Do you like WordPress? Is there more news about it than you can take in? That’s what this post is for! I’m going to distill the news from the past month into a short(ish) post so that you can keep up to date with less effort. Sound good?
WordPress news highlights from October 2018 include:
- The final countdown to WordPress 5.0
- Accessibility concerns about Gutenberg
- The new WooCommerce admin experience
- How page builders play nice with Gutenberg
- More WordCamps coming to Europe
Let’s get into it.
WordPress + Gutenberg
It’s the final countdown to WordPress 5.0
Wow, things have moved fast this month.
I’m going to assume that you know what Gutenberg is by now. If you don’t, here’s a quick primer and demo for you.
It seems like I have talked about little else for almost a year. Well, the time for that is about to pass, as soon Gutenberg will go into core with WordPress 5.0. It will then lose this somewhat poetic name and will simply be referred to as ‘the editor’.
In all likelihood, the change will happen this month (November), so you better get prepared.
Decide on a site by site basis if you want Gutenberg or not. If you don’t want to use the new editor, then you need to go into your site’s Admin area and install the Classic Editor plugin which will keep things as they are now.
During the last month we’ve gone from Gutenberg 4.0 RC1, to the point where it is deemed ready enough to include in WordPress 5.0 Beta 1. As it’s a beta release, testers as still needed, and if you’re feeling the urge to help out you can find out what’s needed over at make.wordpress.org.
Accessibility comes to the fore of the core
As the pace of Gutenberg development has reached fever pitch, many people (the accessibility team lead included) feel that accessibility concerns have been pushed to the side. Some believe that the current version of the Gutenberg is almost unusable to those will such needs.
With that in mind, an accessibility audit was proposed by the new accessibility lead, Matthew MacPherson. It seemed like a good idea; proposals were solicited from four expert third-parties. But then the whole thing was abruptly shelved because Gutenberg’s release was too close for any findings to be meaningfully addressed.
This postponement, the accessibility testers argued, was the wrong way to go. Surely Gutenberg should be released after the necessary amendments have been made, not to suit an arbitrary timeline.
As is so often the case in WordPress, members of the community have come to the rescue. WPCampus offered to organize and pay for the audit themselves.
Let’s hope that getting the audit done will mean that implementation work can be completed faster, and get WordPress accessibility back to where it needs to be.
The Gutenberg news isn’t ending any time soon
You’d be forgiven for thinking that next month we might be free of Gutenberg news. This is unlikely, as what we’ve seen so far is only the first of the three planned phases.
New leads were appointed to head up phase two, which will see Gutenberg control site-wide customization and layouts.
It’s Twenty Nineteen, for goodness sake
We’re also getting a new default theme — Twenty Nineteen! It’s a simple theme with some really nice typography. The idea is that it’s non-prescriptive, leaving you to explore what it can do when combined with Gutenberg. It’s not guaranteed to launch with WordPress 5.0, but the team are working hard to make it happen.
Plugins and themes
Not deep into JS? Advanced Custom Fields to the rescue
Well the clever folks over at Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) have come up with a fabulous way of bypassing all that!
ACF 5.8 will introduce “Blocks for Gutenberg”. If you’re already familiar with using ACF, you’ll be able to drop right in and start building custom blocks with PHP. Although this is perhaps not a permanent solution, it will certainly allow you to get moving with Gutenberg much more quickly.
Elementor are at it, too
There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not Gutenberg will replace WordPress page builders. Although they appear similar, it’s fairly clear that Gutenberg is not going to have the complexity of current page builders — so I think their future is secure.
That being said, the page builders will need to integrate with Gutenberg.
Elementor launched their Elementor Blocks for Gutenberg plugin on the WordPress.org plugin directory. This plugin will enable you to place Elementor templates that you’ve previously made into a Gutenberg layout.
The WordPress community
WordCamp Europe 2018’s mobile app
Apparently one of the things that attendees liked about WCEU 2018 was the PWA (Progressive Web App) created for the event. (Learn more about it in this blog post.) You could add it to your device’s home screen for quick access to event information and event alerts via push notifications. Want to see apps like this at other WordCamps? Lend a hand.
WordCamp Europe 2019 in Berlin
I could be wrong, but I think that WordCamp Europe is the WordCamp with more attendees than any other?
The event is enormous and the next one might be bigger than ever. The 2019 event starts on June 20th in Berlin, and this month the first batch of tickets (250 in all) sold out in a little over three hours. I don’t know about you, but that feels like rock star territory to me. You can try to purchase future batches here, but only if you act soon!
WooSesh and WooCommerce updates
The big takeaway this year is that WooCommerce store owners are going to get a shiny new wc-admin area. It’s a dashboard where you’ll be able to see all your store activity at a glance. You’ll also get new reports and notifications to make life a little easier.
WordCamp Nordic 2019
If you live in one of the Nordic countries, be sure to check out the new WordCamp Nordic. They’re hoping to get up to 600 attendees from Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Finland. WordCamp Nordic will be held on March 7-8 2019 in Helsinki, all of the sessions will be conducted in English.
Not WordPress, but interesting
Google pays Apple $9 billion per year
I’m writing this on a Mac. All my friends have a Mac, but you know what? We all use Chrome.
To me, Safari seems like a browser than nobody uses… but of course, I’m completely wrong.
Not only do loads of people use Safari on the Mac, but loads more use Safari on the iPhone. Google knows this, and according to Search Engine Land, they’re paying Apple $9 billion each year for the privilege of being the default search engine.
DuckDuckGo on the rise (a little bit)
I Google things. I don’t DuckDuckGo things. But apparently DuckDuckGo manages to get 30 millions requests every day.
This is up 50% from last year. They’re doing something right, and perhaps in the future we’ll need to take more notice of the privacy-minded search engine. But don’t go changing your SEO strategy just yet – DuckDuckGo’s numbers are still just a drop in ocean. Google sees more than 3.5 billion searches per day.
Until next month…!