This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 27th January 2020:
Call for Volunteers – WCEU
Plugins / Themes / Blocks
Deals from this week
WP Builds Newsletter #98 – Gutenberg updates / compatible themes and new page builder – including the LIVE News at the bottom of the page
Nothing this week…
Not WordPress, but useful anyway…
Transcript (if available)
Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Hello there. Good morning and welcome to this the WP Builds weekly WordPress newsletter. This is number 99. It covers the WordPress news for the week, commencing the 27th of January, 2020 and it was published on Monday the 3rd of February, 2020 my name is Nathan Wrigley, and just before we get into the news proper, just a couple of things.
First thing to say is I wouldn't mind it if you headed over to some of the pages on the WP Builds.com website. For example, if you go to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe, you'll be able to find out about all the things that we do over at WP Builds to keep you up to date with all the WordPress news.
So, for example, you can sign up to one of our two newsletters. One will inform you of the content that we publish, and the other one will tell you about deals on WordPress products. As soon as I hear about them, you'll also be able to sign up on your favorite podcast player for episodes such as this. And there's things like are very friendly WP Builds Facebook group with over 2,400 word pressers as a whole bunch of other stuff on there as well.
But go and check it out forward. Slash subscribe. If you're in the markets for some deals this week, it's always worth checking out. WP Builds.com forward slash deals. There's a whole bunch of coupon codes on there which stay there all the time, so you never know. You might be able to get yourself some money off and WP Builds.com forward slash advertise if you would like to get your product or service in front of a WordPress, the audience like Kinsta have done.
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Just a final thing before we get into the news. We do do a live version of this news every Monday, 2:00 PM UK time. So that's probably a little bit earlier in the morning if you're in the U S or very, very late at night if you're in Australia. And what we do is we go live. In our Facebook group and email@example.com forward slash live and you can make some comments.
It's generally quite a fun thing. It's, you know, it's not supposed to be terribly serious, but we do cover it with some notable WordPress people, so hopefully you can join us for that. All right. Let's get stuck into the news for this week. We always chunk on use up into different sections. And the first one is all about WordPress core, and I've only got one item for you this week.
It's on the WordPress Talon website entitled native lazy loading support coming to WordPress. Well, this is to say that Felix Arndt, who is a program's engineer at Google, has come up with a plugin to introduce it. Native lazy loading into WordPress. Now it could. In theory, if this all goes very well at the moment it's a plugin, but it could be in core by 5.4 which is going to be landing in March.
Now we usually associate lady lazy loading with images, but it actually, it could be anything. Basically, any resource could be deferred so that it doesn't load immediately. The opposite. Justin tells us, and I didn't know this is called . IGA loading, and that's the default on the web. In other words, everything is loaded almost immediately, as soon as possible.
And of course that has drawbacks, especially if you are on a data connection, for example, on your phone where you don't wish to do that. But also it just means that there's a load of internet traffic that just doesn't need to exist. Why not to defer the loading, for example of images until such times as they're in the viewport and you actually need to look at them.
So up until now, we've had a load of Java script libraries doing this job. But in the current versions of browsers such as Chrome edge and opera, they're kind of interviewed introducing, should I say, a loading attribute into the image or I-frame elements. So if that is set, then those browsers will automatically handle the lazy loading of images by themselves.
And Justin goes on to say that . This becomes an HTML specification, then it should become standard in every single browser, but for now, Chrome edge and opera are supported. So essentially Felix is plugin does that. It sets the, the attributes of loading to the image or I-frame elements to lazy load them.
Now, obviously this is a bit of a win. I can't see why this wouldn't be useful going forward. However, the article does go on to say. If you have some kind of polygon to do this job for you, perhaps don't ditch it right away. Wait until 5.4 has come out, and then see if you can get your plugin to recognize the, the browsers which support this, and perhaps use the plugin if it's, uh, if it's loading a page in a different browser, which is not supported anyway, nice feature and it would be good if WordPress were the one of the first, first CMS is to implement this.
The next section is the community section, and I've got a few articles in there this week. The first one is firstname.lastname@example.org it's entitled call for volunteers, and this is all about WordCamp EU, which is not all that far away, and they need some volunteers. Obviously WordCamps require a huge amount of volunteers and gigantic word camps such as WordCamp Europe needs even more.
I think. I think last time there were 167 of them. The article goes on to explain kind of why you should volunteer and makes you a part of the team. You'll meet people from all over the world, exclusive look behind the scenes of how it's done. You get a free ticket and so on and so forth. And the commitment is, is not too arduous.
So for example, they're asking you to commit to one day or two and a half days, depending on what you would like to do. And then they go on to explain what the responsibilities would be and the fact that you can. Can you say, I'd prefer to do something like this as opposed to this kind of job. I'm not that interested in call for volunteers closes on the 28th of February and you'll be informed of your success or failure by the 31st of March.
So click on the link in the show notes and volunteer. A nice piece of news this week. Two people who've been on the podcast on multiple occasions are Vito Peleg and Yan cock. Vito is of course, the founder of WP feedback, which is a plugin to enable you to communicate more easily with your clients. Well, Vito has offered the job of chief.
Technical officer for WP feedback to Yan, and he's accepted. They met last year in Germany at WordCamp, and they both got along. And it's felt by both of them that they have a set of different and complimentary skills. So weld onto both of them and hopefully it will steer WP feedback into the future.
Although this piece is not strictly WordPress, I thought it was useful anyway because WordPress's need to learn to code in very many cases. And so Tom Rankin has thrown together an article entitled five coding bootcamps for developers to consider. Now, obviously you could go the university route and do some sort of computer.
Computer coding qualification at university, but that can be very long and expensive. So there are these boot camps which you can sign up to, and they enabled you to gain similar kind of skills. They're a little bit more intense, perhaps, and often significantly cheaper. So he goes on to mention five of these.
I confess, I've not heard of all of them, but he says that there's five one called actualize. One called the tech Academy, one called Skillcrush, and there's a fourth once full stack Academy, and finally general assembly. And if you are interested in learning to boost your qualifications and your employability, these things may be of interest to you.
The next section is all about plugins, themes, and blocks, and we're back on WordPress. Tevin an article entitled Swift control replaces WordPress toolbar with custom access panel. Justin writing about David Von Greece, who is the author of the page builder framework, and he's been on the podcast a number of times.
He has released this new plugin, and it's a very simple plugin, very lightweight, but very, very nice indeed. I've had a play. Essentially, you install the plugin and then it removes the admin bar from all of your WordPress press pages, and what you can do is you have a floating menu, which hovers down the left hand side.
I've often seen sort of social sharing widgets floating in, in a sort of similar position, but basically you can assign any task to any button. So there's no. Writing. It's simply icons. So as an example, you might put the dashboard icon there, or you might click edit to post, or you might click create new posts, and essentially if you can copy and paste the URL for whatever page it is that you would like to go to, you can add it into that bar.
Really lightweight, really nice. Kind of not until you play with it, do you realize that there's an awful lot in the admin bar that's well, quite confusing, not to you and I probably, but I think for, for clients or notable feature is that if you, if you click for example, on a page which has been edited. In elementary, or should I say, created in elemental, it automatically knows, and it will go to edit it in elemental, and it might be that something's created in BeaverBuilder and it will know that as well, or maybe in Gothenburg or the classic editor and it knows all of that.
And so it just takes you to the correct place, which may be for some of your clients, might be just one on one click lesson, a slide. Slight less points of confusion. So anyway, nice job. There is a pro version as well, and you can see a video of David discussing its features and also a few of the plans that he's got in the future.
It seems to have gained quite a bit of traction this week, so congratulations, David. Good job. This piece is a bit of a strange one because I'm linking to a Google spreadsheet. And the reason I'm linking to a Google spreadsheet is that last week I was given a sort of sneak peak of tool sets, new mobile editing tools, and Agnes from toolset got me on a call and we looked at this spreadsheet while she did it live, and I haven't got a video to show you and nor Hershey.
So the spreadsheet says very well to, to do it though, there's a whole new load of customizations. If you are using toolset, um, tool set blocks. So you can now control how everything looks in either a desktop or a kind of mobile or you know, the tablet layout. You can do all of that. So you can fiddle with the top type biography and have it unique on desktop, mobile, tablet.
You can hide certain funds, change certain funds, change the text alignment, change the styling. So for example, background colors, borders, shadows. Patting margin, all of that kind of stuff. You can, um, change the container block background in a content. And you can do that on a per device basis as well. And kind of nice as well is that you can hide elements.
So let's say for example, you've got an image that you wish to hide on. Ooh, I don't know. Let's say a mobile device. You can now do that as well. There's also a whole load of customizations to the grid blocks. So you've got the ability to, to change the width of the grid, the grid. Blocks just by dragging on a handle.
So for example, it will start off at 50 50 if you choose a two column layout, and then you could drag a little handle. And make it go, for example, 30, 70, um, you can make the, the row Heights different as well. So you might want one row to be separated by certain number of pixels and a different row to be separated to by another.
And this is all possible. Anyway, this spreadsheet shows it all in wonderful detail. Um, it's, it's quite a significant leap forward, I think, how to actual play with it. And there it's still in beta testing, so there's a few bugs. But anyway, it just shows you if you're a toolset user. What's coming around the corner, maybe during the course of this week.
If you are a WooCommerce user, you'll be pleased to know that there is a new version. It's version 3.9. It, um, came out this week and it's been worked upon since November, 2019 over 600 commits from 18 contributors. They're calling it a minor release. And what they mean by that is that it should be absolutely backwards compatible.
So you should be able to confidently click on the update button. Now the, the main feature is the new, a new a block. Called woo commerce blocks 2.5 point 11 and that includes a all products block. And if you go to the article that's linked in the show notes, you can see that it's got filtering, it's got pagination amongst other improvements.
So just with this one block, you're able to show absolutely everything on your site, and it really does handle an awful lot. You've got the usual filter by price, lowest to highest. You can filter by category, sample blue things right. Things, what have you, and then it filters and the images and all of the buttons that are associated with it, um, disappear or reappear and you can click away those filters.
So that's a really nice development. They've also added MaxMind geo location in, uh, they released this in February, 2015, but that's going to be their new kind of database going forward for GOP. Geographical awareness, and there's also a change to the minimum PHP requirements for a store to function correctly.
You now need to be using WordPress 5.0 or above and PHP 7.0 or later, which I suppose in this day and age, we're hoping that everybody is doing anyway, so there you go. Nice. Improvements to WooCommerce. 3.9. Very much aligned to that. Obviously if 3.9 has come out, that means 4.0 is just around the corner and Bob WP has got an article entitled it's time for WooCommerce 4.0 beta testing.
This was released on the 27th of January. And essentially if you would like to help contribute to the next iteration of weave commerce, go and look at this post and there is a link where you can fill out a registration or survey so that you can become involved. If you've ever tried to present data in a calendar form, then you'll definitely have come across modern tribes.
The events calendar plugin, well, they managed to reach version 5.0 this week and they've got an article entitled introducing a new look for the events calendar. And I have to say, I really like the way this plugin looks. Previously liked it, but I think they made some superba updates. They say that they've redesigned and rebuilt the whole thing from the ground up, so it's now very visual.
Mobile takes front and center view. They've got a new map view and allegedly better SEO credentials as well. So the new interface is well worth looking at. Like I say, it's optimized for mobile, and if you click on the link in the show notes. They offer five or six different examples of what it would have, what various different screens would look like, and it looks spectacular.
Really nice, typographic, lots of nice use of white space in it. Absolutely brilliant. So if you haven't used this plugin before and you need to do something with, with maps, shall we say, or with calendar events, then this might be worth looking at. Speaking of things looking nice. The guys over at breezy have introduced 14 new premium landing pages, which are available for breezy, free and pro users.
Uh, they are design loft. They are digital raw summit memento empire. Coin and many more, and they look really, really fabulous. I mean, those guys really do know how to throw pages together, which look wonderful. So anyway, this is completely brand new. You can, by clicking on the links in the show notes, you'll get to the page itself.
And from there you can simply click a button to view the layout and see what you think of it. And then there's another button next to it, which says, get the layout and say you can download it and then upload it onto your, your breezy powered site. So yeah, really nice job guys. I think these look very, very nice indeed.
When creating content on your WordPress website, it's quite common to then go out and share it on various social media platforms, notably Twitter and on WordPress. In this week, we have an article entitled 10 op releases auto share for Twitter WordPress plugin. So that's exactly what it is. It's an auto share, so when you click.
Publish it. We'll share things onto Twitter. It puts something in the right hand sidebar off the block editor, and essentially you just tick a box to say, yes, I would like this to be auto shared. You can provide a custom message should you wish to, and it shares out the basic stuff. So for example, it shares the post title, the featured image, and a link from Twitter back to the original source.
Like I say, you can kind of override that with a custom message, but if you just want to leave it on autopilot. It'll do its job. It only shares to Twitter, so it's very limited in use. But if that's all you ever want to do, that could be good. The, there are no sort of helpful hints of how to get the plugin working, but you've got to put in your Twitter credentials, but there's no help for how to get those.
However, if you've played around with Twitter, you'll probably be able to find your API and secret key and secret key and so on. So it shouldn't be that hard. But nevertheless that there isn't any help. So you might want to bear that in mind, first of all, but it seems like a nice solution for one. Really simple little thing comes from the guys at 10 ops, so I'm sure that the quality of the code is very high.
The next section is deals for the week, and I've got two lifetime deals for you this week. Two plugins which are available right now. The first one is WP data tables, which is a . Plug in, which enables you to display data in complicated tables. So for example, it will suck things out of a Google spreadsheet or a CSV file, or you can just update it from the back end.
You can then filter it, search it, reorder it, and display just about everything. It looks really nice. It gives you lots of stuff. So bars and charts and abilities to color things in if you so wish. And the price is starting at $49 which will give you three domains and it goes up from there. And also, if you're a membership site owner, you might be interested to know that wishlist member is also available for $49.
Now that $49 also gets you three sites, but you can go up from there. But it's a real heritage membership plugin. I believe it's been going for, well, eight or nine years, something like that. So there's an awful lot of backstory with it. So I think it's fair to say it can be trusted. Allegedly, the UI is a little bit dated compared to some more modern alternatives, but everybody that I've spoken to who's actually used it says they can get over that very quickly because the functionality is very good.
Anyway, links are in the show notes if you want to explore those lifetime deals. The next section is security. We do a little bit of a light touch on security each week, and the first in this section is on the web. security. Dot com website. It's entitled critical C S R F to RCE vulnerability in WordPress, press code, snippets plugin.
All I'm going to say is go and check out all of the silts article. If you recognize the words WordPress code snippets plugin. The next one is from Tim Nash over at Tim Nash. Dot co. Dot. UK. He works for 34 SP and largely seems to be involved in their security over there. It's entitled back to basics, updating WordPress strategies, and this is a very, very long article, so you probably are going to have to set aside.
10 or 15 maybe 20 minutes to read it. And he goes into every which way of possibly updating your WordPress websites and starting, starting with the premise of why should you update? And obviously I hope that our listenership understand that, but then he goes onto, well, should we have a fixing model or an updating model?
And I think. With WordPress, it's best to, you know, get out in front and try to update all the things. And then it goes into the different ways that that can be done. So, for example, you know, do you log into each website individually and update things that way? Do you go the fully automated route where everything is done by machines on a fixed schedule?
Do you go for a more patch Tuesday option a bit like Microsoft? Do they have this patch Tuesday, once a month where everything is updated regardless of whether you wish it to or not? In a. Corporate environment, or maybe we have some sort of approved release system. And finally it goes into what it is that you need to do to do testing.
But basically the message is, please update everything all the time and pick a way to do it that you and your colleagues and company can cope with and then stick to it. The final one this week in the security section is from I themes. It's their kind of Roundup of the last few weeks and it's just got a whole bunch of icons of the plugins that are, have been in some way, shape or form cause for concern this month.
And I like these articles cause you can just scroll through and look at the names. So for example, repeated is this code snippets plugin, WP database reset as a problem, chained quiz, Ressam, ARRA, um, Marketo forms and tracking and a variety of options. In other words, scroll through. If any of those mean anything to you, you can find out a little bit more and see what needs to be done.
They blatantly self-promotional. WP Builds a bit. I did a podcast this week. It was episode number 164 it was me and David Walmsley droning on about the how and where of marketing. It's the, I don't know, maybe the ninth in a series following the Briony Thomas' watertight marketing book, and we go. Into where it is that we put our messages and, and how we actually go about doing that.
And I was surprised by just how much I do on automation for WP bills. It's absolutely crazy. When I looked at it, I hadn't really thought about how much happens, but there's an awful lot. So is this a good thing? What's, what's the place where you should put your messages? Where are your audience going to be founded and what should those things look like?
So yeah, if that appeals to you, go check it out. And the other one was. Our weekly WordPress news, and I'm mentioning this because at the, at the bottom, after we do our live news, I actually embed the YouTube video at the bottom of the post. So if you actually go to the DWP Builds.com website site and click on the archive link, go to news archives and just click on one of them.
You'll see that right at the bottom is the YouTube video that was created from the live and. I don't know if anybody knows. It's embedded in there. So I'm just letting you know, perhaps in the future I'll make a different archive of all of those cause it might be quite useful. But for now, they're buried at the bottom of the post.
So go check out last week's news and join us for this week's news 2:00 PM UK time. The last section is nothing to do with WordPress particularly, and we call this section not to WordPress, but useful anyway. And I've got three bits for you this week. If you are fearful of all of the kinds of information that Facebook sends out on your behalf or gathers in on your behalf.
And when I say on your behalf, that is tongue in cheek. Some of it is exactly the kind of information you would rather, it was kept on the platform itself. Well. Facebook have a new tool. It's on tech crunch in the articles entitled, all users can now access Facebook's tool for controlling which apps and sites can share data for ad targeting.
And this was launched a little while ago, but it was only available in certain geographical jurisdictions. Now, apparently it's been rolled out everywhere. It's called . Off Facebook activity and you've got a granular list of everything that is being sent out. Not a list of all the actual data, but who it's being sent to and what type of data.
And then you can go in there, go into each individual little app and say things like, clear data from this app and block things and so on and so forth. So this may be something privacy advocates want to look at. The next one is really just a peculiar little website that I think is worth sharing. It's so beautifully done.
If you're into UX, then this is kind of like a little tutorial website. It's all one big page, but it's super cartoony. It's how to do UX from the perspective of, yeah. Of Batman, which is very, very strange indeed. And it says an infographic, rethinking Batman's classic outfit in a user user centric way. And you start at the top and you just scroll down and all these little cartoon characters explain about the principles of UX design approaches.
And you scroll through and learn about how to empathize and various other things, and it's just absolutely lovely. It's. Beautifully put together. Um, like a proper real life cartoon. Wonderful stuff. And the last one is on the guardian website, and I just thought this was terrific. Speaking of Batman and his superhero capabilities, this one's called meet the superhumans.
And so it's about a bunch of real life human beings who have some kind of extraordinary powers, you might say. So for example, there's a story about a lady called a Joe Cameron. She's 72 years old. She lives in Scotland, and she's . Incapable of experiencing physical pain of any kind. So just obviously it'd be really careful, but this, this can be incredibly useful to her.
Things can be prodded and poked at her and she can't hear anything at all. Visiting the dentist is trivial to her. There is a chap called Scott Flansburg from Arizona who can calculate things in his brain. He is basically the human calculator, and you can do incredible feats of mathematics, um, in the speed it takes to type it into a calculator.
There's a chap called Derek . Para Vinci, I'm going to say who lives in London and he can play any piece of music. The moment he's heard it, no matter how long it is, he can play it instantly back to you. And there's another lady called Rebecca sheruts, who's from Brisbane in Australia who is incapable of forgetting things.
She can remember. Every single thing from her entire life, allegedly right up until the moment her brain was capable of remembering things when she was one year old. Some of these things that I'm sure are blessings, but I'm sure in some senses they are also curses, but just absolutely fascinating. There you go.
That's all I've got for you this week. I hope that you managed to find something useful in there. I really, really do. The WP Builds weekly WordPress newsletter was brought to you by Kinsta. Kinsta takes managed WordPress hosting to the next level. Powered by the Google cloud platform. Your site is secured like Fort Knox and it runs on speed, obsessive architecture.
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Again, join us live, 2:00 PM WP Builds.com forward slash live for our weekly WordPress news with a few notable guests, and of course, we've got our podcast on Wednesday. Right? Hopefully I'll see you for one of those things, but bye bye for now.