WordPress 5.3 Beta 1 is out, with the final release still slated for November 12, 2019. The announcement of the beta came with other news and details of interest to developers and users.

For starters, WordPress 5.3 has introduced a new screen that allows site owners to verify, change, or defer management of their current admin email address. πŸ“§

There are also some welcome updates coming for the recently introduced Site Health feature.

Twelve releases of the Gutenberg plugin are included in the WordPress 5.3 release. Performance has been a focus, and now you should see a decrease of 1.5s in loading time for long and block-filled posts, compared to WordPress 5.2. πŸš„

Probably the most exciting thing about 5.3 is the introduction of the new Twenty Twenty default theme, which is based on Anders NorΓ©n‘s Chaplin theme. I plan to take a deeper dive into it soon.

For those following accessibility developments in WordPress core, a new aria-current attribute will be included in WordPress 5.3.

The latest accessibility meeting notes here are important reading, but not for things that have to do with accessibility. Joe Dolson notes a more in-depth conversation is taking place about the difficulty they and other teams have had in making progress on tasks that “fall across other teams' responsibilities.” 😰

Among the challenges facing core teams is the fact that many contributors to the project cannot plan their time effectively due to the lack of a structured release schedule. Read the entire summary and meeting transcript for further details.

Andrey “Rarst” Savchenko details an exciting and long-awaited improvement to the Date/Time component in WordPress 5.3, which was made possible by raising the required PHP version for WordPress core to 5.6. βŒ›

Andrey explains the Date/Time component previously relied on the “WordPress timestamp,” which caused many bugs and lacked “interoperability with upstream PHP or any external systems.” πŸ›

It is “impossible” to remove WP timestamps without breaking backwards compatibility, so while their use in core is deprecated and documentation is improved, Andrey doesn't recommend retrieving or localizing time with the WP timestamp.

Speaking of bugs, Jason Grigsby estimates that a bug in auto-complete on Chipotle‘s online order form could be costing the company $4.4 million annually. πŸ’Έ

Congratulations to WP Engine for ranking #22 on the “Great Place to Work” Best Workplaces for Women. πŸ‘

A new Theme Review Team structure has been announced. The team no longer has leads but instead has “representatives.” They will be adopting a flat team structure with loosely defined roles and responsibilities where individuals can contribute in the ways that matter most to them.

Thomas Park of Codepip explains how to query nearby locations in WordPress using geo coordinates. πŸ“

He shares some things he learned as he was developing Campus Arrival, a WordPress site that provides school-specific packing lists and now a feature to suggest nearby universities.

I was reminded recently of this WebPageTest tool that helps compare two mobile sites in a frame-by-frame manner to determine what is being loaded and how quickly (or slowly).

The cool part is that you can create a video from the filmstrip and share it! I noticed this while reading a tweet from Marcus Hellberg about a comparison between his static blog on Gatsby and his WordPress blog hosted on πŸ’¨

The second release candidate for BuddyPress 5.0.0 is now available for testing. Recent improvements include the way BP REST API Controllers are loaded inside BuddyPress component classes.

Roy Sivan briefly touches on the way Gutenberg projects fit into WebOps, which he defines as “the operations of building and maintaining a web project.” I'm noticing WebOps (and Gutenberg) being discussed more on technical blogs these days.

While it's not directly WordPress related, I enjoyed this post from MailPoet on their “continuous delivery” approach to development with weekly releases.

According to Tautvidas Sipavicius, the benefits of continuous delivery include team happiness, better quality code, faster debugging, cheaper development, and faster time-to-market.

Iain Poulson takes us back through the events leading to the demise of Jigoshop, a WordPress eCommerce plugin created by Jigowatt back in 2011. Later that year WooThemes forked Jigoshop to build WooCommerce. πŸ›’

Sadly, some sites still use Jigoshop today. Iain notes, “If you have clients that are using Jigoshop for eCommerce, now might be a good time to reach out and let them know a change is recommended.”

Paypal will no longer be returning processing fees (2.9% + $0.30) when you refund charges to a customer. This new policy goes into effect starting October 11, 2019. For many people, it's a deal-breaker on using PayPal. πŸ’”

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

πŸ“Ή Here are my latest picks for video watching:

  • Cory Miller has been busy since he stepped away from iThemes. His latest interview with Andrea Middleton is about community leadership lessons taken from global WordPress events like WordCamps.

πŸŽ™οΈ Here are some recent podcasts worth listening to:

  • Women in WP talks to Kate Toon about moving from her corporate job in the “big city” to the world of professional SEO copywriting.
  • Derek Rethans chats with Andreas Heigl about his work moving the PHP Documentation project from SVN to GIT.
  • The first episode of the Pressnomics podcast has an excellent interview with Jake Goldman and Zach Brown of 10up. Their thoughts on AI and machine learning in the WordPress space are unique and worth a listen.
  • A recent episode of How I Built It features Ajay Goel. Ajay built GMass, a Gmail extension that allows you to send mass mail merge campaigns from Gmail with automatic follow-up emails.