WordPress 5.3 “Kirk” became available last week with the new default theme, Twenty Twenty, and a host of new features, bug fixes, and performance improvements for the block editor.

Hot on its heels, here's Gutenberg 6.9. 📦✨

New things to note:

  • An “experimental block pattern API” along with other APIs.
  • Themes can now define custom gradient presets.
  • Support for loading block templates from themes.
  • A ResponsiveBlockControl element.

Here are two interesting proposals and posts on the future of WordPress themes based on what we've seen from Gutenberg so far:

Rich Tabor updated his post on the future of themes and notes “the definitive end of WordPress themes as we know them today is coming.” Rich thinks that might be a good thing.

Mike Schinkel has a “modest proposal.” What if, “starting with [WordPress] version 6.0 maybe — the WordPress team chose to actually deprecate themes?” What if themes were replaced with modules and components as “first-class extensions?” 🤔

Steve Burge offers some insightful thoughts on collaborative editing in Gutenberg and what that might be like in the future. 🔏

Steve notes that it might be quite a challenge when this feature is tackled in “Stage 3” of the Gutenberg project. He notes Google and CKEditor needed servers and SaaS to make it work:

The WordPress team are in a similar situation… they need to find a solution that runs on almost any server.

WooCommerce 3.8 is live. It has been in development since August 2019 and contains 516 commits by 28 authors. “This version represents a move towards smaller, stable, and more frequent WooCommerce releases” and contains a new suite of product blocks. 🛒

Speaking of WooCommerce, I found this article about setting up an online takeout ordering system using the Liber restaurant WordPress theme, WooCommerce Product Table, and some other helpful WooCommerce plugins. 🥡

bbPress 2.6.0 is out after only six years (years?!) of development. John James Jacoby explains the reason for this timeframe was mainly because there are only far “less than part-time folks” actively working on the project. bbPress is installed on “over 300k sites, each with their own thousands of users.”

This release addressed 420 tickets via 1,737 individual code commits. Impressive! 👍

WP-CLI 2.4.0 is out, and it supports PHP 7.4. It works great with WordPress 5.3's improvements to “properly deal with large images” by keeping track of “the original source images … so you can safely rebuild your thumbnails without losing quality.”

The latest release of Gravity Forms adds support for osDXP and includes several enhancements and bug fixes.

We will be doing more in-depth notes on some of the talks from WordCamp US after we can link to the processed videos on In the meantime here are some reviews, summaries, and reflections on WordCamp US that are worth a read:

  • I enjoyed Bob Dunn's thoughts from the heart about the event and the community. ❤️
  • Matt Medeiros has a transcript of the whole State of the Word.
  • Olivia Bisset wrote about Matt's State of the Word to share her perspective as a young woman involved with WordPress. 👩‍💻
  • Jilt covered some conference talk highlights and reflected on the team bonding experience in St. Louis. 🧑‍🤝‍🧑
  • Christie Chirinos wrote about the event, including the Community Track and WCUS workshops. Both were new additions this year.
  • GiveWP wrote about some new features they debuted at WCUS. They also discuss the Open documentary and the diversity workshop. 🎬
  • Ben Pines from Elementor shares four things he took away from WCUS.
  • WP Hive has a good summary of the whole event with nicely organized links to the talk sessions on the WCUS website.
  • Maddy Osman shares what she learned as a first-timer at WCUS, including the value of researching attendees you want to meet ahead of time, using calendars and alarms, and giving back.
  • Jamie Wedholm has a summary of her experience as a WordCamp US organizer and the challenges of designing iconic event graphics.
  • Of course, Post Status had a summary of Matt Mullenweg's State of the Word up moments after Matt finished giving it. 💨

Video and Podcast Picks of the Week

📹 Here are my latest picks for videos worth watching:

  • Matt Mullenweg's State of the Word (and the questions he fielded from the audience) is up now on
  • Women In WP had some great interviews with women at WordCamp US. There is an audio-only version.
  • Plesk has a brief (~40 second) video on how things looked at WordCamp US Contributor Day last Sunday.
  • WordCamp US set the stage for the release of the film Open: The Community Code. This film shows the community behind WordPress, and it was also shown during Matt's State of the Word.

🎙️ WordCamp US and the trip to St. Louis kept me busy, but I managed to listen to a couple of podcasts recently:

  • Pressing Matters has a chat with James Kemp about transitioning from selling his WooCommerce plugins on CodeCanyon to his own website.
  • Kyle Maurer shares his experiences with Bob Dunn about family podcasts and the art of interviewing.