, delete it, grab the other block and put it in again, you just use the transform button on the left, on the farthest left on your block toolbar. And you can also change between a calendar block and the archive block, and you can also transform to row variations in the group block. And then also the heading you could always transform to a paragraph, but one enhancement bug fix is that it now, when you transform it into a paragraph, it omits the anchor that was on that.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, I think that is an excellent direction. And I hope to see more of that, especially with the patterns I mentioned earlier, that just gives more capabilities and some contextual changes. So you can do whatever you want faster with less work and with more options. That’s so empowering for users.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And one particular thing that I like is that it actually keeps the styles as much as possible. So if you had a background color that kind of comes with it or the type font or these kind of things, so you don’t have to restyle or remake those settings again, so it keeps all that. Oh, and I like that there’s also now a transformation from paragraph to code, which I could have used in a different post a long time ago. All right. 

So the next one of the enhancements is that the social icons, we talked about them before in the core, now have the ability that you can show and hide labels. Up until now it was only the icons from the social networks, when we all know a Twitter icon or Facebook icon, but not everybody knows how a GitHub icon looks or a Reddit icon looks, so you can add the labels to those icons and people are better informed where they’re heading out now.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: It’s always also great for accessibility to have those labels included. So I know that we had a lot of other changes in the past where we would complement the icon with the text to bring those improvements for people who have trouble with memorizing all the different icons, which is basically everyone, I guess, as the number of icons grows in the application.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Mary Job: Yeah. I think it’s has, as Grzegorz said, it’s a good idea to be able to show an item label now because it’s true, not everybody knows what those icons look like. So it’s a great addition to the block, that we able to show an item label. Yeah.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Are there any social networks in Nigeria specifically, or in Africa, that are not kind of in the big realm of US?

Mary Job: There might be, there might be, but none that are particular familiar with. I’m pretty sure there are quite a number of social networking sites that have sprung up in the past few years, but maybe not as popular as the giants, the Facebook, but I think people are getting back because there was this discussion on LinkedIn that I saw earlier today, where it says that Facebook and Instagram trying to say they would pull out of the EU, is it? Yeah. And then the discussion was when are we getting to have home grown continental sites that we can depend upon because right now most our businesses have Facebook pages, Instagram pages, I think this is great. Things like this inspire people to come up with other solutions and if China was able to do it and I believe we should also be able to do it soon.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s kind of interesting what happens in the EU right now, because Facebook says they’re going to, if that particular legislation comes in, they threatened to pull out and two ministers in Germany said, “Well, okay, go ahead.”

Mary Job: Right?

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So yeah, it’s sometimes interesting when you say ultimatums and then all of a sudden, somebody said, “Yeah, go ahead.” It’s not the threat that you think it is, but we digress a bit. 

So there’s one component update that I really like, just because it’s such a subtle change and that’s the update of the spinner design. Now you get a blue line that’s rotating and it’s just those small little visual clues are very important when you wonder what’s happening. Yeah. And it’s like, okay, so it’s loading. Of course, it’s not good when it’s not stopping loading, but that’s a different story.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Hopefully you won’t have to see that one. And just happens so fast that it never pops up.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. But I think with some dynamic blocks coming in, sometimes you have a little delay there.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Oh, there is also for the design tools, there is quite a change for the colors panel. So this one has grown because for some block you can change colors for the link, for the text, for the background, for the border, the list is sometimes quite long. And the change was to use the pattern that’s called tools panel. So this is the same concept that we previously had for spacing for phones and so on. And this allows you to narrow down what you see on the first load. So for instance, if you are not, if you don’t care about most of them, you can just remove them from the view and leave only those that you care about, but you always can unfold that and change other settings.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And this PR specifically by Aaron, he also shows actually a table of the core blocks and their default settings for the colors. So you can see in one view, check, okay, columns have a default setting for text color, and background color, but you need to enable the link color setting for them or for the comment author name block, you get all three of them already in the color panel, because those are the defaults. Which makes sense because the author also has an author page, so you definitely want to have the link to it and you want to maybe change the color for it. So I really like that overview where you have in one view, can look at the settings and see what are the defaults that come with a core block editor.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. It’s sometimes gets tricky, especially when you see the table like that, because for instance, comment author avatar, which is only in an image, it obviously doesn’t have a text included. So this is why it doesn’t have styling for that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Makes sense. Makes sense. But it has styling, default styling for the background. So yeah. Image doesn’t have any styling as default. So, all right. But it’s good to see the list and because there are some things you never remember and you need a place to look it up, unless you try it out and that saves you a lot of time. Okay. So the next enhancement is about the duo tone and it now allows users to specify custom filters. And there are a few examples in the PR by Ben Dwyer, handle and he shows, however, is from a theme that uses the customizer and has some presets there. But then this is pulled in into the duo tone filter in the background. So it’s definitely, and it seems to be coming to a WordPress install near you with 5.9. It’s one of the ones that I find out that it will come over. So in two weeks we probably can also go over the changes that came with 5.9 in two weeks. All right. What else?

New APIs

Mary Job: New APIs.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Hey.

Mary Job: So custom scripts was also introduced. Customs scripts allow templates to define additional scripts in package.json. This allows you to create block from livestream suggestion, that is a suggestion.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So I think that was a suggestion that came in through a live stream from Ryan Welcher. He does Twitch live streams and uses the create block script quite a bit. He also has actually added two templates, if I’m not mistaken, to the script. But Grzegorz, what are the custom scripts about? What does it allow us to do?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: I was following this Twitch stream and I saw how Ryan was trying to use the creative block and creating a custom template so he could share the way he works with plugin. The one he was trying to build was a template for dynamic blocks. So dynamic, which means that it has PHP file, which allows you to provide the implementation that use some dynamic data that’s pulled from PHP and displayed on the front end. And this is not covered by the create block tool by default, so he wanted to like fill the gap. Which is amazing and he ran into the issue because he likes to experiment with things. And he wanted also to use a package called WordPress-env, which is an environment, like development environment that allows you to spin up quickly a version of WordPress that’s based on the bleeding edge, which is for WordPress develop.

And you have the latest WordPress plus you can build on top of that. And he noticed that you cannot, like don’t have this comment for running this WPN. So he wanted to add that, but it wasn’t possible. Now thanks to this new feature that you can provide into the template config, you could add any comment you would like, like included some examples, other examples included is like, if you would like to run end to end script, you could just provide a comment for that using this thing. And in general, like Ryan, he’s doing so amazing job covering. Like a large variety of topics during his live stream. I’m a big fan. Whenever I have an occasion, I try to follow along and I think he will also have a session in the learning space on Meetup. And I don’t know, ability to remember the details about that. It’s planned. Let me check the calendar.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. He has a show. Hello Blocks! Coding a custom block. I think that’s the one that you’re referring to. It’s coming up actually on Monday.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes. Exactly.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So it’s a beginners kind of thing. And he also shared a documentation link. So you can go through it before you watch it or join it. It’s more like a social learning space. So there will be some demonstrations and some scripted things, but it mostly lives from the Q and A of the participants. And yeah, you’re right. Every week, Ryan is on Twitch at Thursdays, 10:30 Eastern, that’s 3:30 UTC. And he has a series on creating a pole block and also another series on creating a meme block. So he has some great problem that he solves there right in front of you. So sometimes he also, you find him detouring and that’s actually, you learn quite a lot about it. And because you then see what components are better for UI for that particular problem and why it’s not working.

So he does a great job there, pulling it all together, and Twitch only saves them for two weeks, but he also has a YouTube channel where he uploads the final show there as well. And we will put this all in the show notes, of course, if you want to kind of follow him along. He also had a series with Diane Olsen on creating a block theme. And I think there were three sessions on Twitch and YouTube. So that’s also something for, if you’re not interested in building blocks, but you want to build a theme. There’s a lot for everyone on Ryan Welcher’s YouTube stream. That’s just a little detour here.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, it’s a long one. But I must admit that every time I see Ryan covering some code base that I worked on, it just triggers a lot of discussion between two of us. And we just sent a massive amount of pull requests that improve what he struggled with and really inspiring to see where people have some blocks and how to make that process more seamless. So that’s really nice.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.

Mary Job: I better jump on that beginner’s class.

Bug Fixes

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, yeah, we all start from different areas. Okay. So next on our Changelog are bug fixes, and there were quite a lot and I haven’t even counted them, which is, normally I count the bug fixes but this time. So there were, the cover block had a bug that it was missing styles and they are now back. And then the gallery block, when you transform it to images, so single images instead of all in a gallery, the images would lose some of their settings, if not all of them. So that was kind of a bummer and that is fixed too, and some other gallery quirks there.

Yeah. I think those are the ones that I wanted to point out. There were some fixes for accessibility, especially for the list view that was a bug fixed in two parts and the part two is now in. And then one of them was also the contrast checker because that was not tied into changing the link color and now it is. 

And the block manager is now announcing the search results. So that’s definitely for those who are traveling on a screen reader, an improvement, and the search results is for the block manager, when you go into the preference modal and then click on blocks, and then you can switch search for the blocks that you want to turn off. And the search results are now announced. That’s a big improvement on that modal. All right.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. I personally had some sort of HackaMol game with Windows operating system. So for the development tools and specifically for the build in WordPress script, there was something that didn’t work in a specific case and it was fixed twice because I fixed that. Then I did some other improvement and it was broken again. So big shout out for contributors, Tisuaki Hamano was one of them that fixed it for the first time and someone else helped this week. And especially Windows users, if you have any troubles with WordPress scripts, you can contact me directly on Twitter, on WordPress or GitHub, and I’m happy to solve all those issues between those. Because those platforms I develop on Mac OS, those platforms differ too much and it’s sometimes tricky to cover everything.


Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right. Well, thank you for fixing the Windows bugs there. As I said before, there were quite a few new documentation things that are in this release, and one is the block support chapter was added to the block creation tool, and also for the dynamic blocks chapter for the great block tutorial. So that is kind of in the line of the changes that were done on that script scaffolding tool to create blocks. You can read up about it. And then Adam Selinsky has as a new data tutorial in the block editor handbook. It’s started, it’s not yet finished, but he started it, and it kind of how to use the block editor components and the data scripts or data handling functions in a WordPress admin screen. And he has a great tutorial and walks us through all the code for it, also with quite some theory attached to it. So it also helps you learning more about the concept of the block editor.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, it’s really interesting because before we had an excellent tutorial on how to build your own version of the block editor that was contributed by Dave Smith. And this one allows you to bring more interactivity by handling data, which is like doing REST API calls and stuff like that, and created your own stores to keep some in memory data, which is like, if you are into creating a separate screen in the WordPress admin, that’s something you should check yourself and see how that things can be done. It’s very complex, I must admit. But we know stories where people started with a simple block and now they’re creating new editors.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And so it’s called create your first app with Gutenberg data, if you want to search for it. Of course, we have a link in the show notes for this one, because it’s a whole new tutorial about that.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. And I think related to that, there is also on GitHub, under WordPress, there is Gutenberg-examples repository, and it should also have the same tutorial ready, code that is ready. Like you can just install that as a plugin and play with that.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I think that it’s also the first step of movement that I really would be looking forward, that to standardize UIs in WordPress from WordPress plugins and third party plugins, also on the admin. So users will recognize all the components and don’t have to relearn an interface with every plugin that they put in. And then there are, because it’s a moving target, there were also updates to the theme support documentation, for those who were still a little and it will be, so the docs clarify how to override the default presets in the changes introduced in WordPress 5.9. So there were in a dev note, but now this is also in the documentation.

Code Quality

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. And let’s move to the code quality section. And there are two important things that I wanted to highlight. First, if you are using WordPress 5.7, then the Gutenberg plugin won’t get any more updates because the minimum supportive version is now WordPress 5.8 and you should be on the latest and the greatest anyway. So if you didn’t, you should do it now. We will wait.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Upgrade to at least 5.8. Yeah. 5.8.3, it was a very stable version.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah, I expect that it won’t be an issue for anyone who tries to be up to date with the Gutenberg plugin. And the other thing is some APIs, JavaScript APIs that were introducing WordPress 5.4 and were replaced with other APIs later, were marked as duplicated. And I’m looking at the name and it’s better to check the PR that does that. There will be a dev note for sure, because it’s something that will impact WordPress 6.0. So for now, if you are using plugin, you will only see a notice when you open a browser console that this and that feature is deprecated and planted for removal in the far future.

So there’s not nothing to worry about, but if you are a plugin developer, you should check whether your plugin uses those APIs. So I can just share something like get a reference by distinct edits, sounds like something that isn’t very popular, and that’s the idea behind that. If you know that those APIs aren’t used by plugins, that we want to remove them in the future so the bundles are smaller, so users don’t have to download so big amount of code in the browser.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, thank you. That’s a good shout out. And I already went to my notes that I already have on WordPress 6.0 to make a point that that definitely needs a dev note. And it’s already labeled as such in the GitHub repository, but I also want to check out how many plugins actually use those function calls and to make sure, so we can actually target some emails about that as well, or do some plugin.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. It’s difficult to tell because JavaScript code is often minimized when sent to the plugin directory. But with some things like the name I shared before, the long one, it’s something that needs to be preserved. So you can search for that for sure.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right. Right. Yeah. Okay, yeah. And that seems to be all we have from the 12.6 release. Shout out to the first time contributors, Jeff Matson from Pagely and Angel Studio, that’s Marco and Lucio Janata who have merged PRs for this release. Thanks for contributing and being part of the WordPress community of contributors. All right.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: And the good news is that for the future releases, we also have a list of all contributors included in the release notes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. Also thank you to Dave Smith, who has been working on that for a while and I saw the latest version and that looks good. This is also a longer process to streamline the contributors for a WordPress version. When you have hundreds of names that need to come in and need to be handled to make that a little bit more streamlined and not have so many manual jobs in getting the list ready. Which when you have humans involved, what you have is that people all missed out and that’s the worst scenario of all, then people contribute and then they’re left out of a release just because you don’t see it and you don’t know about it.

What’s in Active Development or Discussed

All right. We come to the section, what’s an active development and discussed, and I wanted to discuss on my list. I know that the Gutenberg team with quite a few people from the community are working on a style engine. That’s an overall architectural idea to streamline styling for themes and blocks and custom blocks and custom themes and all that. Do you have any more insight Grzegorz?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yes. So on that front, I think there are a few issues with the global style. So one of them that we have the same logic on PHP side and on JavaScript side. And this is the effort to unify that and provide one way for dealing with everything. There are a few challenges as well that were surfaced by the feedback chart from the community. So one of the examples with global styles was that there is now a dynamic class name included for containers. I think it’s for the group one. I don’t remember exactly, but the challenge here is that team authors often use class names generated for blocks when they have a certain aspect enabled. Like if you have a custom font size used with the block, this class that is generated for that use case allows people to provide some sort of customization through the CSS code.

And when you have dynamic classes, it makes it harder. But the other way around, the in-line studs used with blocks that allows you to customize like font size or use a custom color, that makes it harder to override that if a team has some strong opinions. I’m not a designer, so not the best to explain, but people want to have better control over these things. And the current implementation has some drawbacks in that regard. Of course, like global styles, source tone of other issues for people, and in first in the first place allows so fine grained customizations that it’s great, but we need to find a good middle ground so all parties involved are happy about the solution that’s going to be improved. So I’m really looking forward for how this project evolves. And we definitely expect to hear more from the community and let’s see how that evolves.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And I noticed from the feedback also that there are three things that are still not optimally working with the block themes. And one of them is that there is no style or a customization. You could always do it in CSS, of course, but for hover, focus and active styling. So if you hover over a button that’s the color change and all that, or if you have a menu item, can we show which menu item is the active page? That’s one thing. And there is a big push also for 6.0 to make blocks much, much more responsive. But if you don’t have an overall style engine, it’s going to be hard. So I think that needs to be in place.

And then the theme also, the theme developers also surfaced one issue, was that you couldn’t have a full width, you needed to handle differently a block that had a line with full width from the blocks that needed orders around it are pushed in from the sides. So it’s kind of, if you have that, you couldn’t have a wide one and if you have a wide one, you couldn’t, the text would kind of go directly to the left corner or right corner, depending how you read it, of the browser window. So there are certain things that are still not working and there are the teams and community, they are trying to figure out what’s the best approach for that. And we will share in the show notes the original discussion post by Riad Benguella then also Andrew put a tracking issue together on what needs to happen to have this every little edge case as well, and as a tracking issue. And then the last one that I have is the first PR that Andrew put in. So you can also test things out. 

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Yeah. It should already be in the development branch. So expect that to see in the next Gutenberg plugin 12.7.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. And then you also had pointed out a GitHub discussion to me to continue the discussion that we started on Gutenberg clients, but it actually started much earlier about the duplication of code if you wanted to do a JavaScript edit, and then have a PHP rendering, or also create blocks that can be accessed through PHP or JavaScript, but you don’t have to duplicate them for either environment. So what’s the discussion here?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: So yeah, that discussion started on Twitter, by Mark Jaquith, and if you are interested in how the block could be developed in the future, you definitely should check the Q and A that Birgit had on Gutenberg Times, which covers that in depth. However, this proposal is this discussion is started by Mihou Chapniski, and he also adds another bit to that, which is, it’s a very techy name, block hydration, but the idea is that it’s not only the part that you render on the front end, but also how does a block become interactive. So for instance, if you let’s say, if you have a post list and you have pagination, so how you could make those block behave, that you click page two, and instead of refreshing the whole page, you could just replace the part inside and just bring another page, it’s sort of like in many teams, the infinite scrolling works.

Like you have this load more, like when you scroll it loads more posts and more. Like this kind of behavior just to have back into the blocks. And that’s just really insightful, so Mihou he collected all the discussions, all the links, all the prototype that has been done before, also he included his own ideas and his own prototype, which is JavaScript based. The first one from Mark Jaquith was PHP based. So it’s really interesting to see how different community members approach the same problem and how they are trying to improve the experience. And it’s something that definitely the Gutenberg core team is actively looking into and we are collecting feedback. So if you have some thoughts on this topic, now this place is the best way to share your feedback, we will call like that. And maybe in a few months we will have something that could be tested in the plugin. Maybe it requires more time, but it’s very interesting that we continue the discussion.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent. Yeah. And I didn’t get a chance yet to read it, but it’s very well structured and the post by Michael and also has many, many links in there to previous discussions. So it’s a really well rounded post on the GitHub Gutenberg repository in under discussion. And of course we even also that, we will show in the show notes. 

So, wow. That brings us to the end of our Gutenberg Changelog episode 61. How is everyone, how are you doing Mary?

Mary Job: I’m doing very good. I’m doing very good. I think this is going to be an interesting journey for me because, so let me tell you small story about the first time I came across a Changelog. You know when there’s a new release where you plug in the team, there’s usually a Changelog. The first time I was looking at it and I was like, okay, so what am I looking at? It took me a while to figure, oh, this is an enhancement feature, new features. So this feels like this is, I’m feeling I’m experiencing that same feeling all over again. I mean, now when I see it change I know exactly what I’m reading and I know what it all contains, so this is exciting.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes.

Mary Job: I’m looking forward to this job.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Me, too. Me, too. Yeah. So Grzegorz, you said that you have your time and you changed teams and on Automattic. So what are you concentrating on now that keeps you away from us?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Oh, so actually I was on the rotation with the front TT team, which is like the team that was created after acquisition of the front TT company, which was focused on the frontend experience and they build their own framework. And now they’re trying to bring some aspect of that directly to WordPress core, which is super exciting. And now I’m back with my old team, the one that was involved in Gutenberg 5.0, which created so much distraction in the community. And yeah, so these days we focus on bringing features for WordPress 6.0 from the roadmap that Matias shared in the previous episode, and as usual helping with dev tools and improving the developer experience of everyone in the project. It’s like I wear different hats, it depends on the day.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, we’re so happy that you were on the podcast for so long and enriched our technical understanding for things so well, and I’m looking forward to have the next episode, episode 62 with Mary Job. And this comes to an end now. Grzegorz, how can people reach you when you’re not on Gutenberg times anymore?

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Oh, so I can be reached always on WordPress, Slack and on GitHub and on Twitter under G-Z-I-O-L-O handle that’s the best way.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent. And Mary, when you are not on the Changelog, how can people reach you?

Mary Job: On Twitter too, Maryojob.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Okay. Maryojob. All right. So as always, no, I have one thing before we end this, we have the new Gutenberg developer hours. And first one was on February 8th and was a great success, I think almost 90% thought it was excellent. The questions that we had, though there were two things that were not so good. One is we didn’t have a recording, that was by designed, but people changed my mind and we will have all the other ones will be recorded. And the second one was my Zoom account didn’t have live captions enabled, so it was a little hard for people harder hearing to follow along. So those two things are rectified and we have the next event is on February 22nd. That’s coming Tuesday. If you listen to that over the weekend, you can register, for those who listen to this later, we have another event on March 8th and on March 22nd.

And there will be announced on the WordPress social learning, Meetup space and of course, link in the show notes. And if you join that, you will actually be notified not only about the developer hours specifically, but also about the other social learning events, like the Hello Block ones or about zero to hero events on building a theme or any of the others discussions. So the social learning space is really very, very active in having additional events there. 

All right, as always, the show notes will be published on This is episode 61. And if you have questions or suggestions or news you want us to include, send them to That’s an email address, yes. And thank you so much, Greg, for all the time that we had together here. Thank you Mary, for being here today and for the next adventure together on the Gutenberg Changelog. And thank you all for listening and I wish you all goodbye.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Thank you, Birgit, and thank you all listeners for all the exciting episodes we survived together. It was a great pleasure.

Mary Job: Thank you, Birgit. I look forward to spending more time in this podcast.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Okay. Excellent. So let’s get out of here. Bye-bye.

Grzegorz Ziolkowski: Bye.

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