Gutenberg Changelog #7 – WordPress 5.3 Release, Unboxing Gutenberg 6.6 and Twenty-Twenty Theme

Gutenberg Changelog
Gutenberg Changelog
Gutenberg Changelog #7 - WordPress 5.3 Release, Unboxing Gutenberg 6.6 and Twenty-Twenty Theme

Birgit Pauli-Haack and Mark Uraine talk about the upcoming WordPress 5.3 Release, Community Contributions, Gutenberg 6.6 release and the Twenty-Twenty Theme update.

  • Music: Homer Gaines
  • Logo: Mark Uraine
  • Editor: Sandy Reed
  • Producer: Pauli Systems, LC.

Show Notes | Transcript

Show Notes

Community Contributions

Gutenberg 6.6





Twenty-Twenty Theme

Anders Noren published an update on the development progress

PRs by Felix Arntz and Enrique Piqueras: On wp_Template post type as well as  creating dynamic page templates.

In preparation for WordPress 5.3 release: 


Birgit Pauli-Haack:    Hello, and welcome to our seventh episode of the Gutenberg Changelog. I am Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator of the Gutenberg Times and Gutenberg Crusader, as Pantheon called me. I’m here with my co-host Mark Uraine, designer at Automattic and Core contributor to WordPress. How are you doing today, Mark? You must be quite busy with the 5.3 release, as a design lead for the editor.

Mark Uraine:    Yes. Good day to everybody out there. Hi, Birgit. I am definitely very excited about this right now. Things are just coming to fruition. It’s like we’re down to the wire. We need to get everything in, and everybody’s stress levels have increased dramatically, which is wonderful. We are all equally stressed and equally excited. So those, far as the Gutenberg team goes, we’re just making sure we get any last loose ends dialed in and into Core, ready for the release candidate coming up.

Birgit Pauli-Haack:    Yeah. Awesome. I’m really excited about this release as well. It’s so glad to see all the good things that are in Gutenberg plugin now, finally come to Core, and a lot of people are really waiting for it. So listeners, happy October and I just wanted to announce that we, at the Gutenberg Times, working on a new series of live Q & A’s for November and December. So that will be afterward can view us, and if you have suggestions for topic, I’ll be happy to connect with you. Send an email to changelog@, with your ideas.

Birgit Pauli-Haack:    Right, and Mark you start with the listener questions.

WordPress 5.3 and Plugins

Mark Uraine:    Yes, we have a listener question, Birgit. A listener asks, “Do I have to de-install the plugin after I update to 5.3?”

Birgit Pauli-Haack:   Well, that’s a very good question. I know you don’t need to de-install the plugin after you update to 5.3, but realistically by the time WordPress 5.3 is released, the Gutenberg plugin will be merged with the 6.5 version. By the time it comes into Core, Gutenberg plugin will have moved on to 6.9, or something like that.

Given that you probably updated your plugin installer in between, I would say yeah, you don’t need to install it or even pay attention to it, because 5.3 will not be installed or will not deactivate the plugins. It’s all working well together since the WordPress 5.0 included the block editor. We mentioned that before as well, is that the plugin is more like pushing everything forward and then when everything is right, it comes into Core when Core decides to make another release then the editor will be….

Mark Uraine:    Yeah, I definitely encourage people to keep the plugin installed and activated and you get access to all the new features that are continually being improved upon every couple of weeks in the plugin. Even with 5.3, keep it on. You’ll get access to all the cool stuff.

Community Contributions

Birgit Pauli-Haack:    Matt Madeiras, host of the Math Report and the Plugin Tutorial podcast, created a video called the Six Tips when using WordPress Gutenberg Editor, or also the panel said, “Don’t hate Gutenberg.” He was an early skeptic and a vocal critic of the rollout process for the block editor, but Matt seems to, now, enjoy using Gutenberg, and had a lot of good things to say in his video. With his permission, we published the video and the transcript on the Gutenberg Times this week. Yeah, check it out. It’s… especially if you are a skeptic. See how Matt went over this hurdle.

Mark Uraine:    Excellent. Excellent. We also mentioned back in August, when it came out, and we put it in the show notes again, was a post from Melissa Kudah, at WP Engine, published a big list of features that were added to Gutenberg since it was first released with WordPress 5.0. That link is also in the show notes for this episode again. But wanted to bring that up so people can refresh themselves with all the great things that are going to be included coming up here in 5.3 very soon.

Birgit Pauli-Haack:    Earlier this week on Twitter, Ben Thompson from started a thread to crowd source from his followers what helps and hinders Gutenberg adoption, and I found it quite interesting. It was refreshing to read how early Gutenberg “Haters,” have come around to loving Gutenberg. In fact, that inspired me that I reach out to some of the content creators in that thread and see if they would come on the Gutenberg live Q & A in November, so we can create some additional resources for the time when WordPress 5.3 comes out. I think a lot of other people blog us would like to hear from the journey that those content creators made from really being opposed to actually never go into classic editor again.

Mark Uraine:   I think that’s a great idea to have them on for a Q & A. Ask them some questions, about what was that point at which they switched over to Gutenberg? What did they benefit most from doing that? I can’t wait to listen to that Q & A. Let’s see what stuff we have on our list.

Gutenberg 6.6 Release

Mark Uraine:   Gutenberg 6.6 was released this week, just on Wednesday. It’s a slightly smaller release, with about 52 line items in the change log. It’s primarily due to the release of WordPress 5.3 coming up. There’s been a shift in focus from including new things to making sure we’re all dialed in for the release, but a lot of bug fixes, and various items that’ll be back toward it in 5.3, as well.

Some of the cool things, there’s about five enhancements. We’ll talk about a few here that’s in 6.6 this time around, is that the media text block has a feature to stack on mobile. This toggle is now on by default, which I think people really appreciate. The help panel that has been appended to the block inserter. This kind of gives you a little preview of blocks, which is now included with 6.6. While it’s a big addition to the inserter itself, there’s been a decision to remove it when you’re using that inserter in the page. That way it’s not taking up too much of your view, and it simplifies things when you’re in the flow.

Another enhancement is that we’ve updated all the button styles in Gutenberg. I don’t know if you’ve seen all the WP admin changes, UI changes that are coming with 5.3. There’s some really interesting new button styles, new form board, field borders, a lot more contrast to help accessibility.

To follow that lead, Gutenberg took on some of those styles for our buttons inside of Gutenberg, and inside of the editor now to keep that consistent pattern. There is some new AI. One addition to the API. There were some couple experiments that are widget related, that are going into this release. What else? What else did we include here, Birgit?

Birgit Pauli-Haack:    Oh there were, as you mentioned before, quite a few bug fixes that are, some of them will be reported back to the Core release that’s coming up. They are for the post published panel. Some of them are for the gallery block. The rich text component got some additional bug fixes and tighten up. As well as the autosave process, the cover block, and quite a few more.

Of course, we will link to the Changelog post by Riyadh in the show notes, so you can read up about them yourself. You mentioned the WP admin changes in 5.3 that are coming up. I think it would be good for everybody to look at that in more detail, because there will be some changes in the admin. Maybe, yourself, you find the changes, or your clients will find the changes. So you know a little bit more about it. We will link that, too. It comes out of the accessibility team. So we will have that link in the show notes.

There are also some performance enhancements, and one of them was so that the image block is requesting the metadata from the image. To increase performance, now that process, that request for that metadata only will happen when the block is actually selected for, when it’s actually used. When you have multiple images in your post, that definitely speeds up the rendering of your posts in the editor.

What else do, there are some technical things, Mark?

Mark Uraine:   Yes, there’s some, there are like 12 various updates that have been done. A lot of end-to-end tests have been added, or even updated. We’ve marked the social links block as experimental. This will basically keep it from merging as a Core block in 5.3, but it will remain in the plugin. We’ve added a has background class to like to the pull quote blocks, the media text blocks, for consistency and tidied up the button vertical aligned styles. There are a few various things going on and …

Twenty-Twenty Theme

Birgit Pauli-Haack:    Well, that’s, like a lot of them. Yeah, they all need it. Was really good. The team also worked quite a bit on documentation this time. Especially for the scripts and styles dependency management for the developer as well as for the documentation. An update to the docs about the example property or entity for the insert of preview. If a plugin developer creates a block, she can now look up the documentation, how to get the example display into the helper panel for the inserter. That’s really helpful for the 5.3 rollout.

Then there are some mobile changes, a couple of mobile changes. The big release, or active development, that is, right now is the Twenty-Twenty Theme. Anders Noren published an update on the development progress. There have been a lot of contributors who filed about 300 issues on GitHub, and almost as many pull requests, meaning code contributions. It’s coming along very nicely. Anders also added a call for testing to, off the theme, to his posts and all the necessary links will be in the show notes.

Mark Uraine:   Yeah, I’ll add that. There may be like 300 issues, but seeing nearly that many pull requests is really a positive. That means a lot of those issues are probably getting worked on, and it’s coming along really quickly.

Birgit Pauli-Haack:   Yeah, and when you want to test it, download the beta of the 5.3, beta 2 Was beta 3 came out? Was beta 2 came out?

Mark Uraine:    Beta 2.

Birgit Pauli-Haack:    Yeah. It’s already in there, so you can test it and see how you like it. I like it very much.

Mark Uraine:    It’s great work. There’s some background color that Anders uses, and it’s fun to see it appear in the editor itself. As you manipulate the blocks and move them around, and you see the background kind of show through the content. It kind of makes it real at that point. Like wow, this is real. It’s coming together so nicely.

Birgit Pauli-Haack:   Yeah, I can really see what I get when it’s the done, yeah. One of the things that are really very consistent and putting all the fun and style also into the editor, which is really important to make the best user experience out of the block editor.

There’s also some work done on the block content area. Block content area are the place where block editor busts out of the post and page metaphor or template and works through the other areas of the site. Matias Ventura posted a vision about how that’s going to show. It seems that Felix Arntz and Enrique Piqueras, they have put in two PR’s. One for the WP template as a post type, and the other one was how to create dynamic page templates, to lay the groundwork of a full site editing experience. It’s in the early stages, very early, but if you are interested in and want to give input, it’s definitely a good time to do that.

Mark Uraine:   For sure. I’ll add that while the technical side of things are being worked on in PR’s right now, pretty soon we should have a post going up on Github. I’m sharing some UX and design explorations about how this might look as a full site editing experience. With that, I hope that kind of opens up discussion around with other people about how the UX should really work. People can share their ideas, bring some mockups and post them on this issue, so we could get a good idea for what people are looking for with this experience.

Birgit Pauli-Haack:    I’m really looking forward to see the design part of it. I’m not that technical that I can kind of build a vision from just from code, but having someone design mockups, at that really helps that, accompanies them. So, I’m looking forward to that.

Prep for 5.3

Mark Uraine:   So, in preparation for WordPress, 5.3. Let’s see, we’ve got some things to talk about here. I know in Github for Gutenberg, we have a project board, it’s project board number 34 in the URL, but basically it’s all the things that we still need to get into 5.3. They’re must haves for WordPress by 5.3. Now, a lot of these items will be back ported and we’re narrowing down on it right now. There’s not a whole lot left and there we just need some help testing these things out, validating them so we can merge them in and get them done.

Let’s see, the block editor theme-related updates for 5.3. Riyadh and had posted this on the make core website. He talks about the group block updates, the reduced block styles specificity. There’s a using class names for text alignment, columns, block class names, color support for the separator block, table block markup and gallery block markup updates.

There is a lot there, so, theme developers, please make sure you check out that post. See what is coming out post with Gutenberg and WordPress 5.3, so we can update all those themes that you all are doing so wonderfully. There was another post by Riyadh, as well, concerning the new block APIs in WordPress 5.3. He talks about some service side blocks, style variations API and block example API, to show your previews of the blocks that you create. This is great for block plugin developers. Please make sure everybody’s up to date on all these coming changes into WordPress.

Birgit Pauli-Haack:    Yeah, it’s really coming together. We talked about some communities. People kind of talking about Gutenberg. We had the 6.6 Gutenberg release and now getting ready for the WordPress 5.3 release. Full theme and plugin developers, both of them. We had one, personally, this was theme developers, and the other one is pretty much funding developers, I would think. Yeah.

Mark Uraine:   And so just so everybody knows, that we’re recording this on Friday, but this Monday is beta 3 that will be coming out. That’ll have a lot of these things included in it and it’ll be dialed in. A lot of bugs worked out, so please test that beta 3 so we can keep moving towards a fully functional and ready-to-go release candidate. I believe that’s going to be on October 15th. Yes.

Birgit Pauli-Haack:    October 15th is released candidate one, then I think every other week or every week, another release candidate, if necessary, up to November 12th, which is the official release date of WordPress 5.3.

So I think we are at the end of our show today. This is the episode seven, if you want to look it up, and the show notes on the Gutenberg times. It’s on If you have any questions or suggestions, please send them to That’s

Oh, I forgot earlier, Mark has published his design updates on the make core design, number 35, with additional information if you want to look up that as well. Thank you all for listening. Wishing you a good week and goodbye from me.

Mark Uraine:   Thank you, everybody. Good bye, take care and we’ll see you next time.

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