Gutenberg Changelog #91 – WordPress 6.4, Gutenberg 16.8 and what’s in the works

Gutenberg Changelog
Gutenberg Changelog
Gutenberg Changelog #91 - WordPress 6.4, Gutenberg 16.8 and what’s in the works

Joni Halabi and Birgit Pauli-Haack discuss WordPress 6.4, Gutenberg 16.8 and what’s been worked on outside current releases

Show Notes / Transcript

Show Notes

Joni Halabi, senior developer at Georgetown University

What’s released

First Dev Notes for WordPress 6.4

WordPress 6.4 Release Candidate 1

Gutenberg 16.8

What’s discussed and worked on

Stay in Touch


Birgit Pauli-Haack: Hello and welcome to our 91st episode of the Gutenberg Changelog podcast. In today’s episode, we will talk about WordPress 6.4 a little bit and Gutenberg 16.8, and then we also will talk about what’s already been worked outside the current releases. I’m your host, Birgit Pauli-Haack, curator at the Gutenberg Times and a full-time core contributor for the WordPress Open Source Project, sponsored by Automattic’s Five for the Future Program. Today, my co-host and special guest is Joni Halabi. She is not a stranger to the Gutenberg Times’ subscribers. She’s a senior developer at Georgetown University and has been building blocks since forever. 

Our recent adventure together was the Gutenberg Life Q&A with David Bowman and Alec Geatches, and a fascinating discussion about design systems and how WordPress slowly becomes one. Joni is also the author of a great article on the WordPress developer blog explaining the difference between a static and a dynamic block. A lot of people have read this, so you made an impact there definitely, Joni. It’s my great pleasure to have you on the show tonight, Joni. Welcome. How are you today? 

Joni Halabi: I’m doing great, thank you. I’m really excited to be on this show. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Awesome, awesome. Well, we can go right in there. 


The first developer notes for 6.4 have been published on the Make blog, and one is for a new extensibility feature for the block editor. That’s about the block box. It’s only for dynamic blocks and it’s only the first iteration, though there are some, but it’s actually the first time that you can, as a developer, automatically insert a block next to another block. You can decide, okay, for every comment block, I want a like button in there. You create the like button block and then you say, “Okay, put it on every comment.” The user will be able to see that in the sidebar, but it will be automatically added, but a user can switch them on and off if they want to. So, that’s definitely for developers to dive in. 

Joni Halabi: Yeah, I just wanted to say I am particularly excited about this feature. I just recently saw that this was being added, and it’s probably no secret that I am a very big advocate of dynamic blocks. So, many of the blocks that we’ve created over at Georgetown are dynamic, and I see so many use cases for that. I think it’s going to give our users a lot of flexibility. I think it’s going to give users overall across all WordPress sites, so much flexibility and different options. I can’t wait to see where this is going. I know that this is a first iteration.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It still has some restrictions on there. Right now, it’s only working for template post types, template parts or patterns. So, it’s more usable for theme developers or those who want to change the front end a little bit and add it there. It’s a great feature to add a little shopping cart in the header of a template, shopping cart block. Yeah, there are quite a few other use cases. I could think about the like button going everywhere. 

Joni Halabi: Oh, yeah. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Another use case could be to have a little anchor link on every paragraph, so you can share it everywhere and not have to share the full page, but just the paragraph thing if you want to cite it on a different blog post or something like that. Yeah, it would be helpful. I know a few bloggers actually do that in their self-built blog site. 

Joni Halabi: Yeah. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Do you see any other use cases off the top of your head? 

Joni Halabi: Oh, goodness. Thinking about it, I think you gave some really, really great examples. Yeah, I definitely see a lot for e-commerce usage. Maybe even have a related products block going along that e-commerce theme. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: That’s a good one. 

Joni Halabi: Yeah, I think people can get really creative with this one.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, I think so too. Yeah, so check it out. We will have the link in the show note and with all the stuff in there. 

Then the editor components updates, that’s a roundup post of all the different changes in the component’s package of the editor. It has nothing to do with the WordPress components, which are totally different. There are 60 of those, but that’s different. So, it talks about the new props for the modal component, making a popup slot available in the sidebar, rewriting tooltip and tab panel to use a better accessibility library for that, improving size consistency, all different. 

Those are the few off the top of my head or top of the list of those. Then there is a very nice new feature, it’s called the registerInserterMediaCategory API and Nick Tsekouras published that about a new hook or API. Yeah, depends on what it is, how you would say it. That is that you can add another category in the inserter for the image block. 

Joni Halabi: I love categorization. I think this is going to really enable people to better organize their media or organize their images. I don’t know too much about this, but this one looks like a very, very useful one. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: It definitely comes with an example code that actually adds a new open verse category to it, but it limits the search to exclude some sources. It’s just an example of that when people search in the open source category, open verse category. But other than that, there are some great comments in the example code and check it out. 

Then the next one that I wanted to mention is WordPress Core, and both Gutenberg and Core now are using Playwright for all browser-based unit tests. There had been a great effort to rewrite many of the unit tests to Playwright and downsize the Puppeteer exposure of the code base. 

It’s not done yet, but it’s definitely progressing very fast. Playwright just has a few advantages over Puppeteer, and most of them have to do with the browser testing. So, visual regression testing is a little bit more stable for both the Core and the Gutenberg. 

Joni Halabi: The article on this, if anybody is interested, there’s a link to Playwright documentation. There is a link to migrating tests, so that’s definitely something that’s worth checking out. If you’re in that business of writing automated tests, then it looks like it’s going to be much more stable now.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, but we still will see some flaky tests coming through the issue tracker, but I think it’s one of the oddities of the Gutenberg repo that you see flaky tests coming up and then they’re gone again because it has run through it. 

Then there’s also a new admin notice function in WordPress 6.0 and Colin Stewart wrote the death note for it with new functions get admin notice and then the parameters for it and the filters and the actions and example code for that and also how to create a collection of notices so they can be output at once. 

I’m not sure it’ll offset what many people see in the WordPress Admin. Right now, that is a page long admin notices for something, if that offsets that, but I think a lot of people were working on it for several years. So, I think that is really cool that it’s coming in now. Right now, I think it’s not mandatory to use. 

Joni Halabi: Yeah, I think it’s going to make it easier for plugin authors to create admin notices. So, for example, if your plugin is introducing a breaking change or if your plugin requires a database update, things like that, I see a lot of those notices come across. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, no, it’s definitely raising the whole field for plugin extenders. So, this and many, many more. There are many more dev note, not many, but I would say six or seven additionally being worked on for the field guide of the release. 

WordPress 6.4

Just an update on WordPress 6.4, October 17th is the day of release candidate one and that’s also the deadline for the field guide. We all know if it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done. So, also, the death notes will come in at the last minute tomorrow to get into the field guide. 

People, if you haven’t tested your theme plugin or sites with a new release, now is the time. The final release is only three weeks away, and that’s only three weeks to fix things if something doesn’t work right. Not every plugin or theme developer is that. Best ones are of course updating their plugins and the themes ahead of time, but you definitely need to make sure. 

Joni Halabi: Yes, super, super important. Use that beta test or plugin and test, test, test.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Test, test, test. I wanted to give a shout-out to a plugin called Site Health and Troubleshooting, because that plugin has saved my bacon many, many times when I was working with clients for our agency. It comes from Core developers and is a switch. Remember when you want to troubleshoot something and support says, “Did you disable all plugins and themes?” Yeah, how do you do that on a live site? It’s really hard and this plugin to the rescue, because you can as an admin switch off all plugins and themes at once without affecting the front end of your website. It’s really the best plugin testing tool ever. You get all the information from the Site Health features, and then you can enable each theme or plugin one at a time without affecting the front page. You see where the error comes in. 

Within minutes, most of the time, you figure out which plugin is the culprit and then get connected with the plugin support of that plugin and to make it. So, Site Health and Troubleshooting, the troubleshooting part isn’t a plugin. Site Health is built into WordPress. So, if you run into trouble, especially site owners that have no technical knowledge whatsoever, it’s really hard to disable all the plugins without offsetting this live site. Who does that? But yeah, I did for a while.

Joni Halabi: Yeah, and not everybody is lucky enough to have a staging site, for example. I had never heard of this plugin, but I’m writing that down. I’m going to check that out. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Of course, there will be a link in the show notes for everyone to check it out and have a better life with updating any plugins as well as themes. Yeah, so that’s my spiel around 6.4. It was a short release cycle. There were only five Gutenberg plugin releases between 6.3 and 6.4. So, that’s only half of what other major WordPress releases had before. So, 6.2 had 10 and 6.3 had 10 too, 6.4 is only five. But also, we have very early in the year and I think over all the times when we do major plugin releases during Christmastime or holiday time. So, thank God for that, but that’s why there’s also not so many new features in the version. 

Joni Halabi: Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, it did feel fairly light. I was surprised it was coming so quickly. But yeah, no, it has been about that time. 

What’s Released – Gutenberg 16.8

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Otherwise, if you do five more Gutenberg cycles, 16.8 was released at October 11. So, you would go right into the holiday time with your release, especially with the major part of the release, which is getting everything ready for beta and then getting every documentation death note written for release candidate one. So, I think this is a better way on clearing out the year, which brings us to what’s released in Gutenberg. Gutenberg 16.8 came out. Vicente Canales released it on October 11. There’s also a minor release, 16.8.1 available now, and it mainly contains its fixes and improvements that were necessary after WordPress 6.4 beta testing. 

Out of the 160 PRs, still a big release. 49 were backport to the WordPress 6.4 beta releases. So, there are definitely additional bug fixes in that release. Of course, we have the show notes for the release post that Vicente published, but we go through the show notes. There is one new feature that I wanted to point out, and that is that when you edit pages in the site editor, it now has a template toggle to show the template. The site editors in 6.3 is now also the place where you can edit your content on pages or edit the page template and now you have a toggle in that. So, it’s easier and accessible. But yeah, I saw some of the feedback coming back from the call for testing that Anne McCarthy did with the site editor. 

There’s still some really confusion in, “When are we editing content and when are we adding template?” There’s still something that confuses people, including people who do content editing every day and still get confused. Where am I now and what am I doing? So there’s still something to be had about that. 

Joni Halabi: Yeah, I can see that. There are a lot of things that we call editors within the scope of WordPress. So, I mean, there’s the editor, the site editor, the post editor. Editor is a loaded word. I think it’s really going to come down to the UI of all of these editing structures that we have. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Then you have the person editor, the editor with the capabilities of editing stuff. So, we use the same word for a lot of things. It’s confusing and you always need to figure out the context in which you are talking about, but I saw in Gutenberg, there is actually the effort to streamline the post editor with the site editor and the widget editor and all that, the navigation editor. They’re all coming into the same iframe and have now almost all the same features with a sidebar, with a list view. So, I think that the efforts are really good to streamline those interfaces. 

Joni Halabi: Yeah, for sure. There’s so much going on right now and I’m really looking forward to that effort being completed because then I think that’s the point where we’re going to get to true full site editing where everything is just on the same screen. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Right? Yeah. 

Joni Halabi: That’s going to be a good day. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. Yeah. I’m never sure if we will ever get to the completion part. Well, this is a web. Yeah, you need to let it go. Yeah. There is no perfect though. There is no complete. It’s all in flux. Yeah.

Joni Halabi: It’s an evolution. Yeah. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So, what’s next? 

Joni Halabi: So the next, there are a number of updates in the block library, and the first one that I’d like to call out is one about the footnotes. So, the footnotes now using the Core’s meta revisioning, if it’s available, which footnotes in general is a very, very interesting new feature that I really want to start diving into. But yeah, this one is specifically in terms of making sure that those revisions stay in line with what’s going on with Core. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The new feature, you’re thinking about footnotes or you’re thinking about meta revisions? 

Joni Halabi: Oh, footnotes. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Okay. 

Joni Halabi: I’m very hard focused, but yeah, no, footnotes. I think footnotes are going to be really great, especially in terms of the blogging aspects of people’s sites. I have makeshift footnotes in the posts on my own site, so streamlining the ability to create footnotes like this is….

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Especially with academic settings. Yeah, academic settings, yeah. It’s really important. Also, when you’re citing other third sources, you cannot always link from the… I think it’s easier to put it in footnotes for the reader than getting bogged down and following the link and missing the rest of the post when you link-

Joni Halabi: Exactly.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: … in between. Yeah. 

Joni Halabi: Yeah, that and annotations too. I tend to write and I also want to annotate my work. I don’t want to necessarily lead my reader down the same rabbit hole that I am in when I’m writing the post, but if they want more information, yes, please go down to the footnotes. Take a look at this rabbit hole that I have created and then please go back to my main points. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, but footnotes are stored in post meta, but there has never been a revision feature for post metadata and that’s why it’s that particular PR phrased that way. So, it uses the meta revision once available if it’s available, and there is a track ticket that the meta revisions actually are coming into 6.4. So, it’s what comes first kind of thing, but they figured it out in that. Yeah. So, the next part I wanted to point out is adding design tools to as many blocks as possible is on the way. The login, logout block now has spacing support, which is really helpful. So, you don’t have to use the spacer anymore. You can just do it through the block as well, block sidebar. 

Joni Halabi: Yup, and then the next one is being able to set a custom color when applying an initial background image. So, I love anything that lets somebody set a custom color, because then you can really control the accessibility of that background color in case your image fails for whatever reason. You can default to that custom color and it maintains the accessibility of the page. So, if your text is white and you have a dark background image, for example, then for whatever reason you’re on a poor connection, for whatever reason, the image doesn’t load, you’re not stuck with a page that’s showing white text on top of a white background because nobody can read that. Being able to set that custom color to be that fallback for the image that hopefully loads but might not. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I think one of the features here is also that it’s actually automatically detecting the background of the image that you load and setting it automatically, so you don’t have to think about it, because I wouldn’t think about that accessibility piece unless somebody points it out to me. Oh yeah, you’re right. Yeah, I should have set a custom color, but doing it automatically I think is one of those great features that you don’t have to think about and it really supports accessibility without making a fuss about it. 

Joni Halabi: Yeah, absolutely. Especially if it’s right on that cusp where if you are a fully cited user, you might be able to read that text and you might not realize, “Oh wait, this red text on a blue background, I can read it, but maybe somebody else can’t.” Yeah, I love automation like that. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah. So, the next thing is default suggested links to pages. So, that’s in context of external links. So, that’s a very interesting diagram in the PR that makes me think, “Is that too complicated or is that very easy?” It’s mainly for the navigation block. When you have a third party link, it suggests that. What does it do? 

Joni Halabi: So what my takeaway from this was that I actually had a really hard time reading this diagram that’s in here, because there is a lot going on, but it seems like the suggestions that were originally coming up in the navigation lock were just everything, post pages, what have you. It seems that they are limiting that to only pages, instead of posts, which I think narrows the scope. I like this narrowing of the scope, because when you’re creating a navigation block, you’re more likely to want to link to a more evergreen page than to a post that might be fresh now, but might be out of date in six months or a year or what have you. That’s not necessarily something you want in your navigation. So, narrowing that scope I think makes it a little bit easier to find links. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, thank you so much for jumping in there. I was drawing a blank. Yeah.

Joni Halabi: Yeah, absolutely. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The navigation in terms of posts, you probably would link more to category pages where a list of posts on a certain topic are there. The narrowing down of the scope is really helpful for the user there. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. The next one I’m really happy about because now I get a confirmation when I move a post to trash. 

Joni Halabi: We have had so many accidental deletions of the homepage. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: I was going through the developer notes and somehow I had a post published that was previously by accident deleted, came back from trash, and then had trashed in the permanent link. So, it was really, “What?” So I needed to just delete the permanent link and then it would automatically create a normal link, but it was kind of, “Huh? Why would that be?” So having a confirmation yes or no, do you really want to trash it, because it had so many ramifications to rectify that situation again. Yes, it was really hard. 

Joni Halabi: So the next one is it’s titled add template replace flow to template inspector. What it really boils down to is it looks like there is a change to just the way that you replace a template when you’re editing a page. When I was diving a little bit deeper into this, I feel like this is maybe a first pass or that there are some more passes of this to come, because I did see some comments that the UI could be streamlined a little bit more than it is, but there’s a great video that demonstrates this, where you are on the page editor. 

You can go and replace a template and then it brings you to this modal where you can choose whatever template that you want. It gives you a bunch of selections. You can choose one and your page just updates to that new template and then you can just go about your day. I recommend checking that out. It might be something, especially if you’re heavily using templates, something to keep an eye on for future updates as well. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: So before it was just a dropdown box in the site bar for the pages, and now it opens up a modal. So, you actually can preview the template that you would associate it with a page if you want to change it. So, I think that’s a really good way to think about templates that “Oh, I can reorganize the content on this page by just changing another template.” I get a preview on how that’s going to look because we are all about avoiding that piece where we say safe and pray. I think Helen Hou-Sandi uses it a lot. That’s the previous way to do editing, is you do something and then you need to look at frontend how it looks, and the block editor is all about what you see is what you get. 

Joni Halabi: Before I heavily relied on preview, which some of the previous updates to the previous functionality I was very thankful for. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Oh, yeah. Then the next one were updates in the block library. The search block got some enhancements and one is to allow the space for the input field only when the form expands and not when it’s collapsed. That was always a little bit hard to place. Then the alignment and the icon button got a little correction on the width, so it looks a little bit more streamlined. The search block is an odd block. I really liked it, but it’s always a little harder for me to add it to a navigation block definitely. But even if you want to have it standalone on top of your blog post or something like that on a template, it’s always a little bit harder to organize, I think. 

Joni Halabi: Yeah, I can see that. So, the next changeup is in the site editor, and it’s something regarding the template parts. So, basically, we are no longer displaying the navigation section in the template parts details when the menu is missing, which sounds very obvious. If there’s no navigation menu, don’t display it. So, there’s some great screenshots that illustrate this in the GitHub issue. Very, very straightforward in those details. If there’s no navigation menu, you just don’t see the navigation in the details for that template part. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: These are the quality of life issues or things that you don’t know unless you read the changelog. Oh, we needed to change that. Yes. 

Joni Halabi: Right. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The next one that I want to point out was for the font library, unfortunately, it’s not going to be in 6.4, but the management screens got a new tab and that is for the font uploads. So, if you as a user want to add additional fonts to your site, you can upload that. That was before, but now you have a separate tab for it. Before it was you needed to scroll all the way down past all the fonts and go to the upload section. Now it’s just one tab. So, it’s much easier to find. Unfortunately, for many, many people, we won’t have it in 6.4. It definitely needed more time to get finished, especially in the rest API endpoints and then have more testing going on, because I think it was only in 16.7 that it actually was merged into Gutenberg. 

They tried for two beta sessions to get it actually to a place where users can really use it. There were always something. So, the release team said, “Well, I think that’s a sign that we need to have it simmer for more moments, for a few more rounds in the Gutenberg plugin and have some more testing being done because it’s not ready yet.” Yeah.

Joni Halabi: That makes sense. I’m looking forward to it for the next version of Core, but that sounds like a really nice update. The next update affects the list views. So, there were some performance issues when a user or a content editor rather would come in and select all the blocks on the page, and there is now a fix for that. So, this affects pages that have just a lot, a lot of blocks. So, the example in the testing instructions says, “Add 150 or more paragraphs,” for example. So, before when a content editor would go in, open list view, do a command + A or control + A to select all of the blocks on the page and there are a couple hundred blocks, the editor would just freeze. It would just freeze up on you because that’s a lot of information. 

So, this particular PR that solves that performance issue. So, they’re noting that there will be a slight delay for rendering items, but there shouldn’t be any huge, huge slowdowns to the point where it makes you think that your site is broken. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, yeah. No, that’s for the power users. It’s not uncommon to have a weakened edition with many, many things and then have a couple hundred blocks in there, because we have a separator block or a spacer block or something like that. Power users really don’t want their site to be broken especially, or losing content, especially with those large posts. The next one is the image block. With the 6.4 version, the image block becomes a light box feature with it. But this Gutenberg plugin PR that I point out now fixes actually that the duo tone has not been applied to the image in the light box. 

So, you had maybe a gray filter on the duo tone filter on your image, and then people clicked on it, and then on the front end, it still has the image original colors and not the duo tone. There is a reason why there’s duo tone on an image. That was definitely a bug and it was fixed, but it was so visual that I thought we definitely want to talk about that when people tested it before. Yeah.

Joni Halabi: Yeah, for sure. Next up is an accessibility fix to what might be my favorite new block or favorite new feature, footnotes. They have added aria labels to the return links. On the footnotes, when you go down, you click on a footnote, you go down to the bottom of the page, you read your footnote. There is a little link at the end of that footnote that will take you back to the main content of the page where you picked up your footnote. Now, there is an aria label, which is great for accessibility. It will tell screen reader users, “Hey, this is where I’m going back to.” Very small but impactful change for people. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, absolutely. You don’t want to lose your place in the post just because you’re following a footnote and not going back to where it was. Yeah, same for the table of content block. There have been quite a few accessibility improvements. Them missing was actually part of the reason why the table of content block that’s in the plugin actually did not make it into WordPress 6.4 because it was not complete from how you access it. Even for the abled people, it was really hard to use the table of content, because it didn’t have a whole lot of styling options. With additional accessibility of movements, now it can be tested more and in a broader reach as well. 

Joni Halabi: I would throw this under accessibility as well. There is a small fix to the patterns, where for a block pattern that is not synced, the terminology that was being used for that was they were using standard. So, this change replaces that use of the word standard, to use not synced instead for block patterns that are not synced. I think that makes it more obvious, because standards can be… What is standard? Some people might have questions, but it just brings a level of clarity to what’s going on there. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, especially in patterns, because right now, we only have two, but we will have a third type of pattern and that will be partially synced. So, a standard, what is that? So that it really brings it home. Yeah, thank you for pointing that out as well. I think I skipped over one of the documentation items that I wanted to point out for our listeners who are looking a little bit further beyond the WordPress Gutenberg usage. Oh, that’s the real-time collaboration experiment is now switched. You can switch that on in 16.8, and there’s also a document now available in the block editor handbook about the current state of the real-time collaboration experiment. So, you can follow along on what’s going to be next year for the Gutenberg editor. 

There have been a lot of documentation changes, don’t get us wrong, but they’re mostly removing redundant stuff like remove the full site editing documentation because it will be in the themes handbook. Rename block hooks to block filters, because now block hooks are a different feature. So, it’s all a little bit, but the team is really working very hard to get the documentation up to par with 6.4 as well. Yeah, I think that was the changelog for 16.8, the Gutenberg plugin version. Thank you so much for going through that with me. 

What’s in Active Deveopment or Discussed

We are now at the section what’s in active development or what’s in discussed. I would say with WordPress 6.4 almost out the door, Gutenberg developers are shifting gears now and also working on some new things. 

Those need your input opinion, design use, and I share with you in the show notes four links. The first one would be a media library proof of concept in the site editor. The contributor has done some really experiment with that on how to add images right through your media library there, have a list view there. Now, list view, not from the editor but from a list of media and how you can navigate that and how you can preview that and all that. So, that’s really a first version of it. Take a look. It’s not yet merged. The PR itself has been closed. I just see that, but there is a replacement of that, right? 

Joni Halabi: Yeah. That PR in particular is labeled as purely an experiment, but at the top of that PR, there is a great video that demonstrates this proof of concept, which I personally really like it. I think it’s far more intuitive. It only shows the list view. There is also a grid view that if you dive a little bit more into the PR, you can see some screenshots of the grid view as well. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: The developer now that his experiments, he went through them, he now opened a tracking issue on GitHub called Collaboration Media Library. I’m sure there will be quite a few discussion threads going on there. The whole feature is now divided up into certain tasks and defines a little bit more than scope and all that. So, you can read up more about what the developers are thinking right now. 

Joni Halabi: Yeah, this is exciting. It’s nice to see the media library getting a little bit of love here. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, it definitely needs a lot of love. Yes, I have seen tickets or track tickets that are 18 years old and you say, “Okay, yeah, I wonder if we ever get categories for our media libraries or better views or bulk updates, all kinds of things.” So if you look at the track tickets that are concerned in the media library, there are quite a few that could use some love. 

All right. The second link of what active development or discussed is introduce an experimental form and input blocks to allow building basic forms. So, the ecosystem of WordPress has a huge amount of plugins that help you with creating forms. Forms are very, very important. A lot of interactivity is built on top of forms and there has been a 15-year history of what forms need to be or could be. 

Ari did an experiment to figure out, “Okay, if we had a standard on how blocks are built for forms, maybe the plugins can build on top of the standards.” Then when you switch out the plugin for forms, it wouldn’t destroy all your forms and you had to recreate them. Of course, some of the plugins have imports of other plugins forms, but that’s just good common sense because otherwise they wouldn’t be able to sell to existing customers or those who have existing forms. That is definitely something that’s merged in Gutenberg already. 

It’s an experiment, so when you activate Gutenberg in your website, you could scroll down to the menu Gutenberg and then there is a section there called experiments. There you can switch on the experiment you are interested in. So, this one actually also deals with block bindings, data bindings, and that kind of thing. So, it’s going to be really interesting to see what you think when you use it. 

Joni Halabi: Yeah, this is an exciting one because I can see in the future people creating block patterns for just really common use cases. So, the demo video shows like a send a message pattern, but I see patterns all over the internet for subscribe to my newsletter, get on my mailing list, things like that. Forms are so common on sites in general. I’m excited about this one too. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, all really good too. There are even some plugins that actually provide input blocks already, but also, it narrows down the openness again when you have to have a separate plugin for your forms and then what happens afterwards when you don’t use the plugin anymore. 

Joni Halabi: Yeah, exactly. Having this just part of Core is great. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, it’s really good. Then the third one is for the insiders of using React quite a bit is that the default JSX import is done through React rather than the WordPress elements package. So, it automatically updates when React updates and the front page of WordPress elements package is actually a wraparound the React package. So, taking it out, taking the JSX feature out of that makes it more streamlined with React. 

Joni Halabi: Yeah, for sure. Just for clarity, for block creators, this should not affect your code at all. This is really just how JSX is getting pulled in. So, if you’re using JSX, you should not need to change anything. This is really a very backend change.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, and the WordPress elements package will still be around because it’s already in Core and there is this backwards compatibility promise as well. Yeah, yeah. So, thank you for pointing it out. There’s always this fear. Are there breaking changes? Yeah.

Joni Halabi: That was my first thought when I read that one actually. That’s why I wanted to point it out. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Yeah, thank you. So, good to have you on the show, Joni. You pointed out quite a few things that I didn’t think about. So, yeah. 

So, the last one on the section what’s active or what’s discussed is that the Gutenberg has now new labels for the data views. Normally, I wouldn’t point out new labels at the Gutenberg repo that come and go. I think we have about 400 or so labels there. So, yeah, I wouldn’t do it on the podcast. But with the new admin changes that are coming with the Gutenberg phase number three, many people want to be on the forefront or want to keep track of what’s happening. Do I have to change things or can I influence how it’s going and stay on top of it? This new label was created to label for the data views work. 

So, every time there is a custom post type list or a media list in various things, so that in the WP Admin, like your post list, it’ll all be reimagined in the site editor paradigm kind of thing. The label tracks the high level work for that. So, you can really follow along with that and even subscribe to that without getting the fire hose of the rest of the Gutenberg repo that has a lot of issues and PRs every week. 

I think we are at the end of our show today, and I ask every special guest in that section now. So, Joni, if there’s anything that you want to announce or you want to point out that you didn’t get a chance to talk about because you didn’t get a chance, now is your chance. 

Joni Halabi: Oh, my. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: How can people reach you? What are you working on? Is there something exciting in your life that you released?

Joni Halabi: Nothing coming just yet. I did a talk a little while ago at WordPress Accessibility Day that I think the recordings are coming out. I don’t know if they’re already out, but I will announce it on my socials. I am @JoniHalabi almost everywhere, and you can also find me… I infrequently blog at my website, which is

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Well, yeah, thank you for pointing out the WordPress Accessibility Day. So, what did you present about, what’s your talk about? 

Joni Halabi: It was actually a plugin that I initially created a while ago. I call it Besan Block, but it is essentially a way to create accessible SVG bar charts on your website and it integrates with Google Sheets. So, you can automatically import your content from a Google sheet and it will create a bar chart. It’s accessible and tabable and readable by screen readers. So, I walked folks through how to do that. The primary focus of that particular talk was the creation of the accessible SVG. 

Birgit Pauli-Haack: Okay. Yeah, so I’m definitely going to mention that in the show notes as well. Is that plugin available in the repo or is it on GitHub? 

Joni Halabi: It is. It’s available in GitHub, but it is also in the WordPress plugin directory. It is called Besan Block, B-E-S-A-N.

Birgit Pauli-Haack: B-E-S-A-N. Okay. I’ll find it. Thank you so much. Yeah. Thank you for being on the show. As always, the show notes, dear listeners, will be published on This is episode 91. If you have any questions or suggestions or news that you want us to include the next time, send them to That’s an email address and it’s So, thank you so much, Joni, for joining us today. Thank you all of the listeners for listening. If you want, it would be really, really helpful if you would do a review on your favorite podcast app.

We haven’t had any reviews because we didn’t ask for it, but it always helps with the distribution of the changelog. Absolutely, you will get it read on the next episode. So, there’s a little shout-out if it’s a good review of course. Maybe if it’s a mediocre review. All right. So, that’s it. Thank you for listening. Goodbye, and I’ll talk to you in probably four weeks. Thank you so much. 

Joni Halabi: Thank you, everybody.

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