This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 22nd July 2019:
Plugins / Themes
Not WordPress, but useful anyway…
Transcript (if available)
Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Hello there. Good morning and welcome to this, the WP Builds newsletter number 73 this newsletter covers the WordPress weekly news for the week, commencing the 22nd of July, 2019 and it was published on Monday the 29th of July, 2019 a couple of things before we begin, if you wouldn't mind going over to the WP Builds.com website and use the links in the main navigation menu. The first one is the subscribe link, so that's WP builds .com forward slash subscribe over there. You're going to find ways of keeping in touch with things that we put out. First one is two newsletters. One is a newsletter about updates to the podcast, which we put out on a Thursday and this the WordPress weekly news on a Monday. You can also join us on off in, I should say our Facebook group, Youtube channel and so on and so forth, and there's links so that you can subscribe to us on your favorite podcast player.
Nathan Wrigley: 00:53 The other one I would mention would be WP builds .com forward slash deals and over there you're gonna find a whole ton of WordPress deals, so plugins and themes and so on. It's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week. So if you're in the market for buying something, go and check it out. WP Builds.com forward slash deals and the last one that I'm going to mention today is WP Builds dot com forward slash advertise because if you would like to advertise on WP builds and get your product or service in front of a larger audience, then feel free to go to that page a bit like Kinsta did. 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 expert support.
Nathan Wrigley: 01:43 And you can migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com just one thing before we get stuck properly into the news. I would say that every Monday, 2:00 PM UK time. So that's probably in the morning. If you're in North America, we do a live WordPress weekly news in our Facebook group and you can watch me in a few notable guests talking about the WordPress news from the previous week live and you can join in the comments and it's becoming increasingly popular and I really enjoy doing it. So let's get stuck into the news every single week. The news that we've put out is divided up into particular sections. And we always start with WordPress core. And I've got three articles today. And the first one is over@makedotWordPress.org entitled Gutenberg usability testing for 2019. Now this is absolutely fascinating. It's three videos of usability testing. So it's people who by the looks of it have never used WordPress before and their sat down and given a set of 16 instructions.
Nathan Wrigley: 02:48 So it's things like login, uh, begin by making a post, start a new post, add a title to the post, add a cover block, and then put some text over that color block, make a paragraph it. And so on. It goes. And the idea is that by the end of the 16 points, they'll have created some very basic WordPress page with the new Gothenburg or posts editor. And it's just fascinating watching these three people go through the process. You and I, because we've experimented, it's very familiar and I found myself a willing them to click the right parts of the screen. But the serious point is, I suppose, is that it does reveal some aspects which are obvious to people like you and me, but are really, really difficult and challenging. So one thing that came to my attention was the fact that the little ad icon was almost universally difficult to find.
Nathan Wrigley: 03:37 And the helpful text, which is inside of, um, blocks when they're, when they're initially initialized, it's kind of ignored even though it tells you what you can do with it. And things like the media library, people don't understand what that is. I just thought it was absolutely fascinating to watch these videos. So I would encourage you to do that. If you've got a few minutes in your week. The next one is over at the core dot track dot WordPress .org and it's, I'm about something which has now been closed. It's all about the ability in the media library to have different mind types so that we don't just get the regular set of mind mind types a few weeks ago, although I've only just spotted it, this track ticket has now been set a to fixed and now we've got the option to in the media library to add documents, spreadsheets and archive groups and be able to filter them in the media library.
Nathan Wrigley: 04:28 So there's a whole ton of mind types. It turns out there's all sorts of things you could do. So for example, you could do PDFs, ms word, and so on and so forth. And anyway, this ticket has now been closed and so hopefully that's the end of that one and you'll be able to use those things in the future. The last one in the core section of the news is over on Felix Hyphen Arntz dot to me. Yeah, probably not gonna be able to spell that. So click on the links in the show notes and it's called exploring sitewide usage today. I feel like we covered this somewhere else in the last couple of weeks. But anyway, this is a, the block areas plugin and an and experimentation with the ability to, to put headers and footers and any content anywhere. This guy has created this plugin, he's put it on get hub and he's basically saying, don't use it for production stuff because once it's gone into core, this plugin will be just left to, to rot.
Nathan Wrigley: 05:26 But it's, it's just a really interesting way about how this can be done, how he's actually achieved it. And uh, really it's just, uh, something that the, the core team could take a look at and say, okay, this is how we might implement it. So if you've been wanting Gothenburg to become your site-wide editor, headers, footers, menus, the whole thing, then this may be, is the beginnings of that. And I'm sorry if we've covered this before, but I feel it was important to, to link to the correct article. Okay. The next section of the news is under the banner of community. And the first post this week comes from 2000 and nineteen. us. Dot wordcamp.org entitled Volunteer Call For WordCamp us is now open. And I think the title says it all. The guys over at to WordCamp u s 2019 are looking for volunteers and they say there are many things that volunteers can do from assisting speakers to helping at registration to giving a hand at the happiness stations and so much more.
Nathan Wrigley: 06:26 We need an appreciate every one of you. And then there's a link to the call for volunteers page. So if you are thinking of going to WordCamp US in St Louis this year, then head over there, see if there's something that you could volunteer for staying on the theme of WordCamps. This piece is on 2019 Dr Europe and.wordcamp.org and it's entitled results from the WC EU survey. And as you might imagine again, it is that it is results of the attendees survey. There were 566 responses and they talk about all of the different metrics that, uh, that go into making a WordCamp. And what they did well and what they think they can improve. As an example, 3,260 tickets sold of which 2,734 people attended biggest WordCamp ever. There were 150 micro sponsors, 60 speakers and so on. And the top 10 rated things start with the talks where the top rated thing, the registration surprisingly was second workshops, meeting sponsors, wellness at WCU and so on and so forth.
Nathan Wrigley: 07:35 And then there's a list of the top 10 talks, Matt Mullenweg taking the number one spot and then things that they did right, number one, workshops. Number two, the WP cafe, which I've heard great reports about the wellness sessions, um, and so on. And then areas to improve would be the WP cafe location, the Wifi, indeed swag swag. That's an interesting walk. Swag quantities, workshops, ticket system, and after party space capacity. So again, if you're in the space of organizing WordCamps, this might be the sort of thing you want to take a look at. While the WordCamp new seems to no, no. End this week on the WP tavern website. Today we have WordCamp Asia set for February the 21st to the 23rd in 2020 Bangkok, Thailand first ever WordCamp Asia. Apparently there's been absolutely massive interest in this. There are 127 WordPress meetups in Asia, 73,000 members across 23 countries, and then after four years in planning and 137 WordCamps in 18 nations at 52 cities says the, the region is finally ready to collaborate.
Nathan Wrigley: 08:43 And I quote, we hope that this first flagship event in the region can help the WordPress and open source community to grow even further. We're really excited to be working on creating a place where community members can learn from and get inspired by each other. So if again, talking about WordCamps, if you're into this kind of thing and you're in that part of the world, you might want to get yourself involved. I'd be interested to know, because it doesn't say anywhere, um, what language is going to be the official language of this. I'm just interested to know whether in fact it would be perhaps English or something else. Call for speakers will be open until mid November, 2019 and there are links on the WP tavern page to go and check all of this stuff out. If you've been following the WP Builds news, you'll know that we've talked about headless WordPress a few times and I think it's fair to say we weren't all that familiar with with it and how it worked and this might've been helpful to us because on WP tavern this week, we have learn how to build a headless WordPress app with WP casts.
Nathan Wrigley: 09:43 Free crash course. Alex Young, who is the creator of WP cast a kind of youtube channel and websites with 20 or more videos that he's put up since March of this year, has created a 28 minutes of video tutorial covering the basics of setting up a react application using WP graph QL to query ACF data. Um, he begins by installing a few plugins, WP graph, QL, WP graph, IQL, advanced custom fields, WP graph QL for ACF, and demonstrates how all of this can be used to create, um, to create, well a headless installation of WordPress. Uh, he's making the point that this is just a sort of quick and easy way of doing it. If he had the time and the budget, he would probably be using something like Gatsby to do it with, but he's decided to go this way just to, uh, just to get off off to a flying start.
Nathan Wrigley: 10:39 And um, and it's completely free, 28 minutes over on Youtube. So anybody interested in this stuff might want to go check it out and subscribe to his content. If you've been growing your WordPress website agency, one of the things that you may be trying to do is scale it up so that you can have recurring revenue for maintenance or care plans. And over on the beaver builder website this week, we have how to scale WordPress maintenance tasks at an agency level. And obviously this is great. Having a productized service, something that you can, you can simply hand over as a subscription, um, is a wonderful way of getting new business because you don't have to have the churn of new people or simply pay each month to, to get the same thing that they paid for last month. And this article explains how that can be done and how to scale it up, not just so that you've got half a dozen but hundreds or possibly thousands.
Nathan Wrigley: 11:31 Um, the guys at WP buffs who've done this right are writing this article and just to go through the bullet points, it says, systematize everything, even the boring stuff. Document the process. Even the simple and complex complex tasks. Automate the really easy stuff and the hard stuff where possible. Use consistent tools to build websites, start multiple websites with a tool built to do that. Um, and then some other points as well. But essentially it's a probably a 20 minute read to get the, to get to grips with it and uh, some, some good common sense in there. So if you're just beginning on the process of having a portfolio of people whose websites your taking care of, this might well be worth a look. This one kind of feels a bit like news. It's not really news. It's more of a job advert over on wpm u Dev this week.
Nathan Wrigley: 12:20 Join our new WPMU Dev content and marketing team. They go on in the article to explain what the benefits are and you know, things like attending WordCamps, uh, holiday and sick pay and all of that kind of stuff. And then they go on to tell, tell you what it is they're looking for and they're looking for a blog and email editor and marketing and social media manager and a WordPress blogger evangelist par excellence. It's being handled by James Farmer who was the CEO. So yeah. If any of those feel like you, if you're really interested in WordPress and you are writing in those areas, do you feel that you'd like to take that full time then maybe go and check this page out because WPMU Dev have got jobs for you. I guess it's true to say that we all know that we need caching on our websites.
Nathan Wrigley: 13:04 If we want to speed them up and have a regular hosting, um, and spin up WP on their websites, have an article this week entitled WordPress caching. All you need to know, it's a very long form piece which goes into why caching is important. The different layers of caching. They talk about browser caching and also they go on to talk about, you know, some common gotchas. But basically it's a, it's a primary, it's one quite long article which tells you everything you need to know about caching. I won't go into the detail, but needless to say, I'm advising you if you're interested in caching and want to speed up your site, this might be worth a look on the Yoast blog this week. We have something called how to properly delete a page from your site and really thought about this before. But of course if you delete pages from your WordPress websites and people have been linking to them, those links suddenly go nowhere.
Nathan Wrigley: 13:56 And wouldn't it be more sensible if they actually did go somewhere? So they've put together this piece and they talk about whether you should be redirecting or deleting pages correctly and then go on to talk about things like four oh four headers and four one zero http headers and which is the the best thing to use in which scenarios very shortly. Be able to read it in just a couple of minutes. But um, yeah, an interesting piece all about deleting pages properly, right? Let's change subsection now and move on to plugins and themes. And the first thing I'm going to mention this week is on the element or website and it's called introducing custom icons. Upload on limited Tailor made icon sets. And Ben Pines tells us all about the, the new capabilities in elementor pro version 2.6 you can now upload your own custom icon sets if you are using one of the three supported creation tools, fonttello, icomoon, and fontastic.
Nathan Wrigley: 14:54 You can create your little icon sets from them, massive libraries, download the file and upload it into Elementor and then you can use it in their new icon library. They've also added support for font awesome five pro, which has got over 5,000 icons you add in your um, sort of API key if you'd like. And then you can use those. They've added the option to use recapture version three a, they find integration for that now, which makes things a little a little less cumbersome for users filling out forms. And finally they've added the ability for popups to exit with an animation as well. Up until now they, they entered brilliantly and now they can exit to brilliantly as well when somebody dismisses the icon. So yeah, heaps and heaps of Nice new stuff in elemental pro version 2.6 and hopefully Ben Pines who wrote this article will be joining us on Monday for the WP Builds Facebook live that we do every week to talk about this week's new.
Nathan Wrigley: 15:55 So hopefully we'll get this from the horses mouth over on WP tavern. Again this time talking about WP graph QL and article entitled WP Graph QL for advanced custom fields now available for free. So the this plugin, which was initially priced at $49 annually for one site, I believe it was, and then there were subscriptions going up from there. Jason Bahl has decided to make this a freely available in the WordPress repo because he's now working full time. I'm on a different project. He's working with the Gatsby team from now on, so he's decided that this project, initially he was hoping to generate some revenue from it, but he's now not really got the, the time to commit to it. So he's making it available for free on the repo. Um, and I'll quote it says the plugin allows developers to interact with their ACF data using graph QL queries.
Nathan Wrigley: 16:48 It works with both the free and pro versions of ACF and WP graph QL version 0.3 0.2 or newer. So yeah, wonderful. If you've got any need for combining graph QL or with ACF or now you've got a free option to do that. Very nice indeed. Quite a few improvements this week. Announced on the toolsets website, the posters and title tool set now supports bootstrap four and this is the headline. Um, this release brings bootstrap for compatibility to toolset, views, forms types and layouts. Plugin bootstrap four brings general improvements and new useful features and components. They're suggesting that from now on you only use this new bootstrap for capability if you're going to be, you're working with tool set for new sites because trying to get um, bootstrap three to upgrade to bootstrap four is going to be problematic. It might break things in various cases, but anyway, now you've got that capability.
Nathan Wrigley: 17:46 Obviously bootstrap four brings a lot of new components and there's a lot of advantages which you can read about elsewhere, but you can go and check this out on the the website and you'll be able to use that with toolset. They've also updated their views plugin. The, the loop wizard now uses call MD column widths. You can insert short codes in the views editor and they've got new pagination classes as well. And there's a couple of pointers about how to use forms. And the fact that you should probably only be using new, they're new forms options with bootstrap for not trying to upgrade old forms and they mentioned that their layouts plugin is being deprecated because there are probably better ways of doing it with page builders and so on now. Um, and yeah, so some nice bootstrap improvements for toolsets lifter LMS has a post entitled advanced videos for your courses plus limited time bonuses announced they're offering for purchases before the 15th of September.
Nathan Wrigley: 18:46 Um, a reduction, I think it's in the region of about 15% if you want to purchase this video add on or you can purchase it as part of the infinity bundle. Anyway, they're making the point that video, especially in terms of LMSs and courses is such an important component on the Internet these days. And the lifter LMS advanced video add on includes the ability to require learners to watch the whole lesson video before they can complete that lesson. Advanced video analytics for the essential video of to, to measure the effectiveness of the video player branding and player component controls. So the video elements match your brand on return resume video where they left off to protect your learners focus and app like a video lesson options with some familiar Netflix style user experiences. So very nice. And if you're making courses and you're using lifter, this is going to be a very nice addition.
Nathan Wrigley: 19:41 WP Tavern this week tells us about the new experimental plugin which brings the block editor to WordPress comments. I think this is really nice, Tom and now will has released his block comments plugin. It's available over on get hub. It's very much a an early testing phase at the moment and it enables you to have users submit their comments using the familiar Gutenberg block editor interface a, they've got a couple of pictures on the the post and they show well exactly what you'd expect. The Gutenberg editor in a very, very stripped down way. So it's got the options to add paragraphs, alignment, bold, Italics and add links and so on. And actually I can really see this being of benefit to the end user because all of the, all of those, all of those options are kind of hidden away until you interact with it. It does make the point that at the moment you do really need to be working on a site with Gutenberg included as the classic editor plugin removes lots of the block editor, hooks and styles and so on.
Nathan Wrigley: 20:42 But if you are using the block editor and you have comments enabled on, your posts might well be something you want to look at because it really does look like a spectacular way of using the block editor outside of the the normal way that we're used to using it as creating the content for posts and so on. As I'm sure you're aware, if you're running a WordPress website, it's probably best to offload the sending of emails to a third party service. One such service is Amazon's s e s simple email service. And the delicious brain's dot com website have a post entitled WP Offload SES, 1.3 released search view and recent sent emails. They have had this plugging out. It's still at an discounted stage because it's very new and they give all of your emails over to Amazon's ses, which is an incredibly affordable way of sending emails.
Nathan Wrigley: 21:35 Well now they've added the capability to see exactly what's been happening with all the emails that you've sent. So for example, you can see in the dashboard, um, all of the emails listed out, you can click into each individual email and see whether it has been opened and how many times it's been opened. You can do searching and filtering now so that you can get down to individually emails. So for example, if you wanted to see all the emails sent to John Smith, you could do that. You can also now with the click of a button, simply manually retry sending an email because it will inform you that something has failed and you can just simply click on the the retry button. So yeah, a really nice improvement and if you've got something like an ecommerce site, it's a bit of a bit of a bonus I would say to have a service like this and you can see everything that's happening with your emails.
Nathan Wrigley: 22:21 Very nice indeed. Ultimate Adams for beaver builder have an article entitled handy off Canvas Panel from a new sidebars and much more. I'm sure you've seen this before, where you click a button, a panel swoops in from the left or from the right and you can put basically anything that you like in there. It could be a contact form or it could just be your latest content. Well now it's included inside the ultimate Adams package for beaver builder. They demonstrate how it can be used. They've got a really nice example on their website where you click a text Lincoln and it comes, but obviously that could be a button or anything of your choosing. They go into explain how the settings all work and how you can configure it and they also show that it's possible to have more than one at once. You click a particular link near the bottom and one swoops in from the left and one swoops in from the right.
Nathan Wrigley: 23:06 And I think this is really nice. Those people using beaver builder will and ultimate Addons will probably benefit greatly from this. Very nice. Okay. We're going to move on to security news now. And as I've said in the past, we're not going to really concentrate on it too much, just a light touch. But there's four pieces for this week. The first one is the regular wordfence or weekly, um, and today it's listing the, the vulnerabilities that they've spotted between the 17th of July and the 23rd of July. And they produce this each and every week and you can just very quickly glance and see what they've been up to and what they've been stopping this week. They also have an article, this is the second one. The article is entitled recent WordPress vulnerabilities targeted by malvertising campaigns. And it's just highlighting there that they've spotted that this, not to novel, but increasing attack threat where they basically redirect you to another, um, another website.
Nathan Wrigley: 23:59 So, for example, our website where you might be uh, encouraged to download an android app or it might be a tech support scam or something like that. Um, but they've spotted a rise in this and so they're alerting us about it. The third one is over on WP tavern and it's entitled to WP Super Cache, 1.6 0.9 patches security issue. So if WP super cache is a plugin that you've been using and it has been used a lot of times, I think then go and read that article. And the last one is all about regulatory compliance. It's over on the WP, a white security.com website entitled what is regulatory compliance and how does it affect WordPress security? So if compliance is something that you need to follow, you need to follow some particular guidelines or guidance from a particular entity or legal body, then this might be worth looking at.
Nathan Wrigley: 24:46 Two things from WP Builds. This week we released a podcast episode entitled, are We happy with how we manage tasks? David and I talk about what it is that we do when we're trying to manage our tasks. And our busy schedules. And also we did a Facebook live, it was a bit like a Webinar, but we did it in the Facebook group, the WP Builds Facebook group with peach and area and it was entitled UX and UI Audit. And she went through three or four websites and discussed what she thought could be improved, what she liked about them. And the, the feedback was really overwhelmingly positive. Lots of people came and attended and lots of people left. Uh, an awful lot of interest in comments broadly saying we'd like this to become a regular thing. And so I feel maybe it will be, maybe Peter and I will do this once a month and you can submit your sites and have her expert I glancing over them.
Nathan Wrigley: 25:32 So keep your eyes peeled for that. That's all I've got for WordPress this week. But at the end we always cover not to WordPress, but useful anyway. And the first one is called Emmet review. Now this is a fabulous little browser extension. I know it works in chrome. I'm not sure whether there's something available for Firefox or not, but it allows you to see different break point views when you're developing your websites side by side. Imagine a Kanban board, so something like Trello with all the lanes next to each other. Well this plugin allows you to view the websites that you are creating in the same way, so each of those lanes is a different width of your website. So you know you can go super narrow, a little bit wider and so on, and it's just, it's just a really nice way of looking at what you're building.
Nathan Wrigley: 26:15 A nice feature is if you roll over them and use your mouse to scroll, all of them scroll at the same time, so you're able to see what all of the different widths would look like as they're scrolling and it's just marvelous. I don't don't know if there's like a paid tier or anything like that, but it looks really easy to use. Looks very, very helpful indeed and a, yeah, certainly worth checking out. Over on the tech crunch website, we have an article entitled Google clouds run rate is now over 8 billion. We've all heard of Amazon's AWS and Microsoft as your, and no doubt we've heard of Google's cloud. Well, I didn't realize that in terms of its scale, Google's cloud is the smaller of all those three. It's kind of dwarfed by AWS, which runs to $30 billion in the last quarter. Microsoft says Yo, with somewhere in the region of $11 billion, but catching up very quickly is Google's cloud, which is now worth 8 billion per quarter.
Nathan Wrigley: 27:10 And apparently this was up, I think it was from 4 billion this time last year. So it's doubled its revenue. So obviously if Google consents that there's money to be made in this, I'm sure they're going to make their offering much more attractive. So Amazon and Microsoft, uh, watch out. If you watched the news over the last year, you'll no doubt have come across the story of Facebook having their data. Well, in inverted commas leaked, shall we say, um, being used by institutions like Cambridge Analytica in ways which it wasn't intended to be useful. Facebook received a $5 billion fine as a result of that. But in a sort of ironic twist, apparently the share price went up on the news of this because it was clearly something that Facebook could actually swallow and pay. So Mark Zuckerberg actually became richer as a result of that ruling being handed down. And on the verge this week, we've got an article entitled, why wasn't the FTC harder on Facebook where they go over, you know, who made these decisions?
Nathan Wrigley: 28:10 Why were those decisions made? Why was the fine not higher? How is it possible that they could have made a profit out of this? And it's just a nice read probably about five, six, seven minutes long, but a worth reading if you're interested in Facebook and the, uh, the, the data that they keep on you. The final piece that I've got for you this week is is again on the verge and it's entitled you tube videos with kids get three times as many views as videos without kids, so rejoice. For those of you that make things on youtube, all you need to do it would seem is to add a child under the age of 13 to your video and you will instantly receive three times as many views. It's quite interesting, the, the research is done by an individual and so the methodologies is not necessarily massively scientific and we don't really know how many people were, were asked to participate in this, but anyway, there you go.
Nathan Wrigley: 29:01 Interesting. Get yourself a child and put them in your youtube videos even if there's nothing for children in them because clearly it's going to, it's going to make you more popular than ever. Okay. That's all the news that I've got for you this week. The WP Builds newsletter was sponsored 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 and developer tools such as PHP seven ssh and staging environments, and the best part there, expert team of WordPress engineers are available. Four seven should you need help, you can migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com okay. Like I said, that's all we've got. I hope you managed to get something useful out of this. It's very nice when I get an email or a comment.
Nathan Wrigley: 29:55 Some were saying that somebody found this useful. I got a few this week and it really, really did make my day to read them. It makes it all worthwhile, so thank you for those people who wrote me a nice email to say that they've been listening to it. The other thing I would say is join us next Thursday where we'll be putting out a new podcast episode. Come back here next Monday and uh, you'll hear the news for the, for the week. That's about to start, and of course, join us on Monday in the Facebook group. That WP Builds Facebook group over at wpbuilds.com forward slash Facebook, 2:00 PM on a Monday for the live version of this. And Yeah, it'd be nice to have you there and giving your comments and enjoying the experience. It's becoming quite popular and there's a nice bunch that show up each week, so hopefully we'll see you soon. Bye Bye for now.