The Month in WordPress: February 2021

Posted by download | Posted in Software | Posted on 03-03-2021

You don’t have to be rich to have an online presence. You don’t have to find loopholes in proprietary platforms and hope that they never change their terms of service. You own all of the content that you create on a WordPress site and have the liberty to move it to a new host if you need to, or switch your theme if it fits your mood.

That was Josepha Haden Chomphosy on WordPress is Free(dom) episode of the WP Briefing Podcast, speaking about the four freedoms of open-source software. Those four freedoms are core to how WordPress is developed. A lot of the updates we bring you this month will resonate with those freedoms.


WordPress now powers 40% of the web

W3Techs reported that WordPress now powers 40% of the top 10 million websites in the world! Every two minutes, a new website using WordPress says, “Hello world”! For the top 1000 sites, the market share is even higher at 51.8%. Over the past 10 years, the growth rate has increased, which is reflected by the fact that 66.2% of all new websites use WordPress!

WordPress release updates

February was an eventful month for WordPress releases!

Want to contribute to upcoming WordPress releases? Join the WordPress #core channel in the Make WordPress Slack and follow the Core team blog. The Core team hosts weekly chats on Wednesdays at 5 AM and 8 PM. UTC. You can also contribute to WordPress 5.7 by translating it into your local language. Learn more on the translation status post.

Gutenberg celebrates its 100th release with version 10

The 100th release of the Gutenberg plugin — Version 10,  launched on February 17th, more than four years after the project was first announced at WordCamp US 2016. Matias Ventura’s post offers a bird’s eye view of the project over the last four years. Version 10 adds the basic pages block and makes the parent block selector visible in the block toolbar. Version 9.9 of Gutenberg — coincidentally, the 99th release of the plugin, which is also the latest Gutenberg release that will be featured in WordPress 5.7, also came out in February. Key highlights of the release include custom icons and background colors in social icons, a redesigned options modal for blocks (which is now called block preferences), and text labels in the block toolbar. 

Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Full Site Editing updates

Full Site Editing (FSE) is an exciting new WordPress feature that allows you to use blocks outside the post or page content. The main focus of the Core team for 2021 is to merge FSE into WordPress core. Here’s the latest on the Full Site Editing project: 

Decision-making checklist for in-person meetups

The Community Team has published handbook pages and a decision-making checklist for organizers to restart in-person meetups at areas where it is safe to do so (e.g., countries such as New Zealand, Australia, and Taiwan, where there are lower COVID-19 risks). However, WordPress meetups and WordCamps in most parts of the world will remain online due to COVID-19.


Further Reading

Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it using this form.

The following people also contributed to this edition of the Month in WordPress: @adityakane @chaion07 @courtneypk @kristastevens and @psykro.

WordPress 5.7 Release Candidate 2

Posted by download | Posted in Software | Posted on 02-03-2021

The second release candidate for WordPress 5.7 is now available! 🎉

You can test the WordPress 5.7 release candidate in two ways:

Thank you to all of the contributors who tested the Beta/RC releases and gave feedback. Testing for bugs is a critical part of polishing every release and a great way to contribute to WordPress.

Plugin and Theme Developers

Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.7 and update the Tested up to version in the readme file to 5.7. If you find compatibility problems, please be sure to post to the support forums, so those can be figured out before the final release.

The WordPress 5.7 Field Guide will give you a more detailed dive into the major changes.

How to Help

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages!

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

Props to @lukecarbis for the haiku and @audrasjb and @hellofromtonya for peer reviewing!


Five-seven next week
So test your plugins and themes
Update your readme

Did You Know About Reusable Blocks?

Posted by download | Posted in Software | Posted on 24-02-2021

Created by Joen Asmussen, @joen

The WordPress block editor (a.k.a. Gutenberg) comes with a feature called “reusable blocks.” They are blocks, saved for later, edited in one place.

Have you ever wanted to:

  • Re-use the same snippet of text across posts and pages?
  • Save complex layouts to spare you having to copy/paste from one post to another?

Reusable blocks can do these things.

Like templates, you mean?

Not quite. Think of reusable blocks as snippets of globally synchronized content that are personal to you. You can edit all your reusable blocks in one place, and any post or page you inserted that block into, get the updated version as well. 

Where you might use templates to structure your website, you can use reusable blocks to structure your content. For example:

  • A testimonial on your homepage and your product page.
  • A “this post is part of a series” box that you insert part-way through your article.
  • A “Follow me on social media” section you can weave into the prose of your popular article.
  • Complex but static blocks, such as a “Subscribe to my newsletter” box, a contact form, a survey, quiz, or polls.

Key properties are that reusable blocks are unbeatable when you want to reuse a snippet of content, edit it in one place, and have the changes propagate to every instance.

Show me how

To create a reusable block, open the block editor and create the content you want to reuse:

Now select the content you want to turn into a reusable block, then click the three-dot “More” menu and choose “Add to Reusable blocks.”

Voilà, you’ve now created a reusable block. From now on, you can find this block, and any other you create, in the “Reusable blocks” tab in the block library:

This is also where you can insert the newly created block on any of your posts or pages.

Where do I edit my existing reusable blocks?

To edit a reusable block, select it and make your edits. When you make an edit, the Publish button will have a little dot indicator:

This dot indicates you’ve made a global change that potentially affects posts beyond just the one you’re editing, the same as when you’re editing templates. This lets you confirm the change was intentional.

Another way to edit your reusable blocks is to click the global three-dot “More” menu and selecting “Manage all reusable blocks”:

This takes you to a section letting you edit, rename, export, or delete every reusable block you created. 

What else can I do?

Here are a couple of tips and tricks you can leverage to get the most out of reusable blocks.

Give them a good name

When you name a reusable block, you are essentially choosing your search terms, as the name is what you search for in the block library (or when you use the “slash command,” typing / in an empty paragraph):

Avoid names such as “Gallery” or “Image,” as that’ll be annoying when you just want to insert one of those. You can avoid that with a unique name, such as “My author biography.”

Insert in the best place of your content flow

One obvious benefit of reusable blocks is that they are just blocks, just like everything else in the block editor. That means you can insert it anywhere in your content. You might want your rich author biography to sit at the top or bottom of the post, but This post is part of a series box that might sit well two or three paragraphs not to disrupt the reading flow.

Layouts can be hard; provide yourself a shortcut

Maybe you created a complex layout you’re happy with, a call to action with the right image and buttons, and it took a while to get it just right. Go on and save it as a reusable block: even if you mean to insert it only to convert it to a regular block, it might still save you a minute. 

To convert a reusable block to regular (blocks, select it and click the “Convert to regular blocks”:

Design by Beatriz Fialho.

Tip: You can also find some nice patterns on Gutenberg Hub or ShareABlock.

Take it with you

Need to move to another site? You can both export and import reusable blocks. Go to the Manage all reusable blocks section from the global three-dot “More” menu, hover over the block you want to export, and click “Export as JSON”:

The downloaded file can be imported on any WordPress 5.0 or newer website.

Try it

Create a draft post and play around with Reusable Blocks to see how you might start using them. You can always delete them when you’re done playing.

You can test importing and using a small reusable block I created as an example. It’s a “Further reading” block that shows the four latest posts from the category “Featured”:

It might work well as a highlight in an article, giving the reader something new to read or awareness of your other content.

Download the block from this gist, import it to your WordPress site, then customize to make it yours.

WordPress 5.7 Release Candidate

Posted by download | Posted in Software | Posted on 23-02-2021

The first release candidate for WordPress 5.7 is now available! 🎉

Please join us in celebrating this very important milestone in the community’s progress towards the final release!

“Release Candidate” means that the new version is ready for release, but with millions of users and thousands of plugins and themes, it’s possible something was missed. WordPress 5.7 is slated for release on March 9, 2021, but your help is needed to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.7 yet, now is the time!

You can test the WordPress 5.7 release candidate in two ways:

Thank you to all of the contributors who tested the Beta releases and gave feedback. Testing for bugs is a critical part of polishing every release and a great way to contribute to WordPress.

What’s in WordPress 5.7?

  • Robots API and Media Search Engine Visibility
  • Detect HTTPS support
  • Lazy-load images
  • jQuery migrate-related Deprecation notice clean-up
  • Admin color palette standardization
  • The newest version of the Gutenberg plugin

Plugin and Theme Developers

Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.7 and update the Tested up to version in the readme file to 5.7. If you find compatibility problems, please be sure to post to the support forums, so those can be figured out before the final release.

The WordPress 5.7 Field Guide will give you a more detailed dive into the major changes.

How to Help

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! This release also marks the hard string freeze point of the 5.7 release schedule.

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

Props to @audrasjb for copy suggestions and @davidbaumwald for final review.


Test this test that
Catch everything that you can
Before it’s live…
🤯

Turn Your WordPress.com Blog into a Podcast with Anchor

Posted by download | Posted in Software | Posted on 22-02-2021

Blogging on WordPress.com is all about sharing your unique voice, and starting today, you can extend that to another platform: Anchor. We previously shared some tips and tricks for getting started with a podcast on WordPress.com and are thrilled to share this new option.

Anchor, part of the Spotify family, powers the most podcasts worldwide, with free tools to easily create, distribute, and monetize, no matter how you record — including podcasting with your WordPress.com blog!

Creating an Anchor podcast from your site is free and seamless. After all, you’ve already got a whole blog’s worth of written content to use. With Anchor, all that’s left is converting your words into audio, which can be as easy as using your blog to quickly record a text-to-speech version.

Blog-to-podcast benefits

Making a podcast out of your blog breathes new life into the work you’re already doing — you can make your unique blogging voice actually audible! By converting your blog into a podcast, you’re leveraging the power of audio to grow your brand, audience, and income — without any extra work. Hundreds of millions of listeners (and counting) consume podcasts every day, and they’re constantly looking for fresh voices and perspectives. Whether you have a built-in WordPress.com audience to bring over or not, an audio extension of your blog means another avenue for exposure — to your existing followers and new ones. And then there’s monetization: Anchor Sponsorships lets you read ads in your own voice during a break in your podcast; Anchor’s Listener Support feature, meanwhile, allows your biggest fans to support your work via a recurring monthly donation.

A podcast version of your WordPress.com blog also introduces an entirely different audience to your work, and frees listeners up to do what readers aren’t able to: multitask! There are, of course, many benefits to readers fully immersing themselves in the written content of a blog. But audio enables listeners to consume your work while performing everyday activities, like going for a walk, driving, cooking, or just relaxing. Last but not least, turning your blog into a podcast unlocks it for those who are visually impaired or may otherwise have difficulty accessing the written version.

Let your words do the talking


Connect your site to Anchor and your existing blog posts will import as episode drafts

Your blog can almost literally do the talking for you with direct text-to-speech, similar to an audio transcription of an article. This is a great option for blogs less dependent on top-notch production value and more focused on the content itself — such as well-researched news, sports, essays, and wellness stories. With text-to-speech conversion, your blog can be podcast-ready in a few minutes.


Converting your blog post to podcast-ready audio and distributing your new show takes just a few minutes.

Of course, if you want to create a podcast that highlights your actual speaking voice, you can record it by reading a transcript of your blog post, which will be imported directly into Anchor for easy access.

You can get more creative, too, by using your blog as a jumping-off point to host an audio discussion about the blog topic. Or let your blog serve as inspiration for a more traditional podcast, where you host and interview guests, record scripted segments, and much more, in ways amplified by audio!

Create a podcast today

There are a number of different ways to turn your WordPress.com blog into a podcast. The amount of work it takes can be surprisingly minimal — or more hands-on if you like. Whether you just want to create an audio version of your blog, expand your blog concept to a different platform, or simply try your hand (and voice) at a new medium, there’s a podcast structure for you. Most importantly, your written work means you’re not starting from scratch.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for creating a podcast on Anchor from your existing pages and posts on WordPress.com:

If you’re looking for inspiration, a perfect example is TheDesignAir, whose blog covers aviation design and product news. Check out their text-to-speech podcast with Anchor:

Ready to turn your blog into an Anchor podcast for free? Get started by creating your Anchor account. Happy podcasting!

WordPress 5.6.2 Maintenance Release

Posted by download | Posted in Software | Posted on 22-02-2021

WordPress 5.6.2 is now available!

This maintenance release includes 5 bug fixes. These bugs affect WordPress version 5.6.1, so you’ll want to upgrade.

You can download WordPress 5.6.2 directly, or visit the Dashboard → Updates screen and click Update Now. If your sites support automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process.

WordPress 5.6.2 is a small maintenance release focused on fixing user-facing issues discovered in 5.6.1. The next major release will be version 5.7, currently scheduled for release on March 9, 2021.

To see a full list of changes, you can browse the list on Trac, read the 5.6.2 RC1 post, or visit the 5.6.2 documentation page.

Thanks and props!

The 5.6.2 release was led by @desrosj. Special props to @isabel_brison and @talldanwp for helping to prepare the block editor related fixes, and @audrasjb and @sergeybiryukov for helping with other release related tasks.

Props to everyone who helped make WordPress 5.6.2 happen:

aaronrobertshaw, Addie, André Maneiro, archon810, Ari Stathopoulos, bartosz777, Bernhard Reiter, Daniel Richards, David Anderson, dbtedg, glendaviesnz, hmabpera, ibiza69, Isabel Brison, Jason Ryan, Jb Audras, Juliette Reinders Folmer, Kai Hao, Kerry Liu, Konrad Chmielewski, Jorge Costa, magnuswebdesign, Marius L. J., Matt Wiebe, Mukesh Panchal, Paal Joachim Romdahl, Prem Tiwari, Q, Riad Benguella, Robert Anderson, roger995, Sergey Biryukov, Sergey Yakimov, Steven Stern (sterndata), Takashi Kitajima, tonysandwich, worldedu, Yui.

Reflecting on Gutenberg’s 100th Release

Posted by download | Posted in Software | Posted on 19-02-2021

1.0 to 10.0

Gutenberg 10.0 released this week, February 17, 2021, marking the 100th release of the Gutenberg plugin; the 100th release of a journey that started more than four years ago when Matt announced the project at WordCamp US 2016. 

Where We Started

The past four years have not always been an easy journey. Shipping something this impactful is not easy, and there was precedent for keeping the editor as it was: WordPress had already tried to replace TinyMCE a couple of times already. What would be different this time around? The worry was “not much” and initially, very few people actively joined the project.

Six months later came WordCamp Europe 2017 and the first release of the plugin. The editor was nowhere close to being usable, but it “clicked” for some. The reactions to the presentation were hopeful, but afterward, there was a lot of pushback.

Gutenberg was (and is) an audacious project. With a project this big it attracted a lot of attention, and it became difficult to discern constructive debate from mere opposition. We each come with our context, and some people had a fixed idea about what they wanted for the project. Some wanted to reuse an existing page builder, others wanted to revive the Fields API project, some wanted it to be front-end-first, others wanted it just to replace the classic editor’s content area, some wanted it to be in Vue.JS, others wanted no change at all. With a product used by 40% of the web, you hope to find consensus, and when compromises have to be made, it can be difficult for those involved to avoid feeling that their voice is being ignored.

We have also made quite a few mistakes: stability wasn’t great in some releases, performance suffered in others, and accessibility as well. But we kept pushing forward, using feedback to improve the editor and the project in all aspects until its first inclusion in WordPress 5.0, and we’re still working to improve it today.

Where We Are

It’s a delight to see some people who strongly disagreed with the initial vision or approach to Gutenberg gradually come to enjoy using the editor and join the project to carry on its vision. Others might still not like it; some won’t ever use it. One thing is certain; we’ll continue doing our best to push forward, improve what’s already shipped, and ship new exciting features. We’ll continue making mistakes and hopefully continue learning from them.

Wednesday marked the 100th release of Gutenberg, and while that looks remarkable on the outside, the release itself holds what all the other releases did. It holds improvements to the existing features, it fixes bugs that users reported, adds new features, and it highlights experiments with new ideas.

What is remarkable about the release is the people. The ones who were with us from the start, the ones who were with us but left, the ones who joined in our journey, everyone who helped along the way, everyone who provided feedback, everyone who got their hands dirty, and everyone who tried to use this editor, extend it and provide ideas.

Thank you all.

WordPress 5.7 Beta 3

Posted by download | Posted in Software | Posted on 16-02-2021

WordPress 5.7 Beta 3 is now available for testing! 🗣

This software is still in development, so it’s not recommended to run this version on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with it.

You can test the WordPress 5.7 Beta 3 in two ways:

  • Install/activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (select the Bleeding edge channel and the Beta/RC Only stream)
  • Direct download the beta version here (zip).

The current target for final release is March 9, 2021. That’s just three weeks away, so your help is vital to making sure that the final release is as good as it can be.

Some Highlights

Since Beta 2, 27 bugs have been fixed. Here is a summary of some of the included changes:

  • Adjusted color contrast on various admin buttons to improve accessibility and readability (#52402)
  • Several fixes for the Twenty Twenty-One theme (#52287, #52377, #52431, #52500, #52502, #52412)
  • Replaced editor typeface with system fonts to improve privacy and performance (#46169)
  • Added i18n support to register_block_type_from_metadata function (#52301)
  • Media upload errors are now more accessible (#47120)
  • New filter to modify how pagination links are rendered when using paginate_links function (#44018)

How You Can Help

Watch the Make WordPress Core blog for 5.7-related developer notes in the coming weeks, which will break down these and other changes in greater detail.

So far, contributors have fixed 171 tickets in WordPress 5.7, including 64 new features and enhancements, and more bug fixes are on the way.

Do some testing!

Testing for bugs is a vital part of polishing the release during the beta stage and a great way to contribute. ✨

If you think you’ve found a bug, please post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We would love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac. That’s also where you can find a list of known bugs.

Props to @audrasjb and @lukecarbis for your peer revisions.


Finish line ahead
Defects in focus
We are almost there…

Build a Beautiful Site in the WordPress Mobile Apps with Predesigned Page Layouts

Posted by download | Posted in Software | Posted on 11-02-2021

Your WordPress mobile app is a convenient way to create and manage your WordPress site. Now, you can design a new page right from your phone or tablet — and build the site of your dreams — with predesigned page layouts.

Introducing starter page layouts

Not all of us are designers, and building a page on your site with the layout in your mind can be intimidating and time-consuming — but it doesn’t have to be that way! Now when you create a new page on WordPress for iOS or Android, you can choose from premade layouts. You can also customize them to fit your needs, right from the block editor.

Choosing a layout

When you create a new page in the app, you’ll see a list of premade page layouts, including about pages, contact pages, team pages, services pages, and more. Whether you’re the owner of an online shop of sustainably made clothing, the founder of a newly formed digital magazine, or a financial strategist who’s just launched a consulting business, you can use these premade layouts to build the most essential pages on your website.

Once you find a layout that you’d like to try, tap it to select it. After you’ve selected a layout, you can either preview it or create a new page with the chosen layout.

Ready to try these new Starter Page Layouts? Be sure to update your WordPress app to the latest version. If you don’t have the app yet, download it for free, on both Android and iOS.

We’d love to hear your feedback on these new layouts. Reach out to us from within the app by going to My Site, tapping your photo on the top right, tapping Help & Support,  and then selecting Contact Support.

WordPress 5.7 Beta 2

Posted by download | Posted in Software | Posted on 09-02-2021

WordPress 5.7 Beta 2 is now available for testing! 🗣

This software is still in development, so it’s not recommended to run this version on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with it.

You can test the WordPress 5.7 Beta 2 in two ways:

  • Install/activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (select the Bleeding edge channel and the Beta/RC Only stream)
  • Direct download the beta version here (zip).

The current target for final release is March 9, 2021. That’s just four weeks away, so your help is vital to making sure that the final release is as good as it can be.

Some Highlights

Since Beta 1, 38 bugs have been fixed. Here is a summary of some of the included changes:

  • Italicized text has been removed to improve accessibility and readability (#47326)
  • Pause any playing media when closing the the media modal (#48562)
  • Add Content-Security-Policy script loaders (#39941)
  • Several fixes for the Twenty Twenty-One theme (#50454#52432#52433#52473#52477, #52374)
  • Gutenberg editor support for custom spacing (#51760)
  • Resolved Menu UI issues on medium-large screen sizes (#49576)
  • Admin UI color palette: ensure that all interactive elements have an appropriate contrast ratio (#52402)

How You Can Help

Watch the Make WordPress Core blog for 5.7-related developer notes in the coming weeks, which will break down these and other changes in greater detail.

So far, contributors have fixed 157 tickets in WordPress 5.7, including 68 new features and enhancements, and more bug fixes are on the way.

Do some testing!

Testing for bugs is a vital part of polishing the release during the beta stage and a great way to contribute. ✨

If you think you’ve found a bug, please post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We would love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac. That’s also where you can find a list of known bugs.

Props to @audrasjb, @hellofromtonya, @francina and @desrosj for your peer revisions!