Ellen Bauer and Birgit Pauli-Haack discuss WordPress 6.4 and Gutenberg 16.4 and 16.5 and proposed wp-admin changes.
Ellen Bauer, co-founder Elma Studio
WordPress 6.4 and more
- Roadmap 6.4
- WordPress 6.4 Development Cycle
- Introducing Twenty Twenty-Four
- What’s new for Navigation in WordPress 6.2 and 6.3
- What’s new in Gutenberg 16.4? (9 August)
- WPTavern: Gutenberg 16.4 Introduces Experimental Auto-Inserting Blocks
- What’s new in Gutenberg 16.5? (23 August)
- WPTavern: Gutenberg 16.5 Adds New Commands to the Command Palette
Phase 3: Collaboration & Workflow
Stay in Touch
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello and welcome to our 88th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog podcast. In today’s episode, we will talk about the releases of WordPress 6.3 and 6.4, Gutenberg 16.3 and 16.4, and I’m your host, Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator at the Gutenberg Times and full-time core contributor for the WordPress Open Source project on the Automattic Five for the Future Program. And it’s a great pleasure for me to have with me today, Ellen Bauer. She’s a theme developer and 6.4 co-design lead on the release board. She’s also a co-founder of Elma Studio, a theme development shop and AinoBlocks is one of their products. Ellen has been a very early adopter of blocks and block themes and provided a ton of feedback to the core team. Thank you for joining me today, Ellen. Good evening to New Zealand. How are you?
Ellen Bauer: Thank you very much, Birgit. I’m very good. Yeah, I’m just excited to be here. And actually, coming on here has helped me a lot to catch up with all the things that are happening and it’s so exciting to see it all coming together. Yeah, I’m just really, really excited for 6.4 and to be part of it and all the things that are coming to WordPress. It’s really, really cool.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Excellent, excellent. So how is AinoBlocks doing? Do you have a theme and separate blocks for it?
Ellen Bauer: So yeah, yeah, we do have blocks like block collection or single blocks. It was mainly we started that AinoBlocks to experiment with building blocks and bring blocks into our workflow and to make things happen that weren’t possible for a long time with just the default blocks. That’s just how it started, just to build the designs out that we wanted. And we still love to use a lot of the blocks there, especially we have an advanced grid block and things like that. We need to catch up on the spacing and things like that that came into default.
I’m planning to do that within the next one or two months to have a bigger update because what we’ve also been doing is building more block themes, coming back to our roots and back to themes because yeah, it’s now possible to build block themes and bring the two worlds together and just designing. We missed that with all just block building, we missed doing cool designs, but we didn’t want to build classic themes, too. So yeah, we were on hold for a long time. And now, we are really, really excited to get back into designing and we have a few cool new designs in the works and it’s just a lot of fun now to bring the worlds together and really create advanced and modern designs at WordPress. It’s really cool.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I’m looking forward to your new designs and what you and Manu will come up with. So for our listeners, the last Changelog was a little bit was about four weeks ago, and a lot has happened in those four weeks. We will not cover it all and we hope you can catch up on the other news outlets on those 6.3 came out and 6.3.1, the release candidate was just released this week, will come out next week. We are recording this on August 25th, 2023, and 6.3.1 is scheduled to come out on August 29th. So for those who are binge listening to this at a later date, if you haven’t upgraded yet, do that now. 6.3.1 is coming out with some bug fixes for some of the features that surface quite late in the release cycle.
Announcements – WordPress 6.3 and 6.4
Speaking of 6.3 or WordPress release, the roadmap for 6.4 was also just published this week.
It’s a tight release cycle with the first beta scheduled just four weeks from now, September 26 I think, and this makes it an ambitious list of features and updates. The release is set to be scheduled for November 7th, so there’s always the two months between beta or six weeks. No, it’s only five weeks, six weeks, five weeks between beta one and final release. So this one is quite special because the release was, is all about underrepresented gender people that lead the release in all release categories. And you are on design team, Ellen, I’m on the editor triage team with Anne McCarthy together, each of the release teams of two or three people deep. So what is the design team going to do in this release?
Ellen Bauer: So yeah, I’m just starting to get really into the work and kindly, Anne has, we have created a side channel in the Slack community for the design team and Estella did actually take the initiative on that. And kindly, Anne has posted and put together a list of tickets and things we are going to get into and some more people shared tickets and issues there. And then of course, the about page and yeah, we’re just getting started on that. It’s really exciting, I’m excited to be on the design team again and it’s really cool. Tammie Lister also is helping out and Rich put together a to-do list in the beginning, which was cool because last time, I joined for 5.6. Also for the underrepresented gender release, I was struggling at some points like what I’m supposed to do and when.
So yeah, this is way more organized now and yeah, it’s really cool to do it a second time and have a group of people who have also done it before and let’s just know more what is happening. And I’m really excited about the new default theme, too. That’s really cool that this is going to be added for 6.4 because we also had a new default theme released with 5.6 back then. I can’t believe it’s already two or three, I think last podcast, you said it’s three years ago. I was like, what? It’s crazy, but I guess it is. Yeah, so that’s really exciting and-
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So the default theme leads are Jessica Lyschik and Maggie Cabrera.
Ellen Bauer: Maggie. Yep.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And they just introduced the designs for the theme on a separate post and we will certainly share that in the show notes as well, as well with the roadmap, but that’s only one thing on the roadmap. The others are that there are two new features coming in. Well, at least one of them is the font library.
Ellen Bauer: Yes. So excited for that.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that independent from themes, you can now have fonts on your site and manage them, or that’s the goal for it. So you’re not tied to a theme with the font, how your site looks and how your text is displayed independent from the theme. And there will be the backend is already working for that. That comes in in Gutenberg 16.5, so that is one of them. And Anne McCarthy’s post, she also had some designs already added to it, some pictures of it. Another part is the revisions for the styles were new in 16.3, but there were no revisions for templates and template parts and those will come with 16.4 there on the list.
We will have new blocks where a table of contents block has been long time in experimental, but it’s slated now to be released into core. There’s still a discussion about the time to read block because there is some, well, if you say okay, you have 30 minutes to read, that’s a normal, it normalizes how the reading capabilities, but if you are dyslexic or in other ways have accessibility issues, it’s ableism to give you how long you can read about this, that you’re not normal.
And that is definitely a discussion to have if we want to have that in core. So the discussion is ongoing. Another block would be the scrolling key block, which it comes out of the ’90s and will never leave us scrolling.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, I actually felt, I mean, we’ve seen that a lot in designs being trendy, but I was also surprised to see that as a core block in discussion. I mean, it’s cool that we don’t have to have custom solutions, but yeah, I’m most excited about the table of contents block. I remember last year, I was about to like, okay, should I have a custom block? Should I do that? And then I read, okay, it’s being done. So it’s cool to finally see that being added. Can’t wait for it.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And I was playing around with it or testing it, playing around equals testing and I always found it in the previous versions limiting because if I have a table of contents, I want to style it, I want to have some maybe different fonts, maybe different backgrounds, maybe different titles, a control over which heading goes in or out. I’m not sure that all my expectations will come in. So there is definitely room for a custom table of contents block, but I really don’t like when a table of contents that’s only 10 or 15 items long that has all the numbers and the indenting numbers in addition, that’s not additional information, any distracts, is this a priority or not. So I wasn’t really able to make it a bullet list, but I think that those things will be fixed definitely.
Then there’s also the image lightbox or each image block will have a feature that you can, with light box, zoom in on it or have a larger version on it on your screen. If you click on the image, that has been experimental in the Gutenberg for a while. I’m very excited about the order insert blocks because that is a piece that has been missing for since the beginning. I think that you can add something to a block that is not in the interface, like what would it be?
So the example is a like button to add it to a comment, or another heading link or maybe just a citation or anything that you can put in dynamically that the user doesn’t have to control it. So I was thinking sometimes for the click to tweet, can we do this on a block? And it doesn’t have to be in a separate block, you can just put it in a paragraph or in a heading, or have an additional anchor on a heading without having to do a table of contents to get them automatically built. All these, they’re all different. I’m sure there are a lot of use cases for that, too, but I’m really excited that that is coming to the editor.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, I think so too. It’s, like you said, been missing for forever, just like you said, a like button or tweet button that yeah, it just makes it more attractive and easy to use blocks if you have these things auto inserted. Yeah, you don’t want to tweak around with these little items. I think that’s pretty cool. And I was surprised about the next one, the post formats. That’s pretty cool to come back to these ones. We have an old theme that’s like a post format Tumblr-style theme and it’s been ongoing popular with post formats, so it’s cool. We can maybe do a block version redesign for that theme, that would be amazing.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and post formats weren’t really tended to in the block editor at all.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, not at all.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: So bringing that in, it’s definitely there has been some feedback that this is missing and some theme developers actually didn’t switch because it wasn’t available. So that is a good thing for adaptability, but it’s also with all the insecurities around the social networks and the fragmentation of it that many content creators are thinking about maybe building their own and just giving them post formats. And one of them is actually the non-title post that you just like a tweet, you get just 280 characters and put it in a post and you don’t need a title for it, and you have it on your website and then you can share it via an ActivityPub process with any of the social networks that you wanted to do. And you don’t have to go out and go directly to the social networks.
Ellen Bauer: I always love that so much and I’m already excited to actually build a theme for these kind of purposes. And yeah, like you said, with Twitter not being there anymore, it’s sad. I feel for the first time actually really excited to start blogging again, and I think it will do that, just like a private blog because I don’t feel there’s the right home anymore on any social platform. And yeah, I really miss something and I’m really excited to use WordPress as not only for business websites and things like that, but actually for blogging again, which is funny and cool to come back to that.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: I haven’t felt the urge to just blog for such a long time and now, I want to blog again. So yeah, that’s really exciting to see that. And I’m already seeing some new block themes come out of that project as well, which is pretty cool and creative.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And it’s certainly for writers and blogging, but it’s also for if you cherish Instagram just to share one photo and be done with it from your mobile phone and now you could do this with your own website, I think it would be just as well, but people who are interested in would follow your blog and your pictures on the blog. And if it has a nice theme that highlights that similar to Instagram or something like that, then and people can follow with a Jetpack or wordpress.com account, they can follow any blog they want. And I know that the ActivityPub plugin is now sponsored by Automattic and so we can create WordPress so it can actually push things into those social networks and even people following on the social networks, but you don’t have to create on those social networks, you are in control of your own posts and pages and pictures. And so I’m really, I think this is the most important thing for the web, for the independent web in the future.
Ellen Bauer: I think so, too. I think so, too.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: So I’m really, really great.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah. Seeing what can happen to these network, it just doesn’t feel right to just post your… Yeah, I feel exactly the same. I was like yeah, even Instagram, it doesn’t really feel good to post your content there. I was like, “I want to do it on my own website and still share there”, but yeah, I think yeah, we really make these experiences now and it’s cool. Yeah, it’s really exciting.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right, yeah. And then also 6.4, the writing experience will have a focus on that. So the content creation flow on the writing part, like the distraction-free writing, list items, quotes and navigation items, getting additional capture toolbars and all this nice things. Then interfaces and tools like list view, top toolbars, command palette, they’re all getting additional enhancements or expansions. Site editing will get definitely additional UX polish and quality of life and also additional features.
Ellen Bauer: I love the list view.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh yeah.
Ellen Bauer: It’s my favorite thing. So having the group locks, custom naming is like yeah, I mean, we have been asking for that for quite a while and it’s coming up. And now having that, it will be so cool.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah, and then this…
Ellen Bauer: I mean for designing, the list view is just… We need to be in control.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right, right, right. And if it’s just a group, group, group group, you don’t know where you are.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, it’s awful and it will be cool. And for page patterns, having them like the sections ready with naming and stuff to get out to your customers and theme users, that will be just improving the whole experience because at the moment, it doesn’t look great, but I still love to use the list view.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. And yeah, there will be an expansion on the box shadow component, which is in the Gutenberg plugin. It’s also I think for one or two blocks available, but now it will be available for more blocks, of course. And then custom CSS enhancements are coming, more support for elements for individual blocks, and all these little but important things will get a refinement and enhancements. The same for the global styles, the style book especially, which is such a great help in previewing themes in designing, seeing how the style variations change your sites and all that.
Ellen Bauer: I love that, too.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that’s actually one of the big features in 6.2 and 6.3. 6.2 only was a little bit hidden in the global styles, but it brought forefront in 6.3 for the site editor in the site editor so you can directly access it. And another focus for 6.4 is the pattern, realm of patterns like the ability to set categories to update the inserter experience to improve the compatibility with non-block themes, which is still an issue. And another idea might not work with 6.4, but there’s definitely a stretch goal there to have partially synced patterns. Right now, we have either sync patterns or unsynced patterns, but sometimes you want to have update the style of a pattern and that replicate through previous posts or pages, but not the content. So you couldn’t do that right now, but there’s an effort to do that. Depending on how the testing goes and how easy it is to work with, it might make it into 6.4, it might not make it, but that is still… So there’s quite more navigation creation and management. Now that there’s the base is done, there’s some additional…
Ellen Bauer: It’s like never ending. It’s so cool.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: No ending, no.
Ellen Bauer: I saw the poster, I was like, “What is happening? This is so cool.”
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: I mean, it’s a lot of work. We will see how much we can get into with not a lot of time, but it’s exciting. I mean, at one point, these things will get added to the core, so very exciting to see that.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So when you go, dear listeners, to look at that roadmap post that will be linked in the show notes, you’ll also see links to the current GitHub issue or PR that is in the works about the certain items and you can then gauge how far it is along, how long it is, and also chime in and help with the testing. That would be really good. Another way of it is we will have a separate, there is a separate project board for 6.4 with quite a few items on it. More will be added to it of course, from this and from some of the tracking issues, and there you can follow along on the progress of in the next five weeks until we get to Beta 1. So all new enhancements, new things need to be in the release that are supposed to be in the release by Beta 1.
Then it’s new feature freeze. And then after that, there’s only bug fixing in the beta cycle to release candidate one. There’s even possible to do some bug fixing afterwards, but then there’s also release candidate one string-free. So if there’s anything, user interfaces or something like that won’t get into the release after that because the translators are working on the translation of the new release. And so yes, it’s a long list for such a short turnaround time, but well, we don’t know where the boundaries are until we get to them. So we will report of course on the progress on things. We mentioned already the introducing of 2024, we will share the link in the show notes as well. What do you think?
Ellen Bauer: So I read the post that was posted yesterday by Jessica and maybe I think what we didn’t mention yet is so Maggie and Jessica are leading the theme development, but Beatriz actually did the design work for it. And yeah, I checked out the Figma file today this morning and I think it’s really, really amazing. I’m really excited. It seems like a lot of work, but I think a lot of people are already helping out with creating patterns and stuff. I hope maybe I have the chance to do one or two patterns as well if I find the time, or style variations I think is a topic that people can help out with creating and contributing like we did with the last default theme. But yeah, I think it’s beautiful, it’s very sophisticated, and I like that they’re working on different user cases. So I think there’s a blogger writer category and business, small business portfolio type or small business and yeah, and portfolio.
I think the three are the main topics they want to cover with that theme and yeah, it looks beautiful. It makes me really excited and I think it fits to WordPress and the new WordPress we see. It’s really, really beautiful, I love it. And I think yeah, it’s really exciting to see all the patterns and page templates and all the things you can do because the last team had style variations, but not a lot of a layout building included so that’s going to be exciting. And that, combined with the free font library and the options there, really, really cool to see that.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I think we’re getting to a place where when you install WordPress for the first time and you use the default theme out of the box there that you have a headstart on getting your website finished just with the tools that come from the default theme. So there are two things that are not possible now, but that they’re working on for the 2024 that is that you can have templates, more than one template for a homepage. Right now, you can only have one. Well, the front page and yeah. And then if you create another one, it overrides that and it doesn’t give you a choice.
So that’s one thing, that would cover all the three use cases that you mentioned. And the other part is to actually also provide designs for the various post formats. And when you look into the post, there is one section there that shows you, or in the Figma file, there’s one section there that shows you just a mason gallery how the posts are, the different post formats are displayed. And I think that’s what you mentioned with your older theme, Ellen, that it’s still very attractive for people and I’m glad that we might have that out of the box.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, it’s really, really exciting. Yeah, and you can do so much with this theme. And I think, yeah, we never had that before, that default theme was really that flexible and people can really… Very usable, it looks very usable for the first time. I’m really, really excited. And the design is I think really fits to what WordPress has to offer. I think it’s a really great work, very exciting.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And I’m looking forward to also seeing the page patterns. So when you create a new page that you can have a series of right now, you have to assemble the page yourself with various different patterns that might fit together or not. And with the page patterns, you have a single page fully created and you just need to change your content, the pictures and the content, but that it already gives you a blueprint for single pages, be it a service page or be it an about page or even the homepage. So I think that gives any user a head start with a new site or with an existing site that decides to have that theme.
Ellen Bauer: So true. And yeah, I remember really advocating for… We need page templates, page patterns, whatever we call it, but ready-to-go pages pre-designed for users to choose and have multiple options. We can imagine three or five about pages and they can choose because yeah, putting the patterns together is for, like a lot of users, still like a daunting idea and it’s overwhelming and why not provide it? We have patterns, we can do that. And yeah, we’ve also been doing that with our themes quite a lot and I think it’s really, really attractive to have that come together.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. I have to say that, yeah, you have the feedback loop directly with your customers, so I’m glad that WordPress is on the right track there.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, I think so because patterns just in general, it’s still, I mean, people getting more used to it but it’s really hard to understand for a lot of people, like what is that? It’s just a section? I want a page, and providing ready-to-go pages is just so much easier. It’s really, really cool to see that and have more themes, have that available. Maybe even, I remember saying that last year, even already discussing that, that we have next to a pattern library, like pattern directory, have a page pattern or maybe even there’s a new word that needs to be created for these patterns. Maybe not, maybe they can live in the pattern preview but they could be too long maybe for preview, I don’t know. But you have a library for that to theme independent available. I think that’s really, would be really attractive.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and that’s I think where the pattern category work comes in where you can categorize those patterns and also the browsing the previews. So if you have a bigger screen, you get a two-column preview of patterns that are under a certain category so you get a thumbnail view, how they’re big, and that works nicely, but those underpinnings had to first be built. Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: Yep. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It really comes together and I love what I see, yeah. It’s so funny that things, like I said last year, it felt like so much struggle to get people excited about block themes and site editing and now it’s coming together. I think with a little bit more practice, users will really just love it and forget about what we had before. It’s really cool.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Well, it also comes in handy that the navigation block editor has gotten a lot of improvements in 6.2 and 6.3.
Ellen Bauer: So true.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And Dave Smith, a core Gutenberg contributor, posted an update on it so you can read up about it, how it’s going to work, but because to be honest, I personally struggled after the first year trying to make navigation work beyond a simple navigation with pages to add a site logo to it or to add a search bar to it or something like that. It was definitely a struggle and it was not thought through, and I wanted to have multiple menus and now, that all came together in 6.3 with the site editor where you have multiple places where you can tap into the navigation and make adjustments, be it providing navigation places and just switch out the menu for that, that was not possible. Before, you had to remove the navigation block and add it again and then yeah, it was yeah, the…
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, yeah, it was the biggest blocker I think for users to get into, they’re like, “It’s not working”. And yeah, like you said, very simple sites and then it ended. Yeah, very, very exciting to see that. I think now, yeah, just with that, people can really start building entire websites, block themes and stuff, it’s really tremendous work. And I can imagine it was difficult to get that right, or it’s still an ongoing process. But yeah, I’m really happy to see that, too.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and that is, we’re just, it’s all I wanted to point out from hosts, from the themes and then now, we get into what is actually happening in the Gutenberg plugin.
Gutenberg 16.3 and 16.4
So Gutenberg 16.4 was released on August 9th, so right after 6.3 was released, and certain items from the Gutenberg 6.4 release actually made it into 6.3. There were actually quite a few, I think 20 to 25 items. I have not identified them, but you will see it in the PR if you follow through the Changelog and click on one of the PRs and you want to know, it had a back port to WordPress release candidate labor that was added and then once it was back ported removed, you see that in the history of the PR. So Sarah Norris was the lead manager for the release manager for 16.4 and she wrote that it introduces exciting new features, including both a new experimental feature and a new component, and we will talk about what those are alongside many enhancement and bug fixes.
Bug fix highlights include many improvements to the recently added footnotes block and enhancements to patterns. The footnotes block, most of the bug fixes actually made it into 6.3 major release, WordPress release and some of the enhancement for patterns, too. Those were the two areas where there were last minute bug fixes that made it into the release. There were in total 184 pull requests authored by 60 contributors, including two new contributors, and the release has a list of all of them.
One of the features that she mentioned, the new component was a basic progress bar component and in the release note, she also, Sarah also has some notes to that.
And it’s a horizontal progress bar component that can be used in various places and it replaces the spinner component for the site editor loading experience. Of course, these are public components that can also be used in third party or custom blocks or custom plugins, so there was that. It also gets some design tools with it as well. And it can be tested in the Storybook, which is other, it’s a different thing than the Style Book. The Storybook is for developers and on the WordPress GitHub repo, you can see the Storybook of all the components with all the attributes and you can test around just in isolation and then grab the code and add it to your own code base.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, I’ve just looked at that the other day with the progress bar and yeah, I think it’s definitely an improvement. And I’ve actually just opened the Storybook for the first time.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, really?
Ellen Bauer: It’s pretty cool to have.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah. I’ve never seen that. But I used lots of these items for our blocks before, but I’ve never seen that. That’s great to know. It’s new to me.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I think we need to…
Ellen Bauer: Was it? Yeah, no.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: It has been there since a long time.
Ellen Bauer: I think it’s a long time, yeah. Maybe I have been there, I forgot about it. Maybe I have seen it, but pretty cool.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: If you click on the introduction, it says how the site works and the resources to learn more. And also, it has the code that you can add. It shows you different variables on things, attributes and how they look, so and so, and it also has, there is a section there for components experimental. If you go there, just be aware that it might, and progress bar is one of them, just it might change slightly of the course of development. We definitely need to promote that more that people can go through the Storybook and test some of the components and see how they work, what the documentation is about.
So the next item on the Changelog is that now the keyboard shortcut for the command palette is now visible in the side view, it’s command K or control K, but I never remember keyboard shortcuts, so I’m glad that it’s now displayed in the header section of the site editor and so you can know it, too.
Ellen Bauer: I actually love shortcuts, but I also tend to forget them. So that’s handy because there are some cool ones and you can really speed up your workflow, especially if you’re really designing in WordPress, so that’s really cool. Yeah, I love to have the shortcut. Okay.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I think you would really love to use the command palette for these quick steps things because you don’t have to click through all the menus to get there. So the command palette is a open page or add page and then you get a … or open page and then you get a list of the pages that are on the site and then you can select them without going to out of the site editor into the pages or from wherever you are and go to pages and then go down the menu items. So I really like the command palette, and that will definitely speed up content creation.
Ellen Bauer: Oh, true. Yeah, it’s really powerful.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: What also comes with enhancement on the site editor, there are quite a few, but I’m only pointing out to that one. The pattern library, it switches to a three-column layout on use screen, so that is definitely…
Ellen Bauer: I love that.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: That fills it all up. Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: Yes, I love that because we are building a lot of patterns and I was always like, can we just preview more?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah.
Ellen Bauer: One thing I noticed with the pattern, like the explore all patterns view, I feel weird and I wonder if it’s just temporary or so because the two-column layout is like a light gray background because most of the patterns are most likely with a white background, in most themes at least. And then explore all patterns is a white background and it doesn’t look great. Have you noticed that? And I wonder, is that an error or is it just…
Birgit Pauli-Haack: I think it would be something to make an issue out of on GitHub, but what you are referring to is the inserter.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s true.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And the switch to three-column layout on your screen, that’s on the site editor.
Ellen Bauer: In the site editor, okay, I get it. I get it.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: In the patterns section of the site editor where you have the menu on the left-hand side.
Ellen Bauer: Okay, okay. Yeah, of course, where on the site editor. Oh, yeah.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: In the site editor, yeah.
Ellen Bauer: But yeah, in the site editor, I have the dark background as I can see here.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah. Okay, that makes sense. I have to test that out again.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, but it’s definitely worth I think creating an issue for the inserter to maybe also recognize some of the dark light contrast there.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah. I haven’t checked if there’s an issue and it’s also not consistent, why I have this light gray and then switch to white? Yeah, I will check it out if there maybe is an issue already or what’s going on there because yeah, it doesn’t really make sense.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: And I tested a few themes just to see if it was me, if I had it, but they all had the same issue. Maybe it’s temporary.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And it might be even a good way to say that the browse all patterns goes to the site editor if it’s a block theme. With the classic theme, that wouldn’t work, but yeah. But to have that, that would go site editor. Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: That makes sense, yeah. So true. Yeah, I mean, we just want to stay in the site there because it looks so nice and polished. That is true. It would be cool. I will test that out, maybe I can create an issue.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: I’m just making a note there.
Ellen Bauer: So now, we go into the post editing.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, we are now here at the post editor. There are new commands available now to show or hide the block breadcrumbs. That’s I think on the bottom of things to get into switching off settings. So enable pre-published checklist or disable the pre-published checklist or change into, or just make a preview in the new tab. Those new commands for the power users there to switch off, on and off the settings so you don’t have to go through the menu items to go to the options bar and then change the settings for certain things. Even if you just want to toggle on and off and not have it permanently done, changed for your session.
Ellen Bauer: I love all the fine-tuning we are now at. It’s incredible to see that. Oh my god, all these little things happening that do make a difference, it’s so cool.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Speaking of, there’s the footnotes received in 16.4, add link background and text color support. So now, you can not only create the footnotes and they take on any styling from the theme, but now you can as a user also change the text color background and all that for your footnotes. That’s actually a very interesting new block, I really love it and I’m glad that it’s now in core to test it further on various use cases.
Ellen Bauer: So true.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And then also, the…
Ellen Bauer: And then you have the pre-formatted.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: Get spacing support.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. In 16.4, there were more additional enhancements to the blocks performance, you got the spacing support you said, yeah. And then in the words block, you can have now and even the line breaks so you can, instead of paragraph, you also can have line breaks there. Social links get the threads icon so you can have in your list of social profiles that you point people to also go to the new Threads environment of Facebook.
Ellen Bauer: That is good to have. I’ve yet to check out Threads. I mean, it’s good to have it. I think especially that since we don’t have Twitter anymore really, I’m excited. I want to try it. Have you tried it yet?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: No, and I’m also hesitant. It’s not rolled out to all Instagram users. So you need to have an Instagram account and what I saw…
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, that’s true.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: … on certain platforms when people tried it was if you wanted to delete it again, you actually needed to delete your Instagram account…
Ellen Bauer: Oh, wow.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: … and I wouldn’t want to go there.
Ellen Bauer: That’s not nice. Oh yeah, that’s not nice.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: So I wouldn’t going to go there.
Ellen Bauer: That’s true.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, but on the other hand, yeah, maybe I should delete my Instagram account already.
Ellen Bauer: You can delete everything. Yeah, I mean, we don’t need more social platforms to be honest, I feel. But I’m always keen to check something new out.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, we do. Me, too.
Ellen Bauer: It looks nice, it looks nice and simple and while you’re already at Instagram, but yeah, I think it’s weird that it’s connected with Instagram because I know how they… Maybe.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: I didn’t get it offered yet, so maybe because I’m not on Facebook, I’m only on Instagram, so I don’t know.
Ellen Bauer: Oh well, was it that maybe or could it be that this had something to do with European Union holding back with it? I think I have no clue. I didn’t follow it, but I think Manu mentioned something like that.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yes. Yes, you’re right.
Ellen Bauer: So I think that’s it.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s only for US Americans and not for EU people. So that’s another reason.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah. New Zealand somehow, we got lucky. We can use it, but I just didn’t have time yet.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah. I think that’s the problem, which is actually good that they… But yeah, I don’t know where that will go, but it’s good to have the icon at least.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah, so true. Yeah. I just started being on Bluesky, I just got my invite so I just set it up. So I’m wondering if there’s actually a Bluesky icon already, so we’ll see. If not, I’m going to create an issue about it.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah. Historically, I think I remember WordPress being always super late to add icons, so it’s cool that they’re faster now.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So next thing on our list is that unsync patterns didn’t come into the quick inserter. So if you started slash and started typing, you didn’t get a selection of your patterns. That is now… You can now do that. You find your patterns in there if you use the quick inserter. So that is… Also, if you search for it, you find them in the quick inserter. So I think that’s a really good enhancement. I was always wondering why I needed to go to the big blue button to get to my patterns.
Ellen Bauer: That’s another big improvement with the sync patterns, unsync.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Definitely quality of life improvement. Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: It’s so helpful for a user.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, absolutely. So we are almost at the end of what I wanted to point out as enhancements. Go and read the post release. I wanted to point out also that with this release, the plugin minimum supported PHP version is 7.0. I don’t think that anybody who uses a Gutenberg plugin is actually on 5.6, but just so if you are, now is the time and you want to be in touch with all the future releases, make sure that you upgrade your site to at least a 7.x version of PHP. That coincides with the WordPress 6.3 release that also bumps the minimum supported PHP version for WordPress to a 7.x PHP version. So 6.3 is the first version that does not support 5.6 anymore, PHP 5.5 versions, 5.x versions.
In the bug fixes, I found a few things that I wanted to point out because there were bugs that we had to deal with and we don’t, or maybe not.
So the cover block ContrastChecker, or the ContrastChecker that is in the sidebar to give a hint when your contrast between the foreground and the background color was not accessible or not high enough to be accessible, that algorithm didn’t work well with the cover block because of the combination between text, image, alpha overlay color and all that, that was way too much for the algorithm. So they disabled it for the cover block. They didn’t disable it for the InnerBlocks. So if you have InnerBlock a paragraph and you change the background color there and the text color of that doesn’t match, it still works. But for the cover block itself, it’s disabled because it had too many false positives and it was just the algorithm doesn’t go far enough. And then it’s better to not have it than having false positives in there. There’s, in the release in the PR, there’s also some discussion in there on why the team came to that decision.
Ellen Bauer: It could be that it’s maybe temporary or…
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I don’t know if there’s a focus on improving the ContrastChecker because that was an external tool, but it’s definitely just the nature of the cover block just has too many variables in there. So the image block finally got a fix on the image sides for the all wide and full width alignments. Sometimes that wouldn’t fill it all up or grab the wrong size, so this is now fixed. It has multiple variations there and it’s definitely a better feel for the image block when you add alignments there. And then the last one is that the video block got a fix for the styling. For the vertical alignment of the video, there was always a little gap on top of it. That was hard coded and they removed it. So if you fix it locally on your own theme or in your own site, you might need to look at it.
Ellen Bauer: I think I saw that. Oh, I have to check that out. I haven’t used the video block quite often, but I mean, it is handy. I have to test it. I think I saw that once that it has this gap. I remember, I think.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Any spacing is now with the space. So from the beginning, the spacer block was one of the most used blocks amongst the top five most used blocks.
Ellen Bauer: Oh my god, I never liked it.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, but it helps. So made it easy for content creators to…
Ellen Bauer: That is true.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: … just adjust things, yeah. And now with dimensions controls, with padding and margin, it still is probably easier to use than figuring out, okay, what is padding and what is margin again? Is it inside or outside or what? Yeah, but it’s not that necessary anymore, especially when you have patterns and theme templates that actually took care and all of them put together. Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: I’m not sure, but the problem was also that it was fixed, like a hundred pixels stayed a hundred pixels. Is it still like that? I don’t even know why.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: The spacer block? No, no.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, the spacer block.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: It can say four, four pixels, 15 pixels, 150 pixels. Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: No, I mean, does it responsive? The spacing, is it like fluid?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Is it fluid? I’m not quite sure. That’s a good question. I think it is.
Ellen Bauer: Because that was the main reason why I never used it.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Because it wasn’t fluid, yeah. Yeah, I think it is.
Ellen Bauer: I haven’t checked that.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: … it’s definitely a good question.
Ellen Bauer: Maybe we can… Now, we have spacing way better.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And that’s fluid. So then on the post editor, you can allow styles to be changed dynamically through the editor settings. That is a PR that refers to the theme JSON. So you can I think, or to block extenders. Yeah, that’s for the extenders to update editor settings. Now you can make them dynamically. So you can have theme styles and then react to that, have through the editor provider. That’s highly technical and there is in the PR some example code for the experiments, but it helps theme developers or plugin developers to also change some of the styling dynamically, CSS or any other means. I think I’ll put that on the list of what’s new for developers on the developer blog. Where else? I think that we are on the end of 16.4 except for one more. There is an experiment for auto inserting blocks on the front end and the editor wire REST API. And the release post has an unusual amount of information about that, which is actually almost a… but it’s really cool how you can auto insert the… We talked about it, right?
We talked about it here at the… It’s the experimental auto insert on the block JSON file where you can then say, okay, on the core common template for instance, add as last. And you have before, you can add blocks before, after the block you added to or as a first child or last child through the block on the front end. So yeah, definitely try that out, test it. And definitely, there’s a tracking issue also linked in the release post so you can see what other plans are there for this feature because it’s still, as I said, experimental.
The documentation had a ton of changes, updates, and if you are struggling with some of the things because the documentation is not going far enough or deep enough, I would think that going through the release Changelog and look at the documentation issues to see what all changed.
So there is an API reference documentation for the interactivity API, which still is, it’s probably not coming for 6.4, but it’s definitely already in the Gutenberg plugin as a private API right now so core blocks can use it. There’s an update on the Gutenberg release process documentation. So if you are a contributor and you think about, “Oh, maybe I want to lead one of those Gutenberg plugin releases”, it’s definitely worth looking into it because it made it more fluid for new people that have had an experience with GitHub and Gutenberg, but they haven’t done a release yet. There’s also a getting startup guide for the interactivity API, started the block API version three has been documented now, and the create block package received support, for example, property and template defaults. So the scaffolding tool create-block is now a little bit more comprehensive in what it offers as a tool. I think that’s it. Any comments on those last three, four things that we talked about, I talked about?
Ellen Bauer: Not too much. I need to check out the… That’s exciting that you mentioned the create-block tool because I love to use that. I haven’t used it for a while. Now, I need to come up with a new block idea.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah.
Ellen Bauer: Maybe not. I was so excited to do more design and theming again. I’m holding off with new block ideas.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, you mentioned that you… Yeah, after creating so many custom blocks.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, it’s a little bit… I loved it, but just working with customers that people, I think maybe because for us, knowing that we come from design and theme worlds, they get just way more excited about design and themes and patterns compared to blocks, the people who follow us in our work.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, definitely, because you see something…
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, yeah, visually.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s haptical, yeah. I think the barrier for entry for custom blocks is sometimes a little harder. I can see that.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, it was really good for me to get into it and having that skill and I enjoyed it, but it’s a lot of work with you really have to put a lot of effort into your block to make them work and make them competitive. And yeah, at the moment, I don’t know if we want to do that.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: We don’t do it because it’s easy, we do it because it’s hard, right?
Ellen Bauer: It is true, but it needs to make sense too. We just started building blocks because there was so much missing. And at the moment, we are fine with what we have. I mean, there are a few ideas we have maybe for blocks, but at the moment, we can build the designs we want to build with the blocks available and with our custom blocks so it works. And yeah, if we ever run into something we can’t do, then we will just create a block. Actually, if you get into it, it’s not, like for most of the blocks, for most things, it’s not so hard, it’s actually pretty easy now. It’s cool.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and the create-block scaffolding tool has been worked on quite a lot in the last year and a half or so.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah. Yeah, it’s amazing. Yeah. In the beginning, I used to not like, I didn’t even have that available. Since we have that available, it’s really easy to, actually, it’s really easy to build custom blocks.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And now, it’s a little bit more flexible as well because sometimes you, especially for agency developers who roll out just one plugin with all the blocks, you can now tell the scaffolding tool to just not create the whole plugin to just create a directory for one block and have the rest of it there. You can also distinguish between static block and dynamic block just with a command there or a flag respectively, and you can create your own templates. So if you have a process for creating blocks, you can make the tool work with your process as well with creating templates.
So Gutenberg 16.5 was released this week, actually yesterday, and the release was done by Sioban Bamber and her release post is also online. And this version is again, bug fixes and had a focus on enriching the command palette even more and customized some more of the blocks that had it featured 219 pull requests by 63 contributors, including five new.
So we are not talking through 219 line items with you, we only pick a few and that is the command. And that is getting to through the features. There was added new block related commands again to the palette, which was the add block selection, block transforms, block duplicate, copy, remove, edit commands like that. So when you highlight something, you can then have a command that transform to, and then it gives you a list of blocks that you can. So it’s quite an interesting push on those command, creating new commands for that. If you want to follow along and you have plugins that use the block editor and the site editor, there is some documentation in the dev notes for 6.3 on how to create new commands that you can then add to your plugin. So definitely something to look into. There were also fixes to make it render well in smaller view ports and support the commands without icons and make it update the preview in new tab command to reuse the right module for that.
Yeah, and so those were some of the items that enhances the command palette. It also, in 16.5, there were some components updates and one of them is, we talked in 16.4 about the progress bar that also get additional update with this release 16.5, but there’s also an update to the modal component that it adds now a header action prompt to enable buttons or other elements to be injected into the header, which is pretty cool. And then enhances the overlay into action as well. So that is of course so much more interesting for developers, but it also is developers for blocks as well as for plugin developers because they can reuse the WordPress components.
The column block received two enhancements. One is a stretch option for the blocks vertical alignment options, meaning that if a two-stretch through the full column, even if the others were longer. So if you have a three-column block, then one column can be shorter or longer than the other columns. And that was hard to correct with a spacer block, we talked about it, but that of course what a spacer block was good for. And now, you have a vertical alignment option where you say, okay, just stretch this to the full space. And then especially when you have backgrounds on them, it looks much nicer when the backgrounds are all in the same length of that.
Ellen Bauer: That’s very helpful. I haven’t actually tested that, but it sounds very helpful. I have to retest it.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Well, anybody should test it to see it actually does what you want it to do.
Ellen Bauer: That sounds really helpful.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I’ve struggled with that every time when I use a columns block that my columns are not lined up and then I fiddle 90% there and then the last 10%, I fiddle a half an hour with a spacer block to get it all matching up in that, yeah. And the second enhancement I wanted to mention is that now, if you press enter on an empty paragraph at the end, then you get exit out of the columns block. There was no way to, with a keyboard, to get out of the columns block. Now you can when you’re done writing and then you hit enter on an empty paragraph at the end of the block that you get out of it.
Ellen Bauer: That also makes a lot of sense.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah. I haven’t used the columns like that much, to be honest, myself. I have to check it out again.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, it’s much more versatile now, especially with the different backgrounds for each column, different… You can do all kind of different… The single column has now so many design tools that it’s really helpful for your designs. There was some lacking design tools. They were only available for the full, for the columns block.
Ellen Bauer: For the main.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, for the main column and now, it’s all you get…
Ellen Bauer: For the…
Birgit Pauli-Haack: … yeah, for the single column. Yeah, we always have to distinguish between the columns block and the column block. Yeah, and then other block updates like the file block got spacing options, the image block got aspect ratio support for the light box, the post content block got color controls. And this is the last one I wanted to mention is that the block titles have been changed to remove posts from it. So those are the ones like post author, post title, post content, post… Yeah. So because they’re pretty redundant, if it’s a title.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, there were a lot.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: … can be a post title and a page title and then it’s the author, but it’s the post author block on a page, why would I do that? So it makes more sense, but it also changes the alphabetical list of things. So if you wanted to look for titles, you always put title in and it gave you in the inserter the post title, but now it just says title. So some people are all very tuned in into what they see in the inserter and this makes the visual inserter a little bit different when it doesn’t have posts in it, yeah. They might not recognize it.
Yeah. So the global styles now got a feature to reset to the default global styles revision thing, and then also reduce the visibility check on two to one revision. So you don’t… Yeah, if you only have one revision, there is no visibility check there. That’s just one of the refinements of things. On the block editor, there’s now a…
Ellen Bauer: That is the… I haven’t actually looked into that, allow the layout controls to be disabled per block from theme JSON, but that sounds very helpful. But the next one, the fluid typography at minimum and maximum view port for that, like the theme JSON we can, in a theme, can configurate that ourselves. That’s what it means, right?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right, right. Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, that’s so helpful because yeah, that’s something that didn’t really work for now, like creating designs with especially a larger typography sometimes. You only want that obviously in larger screens and you couldn’t really control it. That’s really, really helpful to have. I love that.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. There was also a bug fix in an earlier version, I don’t know it was 16.2 or 16.1 where you could also, it changed the progression from screen size, a big font down to smaller screen sizes, it now has a different algorithm to do that, so it actually works. So it actually goes smaller on a smaller screen. Sometimes when you have, I don’t know, 160 big letters, even if you scroll them down to a minimum size, it wouldn’t scroll down. But now, you can also hard code those minimum and maximum with the theme JSON. So it’s even more control now than you just rely on the algorithm to do that.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, and also the layout controls. I mean, from my perspective, anything that we can get control of where theme JSON is amazing because yeah, it just makes it so much more flexible to have everything there. So to disable the layout controls per block basis I think is also pretty neat. I love to see that. Yeah, it’s really cool to see that there’s just more fine control and yeah, things just start to work way better.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: So what else is in there? I’m scrolling, scrolling through that what I wanted to do. But in the block editor, there’s also one PR that didn’t get any notice anywhere else except here in the Gutenberg Changelog, but also in Gutenberg Changelog podcast that there’s now support for container queries in editor CSS. Container queries means okay, if the container is something, the CSS changes in opposed to view port or media queries. And what happened was when if you enqueued a CSS file that used container queries, there would be an error message on the block editor. And that has been fixed and now, theme developers and designers can now use container queries in their CSS files without any problems with the block editor. I think that’s a step in the right direction because container queries are the new thing with CSS for, well, I don’t know how long, but I think it’s a better way to make a website or design flexible on screen size or container size rather than… The browser size rather than the screen size.
So that is definitely a step in the right direction to be a little bit updated with the modern CSS. For developers, again, interesting that the style engine now includes namespace in layout class names for non-core blocks. So it’s a very slight change, but it makes it so much more controllable that you now can use a theme slugs namespace on your class names for your core blocks and it’s still for your blocks, your custom blocks, and it will be in the style engine and you can use your CSS. It’s consistent, you don’t have to… It’s not so arbitrary anymore. And you can override your other people’s stuff when you can add your namespace there. It looks a little bit unwieldy when you look at the CSS class name, but it’s definitely like so before, it only said my block, my test block is layout-constrained and now, my block, create-block, my test block is layout-constrained. So it adds the namespace just after the WP block in your CSS automatically.
Ellen Bauer: Wow. Yeah, that makes sense. It just gives you more control.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Gives you more control and isolate certain CSS in class names. Yeah. All right.
There are two, no three experiments now in Gutenberg. One is the backend for the fonts library is now in the plugin, and then there is also a feature to connect a paragraph to a meta custom field. So there is an effort to have a user interface to connect certain blocks attributes to a custom field, and this is the first test. It’s very early, there is a little UI with it, but that is definitely something for extensibility for plugin developers to test out that you can, when you register your meta field, that you also can add them to the sidebar and allow connections to certain blocks with it. I think that’s a terrific idea and it fills a gap that is missing, and it helps with implementers when they use something like ACF to create meta fields and then they can just add them to a decent blocks, but it’s very early stages so it needs people to be testing but also to discuss that with the core developers.
And then the last one is a bootstrap minimal sync package. Well, it doesn’t, the name of the PR doesn’t really tell you what it actually is, but it’s part of the real-time collaboration efforts for phase three. Riad has put in little experiments and it’s really just a prototype or a proof of concept where you can have multiple people work on posts at the same time and see how that works. It uses the team has decided or thinks that the best external library to use is the Yjs library that uses web sockets and other in the pipeline tools. And yeah, it’s just the beginning of that little piece of it. And if you read through the PR, you hear a lot that’s not working, but the things, the main thing should be working. So test it out, try it out and just see how it feels.
Ellen Bauer: I mean, that’s exciting to be able to start looking into it. I want to try it out.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I think Riad did two years ago, already had a site that’s called asblocks.com where he tested some of that already. So this is bringing it into the Gutenberg repo and see how it works with actually a real implementation, yeah. So I’m just looking also at the fonts library. There is in the PR, it’s a backend test, but in the PR, there is a video where you can see how it would fit into front end view as well. I don’t think there’s UI yet in there, but the experiment is you need to turn it on so you as a developer can use the REST endpoints to figure out how you can include it into your plugin. If you are a plugin developer that works with fonts and has some of the functionality in there, it’s probably good to start working with it.
And then there we are again, a ton of updates in the documentation, especially I just want to point out one page and that’s the page curating the editor experience because it also now includes how to include the starter patterns for templates and that it’s documented now, but that page is something I point many people to when they say, “Well, I don’t want our users to have access to this, that and other” and I said, “Well, you have tools to make them disappear, to disable things or to curate that a little bit further” and that’s the page that I point people to when they need to explore how they can switch off some of the functionality or some of the features of the design controls and global styles as well. Do you have any… Oh no, no, one more. I’m sorry, one more for the benefits and…
Ellen Bauer: It’s a lot, I mean…
Birgit Pauli-Haack: It’s a lot, yeah.
Ellen Bauer: It’s a lot.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: For Node and NPM, no?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: For the building tool update, get update?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. The Gutenberg repo now update the minimum node version to 16 and NPM version to eight. Up until now, I was still working on minimum version 14 and I think six for NPM, but now you need at least be on 16 and on eight for NPM to build with Gutenberg and to, in some of the packages, require now the higher versions. It was mainly updated for I think the fund’s API, well, I’m not quite sure, I’m sorry. I might be misleading. There was a reason why it was happening now because one of the features, either the interactivity API or the fonts API or something like that, required a higher version of it. And so now, yeah, all the build processes now. So on the repo, you might want to rebase them and update your node install. Yeah, other external libraries also got updates like the Storybook or Learner or TypeScript Storybook is now on version 7, Learners on 7.14 and Typescript on 5.1, but that’s all for now. Now, we are at the end of it. Did you see anything that you wanted to explore that we overlooked?
Ellen Bauer: No, I got a bit more quiet to the end of it. I’m sorry. It’s like I’m sliding into bed time time-wise, sadly.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: So what time is it there?
Ellen Bauer: My energy level goes a little bit down. Yeah, it’s not that late. It’s just like toddler mom late. It’s 10:00.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, yeah. No, it’s getting close to my bedtime too. So I only have one more thing on the agenda for today and that is the admin design kickoff post that was posted by section. And we only can, our listeners certainly need to go there and read it themselves, but yeah, dear listeners but also go there especially…
Ellen Bauer: Very exciting.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: … it’s very exciting and it shows you where the site editor design can merge into WP admin in various different ways. And which part of it excites you most? You read through it?
Ellen Bauer: The merge part because yeah, this side editor, it just looks like yeah, so it’s more modern and I can’t wait for it to merge as much as possible, as fast as possible. Just yeah, because it just represents what WordPress has to offer way more, like coming from a design background myself too. Yeah, we just want to see, see it more clean and modern and just more exciting to work in it, I think, and just more attractive, to make it more attractive to new users and it’s just beautiful.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And I like…
Ellen Bauer: And I love the site editing.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Design?
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, the design of the site editing. So I can’t wait to have all of WordPress look like that.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, I think you need to have some patience because…
Ellen Bauer: I know.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: … it’s going to take many, many major releases.
Ellen Bauer: I know. Yeah, sadly. If it would be up to me, we would do tomorrow.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, you and me both. I know. But what I like about it is that it’s more contained. So when you have a plugin right now, a plugin can put itself into the menus on the left-hand side and it.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, yeah, that surround it. Yeah.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: But now, you have a plugin section and then a plugin, and then whenever you click on it, the plugin takes over your screen, but it’s all plugin-oriented. So you have your tabs, you have your everything. And if you want to get out of the setting, you just do the back button and you’re back to the WordPress part. I really like those.
Ellen Bauer: That’s true. Yeah. I mean, that’s the biggest complaint too. We hear from people that it’s like if a plugin can take over WordPress, it looks wild and it’s sad for WordPress when that happens. And all the promotions and whatever some people put in there, we don’t want to have that. And also finding plugin settings because some put them there and others there, and I think it just grew organically and we have to now improve that.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And I think it’s also…
Ellen Bauer: Just for users, I mean, it’s for the users. We do it not to punish people, but to make it a better user experience because at the moment, it’s just suffering.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: But I also can see that it’s so much helpful for the plugin developers to have a coherent WordPress design system that they can rely on and don’t have to come up with all the interfaces themselves because that code needs to be managed and maintained.
Ellen Bauer: I like that you say that. And probably at the moment, a lot of people won’t agree, but I think too, you have to control that experience. I like it.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Well, then the control of the experience you still have, just the design. So the user sees the same components over and over again and knows what to do with them. And what they do is the plugins definitely have a freedom on there, but I think if some of the plugins that are really big plugins can rely. And we had a live Q&A on the Gutenberg Times about that with the people from the developers from GiveWP, they do their whole revamp of their plugin based on the WordPress packages and components so that the open source project is actually maintaining their code. And they did additional of course customization on that, but they only have to maintain those instead of the whole plugin.
Ellen Bauer: Makes their life easier. Yeah, makes everyone’s lives easier.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and also the…
Ellen Bauer: I think so, too.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: … and also the feedback loop is now about WordPress’ core elements and not about what the plugin can do and the bug fixes can be in core. It’s fixed upstream instead of just in the plugin, if there is something there that needs to be fixed.
Ellen Bauer: That makes sense. Yeah, I love that. I can’t wait.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Dear listeners, I don’t know if I shared that post with you, but I will post it again in the show notes with the live Q&A with the GiveWP developers, Jason Adams and John Weinstein probably yeah, it was the beginning of July. We had that live Q&A and we have the transcript and the video and all the resources there, so you can follow up on that. Anyway, well, it was so great to walk with you through those Changelog items.
Ellen, thank you so much. And before we come to the end, do you have any announcements or comments that you will like our listeners know? And if people want to get in touch with you, where is a good spot to find you?
Ellen Bauer: So first of all, thank you for having me. Yeah, I hope I could contribute a little bit to this episode.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: A lot, a lot. Yes, no.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah, so getting in contact with… So we have our website, ElmaStudio on AinoBlocks both work. And yeah, I’m still on, I still call it Twitter, I don’t care. Instagram and YouTube. I actually just about to get into creating a few new YouTube videos, so it’s all Elma Studio there on all the socials, except Twitter is my name, Ellen Bauer. Yeah, just on our website. And news is just that we are about to finish a new free theme and it’s inspired by the statement I made earlier that I just wanted to blog again. So we’re going to do a little blog theme that was just a design idea we had, Manu and I had and we are like, “Just, let’s do it.”
And I’m actually excited to create a little private blog on this design and we have it almost ready, I think. I hope it will land in the WordPress arc repository within the next four weeks or so, depending on what we still need to do. And then there’s a second one in the works as well that is just a wrap up of a redesign we did, and we had all these materials and patterns and templates ready and we’re like, “Let’s do a theme out of that”. So that’s going to be another free theme coming as well. Yeah, just fun projects we did over the last month.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: I’m looking so much forward to that. Yeah.
Ellen Bauer: Yeah. We just wanted to create something simple for a change and we’re like, “Let’s do that, just simple block themes or easy smaller themes, make them free themes”. So that’s what we did just out of fun, which is cool to do that too. Yeah, so that’s coming from us. Others, I don’t have anything else to say except thank you for having me. It was really exciting and it helped me a lot to catch up on things actually, which is so cool.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, good.
Ellen Bauer: And yeah, I’m just amazed and excited about all the changes coming and all the fine-tuning. It’s really so, so cool to see WordPress coming together in that way. Like you said, with the admin and stuff, it’s still a way to go, but I mean, we can see the first glimpses of that and really beautiful to see WordPress going into that direction. I’m really excited.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Well, I’m glad to be working with you on the 6.4 release. And dear listeners, before we end the show, I want to remind everyone the show notes will be published on gutenbergtimes.com/podcast. This is episode 88. And if you have questions or suggestions or news that you want us to include in the next show, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, that’s email@example.com. Thank you all for listening. And in two weeks, we have Nadia Maya from Hostinger. She’s a content creator on Hostinger and she will go with us through the Changelog. Thank you so much, Ellen, and hope all will be well. Until the next time, bye-bye.
Ellen Bauer: Thank you. Bye.