WordPress 5.5 Beta 2 is out. The final release is expected to drop on August 11th, 2020 as planned. 📅
👉 Several tooling additions and improvements have gone into the WordPress 5.5 cycle. Developers should take note of the build and test tool updates.
The WordPress Coding Standards ruleset has been updated from version 2.1.1 to 2.3.0, and the recommended version of PHP specified in the
readme.html file has been changed from 7.3 to 7.4.
WordPress 5.5 will include the final update to the Dashicons icon font in WordPress Core. Don't worry: Dashicons isn't going away. As Jonathan Desrosiers explains: “It will continue to be bundled with WordPress in future releases. However, requests to add new icons to the font will no longer be accepted.”
This isn't a surprise; earlier this year Joen Asmussen announced the short road ahead for Dashicons on the Make WordPress Design blog.
There are also new and modified REST API endpoints for 5.5. An endpoint was introduced for editing image attachments in the media library, and other endpoints were introduced for managing plugins.
The WordPress 5.5 Beta release that’s now in testing includes Block Directory support enabled by default, and you can add your own plugins to it. Alex Shiels shows how to get your block plugin added to the directory along with some related, helpful resources.
Alex mentions this new and improved tutorial that walks you through the process of creating a block plugin. 🔌
Riad Benguella explains how to register a custom block pattern.
Block Patterns are a new concept that will be introduced in WordPress 5.5, which will come with a number of built-in block patterns. It’s also possible for third-party plugins and themes to register additional block patterns or remove existing ones.
Sarah Rosso shared ten leadership lessons from ten years of work in a fully distributed and remote company — Automattic. 👩💻
Matt Mullenweg was interviewed by The New York Times on the subject of remote work and the story of how Automattic started down that path. There's nothing very new in this interview if you've heard Matt speak on this subject before, or if you are a listener of his Distributed podcast, but if you want to know more about the early history of Automattic and remote work, check it out.
When asked if Tumblr could be a viable alternative to other large content and social networks, Matt replied that Tumblr “is very active” and “getting 60,000 to 70,000 sign-ups per day from its mobile app.” He feels that there's “an opportunity to create that other place, that could be something that people go to feel that creativity, kind of like Instagram did in its early days.” 📸
Matt Lacey does an excellent job of articulating why it may take a developer quite a bit of time “to only add two lines of code.”
Developers should read this post and share it — perhaps not to clients directly, but reading it helps explain why some developer issues and bugs aren't as straightforward as they appear. 🐛
Eric Karkovack breaks down the pros, the cons, and the use cases for going with a pre-built WordPress theme or going down the custom-built path. 👨🎨
🗑️ A List Apart shared Chapter 9 of Gerry McGovern‘s book, World Wide Waste, and his take on “useless images” —
“The Web is smothering us in useless images that create lots of pollution… There are indeed many situations where images are genuinely useful, particularly when it comes to helping people better understand how a product works or looks… If you need to use images, optimize them and consider using real ones of real people doing real things.”
Jill Binder shares some tips on how to support Black voices in WordPress. All excellent suggestions. The two that stuck out with me are:
4. Start including Black people in your leadership, particularly in your speaker selection committee. This increases the chances you will have a more diverse perspective in not just selecting speakers, but also what you ask in your speaker calls. [….]
6. Be mindful of microaggressions which may deter participation or make people of color feel unwelcome.
Admin 2020 is a new “clean and modern WordPress admin theme” developed and sold by Mark Ashton. 🧼
It brings a fresh UIkit makeover (and a dark mode) to the WP back end, including the media library, dashboard, and search. Admin 2020 focuses on readability, quick search results, and a “distraction-free interface.” 😲
There is an online demo for you to take Admin 2020 for a spin.
Pragmatic, a UK-based enterprise WordPress agency, has merged with Swedish company Angry Creative. Over the next few months, Pragmatic will become Angry Creative UK. 🙌
I would encourage you to read Joe Simpson Jr. over at HeroPress — it's a great and personal post explaining how the WordPress community helped heal him emotionally. This is turn allowed him to help others. 🤗
If you're a user of All In One SEO pack, there is a reported vulnerability (via WordFence) that “allows authenticated users with contributor level access or above … to inject malicious scripts that would be executed if a victim accessed the wp-admin panel’s ‘all posts' page.”
A patch addressing this vulnerability has been released, so make sure you are using the latest version of the plugin. 🔒
Conference and Event Updates
- 💼 Big conference news for anyone looking for a WordPress business conference: WPMRR Virtual Summit is happening September 23rd and 24th. It will be a free online event focused on helping “make monthly recurring revenue work for your WordPress business.” Take a look at the homepage where they publicly list the MRR (monthly recurring revenue) numbers from the speakers who will be participating! 💸
- 🔌 On August 6th, Gutenberg Times Live will broadcast a webinar featuring Kelly Dawn, Alex Shiels and Samuel “Otto” Wood. They will discuss how the Block Directory works, how to get your single block plugin into the Block Directory, and explain the submission guidelines currently in place.
- 👨🎓 Registration for WPCampus 2020 Online is open. This free event is happening on July 29-30.
📹 Here's the video pick of the week:
- Yet another talk worth seeing from WordCamp Europe 2020 if you missed it: Sonja Jaakkola sharing tips on how to design for better conversion in digital channels — and how to measure the impact of the designs via A/B testing. 🧪
🎙️ Here are some excellent podcasts I listened to recently:
- WPMRR: Here are two episodes I went to highlight. This first is Alex Denning and Tom Fanelli discussing WordPress hosting and investments. Their latest episode covers the subject of podcasting with Joe Casabona.
- Women in WP: Great interview here with Natalie MacLees about the drive to make websites accessible with insights from her accessibility-focused business.