This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 20th May 2019:
Plugins / Themes
Not WordPress, but useful anyway…
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Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Hello there. Good morning and welcome to this, the WP Builds weekly WordPress newsletter. This is number 64 in titled a WordPress 5.2 0.1 plugging news and serps problems. It covers the week commencing the 20th of May, 2019 and it was published on Monday the 27th of May, 2019 just a couple of things before we begin. If you head over to WPBuilds.com forward slash subscribe, you can subscribe to all of the places where we are on the Internet. We've got a thriving Facebook group. You can find all of our stuff on youtube and we've got a couple of different email lists, one to find out about podcasts and and so on, and the other one to get updated emails every time we find out about a WordPress deal cropping up somewhere on the Internet. The next one to mention is WPBuilds.com forward slash contribute. If you'd like to come and join us on the podcast and share some great thing that you've done recently, and the last one is WPBuilds.com forward slash advertise.
Nathan Wrigley: 01:01 If you would like to have your product or service mentioned on the podcast and reach a wider audience, please go to that link and we will see what we can do for you. Speaking of which, the WP builds newsletter is brought to you today by Kinsta. Are you tired of unreliable or slow hosting? If so, check out Kinsta who takes managed WordPress hosting to the next level powered by the Google cloud platform. All their plans include PHP seven ssh and 24 seven experts support migrate today for free at Kinsta Dot Com and we thank Kinsta for their support of the WP builds podcast. Right. Let's get stuck into the news then. The first two bits of news come under the title of WordPress core and the first one is on the WordPress.org website entitled WordPress 5.2 0.1 maintenance release. You've probably noticed that your site over the last couple of days was updated automatically to 5.2 0.1 if not to go and get it updated.
Nathan Wrigley: 02:03 Now it's a minor release. It's only going to last for about two weeks and then 5.2 0.2 is expected to follow on, but it's got 33 you bug fixes including improvements to the block editor, accessibility, internationalization and site health features. So go and get yourself updated if you haven't done already. Okay. The next one is over on the WP Tavern website entitled WordPress 5.2 improves the security of automatic updates when 5.2 shipped. It came with a feature which you probably didn't know was there or certainly is not something that you would notice when WordPress core updates itself. It's going to be checking for the existence of security keys. The purpose of this is so that somebody can't really hijack the, the WordPress updates server and ship and malicious core versions of WordPress out to the millions of sites throughout the world. This is now kind of silently failing.
Nathan Wrigley: 03:01 So in other words, if it doesn't all check out, it's going to update you anyway. And the idea is that they'll keep that log data and see why things are failing. This idea has been mooted for the last six years, uh, by the court, the contributor, and now it exists. So it's rather than ice, it's going to be getting more strict. So in the future, if this license key, if you like, doesn't validate, then you simply won't be able to update. But for now it's in there and it's good for the future. I can't see this in any way being anything other than a good thing. Right. The next few bits are under the banner of community and the first article is over on the WP Tavern websites. It's entitled take the 2019 WP&UP mental health and wellbeing survey. And it's to say that WP&UP, which is a charity in the WordPress space trying to help with mental health and various other things is carrying out a survey in the survey is designed so that they get data so that they know where best to to to spend their charitable donations so that people like you and I can can receive them and they can offer the best support.
Nathan Wrigley: 04:12 Full disclosure, I do actually do a podcast for WP&UP, but that's not why I'm linking to it. I'm going to get into it because it's a good piece of news. You can actually go directly to the survey at wpandup.org forward slash go and it only takes about 10 minutes to complete and it will be helping people in the WordPress space, so I would highly encourage you to do it. The next piece is on the tech crunch website, which I don't usually link to and it's entitled automatic acquires, Subscription Payment, company pros, press. Now I didn't really know too much about Prospress, but they do. They have in the past made quite a lot of other really cool things for woo commerce, for example, they're behind WooCommerce subscriptions, whether they've been bought up with all the 20 staff by automatic, um, I think they're just going to be rolled into the automatic crew.
Nathan Wrigley: 05:01 So taking it well over 900 distributed workers. But it feels to me as with all things, you know, automatic trying to get a larger slice of the pie and obviously, you know, having the ability to do things like recurring subscriptions in WooCommerce, if that's all being developed by Automattic than, than they would see that as a good thing. I've actually also linked to a couple of different articles over on the post status website as well as the WP Tavern website, which highlight the exact same article and just take it from a slightly different angle, but there you go. We'll come as subscriptions is now under the auspices of automatic because they've acquired Prospress, right. This next one is on the ocean WP website because they have joined forces with Freemius. Now Freemius is a platform which enables you to sell your WordPress plugins or themes.
Nathan Wrigley: 05:55 It's a, it's a rival to something like easy digital downloads. And the reason that I've included this in the community section is because it's two notable WordPress products kind of combining forces. So they've moved away from easy digital downloads and this whole article is explaining why they've done it. They believe in many ways it's so superior products. So for example, they mentioned how easy it is to get the license is activated that they can offer free trials and deactivations um, and so on and so forth. So if you're a plugin or theme developer and, and you know you've had troubles with easy digital downloads, then perhaps this freemium website is worth looking at. Many of you will have websites where you're trying to optimize images with plugins like wpm, you'd have smush and so on. There is a rival called short pixel. And although this isn't exactly news, I'm just bringing your attention to it because the short pixel service which compresses images on their hardware, uh, is available on Appsumo at the moment.
Nathan Wrigley: 06:50 And you can get it for $39. You'll have to go and explore what the INS and outs of the DLR, but I just thought that that was worth mentioning over the last few weeks. It feels like we've had lots and lots of security news. I'm pleased to announce that today we've only got one. It's over on the Securi website and it's entitled Slim Stat stored Xss from visitors. The plugin is apparently installed on over a hundred thousand WordPress installs and it's a plug in allowing you to gather and analyze data about visitors to your WordPress website. Well, needless to say that there is a problem which is described as anything below 4.8 to 0.1 are effected by an authenticated stored xss on the administrator dashboard. I have said that in these news articles, I'm not going to go into the technical details, but you can look this up. Needless to say, if you are using this plugin that's slim stat, go and get yourself updated.
Nathan Wrigley: 08:38 But he decided not to do that and he explains why and then he goes on to explain about some of the upgrades that he's done. He's included the the option to have Google fonts hosted locally, which helps with Gdpr, Gdpr compliance and also means there's one less request to Google CDN. And also there's now the option two for the inline CSS that's being generated can now be saved as a style sheet as well, which is quite a nice improvement. David will actually be joining us today on our live episode where we talk about this week's WordPress news. So hopefully he'll be able to tell us all about it and why he's so keen on speed. Speaking of speed, we've got an article from elemental which is called introducing hello theme and they saved the fastest WordPress theme ever created. Well they, the guys at elemental have put out the hello theme as a freely available WordPress repo theme.
Nathan Wrigley: 09:36 It's very, very minimal meaning that if you install it, there's basically nothing there. They've stripped out all the styling, um, but they are making the claim that, you know, the compatibility with elementary is one of its main benefits and also the fact that it is very, very minimal. They, they pushed some statistics about page speed and load and so on and so forth against some other themes and you can draw your own conclusions, but if you are using elemental and you want something from the guys at elemental, then look at the hello theme on the WordPress.org repo, continuing the theme of efficiency Toolset views, 2.8 2.21 has rolled out and the article on the Toolset website is called Toolset views 2.8 0.1 with performance improvements and this is all about the way that Toolset views plugin keeps its caches. At the moment it seems to be a very server intensive process and they've streamlined this so that it's not having to constantly regenerate the cash.
Nathan Wrigley: 10:36 It's only done when it's absolutely necessary and they're saying that for sites like their own Toolset and wpml.org websites, this is a huge benefit. There's a new option in side the plugins options under settings and essentially you can choose for Toolset to manage the cash automatically or to keep it so that you have to clear it yourself manually. Strikes me that with the performance improvements, you might as well set it to automatic and and let all set take care of that for you. So a lovely development from Toolset. If you're in the market for WP form of plugin, well it may be that you want to look again at formidable forms because they've just launched a new builder. This is version four and you can find the article entitled build better forms fast with the new formidable form builder by following the link in the show notes on the formidable forms.com website at the main thrust of version 4.0 is the update to the the form builder.
Nathan Wrigley: 11:35 And now they've moved all the menus from the right over to the left. It occupies the screen fully and I have to say it looks really modern unlawfully. All of the options that you drag in from the leftist sort of drag and drop capable. You can move things by clicking on, um, icons and drag them into different and so on. So hopefully things will be able to be done in less time. It mentions that you can use placeholders alongside default values. You can access the add ons without ever leaving the form builder, so that's things like payment options and so on and so forth. And generally it's a decluttered interface which should speed you up. So if you haven't checked it out, maybe time to do so. And if you've got a copy, definitely get updated because it looks like a a nice overhaul from formidable.
Nathan Wrigley: 12:19 Next up we've got something over on youtube but it's all about oxygen. The page builder, oxygen 2.4 out for warm has introduced the capability to have conditional logic. The interfaces very, very nicely done. You can see in a, in a bad video is about 13 minutes long. You can see how it all works, including how to set it up, how to make it happen, and then it goes onto a PHP options if you want to kind of use their API and and expand it. If you're an oxygen user, Europe certainly be very pleased to see this. You know, it allows you to do things like hide the post title and under certain conditions or add the post title back in, that kind of thing. Um, but yeah, a nice development from oxygen. Next up we have two new plugins from I themes. The first one is called landing pages and the second one is called content upgrades.
Nathan Wrigley: 13:12 They're fairly bare bones plugins designed to do one task and do it well. The idea is that you would uh, you install the landing pages plugin, you get a new custom post type landing pages and you basically fill out some custom post type fields and it will create a landing page for you. It's not kind of like a page builder, it's not giving you too many variables in here. You just basically fill it up and it's designed to look like a landing page with some forms that convert. The other option is content upgrades. And the idea is obviously you create some sort of upgrade to your content, like an ebook or something like this and you can, you can install this on top of your current posts and it will, it will offer those ebooks and so on. And hopefully you can gather some email addresses with those.
Nathan Wrigley: 13:58 Like I say, they're, they're fairly bare bones. They do the thing that they do well and if you're needing those kinds of functionalities, then maybe go and check those out. Now you might be able to tell me that this isn't a piece of news at all, but to me it is. I've not come across this before. It's um, a plugin called nested pages.com and it's described as being an intuitive admin the way it should be. It's available freely on the WordPress.org repo. And the idea is that you can go into your pages or any custom post type, um, list of all your custom posts and you can order them into a tree hierarchy and then sync that to a custom menu, which you can then deploy onto your website. It's dead simple. It looks like a really cool plugin. I just thought I'd bring it up and see if anybody had used it before.
Nathan Wrigley: 14:47 If it's been around for ages, please let me know if you're using it. The next today is talking about editors kit 1.5 so we're on the WP Tavern websites. It's entitled New in editors, kick 1.5 justify text alignment, auto save on off toggle and highlighted text. This is Jeffery Carendang's editor kit blog in which basically adds a whole load of capabilities to the Gutenberg block editor. The ability to not just change the color of the background of a whole block but the, the ability to do things like change the background of just certain portions of text. Essentially it adds loads of capabilities for changing the way text is highlighted and justified and so on. And you know, this feels to me like the sort of thing that will end up in the call block editor, but for now, uh, Jeffery's plugin will, will satisfy that need if you have it.
Nathan Wrigley: 15:39 So if you're frustrated by the limitations of editing text in the block editor, then go and check this plugin out and it's on version 1.5. Next stop code blocks 1.9 0.5 merges Block gallery plugin into collection and adds new form block, um, code blocks. WP Tavern tells us was acquired by go daddy and they've integrated a kind of symbol, similar plugin called block gallery and they've kind of merged the two things into one and it's continuing to be developed under the auspices of go daddy. But in this relief in this release, three gallery blocks, masonry stacked and carousel have been taken from the Block Gallery Plugin and put into co blocks. They've also added a very basic form build forms, styler, I should say. You know, you can, you can do very, very minimal amounts of customization to that form, but maybe this is an endeavor that they're going to carry on doing the ability to, to kind of customize forms and alter the way that they look.
Nathan Wrigley: 16:43 And they've also um, officially added support for Gothenburg 5.7 and there's a dozen other tweaks and fixes the last long falling under the banner of plugins and themes. This week is over at the WP mayor website. It's entitled visual visual composer is celebrating its eighth birthday. I know that visual composer was used by lots and lots of people. I suppose to some extent it's fallen into disfavor but in its time it was very cutting edge technologies. Still I'm sure you use by an awful lot of people and it's now reached its eighth birthday, so even if you don't use it, happy birthday to visual composer over on WP builds this week we talked to Tom Carlos who is the developer of the beaver team and Beaver Team Pro plugins. This allows you to add a whole load of extra capabilities. Really it's for people who are using beaver builder to quite a high level and are finding that there's repetitive tasks that they would like to eliminate.
Nathan Wrigley: 17:46 Well, beaver team pro gets rid of those. It's things like bulk color updating and that kind of thing. It's very, very good plugin and it was a pleasure talking to Tom. I've got to know him very well subsequently and uh, I can certainly recommend this plug in. I've used it on many, many occasions and found it to be a great time saver. The last section, as always, today is all about non-WordPressy things, but hopefully there'll be of some use to you. The first one is all about the fact that apple is planning to make it so that you can't track private data about a particular individual from clicking links. We all know at the moment about cookies and all of that good stuff. While over on the tech crunch website this week, they're talking about the fact that apple in an upcoming updates to its safari browser is going to make it so that their obfuscating that private data, you'll still be able to gain a certain amount of insight.
Nathan Wrigley: 18:39 But what they're saying is they no longer want it to be so that you can identify it down to the individual concerned they're going to make it so that you can still aggregate data, but it's not going to be available to third parties. It's going to be obfuscated over time so it won't release the data immediately and it will all be done in a sort of incognito, separate window. So from my point of view, I think tracking on the Internet as possibly going a little bit far, and I certainly admire apple for doing this kind of thing. The next one is on the search engine journal website and it is to say that fascinating Google confirms a bug preventing new content from being indexed. I wonder if over the last couple of days you've experienced this, maybe some of the content that you've protect was not appearing in Google search engine results.
Nathan Wrigley: 19:26 Well, uh, this is the truth for a few hours. They were, they were not able to index things properly. And uh, I suppose in a way this is the whole point of Google to be able to index things immediately and um, and so that happened this week. So just alerting you to that piece of news. The next one is, um, I've never tried this. I don't know how it works or the technology behind it. I'm literally throwing it out to you so that you can investigate it for yourself. It's user way, U s e r w a y.org and it says, use away as a pioneer in innovative website accessibility technology. Technology's, excuse me, we provide helpful accessibility plugins that without refactoring your website's existing code will increase compliance. And the idea is you go through this form, it gives you a widget, you put that onto your website and it increases accessibility kind of automagically.
Nathan Wrigley: 20:18 I have no idea about the effectiveness of this. But if you know, if accessibility is a thing and you'd like some quick wins, maybe this is worth checking out. Somebody put in my newsfeed this week about the fact that Adobe had updated it's licensed. Now, excuse me if this is no news and it's, it's always been the case, but somebody said to me this week that you will no longer be able to embed your fonts in client websites, um, that come from Adobe. From now on, they will have to buy their own font licenses. So it's the, the front licensing page over help X. Dot adobe.com says, does my client need their own license to use the designed? No. If you are not creating graphics or documents that have rasterized or properly embedded font data. However, if your client needs to have the font installed to edit to your design, they will need their own license.
Nathan Wrigley: 21:16 And apparently this is a change. And if it's something that you were dealing in on a day by day basis, that might be worth looking at. But as I said, I can't confirm the authenticity of that. And the very last piece of news today is just an absolutely breathtakingly interesting article over at parametric.press. It's entitled unraveling the Jpeg. Now you'll have to strap in for this cause it's really long, but it explains what a jpeg really is and how obviously you're going to say it's an image. Well now you of course it is, but it explains how it came to be. How did the sort of protocol for making the Image Exist? What, what does an image actually look like to a computer? And of course it turns out it's just a series of numbers. It's ones and zeroes, but they're turned into a little octet strings and so on and so forth.
Nathan Wrigley: 22:07 And you can go and fiddle with some of the numbers inside the images. There's picture of a cat and um, and you can go and see what the effect is just by one ultra in one digit. And it can be quite dramatic. You know, there's thousands and thousands of digits that make up an image of this cat. But just by changing one, you can have really catastrophic results. Go and check it out. It's really, really interesting and it speaks of the complexity of stuff which we absolutely take for granted. Every time you download an image, all of this marvelous stuff is going on. Okay. Thank you for joining us. I hope that you got something out of that weekly news bulletin. Remember that we'll be doing I live version of this news later on today at 2:00 PM UK time. I'll be joined this week by Matt Medeiros. I'll be joined by David Vongries from the page builder framework and Paul Lacey as well.
Nathan Wrigley: 23:01 That's at 2:00 PM UK time. You'll be able to find it on our Facebook group and also on our youtube channel as well, so that would be WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook or WP Builds.com forward slash youtube the WP builds podcast was brought to you today by Kinsta Kinsta. It takes managed WordPress hosting to the next level, powered by the Google cloud platform. Your site is secured like Fort Knox and runs on speed, obsessive architecture. You can access to the latest software and developer tools such as PHP seven ssh and staging environments, and the best part, their expert team of WordPress engineers are available 24 seven if you need help. So you can migrate today for at Kinsta Dot com and we thank Kinsta for their support of the WP builds podcast newsletter. Right? See you next Monday for this exact same bulletin, but with some fresh news, or perhaps we'll see you on Thursday for the regular podcast. Bye Bye for now.