Gutenberg and Full Site Editing

Gutenberg 6.1 was released this past week, and it includes some significant interface enhancements you will notice right away. The most noteworthy is the introduction of motion/animation when you are reordering, adding, or removing blocks.

The image block link settings have been improved too, and REST API error messages now appear as notices. There is also a claim about performance: “typing is 30% faster on long posts.” ⌨️💨

The idea of Gutenberg growing to encompass the “full site editing experience” is getting more traction with this Github ticket submitted by Riad Benguella. ” Expanding the editor outside of post_content” may overlap with the role of “page builder,” by some definitions.

In that vein, Felix Arntz has created a Block Areas plugin that “allows you to define certain areas” anywhere on a WordPress site “that you can then edit like a regular post” using the Gutenberg editor.

Mel Choyce has shared some Gutenberg block directory and block management concepts for the WordPress admin interface and is asking for feedback.

Honey Code is a new Gutenberg Syntax Highlighter Block from Chris Kelley. It handles syntax highlighting quite nicely. ✨

Ryan Welcher from 10up introduced SlotFill — “a modernized take on classic interface ‘hooks and filters' in WordPress” that extends Gutenberg's interface.

Slot and Fill are a pair of React components that allow developers to inject items into predefined spaces. Together they are “a pattern for component extensibility.”

Ryan shows how SlotFill allowed 10up “to maintain the classic editor UI conventions” for their Distributor plugin in Gutenberg.

Demo plugins are available, and SlotFill has been officially added to the next WordPress core release.

More WCEU Recaps

Here's an excellent WordCamp Europe contribution day recap from the Make WordPress Design team. I appreciate seeing how the discussion about Gutenberg and interaction resulted in designers opening issues in Github.

Codeable had a nice recap as well and an interesting post about quickly taking professional photos of their team — 34 portraits in less than 2 hours with no studio. 🤳

Only “Mostly Uninstalled”

If you use or have ever used Zoom on for MacOS, you should be aware of a vulnerability that allows a malicious website to enable your camera without your permission. Even if you've uninstalled Zoom, you are still vulnerable. 😲

To paraphrase Miracle Max, there's a big difference between mostly uninstalled and all uninstalled.

On Sunday, July 14, a fix from Zoom was released, so manually update your app!

Apple even stepped in to remove the local server Zoom installs (Yikes!) in a silent update. (Thank you, Apple!) 🙏

Developers can learn a few things from this incident. At the very least, uninstalling and deleting an app or plugin should remove all traces of your code. Also, decisions that ignore the end user's best interest will come back to haunt you. 👻

Cash on the Mail

In 2017, WPForms acquired WP Mail SMTP, and recently a Pro version was announced. The Pro features include integration with Outlook 365 and Amazon SES, along with email logging and notification management.

If you are looking for MailChimp alternatives, then give this post from Victor Zhou a read. Victor explains how moving froim Mailchimp to Sendy cut his costs “by 100x.” 💸

Developer Tools

Check out this project from Roots called Bedrock — “WordPress boilerplate with modern development tools, easier configuration, and an improved folder structure.” 🛠️

Bedrock is inspired by Heroku‘s Twelve-Factor App methodology, including Scott Walkinshaw‘s WordPress specific version.

I'm sure many developers can relate to Khaliq Gant saying he's “not really a good web developer” — he's “just good at Googling things.”

That's not self-deprecation because, as Khaliq points out, it takes a solid base of knowledge and training to know what questions to ask. Then you have to assess the answers you get and come to the right conclusions in your own coding decisions.

The ability to self-educate is essential, especially in a field that changes quickly. 👩‍🏫

Here's a WordPress plugin that can generate a child theme based on the Genesis Sample theme with WP-CLI.

Zach Leatherman offers some insight into font loading strategies as he explains how CSS-Tricks (poweredby WordPress) optimizines the open license fonts they use.

If you've struggled with page loading times due to custom fonts, this is a must-read. ⏳

If you're looking for an opinionated presentation of the best open source web fonts, Chad Mazzola has it. The font examples use text and color better than any other font demo I've seen.

Your Feedback is Requested

👉 Andrea Middleton is collecting topic suggestions from WordPress contributor teams for the WordPress User and Developer Survey, which didn't happen last year. The survey's goal is to gather the information that will help inform contributor work in the coming year.

👉 The official WordPress Hosting Team is asking for feedback about the recommended minimum PHP requirement, based on four questions for developers:

  • How has the PHP minimum requirement bump affected you?
  • What should the next PHP minimum recommendation be and why?
  • What common issues do you foresee having with the sites that you host with the next PHP bump?
  • What versions of PHP should we target with a Servehappy warning banner?

Allez a11y!

The WordPress theme review team will start implementing a new accessibility-related guideline every other month and teaching theme authors how to tackle each issue. That's great news! 🙌

WordPress profiles now include some additional fields that contributors can use to share how much time they dedicate to the WordPress project.

Video and Podcast Picks

📹 Here's my recommendation for video watching this week:

  • The “Cost of JavaScript 2019” video (and blog post) from Addy Osmani at the PerfMatters Conference 2019 shows the main costs of processing JavaScript are download and CPU execution time.

🎙️ Here are the podcasts I've been listening to lately:

  • The latest Distributed podcast features Matt Mullenweg interviewed by Mark Armstrong. I heard some things in this discussion that I can't recall hearing anywhere else. Matt tells the story of the pre-Automattic and early Automattic days, including the very first WordPress meetup. Even if you aren't too interested in distributed work, this one's worth your time.
  • The Voices of the ElePHPant podcast spoke with Sebastian Grodzicki about serverless PHP.
  • I started listening to the Ladybug Podcast with Kelly Vaughn, Ali Spittel, Emma Wedekind, and Lindsey Kopacz. My first episode was this one dealing with how to balance side projects.
  • This short Syntax podcast episode covers the question “what is a headless CMS?” and of course mentions how WordPress fits in.
  • This recent C2C Podcast interviews Tessa Krissel about the Pantheon Heroes project which focuses on giving back to Pantheon's community. I'm listening to a recent episode focused on Asana at the moment. The very latest episode features Andrea Middleton on WordPress meetup groups and how diverse communities interact and thrive.
  • If you enjoy or are thinking about picking up the php[architect] magazine, their companion podcast is a good one to keep up with too. Their latest episode touches on serverless PHP and other subjects, like how to securely manage keys, secrets, and passwords.