WordPress 5.2 Beta 1 has been released. The highlights include:
- Significant performance improvements to the block editor.
- New blocks for RSS, search, calendar, tag cloud, and more.
- A new block management tool to switch blocks on and off.
- Phase one of the Site Health Check. For the first time, “WordPress will catch and pause the problem code, so you can log in to your Dashboard and see what the problem is.” 😷
Everyone is encouraged to test out the beta as soon as possible.
There was a lot of chatter in Post Status Slack and on Twitter this week about the way Jetpack and WooCommerce are handling tracking and also feature nags within the WordPress dashboard.
Mehul Gohil tweeted a screenshot for how Jetpack is inserting a nag to use their CDN depending on the search performed by the user, and the nag looks like an installable plugin, but in reality it’s an extension for an existing plugin.
This and some other things got the attention of community members and the plugin team. I don’t know exactly where things are headed from here or whether change will be required, but Jetpack is, in my opinion, stretching the limits of what WordPress plugins should be doing in the dashboard — and are setting the example for others, perhaps with not as good of intentions, to follow.
Since PHP 5.6 or higher will be required as of WordPress 5.2, Gary Pendergast reviewed some of the relevant WordPress Coding Standards and proposed a few changes to them, including anonymous functions and namespaces.
Here’s a sad but needed assessment from Max van der Schee: Why the adoption of Web Accessibility keeps failing.
While many rules for accessibility are easy enough to adopt in your code, there’s no hard stop if those rules are left out or miswritten. Your site still functions normally.
To help developers and designers attend to accessibility rules, Max shares a useful extension for Visual Studio Code called Web Accessibility. It gives feedback on what to change in your code to make it more accessible.
WordCamp for Publishers will be held in Columbus, Ohio on August 7-9. This is a community-organized event bringing together folks who use WordPress to manage publications. 📆
Speaking of conferences, the call for proposals for WPCampus 2019 conference will be opening soon.
Topher DeRosia explains how to fix common errors and shares some general debugging tips for WordPress. These are fundamentals worth sharing with new WordPress site owners.
Topher recommends a user activity logging plugin like WP Stream. 🧾
Ryan Sullivan reviewed the six most widely used WordPress form plugins. He identifies all the things you should expect from custom forms, and then he digs into the details of the top six. Unlike a lot of reviews, Ryan picks a winner. Of course, the best plugin is the one the best fits your particular needs. ☑️
Not to be overlooked is relative newcomer HappyForms, a strong and unique new contender in the custom form space from Theme Foundry. We’ve reviewed it in the past.
Congrats to WPForms, which turned three years old recently. Syed Balkhi briefly notes what’s coming up next for the plugin.
Genesis Explained, written by Nick Croft, is now up-to-date for Genesis 2.9, which was released a few weeks ago. If you or your team needs to get a handle on Genesis quickly, start here.
Kirtan Gajjar has a sweet post on automated WordPress code review and deployment using GitHub Actions. Three actions have been released:
- PHPCS Code Review – Run PHPCS code review on pull requests.
- Deploy WordPress – Deploy a WordPress site using PHP’s Deployer.org.
- Slack Notify – Send a notification to a Slack channel.
Andrey Savchenko released a new version of Laps, which is a plugin that shows performance information about WordPress page loads. Laps 3.3 adds plotting for early SQL queries and individual plugin load tracking on WordPress 5.1.
Pantheon recently announced their “Deploy Heroically” program that honors people contributing to the open web. They are taking new applications from “heroes” now. 🦸
Jeffrey Zeldman recently let slip that the popular A List Apart blog migrated over to WordPress and will relaunch on April 11th. Previously the site was operating on “an aged, semi-bespoke version of ExpressionEngine 2.x.”
Getting reviews from clients is tough, and Matteo Duò explains how to pull it off with a deep dive in 950+ popular WordPress plugins.
The average percentage of users who leave a review for a WordPress plugin is only 0.20%!
Matteo offers some good suggestions about what you can do as a plugin author/developer to increase your odds of getting good reviews.
Andrew Taylor, a Developer Programs Engineer at Pantheon, shares how to connect GitLab and Pantheon to streamline Drupal and WordPress workflows.
Thomas Griffin is closing a chapter in his life as a developer and takes time to share some unusually open reflections on his personal growth. Many business owners start with the pure passion of “just coding a plugin.” Later, with success, their leadership role can eclipse the value of their direct involvement in coding. It’s a big transition and, as Thomas writes, “bittersweet.”
Change requires looking up to look forward. So often we’re comfortable with a present locked in the past that it comes as a shock that where we’ve been is not where we’re going. 🚶♂️
As Thomas puts it,
Sometimes, we want a particular chapter to keep going. We get engrossed in the story and forget that stories need breaks. We become so enthralled with what’s happening that we forget to actually consider where the story is going.
Morten Rand-Hendriksen demonstrates a simple way to add SVGs to custom WordPress (Gutenberg) blocks using SVGR.
Scott Bolinger released a new WordPress plugin called Popup Zen. 🧘 Scott explains the thinking and history behind it here on his blog.
“It’s a popup plugin for people who hate popups.”
I thoroughly enjoyed Scott’s reasoning for why he created Popup Zen and what his primary goals were. I think what he’s created is very tasteful, after testing it myself.
Here’s all you (probably) need to know about hyphenation in CSS, thanks to Richard Rutter of Clearleft.
Sugar Calendar hit version 2.0 recently. There are some new event management interfaces, enhancements to the recurring events feature, an extended API, and some new user capabilities. 📅
The video of Joshua Strebel‘skeynote at WordCamp Phoenix 2019 is available now. Joshua’s talk is focused on “Bias and Self Delusion,” and it offers some fascinating insights and important lessons learned from his ten years as CEO of Pagely.
WPTranslationToday is happening again on May 11th. Naoko Takano notes that the team is looking for live-stream speakers. If you are a developer, translator, or locale manager you can share your knowledge and help with WordPress’s globalization. 🌐
Ana Tudor explains a handy CSS trick for blurring the border of an element. She also shows how to “extend support so it works cross-browser.”
Fast Company published a great feature on John Maeda, who is head of inclusion and computational design at Automattic.
John says “design is not that important,” which probably will seem strange and slight controversial at first read, especially since the WordPress community puts such a heavy stress on design lead development. Maeda’s point is that designers should focus on being good teammates rather than leaders. Why? 🤔
Worrying too much about whether design has enough influence over a product or a company distracts from the real vision: making great products that solve people’s problems.
Starting with WordPress 5.2 there’s a new function —
wp-body_open() — that will be used to trigger a
wp_body_open action. You can use this action to add something directly inside the body of a page, like a script tag.
Hats off to WordCamp Miami, which announced they had more women speaking than men in their 2019 gathering. I’m not sure if this is a first for a large WordCamp, but it’s good to see diversity moving forward in this space. 🎩