This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 8th July 2019:
Plugins / Themes
Not WordPress, but useful anyway…
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Transcript (if available)
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Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Hello there. Good morning and welcome to this. The WP Builds weekly WordPress newsletter number 71 this is entitled Gutenberg animations, elementary icons on Google playing games. It covers the WordPress news for the week, commencing the 8th of July, 2019 and it was published on Monday the 15th of July, 2019 a few very small things before we begin. Head over to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe and over there you can sign up to our newsletters. You can find us on our Facebook group and slack channels and all of the places where we publish our content, including youtube, head over to WP Builds.com forward slash deals where you'll find a whole bunch of deals. We've added a new one this week. We've added Andrew Palmer's page, build a cloud and if you head over to that webpage, you'll be able to find the coupon code for you to redeem that. It gives you 50% off every year including your first year, but also remember there's a whole load of codes for other WordPress plugins as well.
Nathan Wrigley: 00:57 It's a little bit like black Friday, but every single day. Also head over to WP Builds.com forward slash contribute. If you'd like to join me on the podcast and show off something that you've done recently that you're proud of and forward slash advertise. If you would like to advertise on WP Builds and get your product or service in front of a wider audience. A bit like 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 .com okay, let's get stuck right into the news. We like to categorize the news items that we do on this podcast episode and the first category is WordPress core. And the first piece of news under that category is on WP tavern entitled Gutenberg 6.1 introduces animation to block moving actions, add block based widgets, screen experiments.
Nathan Wrigley: 01:59 So in version 6.1 of the plugin, we now have this smooth animation UI. So basically if you move a block up or down or you delete a block rather than the sort of very abrupt moving or deletion where they would just simply move from one place to the next. Now we get this lovely fluid, smooth gliding. As you move the block into position, it's really nice and very effective and it's very noticeable if you've got large blocks as they slide around and it takes the sort of editing items with it, you know, the center left and right or line and all of that stuff. Bold and Italics takes that with it. Um, and it looks really nice. I have to say when this rolls out, I'll be very pleased about it. Also, we've got some more experimental stuff. We've got block-based widgets, screens that you can edit in the customizer.
Nathan Wrigley: 02:45 It's very much in Beta. The controls don't really fit into the customizer section, but it's an experiment and you can go and play with that if you like. And perhaps most importantly for all of us, uh, we lost some performance over the last two releases have gotten bug. But this time around we have got an awful lot of that performance back 30% faster, which is very, very good indeed. WP Tavern for the next piece, once again, a piece entitled WordPress Theme Review Team Seeks to curb obtrusive admin notices with new requirements of follow core design patterns. Well, we've all been there before. We've installed something and we've noticed that there's been some large obtrusive notices in the WP admin area which have taken over and in some cases might even go across all places where you use the WP admin. So no matter where you are, there are these notices.
Nathan Wrigley: 03:37 Well, from now on, the theme review team is taking an action to curb all of this and they're saying that themes going through the repo will be required to follow the, the required design patterns and they will be required to use the admin underscore notices API. This article shows a whole load of instances of violation of that. And then it also shows what the appropriate admin notices should look like. And they're the typical things that you would find when WordPress itself updates just very minimal text-based with a color floating on the left of the, of the text area. Um, and that'll be nice. So hopefully from now on themes that you download, we'll do this. Um, there's probably going to be a whole bunch of workarounds and obviously things that are not covered by the WordPress.org repo will not be covered, but you never know.
Nathan Wrigley: 04:26 This might lead to some kind of, um, line in the sand where this is now expected behavior. And I for one would applaud this. The next few pieces of news come under the banner of community. And the first of those is again on WP tavern, an article entitled the News Project Launches Its first customer sites. Cal Matters. Well, the news project which was founded by Merril Brown has launched a site. Cal matters. They've got a new logo and it's been built entirely with WordPress. The news project describes itself as a solution that integrates best of breed content, audience and revenue tools that a typical news venture would assemble separately at far greater cost in time, effort and dollars. It kind of feels like a bit of a rival to news pack, which is a vertical on WordPress.com but sort of slightly strangely. Um, WordPress.com secured two point $4 million of funding from Google for news pack, but they also automatic has given a six figure investment.
Nathan Wrigley: 05:27 While it was actually WordPress.com VIP has given a six figure investment into the news project. So it seems a bit strange that both of these are happening, um, at the, you know, in that there seem to be rivals and yet sort of funding from the same source regardless. It's quite a nice development if you are in any way looking to produce news, this might be a project that you want to follow the news project. Okay, next up we have 10 up releases, new plugin that shows how to extend Gutenberg document panel using slots fill and filters. This again is over on WP. It's haven't so 10 up have released a plugin called Gutenberg slot fill and filter demos. Now this is a way of putting things inside the Sidebar in the in the Gutenberg editor, so a slot is sort of like a container if you'd like and then you can fill it with fills.
Nathan Wrigley: 06:24 There's a demo screenshot on the the website and it shows you how it works in the classic UI as well as in the Gutenberg UI. This is something that you're going to be able to leverage soon because in January the developers put in a pull request to the Gutenberg Repo and they received some favorable feedback and so it's going to be rolled into Gutenberg 6.1 which will be available in WordPress. 5.3 and slot filled documentation has already been added to the WordPress called Gutenberg handbook last week in the live WordPress news that we do at 2:00 PM UK time, we got into a bit of a pickle where it was pretty clear that not many of us really understood what a headless CMS was because one of the news articles referred to it. So I found an article on the scotch.io website this week called the future of websites. Headless CMS is where it explains exactly what a headless CMS is, how the frontend and the backend are decoupled.
Nathan Wrigley: 07:22 And so this is just me giving you the option to read something about headless CMS is and see what's different platforms do it and how word press fares when it comes to its capabilities as a headless CMS. So go and check that out if that interests you. So now we move to plugins and themes and again, over on WP tavern there's an article entitled Anders Norin Releases Free Chaplain theme designed for block editor theme authors discuss better ways to promote truly free themes. Well the new chaplain theme from Anders Noren, which is 20th theme, is designed specifically to work with Gutenberg and work perfectly with Gutenberg. Apparently he's actually gone back and adapted all of his 2120 free themes to be Gutenberg compatible. It's got some nice options. You can get started right away and change colors and things like that in the customizer and a, it seems to be a very decent stab, a Gutenberg specific theme.
Nathan Wrigley: 08:23 Now it's available on the repo and because it's available on the repo, this article goes on to discuss how theme authors are able to promote quality themes on the WordPress.org repo. And at the moment it would appear that if you are set on using Gutenberg, it's very hard to surface good themes in the repo depending on what you've searched for and unless you know what you're looking for, your going to be stymied. Um, and with that in mind, some of the team that review these, um, popular themes say that the WordPress.org repo is become becoming nothing more than a place to essentially sell crippled themes, which are just simply there to upsell. Um, so that when you realize the features that you need are not available to you, you go and purchase the premium version. And I'm, maybe the suggestion is that in the future it ought to be made very, very clear when functionality has been disabled.
Nathan Wrigley: 09:20 So that you know right from the get go what it is that you're getting and whether or not you're getting the complete theme or something which is only partially the complete theme. Next up we have elemental over on the elemental.com website we have an article entitled Introducing Icon Library, a truly iconic release, well elemental 2.6 the the big takeaway is that they've updated their icon selection interface. It's very nice. Everything is within sight. Within a little card. It's very easy to pick the icons that you want and they've updated two font awesome five which means they've gone from roughly 700 icons up to over 1500 icons for just about anything your heart could desire, easy to search, and they've got some filtering options in there as well. Also, they've added the support for you to upload your own SVG icons. So the sky's the limit. If you want to create your own, you can put them in there and do all of the things that Elementor allows you to do.
Nathan Wrigley: 10:18 So that's basically what this is all about. Nice update to element or specifically regarding icons. If you're an updraft plus user, you'll be interested in this because over on updraft plus.com we have an article entitled updraft plus announced his new feature to spin out empty WP installs with a couple of clicks, perfect for testing new plugins, themes, old designs back in September, they release the updraft clone feature, which allows you with a click of a button to completely clone and send to the cloud a WordPress install. Well now they've taken the interesting step of making the exact same click feature, spin up a brand new vanilla WordPress install. I think the idea here is that you may just wish to, may just wish to take a plugin or a theme and just experiment with that on a brand new install. So if you go to the updraft.com clone dashboard, you can now click a button and get yourself a brand new install of WordPress and apparently it literally takes a couple of seconds.
Nathan Wrigley: 11:19 So that's a nice feature that they've added. If image compression is your thing, you may have taken a look at WP compress. Well WP compress now has rolled over to version 4.0 it's a compression service which handles stuff on their servers. So it sucks out your images, compresses them and then delivers them back to you. They use a CDN to to do this and that's a new feature. Apparently they don't actually make mention of which CDN they're using, but the idea being that hopefully the images that they're serving up will be stored much more, much closer to the location where the webpage is being requested. They've also enabled a feature for adaptive images. So the idea being that they will serve an image which is correctly proportion for the device that it's being requested on. So it might actually provide you with a different image if you're on desktop than the image that it would provide if a mobile device was requesting the page.
Nathan Wrigley: 12:15 And also they've offered the capability to deliver Web p images as well, and you simply toggle a button and they'll automatically generate web p versions of your images for you. So a nice update, WP compressed version four also at version 4.0 is WPMU Dev hustle plugin. and premium . wpmu dev . org there's an article entitled Hustle Four Point Oh better pop-up design, analytics and privacy. So they've updated their, you are you for the hustle plugin so that it follows, they're kind of more minimal design standards that they've introduced across a whole bunch of their plugins for Mineta defender, hummingbird and hummingbirds should I say, and smush. So it's much easier for you to navigate and get your, get your slidings and your popups organized and not and running. They've also added the capability to connect each of your instances of hustle to more than one place at once. So for example, you might want to connect it to hubspot and MailChimp and a Weber and so on and so forth.
Nathan Wrigley: 13:19 So that all of the people who fill in the form, their emails delivered to those services. Well that is now possible, which is quite an interesting and useful useful feature. Also, they've updated the options for user data privacy controls. You've now got the option to do things like, um, find search things and delete things much more straightforwardly. And finally better performance has been added. They say that, uh, they've, it's not just an overhaul of the UI. Uh, they, they've improved their performance of all the individual elements so that it will, it will work quicker for you. So nice update there from WPMU Dev hustle. The last one under the banner of plugins and themes comes from ithemes who have the popular theme Security Plugin. And this is just to say that they've produced this very, very long article, um, because there's so many UI elements and options to choose from an ithemes security that you might really not clearly understand what all of them do.
Nathan Wrigley: 14:17 So they put in one place what every single possible option is for how it can be used, uh, and, and what essentially how you should manage your I theme security. I know this is very popular. So then putting out this article is, is very, very helpful indeed. I've said it before and I'm going to say it again. We're not going to concentrate particularly on the security news, but I am going to post tell you about some security things that have come up this week. I feel that the, the technical details of it make it not suitable for this particular kind of audio format. But over this week on the security blog, we have an article entitled Ice Gram Persistent Cross site scripting. So ice gram is a plugin that helps you collect email addresses for your newsletter. Well, there's a problem over there relating to cross site scripting. So for the name Ice Gram rings a bell.
Nathan Wrigley: 15:07 Go and check that out. And also if you've been using the WordPress plugin file manager, the guys over at WebARX security have produced quite a long piece about problems that they found in multiple vulnerabilities that they found. So again, if the plugin WordPress plugin a file manager, if that name rings a bell, maybe click the link in the show notes and find out what WebARXs have discovered. WP Builds news this week. Well, just two things. The first one is to say that we had episode 136 released this week. It's called standing up to clients and it's David Waumsley and I having a chat about how it is that we manage clients who in some way, shape or form don't do or behave in the way that we want. So we categorize them as things like the stalker, the young responsive, the Alpha, the underminer, the non payer, the visionary and so on and so forth.
Nathan Wrigley: 15:57 And so it's just our, our kind of fun way of talking about how we cope with clients who, uh, who sometimes cause us problems. And the second one is that we released a podcast, sorry, it wasn't a podcast, it was about podcasting. It was a Webinar, um, with me and Craig Hewitt who runs castos, which is a podcasting platform with specific integrations with WordPress, like a WordPress plugin. It makes it trivially easy to run your podcast in your WordPress website. And we did a Webinar and the replay is available. You can see how the plugin works, how the platform works and how they all integrate and how you can get your, your podcast up and running in just a matter of hours. The next few pieces. The last few pieces should I say are all to do with nothing to do with WordPress and I entitled this not to WordPress but useful anyway.
Nathan Wrigley: 16:47 And the first one is over on the BBC news website, bbc.co. Dot UK and it's entitled, Google's deep mind goes undercover to battle game as well. There is a game called starcraft II and apparently it's quite complicated and Google have set up an experiment which is going on at the moment whereby real human players are being pitted against experts in starcraft II. But the twist is that those players will not know whether they're playing the, the deep mind AI or whether they are playing real human beings. It would just be completely at random. The idea behind this was that if they knew that they were playing the AI or AI, they might play differently than if they, uh, if they were unaware. So hopefully they'll play in exactly the same way. And also this game has been chosen because unlike previous successes in things like chess and go games, which are board games where everything is on display and you can see everything that's happening, this game has a lot of hidden content.
Nathan Wrigley: 17:44 I confess I haven't played the game, but apparently there's a lot of intuition being used on a lot of hidden things happening off the screen and so you can be making decisions that the AI might not see and vice versa. So we'll be interested to see how this comes out. My, my guess is that a few weeks, months, years from now, we'll discover that the AI is significantly better than all humans, but uh, that remains to be discovered. Android users beware because the verge tells us this week that thousands of Android apps can track your phone. Even if you deny permissions. This is quite clever. We all know that when you install an app on Android, you are asked when it first runs, if you allow it to have certain permissions and you can deny it certain permissions. But apparently the way that the software is created, the SDKs that are used if a, an app is using a shared SDK, it can have access to other apps, similarly created SDK saved data.
Nathan Wrigley: 18:43 So for example, it's a bit like the analogy that's used in this article. It's a bit like a child asking a parent for candy and the parents saying no and then the child just simply going to a different parent and saying, can I have someone receiving it? It's fairly technical and complicated, but needless to say, lots and lots of apps have been created using the same SDKs. And this can also be used for things like accessing Mac addresses, SSI ids and possibly location data as well. So no doubt something that Google will have to fix possibly in the upcoming android Q but a there we go. Android users beware. And the very last thing that I've got for you this week is again on the verge and it's entitled Google is testing a play button for chrome's toolbar. Well. Apparently Google is going to start putting a play button at the very, very end of the URL bar where your extensions currently live, a little play button so that you can silence that current tab.
Nathan Wrigley: 19:41 I wonder if this will cause a resurgence of videos being autoplayed and audio being autoplayed simply because we now know that everybody has the capability to switch it off easily without having to go and locate to the play button on the page itself. It's in the canary build of Google developer, sorry, Google's chrome browser. This is the the heavily developer edition, the Canary Edition and a, it's coming to a browser near you soon. I think this is quite an interesting little feature considering that I play the vast majority of the music in my house in a browser. Okay. That's all I've got for you this week. I hope that you managed to find something useful in there. Please join us in the Facebook group and give us your opinion about this or you can contact me on the WP Builds.com website and tell me if you find this useful.
Nathan Wrigley: 20:27 I'd be really interested to hear your feedback about whether or not you find this news useful. The WP Builds newsletter was brought to you today 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 runs on speed obsessive architecture. You get access to the latest software developer tools such as PHP seven ssh and staging environments, and the best part there, expert team of WordPress engineers are available 24 seven if you need help and you can migrate today for free at Kinsta Dot Com thank you very much for joining us. Come back next Monday and we'll have another news bulletin for you or we'll see you on Thursday for the weekly podcast that we put out. And if you're listening to this on Monday, why not join us in the Facebook group, WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook at 2:00 PM UK time. That's probably early in the morning if you're based in North America where we will put out a live version of this news. And this week I'm going to be joined by Paul Lacey, and I'm going to be joined by Jay Okey and also by Jan Koch. So we'll see you there at 2:00 PM. If not, have a nice week. Bye Bye for now.