WordPress news recap for August 2018

Products mentioned
WordPress gets forked

Do you like WordPress, but there’s more news about it than you can take in? That’s what this post is for! I’m distilling WordPress news from the past month into a short(ish) post so that you can keep up to date with less effort.

The TL;DR for this month’s WordPress news:

WordPress got a maintenance update and some coding standards. Gutenberg was made widely available… to mixed reviews. Developers started to show what they are going to do with Gutenberg. Other developers forked WordPress to show that they don’t want to do anything with Gutenberg – ever!

Want the details? Read on…

WordPress + Gutenberg

WordPress 4.9.8 maintenance release

WordPress Core was updated at the start of the month. Although 46 bugs were squashed and many enhancements were made, the only thing that got people talking was the “Try Gutenberg” call-out, which you’ve no doubt seen.

Now that we’re getting close to WordPress 5.0 — when Gutenberg will be made a part of core — the Gutenberg team needed to get their work in front of as many people as possible, namely the regular WordPress users who could offer useful feedback.

The new Gutenberg notice in the WordPress dashboard

The callout has a pretty clear message: this train is moving and it’s about time that you go on it. And people clicked on that big & colorful install button – a lot of people. 147,000 people in the first week alone!

The reactions were mixed, and the rating on WordPress.org has dropped. It currently sits at 2.3 out of 5 stars.

Speculation is rife as to why there have been so many one-star reviews. Perhaps people expected it to work perfectly for them from the get-go, or maybe they don’t like the amount of change that’s ahead?

Either way, it’s clear that the community sees the pros and cons of using Gutenberg.

We’re in a position that I’ve yet to see in my time using WordPress – a community facing a real crisis in how the core software should look in the very near future.

“Let’s fork WordPress to make Gutenberg go away.”

One way of making sure that you won’t have to deal with Gutenberg is to fork the entire WordPress project, and that’s exactly what developer Scott Bowler has done.

His ClassicPress project promises to be a maintained version of WordPress with no trace of Gutenberg in sight.

You can even go and fill out a petition on Change.org to prevent Gutenberg from making it into WordPress Core, if you feel strongly enough about it.

Developers start to embrace Gutenberg

So, let’s assume that Gutenberg does make it into 5.0. The coming months could be a golden moment for developers to make their mark and be the first to market with some shiny new products.

Like theme shop in years gone by, these developers could find themselves at the start of something big. They might become the new default names that we all know and love.

The Advanced Custom Blocks plugin

The ones that have already come to my attention this month are Stackable, Advanced Custom Blocks, and Advanced Custom Fields. ACF is adding the ability to create Gutenberg Blocks from the custom fields that you have in your WordPress installation – very nice indeed.

Related: The WordPress economy needs more entrepreneurs

Plugin and theme news

Toolset and Elementor integration

Popular page builder Elementor has been working with the team over at Toolset to integrate their powerful ‘Views’ functionality into a simple-to-use Elementor widget. With the new widget, you can add custom queries to your Elementor pages.

Envato Elements: Template Kits to download

If you fancy speeding up the process of building pages and are already using a page builder, this might be worth a look: Envato’s Template Kits work with the free versions of both Beaver Builder and Elementor.

Yoast SEO 8.x updates for Gutenberg

The Yoast SEO plugin was updated to work well with Gutenberg, adding sidebar panels with all the of the familiar settings. You’ll be up to speed in just a few minutes, although some of the sidebar panels are quite long!

Mythic – a new starter theme

Seasoned WordPress developer Justin Tadlock has released a new starter theme: Mythic. He built it from the group up, sweating the details for those of you who know what SASS, LESS and Stylus are. It’s a premium starter theme, but might be worth a look if you’re in that market.

Network Media Library to create a shared Multisite Library

If you’ve ever needed to create a global Media Library for a multisite network, then you’ll know that there are a few plugins that can handle this for you.

What’s interesting about the new Network Media Library plugin is that it works almost invisibly to your network users. They will not know that files are part of a wider network.

The plugin is new and being actively developed, so expect a few bugs along the way.

Related: How to clean your WordPress Media Library

The business of WordPress

WordPress Growth Accelerator

Serial WordPress entrepreneur Syed Balkhi has launched the WPBeginner Growth Fund, with the intention of helping small WordPress businesses grow to a size where they can compete with larger businesses.

With a promise of up to $500k total in funding, they are on the lookout for organizations who are struggling to grow in the WordPress space and who could use some additional funds and support.

If you think that you might be a good fit for this, you can apply here.

Easy Digital Downloads Reduce Prices

It’s hard to get pricing right, and Pippin Williamson of Easy Digital Downloads decided that he got his updated pricing wrong.

EDD ‘Passes’ allowed extension downloads at a discounted rate. These bundles were meant to make the process of buying multiple extensions simpler, but they were not selling well and people were simply buying only the extensions that they needed.

Fast forward and EDD dropped their prices by approximately 50%.

Related: The perils of underpricing your products and services

From the community

WordPress Coding Standards released

Developers only for this one, I think! It’s been nine years since this project began, but version 1.0.0 of the WordPress Coding Standards is now available for download. This is a collection of PHP_CodeSniffer rules and sniffs which will help you validate your code.

Videos from WordCamp for Publishers 2018 now available

Held in Chicago earlier this month, WordCamp for Publishers was a unique event that put the focus on people who use WordPress for publishing. The WordCamp branding seems to have added a certain weight to the event, and if you’re in the media/marketing/publishing space you might find many of the talks useful.

Gutenberg comes to Drupal

As discussed already, Gutenberg is dividing the WordPress community. Odd then to find that the some of the folk over at Drupal.org have decided to port it over and get it working with their CMS.

The project appears to be quite new, but it’s a testament to the Open Source community that this kind of thing can happen. I wonder if the Drupal users will be quite so divided about Gutenberg?

Not WordPress, but interesting nevertheless!

cPanel Acquired by Oakley Capital

cPanel, the company behind the software that powers many hosting control panels, was bought by the equity investor Oakley Capital. According to cPanel’s CEO, the investment will allow them to increase their workforce and invest time into a new range of products and features.

It’s interesting to note that Oakley Capital also bought rival company Plesk during 2017.

unDraw – free illustrations

As a web designer or developer, you’re always on the lookout for great images and illustrations that you can put on your clients sites, aren’t you? Use unDraw to browse to find the images that fit your needs and click to download. It’s that simple.

Take advantage of the on-the-fly color image generation to match your brand identity. What’s more, the images are great and it’s completely free to use with no attribution required.

Need some good news for a change?

If you’ve got a Google Home or use the Google Assistant on your Android phone, then this might cheer you up! Say, “Okay Google, tell me something good” and the clever little bot will deliver some good news.

Apparently, the good news is being curated by real people, and stories served up are skewed towards news about “people helping other people”. Seems fair.

Related: Voice search and SEO – what’s the big deal?


That’s all for this month. I’m off to Google me some good news… see you in September!