WordPress 5.2 is still (at the time of this writing) slated to arrive next Tuesday (May 7th). In the meantime, the second release candidate is out. We covered a lot of developer information for 5.2 in last week's notes, but there's still more to add:

👉 The latest version of Gutenberg (5.6) is out, and its changes will roll out with WordPress 5.2. (You can see them now if you're using the Gutenberg plugin.) It brings some improvements to button block focus states and theming, and block mover controls for full- and wide-aligned blocks.

👉 Heather Burns shared some information about the privacy updates coming in 5.2. The privacy team shipped 15 bug fixes and nine enhancements, including the introduction of new privacy policy page helpers which Heather says was “the biggest win.” Now themes can easily style the Privacy Policy page.

I appreciated this post from Josepha Haden on “Fostering Collaboration Across Cultures.” There are some excellent tips for both team members and team leaders here.

Stereotypes can hinder communication, and I think even with the WordPress community being open and relatively peaceful, we are all human beings and all of us need to be aware of how we communicate with other teams. If you want to reflect on some higher level communication concepts, take some time out for this.

Josepha also published a final post for the WordPress 5.0 retrospective, documenting the results from the survey. Some key takeaways:

  • Two subjects dominated the suggestions for things to start doing in future releases: communication practices and documentation practices.
  • The most requested things to stop doing were mostly directed at leadership regarding communication (e.g., making decisions in private), process (e.g., releases immediately before significant events and holidays), and community (e.g., letting a feature focus consume the entire project.)
  • There was a lot of agreement about what went well, and many suggested changes have already been put into practice.

WPCampus released the accessibility audit of Gutenberg that was conducted by Tenon, starting in late 2018. You can read the 34-page Executive Summary. 💦

WPCampus explains, “This report is best understood as a snapshot of the state of the editor in early 2019.” They note that many of the accessibility issues the report documents have been or are currently being dealt with by the WordPress Accessibility Team and Gutenberg contributors. For that reason, Tenon's report should be read “as a reference document for measuring continuing progress toward accessibility.”

To help improve Gutenberg based on their findings, Tenon opened 90 issues on GitHub. Six have already been closed as of this writing.

Steph Yiu (from WordPress VIP) relates her experience at the Poynter Institute’s Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media. Steph says she was able “to participate in sessions on being a change agent, negotiating as a woman, promoting diversity in leadership, and personal career development.” 🙋

Thanks to its distributed and open culture creed, WordPress VIP has been a good fit for Poynter's program.

Nevena Tomovic, business development manager at Human Made, is asking for your feedback in a survey that “aims to identify essential skills for a modern digital career, as perceived by the diverse WordPress community.” Nevena is planning on presenting the survey results at WordCamp Europe in Berlin.

Gravity View announced a diversity grant for PressNomics 2019. If you “identify as a woman or as part of an underrepresented group in the tech industry,” you may qualify. For those who are eligible, apply as soon as you can! If you don't think you qualify, then help spread the word. 🗣️

Yoast SEO 11.1 is officially out. This release features schema improvements for videos and images along with better language support for German.

ThemeIsle just launched Blocks Animation, which allows you to add CSS animations to any Gutenberg Block.

K. Adam White shows off an experiment to make it easier to load and “hot reload” JavaScript blocks and plugins in Gutenberg.

A feature plugin for WooCommerce is out with a new dashboard where store owners can manage and monitor all key reporting metrics. Gary Murray highlights the key features of WooCommerce Admin, and it's planned to be a part of the WooCommerce core.

Mandy Jones explains how to write digital product store newsletters. “Your mailing list is a digital portal – a direct line to your audience,” so use it well.

Mandy shows how to craft meaningful messages, personalize the experience, and explains the standard structure for digital product newsletters.

Ever wonder if Google and Gmail are mishandling your email? I'm beginning to wonder that myself after reading this analysis by Tomaž Šolc entitled “Google Is Eating Our Mail.” 🍽️

I stumbled on this post from Phil Sturgeon — an interesting explanation of RPC, REST, and GraphQL:

Every API in the world is following some sort of paradigm, whether it knows it or not. They will fall under RPC, REST, or a “query language.”

“Even if you are confident you understand the difference,” Phil says you probably are in the 99% who doesn't.

If you work with these technologies, give Phil's post a read.

Zac Gordon has another new book coming out from OSTraining. Javascript Explained will be released around July 1st.

Carl Alexander continues his deep dev dives into the WordPress admin with this new post about building admin pages for special situations. Carl has some outstanding code examples — if you want to see improvements that you can make to the admin page system, bookmark this one. 🔖

Creative Commons has launched its search engine, which indexes over 300 million images with CC licenses or in the public domain. 📷

CC Search is a new service that has been designed to offer an easy way to search the Commons’ archive of images drawn from the Cleveland Museum of Art, Bēhance, DeviantArt, 3D designs from Thingiverse, and 15 others. (The biggest collection, by far, is from Flickr.)

More collections will be added, with priority given to significant archives like Europeana and Wikimedia Commons. (Europeana was part of the beta and the old version.) 🖼️

If you want to improve the accessibility of your work, always ensure navigation menus and links have accessible, descriptive names that make sense. Some useful tips from Hidde de Vries. 🏷️

I was surprised to see the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is now on Github, mainly because of the massive amount of code involved. This migration started in 2016 and slowly reached completion in early 2019. 👴

Here's an in-depth look at the native image lazy-loading (for images and iframes) that is coming to Chrome — and hopefully the other major browsers.

Here's a WordPress plugin to register custom taxonomies on your entire multisite network from Harvard University‘s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Arman Zakaryan (Director of Hosting Operations at Amazon) and Michael Martin (Pagely) talk about Amazon Aurora and how it can increase capacity on production workloads with WordPress sites.

Nieman Journalism Lab reported on a really unfortunate turn of events for The Correspondent, apparently from their own communication failures. Managing expectations in a highly successful crowdfunded project must be as perilous as it is difficult — and therefore essential — to prioritize. 😓

🎙️ Here are a few podcasts I've enjoyed recently:

  • If you've ever been overloaded with work, then you'll appreciate this conversation with Paul Lacey on the subject of dealing with overload, the limits of your mental bandwidth, and when to consider getting professional help. The previous episode with Laura Nelson and Phil Morrow is next on my playlist, and it covers anxiety.
  • Voices of the ElePHPant podcast is an interview podcast focused on the PHP community. Usually, the episodes are shorter than 30 minutes, so they are easy to consume. Several episodes I've listened to lately involve some great women in the community: Olivia Liddell, Amrita Jain, and Kat Zień.
  • The Women in WP team spoke with Bethany Siegler about her journey to WordPress and how she became a WordPress educator.
  • Dave Rupert and Chris Coyier on ShopTalk cover a lot of topics: styling Gutenburg blocks, Firefox empathy, and the general state of web browsers in 2019.
  • If you are into JavaScript and front-end development (and shorter podcasts), then a recent Syntax episode might be perfect for you. It covers some new CSS functions, Houdini CSS, and PWAs.
  • On the Wordfence podcast, Mark Maunder chats with Jon Brown (CEO of 9seeds) about running an agency and remote work. There's also the usual security news and trends to catch up on.