Tammie Lister and Birgit Pauli-Haack discuss the New Testing Call for the FSE Program, Gutenberg 16.7 and WordPress 6.4
- Intro to the Site Editor
- Scheduling posts and pages
- Creating your own custom synced or non-synced patterns
- The WordPress Database
Understanding block attributes by Michael Burridge
What’s new for developers? (September 2023) by Justin Tadlock and Birgit Pauli-Haack
Learn more how to contribute to the Developer Blog
What’s being worked on and discussed?
Stay in Touch
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello and welcome to our 90th episode of the Gutenberg Changelog Podcast. In today’s episode, we will talk about the new testing call for the FSE program, Gutenberg 16.7 and WordPress 6.4 of course. And I’m your host Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator at the Gutenberg Times and full-time core contributor for the WordPress Open Source project sponsored by Automattic’s Five for the Future program. My special guest today again is Tammie Lister and she and I are working on the WordPress 6.4 underrepresented gender release team and she is the co-lead of the editor tech teams. She also works as a developer at Inpsyde and started our new writing project. You will hear about it maybe in a moment. So welcome to the show Tammie. How are you and have you recovered from the last WordCamp?
Tammie Lister: Yeah, I’m doing really well. Yes, I had the pleasure of going to WordCamp with Lee Bay on Monday, a couple of days ago now. It was really nice. It was a small WordCamp at a tiny little beach place up in the northeast of England and it was a real pleasure to go there and talk about Gutenberg as a product. And you mentioned my new writing project. Yes. I’m just writing about how do all the various parts and patterns, templates, it’s at presselements.com kind of come together design system with surprise thinking. So I’m doing really well. Thank you for having me.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh yeah, well the WordCamp sounds lovely in the last summer days in a bay.
Tammie Lister: Yeah, it was lovely to just be at a single track was I think I’m correcting saying the first WordCamp since the events of the past few years for my country’s community. And it was really nice to just get together and just all be there. And there’s something about those small WordCamps that are really nice to have those conversations. At the end of it, everyone can go to the same restaurant and then kind of relax down, and it was a real pleasure to just listen to it everyone’s talks and just learn how everyone was using Gutenberg and what everyone was creating. I got to see what agencies were creating and what they were doing as well, which was really fascinating.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I like the small WordCamps too. In July, I was in Leipzig, which is also very small one-track camp and it was a very good, I felt very welcome in the German community because I had just moved to Germany and it was the first time at the German WordCamp so it was lovely and we had some great conversations.
Tammie Lister: You get to do those long lunches and just the pace seems, you’re not to kind of chasing to go and see everybody because there’s so many people in this space. You can actually have the conversations with everybody in the room and it was really nice.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And you don’t have to make a decision on which session you’re going to now it’s just one track.
Tammie Lister: No, yeah, and it was super nice being by the sea so you could look out of the window and go by the sea and yeah, that was kind of nice.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, nice, nice. So we have a few announcements to make. So one of the more hidden features that were part of the WordPress 6.3 release was the command palette and that can be invoked within the site editor and now also with the post editor using control or command K. And it gives you a quick access to various tasks and settings throughout the space and you don’t have to hunt down the third level menu item to get to places where you needed to go.
FSE Program Testing Call #26: Final Touches
And Anne McCarthy has published a great article on the Core Editor Improvement series, Commanding the Command Palette. So if you haven’t explored that yet, you definitely want to read that. And of course we show the links in the show notes and really it’s, well first of all the post editor I think is only coming with a 6.4. 6.3 was only with a site editor. But it’s such a lovely improvement if you are a power user you can get to places very, very fast. Have you tried it?
Tammie Lister: Yeah, personally the command palette I think is going to be really powerful going forward, but I don’t think people are quite using it yet. So what I love is that we are creating more documentation and that we are starting to really show these articles and use cases because in the conversations I’ve had with people there, curious but don’t quite know yet how to utilize it, I absolutely have tried it but I’m also trying to find out how do I start to use this and where do I start to do it? So the more articles that we have on how to extend it, the more happy I am and I think we’re going to get to the massive docs stuff data. So I’m really excited how all these features we start having things like that as well.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and if you want to really get into the what’s coming to WordPress 6.4, I really would recommend that you follow Anne McCarthy’s call for testing on the final touches because the instructions lead you all through the area of the features of 6.4. Among them, the command palette but also the group block and the new pattern. And you get to learn how to manage the fonts of course the big new feature and how to swap up patterns and templates and display like button on the portfolio page. And it’s a fun call for testing and make sure that you get your feedback in before October 8th. So all the feedback that you get in can be fixed in beta and release candidate for 6.4. So it’s kind of both. It’s a training on the 6.4 features but it’s also a kind of have more people find the bugs before we release. So I really hope you can make it and go through it.
Tammie Lister: And that’s been one of the biggest comments from the phone library to the command palette that I’ve heard from people is where do I go for all this information? So having these hallway Hangouts to these posts I think is really essential. The moment I show someone one of these posts, their little eyes light up and they’re like, oh, I can go to one place and I can then follow these information.
Hallway hangouts are great for that as well for people where they can just go and then they can see a summary of links and they can just wander around without having to scour or use search, search inputs it really difficult to know to collect that information and not everybody can ask everybody and some people just want to at their own pace, discover these things. So again, that kind of goes back to finding that information. If you are in a release, you’re going to know I’m trying fonts because I’m in the release and it’s going to come up. I’m trying this because it’s in a release and it’s going to come out, but I’m not trying the things that aren’t in the release because I’m focusing on the release.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, we will share. Anne McCarthy also did a hallway hangout and going through the roadmap and just briefly said, “Okay, this made it, this didn’t make it, this made it.” And demo some of that as well if you don’t want to go through the call of testing. So I’m going to share that as well in the share notes. No show notes. Well share notes could be too. Right. And then a big shout-out also to the WordPress training team. They’re quite a productive bunch and their newest tutorials were, they’re not yet for the release of course because they don’t have all the information yet, but there’s an intro into the site editor. So if you haven’t gone and used those features, there’s a short intro. There’s also for those new to WordPress and how to schedule posts or pages. And one is also how to create your own synced or non-synced patterns.
Now that you can do it on WordPress patterns are really a great way to streamline your processes but also to help standardize your site production when you work within a team. And then last but not least, for this round of shout-outs, the WordPress database. And that’s a dive into, if you ever want to customize some of the WordPress, you need to know how the database is structured, how you can access it, how you can do all the edits, updates and deletes and what the actions and filters are. So this is, it’s a short intro but it’s really powerful so don’t forget to go to the learn.wordpress.org site to pick out all the tutorials that you need. But these are the four new ones from September, no, August. Yeah.
Tammie Lister: I think those are great. Someone could just be joining today and they turn up and they’re like what synced or non-synced? And we use language that we presume people know what they mean. I do all the time. So always. Yeah, it’s so good that we are actually correcting that by having these information resources.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And they mix the production of those resources between someone who has been in the community for a long time and just needs a new feature. And those who came in yesterday and need to know, okay, how to create your website, what’s the site? So it’s so important to have these resources.
Tammie Lister: And there’s a lot of people who have a lot of knowledge on creating, if you are talking either not just an end user, but you’re also talking about someone who’s a developer. They may have used different systems and they may use the terminology synced or non-synced, completely different to how we use synced or non synced. So coming into our space and then we, because do use, we are adorable, but we do use terms in a very specific WordPress way for certain things. So having some clarity I think is great, because you never know what is your source of truth for a lot of these things. So I am so pleased to find this information.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And we just talked about this, that the new WordPress Developer Blog, which has only been happening for the last nine months is not so known in the community. And I just want to give a shout-out to Michael Burridge. He posted a great tutorial for beginners on understanding block attributes, beginners being block development beginners, and there is more to block attributes that meets the eye and attributes contain data needed for your block or the data can be retrieved in multiple ways. And in this he walks you through a progressive kind of complexity way from the anatomy of a simple block to sources and selectors and HTML attributes and also how to use a query as the source of those attributes. And there were actually some great comments from block developers. One was, “I’ve been creating blocks since 5.0 and this is the first time that I actually understood how the query works. Thanks, man.” And then another one, “I always struggled with using HTML attributes as a source and this makes it so clear.” So it’s definitely a post to look through even if you’re an experienced block developer.
Tammie Lister: I just adore this because really to me it does come back down to the visibility and in the olden days it was go to Make Core. It really, Make Core is not, it’s great, but it’s an information resource, and the Developer Blog is really where you are safe to, maybe it’s me, but I don’t think it is. You’re safe to Instapaper, you get your highlighter, your digital highlighter pen out and you sit down and you learn. And that’s what this is becoming. So when I’m talking to someone at a WordCamp, when I’m talking to somewhere, one of my first conversations with a developer is going to be, Hey, are you following this blog? Because this is just as if you’re following React or you’re following whatever your flavor of awesome that you’re creating with because everybody has their own pet scripts that they create with.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: In multiple ways and also to keep up with what’s changing because Core and Gutenberg reapers are changing so much.
Tammie Lister: Theme Jsons, block Jsons, if you were making blocks before and then you went for two years to do something like life and then you came back the way the blocks are done now or the way that themes are done now, completely different from the way that they were being done.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that’s true. And there’s one roundup post on the Developer Blog that’s come out every month and Justin Tadlock just posted the one from September and it’s a monthly roundup post for WordPress developers working on plugins, themes, and agencies. And this edition has about 20-plus short updates that gives you an overview what’s released, what’s about to come out in future releases. And also for both the front end as well as backend, sometimes I use that distinction between Gutenberg and Core to make it more one thing.
And the monthly publishing frequency is actually more digestible, even if it’s 20 plus items. But you can decide, they are divided up into highlights and plugin and theme developers. So you only have to, if you’re a plugin developer, just do the 10 items from the plugin section, but it’s more or less digestible than the three times a year field guide that comes with, I don’t know, tons of updates that are, you never know from the one-liners if it’s really important to you personally or is it just something you can ignore and it’s really hard to keep track of it. So it’d always be published on the 10th of the month and we are working on the October edition. And it comes out October 10th.
Tammie Lister: It’s a random suggestion, but this is not, I would love to see behind the scenes of the default being there or behind the scenes of releases, I don’t know, but I would love to see more community developer stuff there. But that happens with eyeballs on the blog. So I think that that happens as it grows. So more people pay attention to the blog and then more people can be there.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right. And if you are a developer and you want to share your journey…
Tammie Lister: There you go.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: … on certain things, if you go on the WordPress, so it’s developer.wordpress.org/news is the address of it. There are two things to contribute to. One is the tips and guidelines for the writers and the reviewers and the other one is how to contribute because it’s not only the writing part, it’s also, yeah, we need to organize it. We have editorial group meetings and all that. So this is all kind of laid out in two pages, well pages, they’re very long pages.
Tammie Lister: I would love to hear more because there’s so many good stories and so many problems people are solving that they don’t keep to themselves in a bad way, but they keep themselves, they don’t have a place to put it.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: To put it. Yeah.
Tammie Lister: And Make Core isn’t the place. This is the place. So I am so excited we’re talking about this.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Even if your personal blog is not the place because you’re talking to clients on your personal blog or the agency blog. Yeah, it’s a place.
Tammie Lister: The personal blog is also sometimes one space and sometimes you might have like, Hey, I did this, I’d love other opinions about what I did, which is hard to do, but it’s also good to collaborate and share as well.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. But it’s more the exploration on the personal blog where you can collaborate with people, but then the outcome of it could be on the Developer Blog, on the official WordPress Developer Blog. So we have a discussion board on the Gutenberg, I share all those links of course in the show notes in the Developer Blog content repo on GitHub where we have discussions and we talk about those in the monthly meetings. So yeah, kind of hit me up either on Slack, WordPress or there in the meeting or in the channel we have actually a 4-dev-blog blog is the channel for all things Developer Blog. So yeah, come join us.
Excellent. Well, thanks for the ping here.
What’s Released – Gutenberg 16.7
Yeah, that brings us to our section, what’s released. And Gutenberg 16.7 had a three-week release cycle. And the change on is again about one and a half miles long with 290 PRs merged. Whoa. So Tammie and I, we have our work cut out today going over the most relevant parts. So Sarah Norris, your co-editor, tech lead, managed the release in preparation on the WordPress beta release that comes on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023. And 290 PRS, 72 of those are bug fixes, so it’s a really great release with some fixes as well.
Tammie Lister: Yeah, I think it’s worth saying that this is 6.4, it’s coming. We have the beta Tuesday? Always like to check. Calendars are hard and tricky and they see they’re popping up on my computer. With that, that’s why it took a little bit of a longer time. But those 72 bug fixes I think are incredibly important. We kind of get into that as well. Often we focus on the things we release, but the things we fixed and made even better and even more stable are incredibly important and this release has been a lot about that. So yeah, getting into that and getting into was Gutenberg for 6.4 is there, what now from Gutenberg? So I’m excited to dive into this and one day I’ll turn up and it’ll be a really short changelog for you.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I don’t know, maybe 16.8 or so. Well let’s look at the November one because there’s not a whole lot of people, they’re all on vacation holiday.
Tammie Lister: But then it opens up again and then everyone’s like, oh, put all the things in there.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Absolutely. Yeah. So tell me, what features are you most excited about for WordPress 6.4 to just derail us a little bit more?
Tammie Lister: I really, it’s not features, well default theme. I’ve always loved default themes, which is like, yes, it’s a Gutenberg, but it’s a tangent because I think now it showcases what can be done with the editing experience in its current incarnation, if that makes sense. Incarnation is a weird word, but that’s true. What it should do is showcase, oh goodness, if no one’s been following along, I’m very excited to deliver that Christmas present. It shows what you can do and empowers. So that to me is always powerful because you click it and it works for so many people and so many people turn it on from day one. So that and then just the fixing, it’s not a feature. And then I do absolutely have to say font library mainly because maturity of product, I feel that I always say there’s a checklist of modern editing experiences like yes, block editor, yes, collaboration, but honestly font management feels pretty standard, font management design, so that is really big. What about you?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I’m definitely font management, but I’m excited of all of it, but it’s the font library, it kind of empowers the user first time that you are not having to rely on a theme to get you the fonts that you want. So you can do a theme selection outside of your favorite fonts and you can find fonts that can be decorative, and you can do a lot more with it as a designer with the site editor now than you could before because you don’t have to bundle all this, you can just kind of have it in there.
Tammie Lister: We’re saying it’s not just that you have to rely on a theme, you also don’t have to rely on tutorials or plugins or something you might be trusting and it could not be great code. And I don’t mean to scare people, but the way that sometimes people have implemented fonts have at best not being performant and at worse, not being secure and not being performant and having these ways just helps everything from those angles. And I’m not going to be super scary, but the more holes we block from a performance and security angle, the better in that. And it just happens that it’s just better from a user journey perspective as well. Spoiler alert. It’s always better that someone doesn’t have to Google how to add a font and then put code. Yes.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And I also like that you can have the fonts stored locally on your site so you don’t have to go out to third parties and share your YouTube.
Tammie Lister: It encourages good behavior, which I think is really, we kind of started that with the accessibility with the little nudge of like, hey, that’s not an accessible color combination. Do you really want to do that? And it’s doing that. It’s encouraging the best practices and I think the more that we do that, the better. It makes gentle, happy nudges to best practices is the best way.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right, let’s get into the changelog. So the first feature that I see on the changelog, but it’s not, is rename root blocks in the editor via a modal. And this is so powerful because it helps you as a site developer or even as a template developer to actually name the things, the sections that your template is for or if you have a long post you can easily see it’s not only just heading, heading, heading, heading. So you can actually name these things and find your way around much better. It also keeps the name, if you give it a name in the pattern, it keeps the name also there. So I really love that new feature. Yeah, I’m glad it’s coming to 6.4.
Tammie Lister: So next we have font library, which you’ve already discussed I think, but really it’s a font collection backend and the front end. It seems a small feature but really I think in the importance of this is to do the call for testing again and say that because yes, something getting in but something getting in that has a really thorough call for testing and everybody has got their sticks and gone and tested it with everything and tested it with their existing implementations of fonts. I think is something worth calling because or tested, turning it off because quite a lot of people may have pretty established settings at the moment, so we need to know can you turn it off and particularly an agency setting, can you turn it off? All these kinds of things.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, yeah.
Tammie Lister: So knowing how it works in your situation and being empowered to do that is really important.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, absolutely. Every new feature in WordPress comes with an off switch because that’s some people want…
Tammie Lister: But knowing how to do that now will super educate you for when 6.4 comes out and I think that’s my biggest reflection from working in that space is learn now at beta what you are going to be turning off going forward. Yes, it’s going to take you a little while to roll out those new features but it’s being able to know, and then pivot is really important.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And so for the user that are using the site editor to build themes, so you can upload the font management thing is you upload a font that you first have downloaded and then upload it to a site and then you can select the variance of it and then it will fill up the dropdown boxes for font management for blocks, elements and for even patterns and templates and all that. So it’s so powerful. It also lets you delete fonts that are already enabled, just delete them and not have your user use them. So it’s quite a big new environment.
Tammie Lister: Almost want to plug in where someone says, hey, you haven’t used that for, someone sits with fonts for a certain time, Hey you haven’t used it for a while. I’m sure someone’s going to create that. Would you like to remove it? Because you know humans, I’m going to try a lot of fonts.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I like the gamification kind of thing. So after six months if you haven’t used it, I need to use it in my closet as well, to have a person point out to me, okay, you haven’t worn that T-shirt for two or three years.
Tammie Lister: But I think that’s something that we maybe can, totally going off track, but that’s something to look at as improvements to all of these kind of things is and that’s the evolution, that’s part of it. We’re putting these features in and then how do we build then giving the feedback. So part of this is also giving your feedback to all these features, so test it and then give feedback. This is the first pancake at font library and the best guess at what people are going to need, but it’s not going to be the ultimate, it’s going to be the first start of it.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right, yeah.
Tammie Lister: Next we move on to enhancements I think. Is that correct?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Tammie Lister: There are lots of enhancements and one I would particularly like to call out is improving error messages and codes and not because I am fixated on errors but mainly because I think it’s really important to call out anytime the errors messaging is really improved. Sometimes like copy errors and different things, just hard to improve. But that has happened with the desk console and match JS, along with there’s also been visual tweaks to specific block commands. So all of these things they really add up to just a better experience for everybody no matter what type of user you are experiencing the editor.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Awesome. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, there have been some component updates and if you are using many core components, you probably want to go through a whole list. We have about three to shout-out. One is the support controlling open and closed state for dropdowns and dropdown menu. This definitely helps with a standardized way on how to manage that state. And then there’s a popover update. You can update the position types now for popover component and make them more flexible in using, so it could be an overlay or floating or it could be anything that you want. And the documentation for that is definitely is in the PR. So if you go through the changelog and you’ll see the PR for that. Yeah.
Tammie Lister: Another one I’d like to call out in there, to finally finish components is tooltip. So there actually has been a refactor using, I’m going to try and say this and see if it works, Ariakit and I think that’s it. Tooltip was kind of there, it kind of had bugs and it kind of was fixed but it was there. So this is quite a big one to do it. It means a lot of things, the biggest of those is it’s easier to create from and easier to extend from I think as well as you just get all the benefits of it being using that as well. So I think that’s really worth calling out.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, definitely. You don’t have to run your own tooltip kind of system, you can just tap into the WordPress one. Yeah, absolutely.
Tammie Lister: And if you think about how many different tooltips have you seen over time. To me that is a strong thread leading into a lot of the phase three site admin, stroke design system stuff going forward is just how can we have lots of awesome things in our Lego Kit, going back to Legos, that we can start using foundationally. So if we have one tooltip system, we have one modal, we have one and then you can extend it, then you can bring your designs to it. I think that that’s really powerful. So I am delighted to see this. Shall we move on to block library? So block library has quite a few in, I want to call out first of all buttons. Buttons are a really powerful part of the block library and there’s two particular things I want to call out which is allow using a button element for button blocks and show inserter, if button has variations. Again, these are small but real quality of life fixes as well.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And what I learned, I don’t know if I learned it by reading through the PRs or by reading Nick Diego’s post on block variations on the Developer Blog. Sometimes you just don’t remember where you read things, but do you have it in your knowledge.
And is that you actually can replace a core block with your variation if you just use the is default and then the core block wouldn’t show up in the inserter but yours will replace that. So if you have a certain separator that you use throughout the whole site and you never want to see a different separator and whoever uses the separator has the right one, use that tool. Create a separator variation and set it is default and then it will automatically be the one that’s in the inserter for people to pick. And I think that’s so powerful and an easy way to extend the block editor for your client sites without having to do a whole lot of custom block development.
Tammie Lister: We need that article linked in the show notes I think.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. And speaking of buttons, what was missing terribly from the navigation block or the navigation menu item was that you could actually use a button in header in the navigation to call out a certain feature. If you look around and I saw that in the PR, how many sites actually are using having a button on the top in the header for navigating to a certain specific place on the site that everybody always wants to use like the login or the access your or Pay Now or these kinds of things. Now you can use it in the navigation block just as a block and add a button to it and style it of course. There’s a button, so I’m really happy about that.
Tammie Lister: So moving on, we have one of my favorite sections, the design tool sections. This is a small but mighty section in the changelog. And the ones that I would like to call out is add a blockGap to post content block, that is really useful. It’s one of those small things that you’re just like, oh yeah, blockGap is an unsung part that really in design tours you don’t know you need it until you need it. I think whenever you’re creating something and add block, instant element support for buttons and headings. And block supports, add background image supports to group block, really interesting for that one. And columns adopt block and heading element colors.
Again, what this says to me and what it is really is just refinement and knowing where these blocks and where things are getting used and that will be from feedback and that will be from people using them. Probably in this context a lot of it, and I’m going back to what you’re getting for Christmas, which is a default theme. So default themes are great because what they do is they push the editing experience and that’s probably where a lot of this has come from in a beautiful way of, oh we can’t do that pattern or oh this agency has given this feedback. So keep the feedback coming and really keep trying to make patterns and breaking the editor because as you do, you’re going to get the design tools and the experience that you want from it. Is my best message around design tools.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Absolutely.
Tammie Lister: And that leads on to patterns I guess.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, that’s another big feature, but I really happy about the background image for group block. Yeah, I just not always want to use a cover block for the whole thing.
Tammie Lister: Oh, I have so many sites where I just put cover block as the background before everything. It’s a horrible way, just so I can do that. So now I know I don’t have to be evil on my site.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And you just upload it, check it from the, and you have a little at a sidebar, you get a little note which…
Tammie Lister: Don’t have to hack around it. We can actually use the editor how we wanted to use it, not how we were hacking.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And the pattern changes in this Gutenberg release is also something to now the developers edit categories to your user patterns, to the patterns that you all create. You also can create categories to it so you can cluster them, you can make them available, you have a little taxonomy to them and you can also filter by that when you look in inserter as well as on the pattern site editor section. So that’s so powerful. It also when you create a sync pattern, it offers you the category and I’ve been testing this and I really love how that works. And you can also have it when you edit it, you can add categories in the sidebar. So it’s a very thought through process in multiple ways. So I really, really appreciate that and you can use them for sync patterns as well as the unsync patterns or the sync patterns are what we call five years the reusable blocks. So it’s a new term for the same thing. So I really love it.
Tammie Lister: So moving on, do you want to talk about custom pattern category management?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: You can change the categories of course. Actually using the WordPress native taxonomy management for the pattern category. So you can access it through plugins, your themes to anywhere where you use custom categories anywhere because it’s just a custom post type and then you have a custom taxonomy with it. That’s all what that was…
Tammie Lister: Or you can just leave that out then confused.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And I’ll just leave it there.
Tammie Lister: So moving on, I think we should be talking about the interactivity API and we have one particular bit that might seem a little bit unexpected, which we have with the image block and we have two. Which one is revise lightbox UI to remove behaviors and image block UI updates for the image lightbox. This shows just some thinking. Anyone that has experienced what the lightbox would say, one, lightbox is needed. Nobody is in doubt with we need it, but is it needed where it was? Is it needed to be called behaviors? Probably not. Was that the right place? Maybe. No, maybe not. So this shows reflection and what this shows is consideration and people taking feedback and something doing that. So I don’t know what you feel, but that’s what this shows to me is things should be released when they’re ready and when they’re in a place. One of the really key things is that this functionality is really wanted, but if we put it somewhere, everybody is going to learn that it is there. So where we put it better be the place we want it to be.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. I think there were too many abstractions about the behavior thing, thinking about it, this would be an example, but at the end of the day it’s a feature for an image and that’s where you find it. You find it in your image settings, image box settings and in the sidebar and you can turn it on and off. What it does is actually, but it’s enabling that you can expand it on click the image that you’re looking at. So it fills up the full screen content if you want to and any user can, with the image decide if they want to enable it or not. So this is bringing something very complex to a very simple user interface and I really love that sometimes you take big detours.
Tammie Lister: And the first version was quite complex and I think it’s really good because it’s basic saying, hey, what we put in, what’s not what we, and again it shows putting something in the plugin gets the feedback that then oh nope, reverse the car and that’s good. So now what we have is lightbox is going to be there and lightbox is going to just be a lot more minimal and it’s going to be exactly what it should be. Actually what it’s coming down to is exactly what most plugins have for it more or less, which I think is going to be a lot easier from a pitch perspective and easier from a user perspective of understanding and easier to onboard users into the native from the non-native, which is always what I think because there’s so many sites that I know that they already have lightboxes, but I so want to put them onto the new lightbox the moment it’s there.
So the closer it is to their current experience, the easier that’s going to be as soon. As it’s in a completely different postcode or zip code, depending on your own adventure, it’s going to be really difficult for that kind of adventure.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. But it also has the danger that a lot of people have used lightboxes before and have a lot of expectations to it. So this is…
Tammie Lister: Lots of feelings when you talk about lightbox. Lightbox is one of those words that one, people will always visually see something. Two, people always have a favorite plugin and then three, people always have feelings.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: We have big feelings, yeah. And right now it’s the basic implementation of a lightbox for an image block. So if you expect in the gallery block that you all of a sudden can use it as a carousel, that’s an expectation that will not be met.
Tammie Lister: It’s a great call out, because I think people are going to want that. In fact, I encountered that recently of that’s actually a common use case patterns. So where you’re going to have something, I think that that’s going to be a real expectation and until that that happens, spoiler, it probably will, because it’s a…
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Sooner or later.
Tammie Lister: … natural progression. Yeah.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Sooner or later it’ll happen.
Tammie Lister: It’s a natural, but we need to get these things in. We’ve kind of spoken about that with the font library and everything. We need to get things in a simple form and then we can complicate, but sometimes it’s still tempting to be complicated to start.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Tammie Lister: Because we’re all human.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: We want all of it and sometimes…
Tammie Lister: We want all…
Birgit Pauli-Haack: All of it.
Tammie Lister: … the cake… all the time.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: So then another thing that’s in the plugin is in the page inspector, the ability to switch templates for pages. So right now in WordPress we have two places where you can edit pages. That’s the old way, the WP admin pages kind of section and add or edit. But the other one is that you can, through the site editor, you have a pages menu there and there you can also now swap out templates for that particular page. So you have multiple templates for maybe a service or maybe a portfolio or something like that. You can now switch in the page editing section of the site editor, the template. I’ve seen some implementation where you actually can preview the template in the sidebar, but I don’t think that made it yet. I was briefly testing it, so if you find it kudos to you, but I only saw it in a demo on the PR but in a discussion, but I don’t think that part made it yet into the plugin.
Tammie Lister: Moving on, I think we’re at block API, is that correct?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh yeah. We’re moving on to new APIs for the block editor and two of them are for the use case of Gutenberg as a framework. So using it outside the WordPress context and Riad Benguella has been looking into certain packages to decouple it for the WordPress backend and one of them is to extract the undo redo into methods and storage and all that into a separate package so it can be used outside the WordPress context and also introduce something like a block canvas to have the iframe, the block list and the writing flow kind of also in the framework rather than just in WordPress.
That’s pretty much all I wanted to shout out that that is coming. Somebody is taking a look at that. I got quite a few, when I’m at WordCamp Europe, I had some conversations on how that actually is more developed and there is a plugin by Automattic, like Gutenberg-everywhere or block editor everywhere, but it’s not yet fully developed. And I think having that in core would definitely be a better way to work with that. So if things are coming, please test it because as Tammie said, feedback is everything in this kind of line of work.
Tammie Lister: I think something like that is also going to be curious as someone to test and think does it fit a use case from a pitch perspective? Is it something that you felt you were working around WordPress before? Would it fit into it, would it not? All these kind of things, because starting to see WordPress as that framework and WordPress as that foundation and Gutenberg as that kind of kit that you can build out from is a hundred percent what I’m kind of curious about. I mean it’s WordPress but the kit of WordPress is where all of this is going and it’s very, very exciting to me.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: For me too, we talked about it before on this changelog, but not very recently. So Gutenberg is used in Drupal. Gutenberg is used in Tumblr and Gutenberg is used in Day One, the journaling app.
Tammie Lister: Using it to build products, using it from, it’s such a hipster kind of word, but headless. And I mean that in an adorable way, but honestly choosing the right tool and the right foundation means being able to pick. And to do that we need things like having it as a framework. And we also need the other thing, curiously leading into the stabilizing block hooks feature, which is just having the right things in the right place at the right time, that’s kind of what it is. And marking things as experimental that should be and just being clean about a lot of what we do. A lot of the time we are just pushing to do stuff. So that is coming in here as well. It is going to be part of 6.4. There’s a lot of iceberg features that kind of go through, which is a stabilizing, block hooks feature is part of that. It’s where you are looking at a cross between core and also Gutenberg as well. I don’t know what you think about that?
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well the block hooks feature was actually released in an earlier plugin version, but it was always hidden in the experiment section. And so if people don’t explore the experiment sections, they don’t even know if that’s what it is. And now for 6.4 there was the decision that, oh, we need this in 6.4. So before it can go into core, it needs to be stabilized, it needs to, all the experimentation code needs to be looked at. Is it something we want to support backwards compatibility for the next, I don’t know five years or 10 years or so. Yeah, so those are very…
Tammie Lister: And having that consideration, but I think it’s really important to have that consideration and go through as well. I haven’t explored too much really this, I think this feature is really about trying to get something in that also is going to be really powerful for the foundation.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. So the block hooks features is actually the one that was previously announced on the auto inserting blocks. So you could add a like button to a comment block without having a user needing to put it in. They just can take it out from the plugin version. So it’s an extensibility feature that people have been waiting for quite a bit. Just to reiterate, what are block hooks? Yeah.
Tammie Lister: It’s worth calling it out separately. I think sometimes a lot of this, again the iceberg, a lot of this stuff as you were saying, it didn’t kind of get seen because it’s in there. The experimental flag is amazing because there’s so much good stuff hidden under there.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And I’m calling out some of the bug fixes for the widget editor. Well that’s a blast from the past. We haven’t talked about widgets for quite a while, but it’s still very, very prominent in classic themes. And there were some broken layouts that had been fixed. The invisible area on the top toolbar, there was kind of a lot of white space there that had been fixed. And also the toolbar actually showing in the customizer, in the widget sidebar control, it has also been fixed. So if you are kind of waiting for those, it’s here now in the Gutenberg plugin and it will come to WordPress 6.4.
Tammie Lister: That’s really important. A lot of people still use widgets.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Absolutely.
Tammie Lister: So we have to a hundred percent still support that.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And kudos to Aki Hamano who took those three fixes on and to push some over the finish line.
So now we come to a huge section in this release and that’s documentation. And there are multiple documentation updates, but I think we can cluster them into three kinds of categories or three sections. One is Gutenberg as a framework. So Riad Benguella has done Bootstrap, the documentation website that is geared towards the usage of Gutenberg outside of WordPress. Of course he hasn’t filled in the pages yet, but he did the architecture of it and also has one page in there to explain how to implement the undo and redo in a third-party editor.
And then Nick Diego and JuanMa Garrido and Ryan Welcher and some others have worked on the overhaul of the Block Editor Handbook to bring it up to date and rearrange some pages and also to delete pages like the outreach page, which was actually put in because there was the documentation missing, which is now in there. Or remove unneeded block theme documentation that is coming to the theme handbook very soon. So there’s some, so move the glossary and into a get it started, the FAQ and get the get it started section really robust. And also update how to set up a block development environment with some of the instructions that are much more geared towards and successful into implementation of a local development than before. Do you have any thoughts on that, Tammie?
Tammie Lister: I absolutely adore that we’re adding to our documentation. I think we don’t know what we don’t know about the weird statement, but the gaps. So if anyone is like, wow, I wish we had this resource. I think saying that, this is so great because many times you are even repeating the same information. I would love to have these resources to point to. So I am over the moon that we have these resources. So thank you everyone that’s doing them.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: And then the third section that I mentioned was about documenting, the comment palette, which Riad Benguella has in these dev notes from 6.3, quite a few examples in there, but on the Make Core block buried under, I don’t know, 450 posts and they are brought now, those examples are now brought into the commands documentation to add more context and to help people to create new…
Tammie Lister: That’s really important.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: New comments.
Tammie Lister: People are not using that enough quite yet. And that kind of goes back to the beginning when I was just, we were talking about testing and everything, but really it’s the chicken egg, whatever analogy that we used in your culture. Really having that, the people that create it really saying, hey, this is how you can do this. And then people exploring for themselves how to do it. So I personally am going to be checking out that documentation to see how to, because that’s not something that I’ve played with and I really want to play with, I really want to play with it, Clippy and all that, but just really trying to, but now we have these documentations and now we’re starting to have the Developer Blog. We can start going in and just having better resources to do it. So I’m very excited to see that.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Me, too. Me, too. And I just wanted to call out one update on the component changelog to mark the popover slot removal as a breaking change. So we mentioned that the had an additional placement there, but there’s also probably a little breaking change there. It’s documented in a component changelog, but I don’t think it made it into Block Editor Handbook yet. So I’m going to call that out in the show notes as well, just for those who use that popover component in their own apps. It’s a small thing, but it might trip up some people. So did we actually get through it?
Tammie Lister: We survived.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: We survived.
Tammie Lister: Go team.
WordPress 6.4 Beta Release
Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right. Tammie, it was wonderful to have you here and go through this. So what’s next for us? Of course, it’s the WordPress 6.4 beta release on Tuesday, September the 26th. And the release party is at 18:00 pm UT? No, it’s on 4:00 PM UTC. Join us in the core channel and have a party.
Tammie Lister: I was meant to try to work out what time that was me for tea time. That’s just tea time for me, to bring tea and cake. And I think that’s really important to say, that for those working on 6.4, now we step, we’ve been doing stuff all along, but from beta choose own adventure. It really is where we start. Yes, we have been doing stuff. We have not been absent. We have absolutely been doing stuff, but really this is the hard end of the release where everything gets really like, ooh, and everybody starts doing lots of things.
It is a shorter release or the end of the year releases are always shorter. You always try and put everything in Santa’s stocking or whoever you’re going to believe in and it never fits. But from a Gutenberg perspective, that means that it’s kind of shipped for 6.4 and a plugin will be open for your happy things to go into 6.5, because Gutenberg time travels in the best possible way. So you will start seeing people starting to talk about wider projects and because of the gap, you’ll probably see people starting to talk about some of the wider projects around collaboration and some of those kinds of things. I don’t know what you think, but that’s kind of what the end of the year vibe is always. People take breaks, please people take breaks because you are human. But also people start thinking about some of the bigger projects. So I expect to see probably…
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Tammie Lister: … some lovely in-depth project, make posts, Developer Blog posts and just follow, always the tickets I love on the GitHub are the tracking ones. Once they tracking, if you search for tracking in the GitHub repo, that’s one of my favorite things to search for.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. Tracking an overview. Yeah, those are the big items. Yeah.
Tammie Lister: Tracking is like the new hotness over overview at the moment. It feels.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah.
Tammie Lister: We should unify that.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: I’m really looking forward to the next three, four weeks just because we’re going to see a lot of bug fixes coming into 6.4 from the beta release, and then the release candidate. Well release candidate one is the deadline for developer notes to come out and the field guide to come together. So have an eye out for that.
Tammie Lister: Yeah, you’ll start to see sources of truth posts come out, which would be like, here’s actually what was in, we’ve been talking a lot about here’s what’s going on, but say, I don’t know, the top toolbar focused outline. I’m literally looking at something in the changelog, turns out to hurt bunnies. I don’t know. Then that will be pulled because hurting bunnies is bad. So all those kinds of things is what will happen when it actually goes in and has more people testing it.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: So the final release, 6.4 is in November 7th, so it’s early Christmas this year to follow your metaphor there.
Tammie Lister: This is early, everybody.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, it’s early there.
Tammie Lister: … take a long, long break.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, after that a lot of people are going to take off because in America it’s going to be Thanksgiving, Christmas is bigger in Europe, Christmas holidays and all that. So in January…
Tammie Lister: But people also talk about, I think the other thing that people do over this time is think about a lot of the longer term projects. You’ll see a lot of housekeeping, a lot of tests, a lot of just general thinking about the bigger projects. So there’ll probably be, as I’ve mentioned, that the collaboration posts and things, which I think is always, you end on that and then you start afresh thinking about the roadmap. I love this time of year because, and this is one of my favorite releases because, and then you also get the default theme to play with. So you can start thinking about what you want to do and what you want to create with the editor. What tickets do you want in next year? What do you want to create? Sounds fun.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right. Well, we always love to hear from you. So if you have things that you want us to know about, send us your questions or suggestions or the news you want us to include, send them to email@example.com, the firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always, the show notes will be published on gutenbergtimes.com/podcast. This is episode 90. Wow. 90 episodes. Well, 10 more episodes we’re at 100.
Tammie Lister: Yay. You need cake for 100.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: I need Cake. Yes. Okay. So thank you so much, Tammie, to be on the show and make this a fun show again. And wishing everybody a nice start into the fall. And I hear you all in three weeks because 6.7 had a three-week week cycle. So 16.8 is not coming out until beginning of October. You all take care and I’ll be out of here. Bye, Tammie.
Tammie Lister: Bye.
Birgit Pauli-Haack: All right, thank you.