This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 29th 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 weekly WordPress newsletter. This is number 74 and it covers the WordPress news for the week commencing the 29th of July, 2019 and it was published on Monday the 5th of August, 2019 my name is Nathan Wrigley and a couple of things before we begin, if you wouldn't mind heading over to the WP Builds.com website and there you'll find a menu at the top. If you click on the subscribe link, you're going to find a whole bunch of ways that we can keep in touch with you. So for example, we've got a couple of newsletters, one about the podcast and this the WordPress weekly news and one to share deals. As soon as we hear about them, you can subscribe on your favorite podcast player. Join our Facebook group of nearly 2,200 members and we've got things like our content is published on Youtube and so on and so forth.
Nathan Wrigley: 00:48 Okay, let's move on. WP Builds.com forward slash deals. If you want to find a deal on a notable WordPress product, it's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week had over there. If you're thinking of buying something for WordPress and you never know, you might find a way of getting it slightly cheaper and WP Builds.com forward slash advertise. If you would like to advertise on the podcast 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 supports and you can migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com okay. We'll get stuck into the news in a moment, but just a little reminder, if you didn't know already, every Monday in the Facebook group at 2:00 PM UK time, we will be joined.
Nathan Wrigley: 01:45 While I will be joined by some notable WordPress people and we discuss this news article you're about to listen to. It's very nice because you get to make live comments and you get to engage with other members of the community. So join us live Monday 2:00 PM WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook and just search around and you'll find the live. I'm sure I'm experimenting with WP Builds.com forward slash live to see if I can actually embedded over there. But to be honest, I think you may be better off in the Facebook group because you can actually make comments. Okay. Enough of all that, let's get stuck into the news. If you've been listening to the WP Builds news for any length of time, you'll know that we group our news into various categories and we always start with WordPress core. We've just got one piece for that category this week and it's over on WP Tavern and the post is entitled Gutenberg 6.2 adds nesting capabilities to cover media and text blocks.
Nathan Wrigley: 02:37 So if you've updated to Gothenburg 6.2 then you will have this capability. Previously, the cover block only allowed people to insert heading button or paragraph blocks and now you can pretty much nest everything else and you'd have to go through the CSS hacks and grouping blocks and so on and so forth if you wanted this to be achieved. And on the article they show block with a list block embedded inside of it with a nice background of a desert and it looks really nice. So, uh, hats off to that. The next one is that they've also added the capability to customize the link target. Apparently this was a feature that was requested of the button block many, many times. And now you can say open in a new tab and that is now a feature apparently widely requested. So also we've got a new PHP API to simplify the registration of block style variations and that's pretty much it.
Nathan Wrigley: 03:31 So, you know, go and update and you'll have two or three new features in Gutenberg, right. The next few pieces of news come under the category of community. And again, over on WP Tavern this week we have an article entitled a WordPress contributors explore the possibility of a global accessibility event. Um, and so it turns out the accessibility team would, would rather like there to be a, an online event at which people can just, you know, sit at their computers rather than have to attend because the possibility for the accessibility group all getting together at one particular WordCamp is, is very difficult apparently according to this article. So what they'd like to do is have an online contribute today where everybody can, you know, sit in there in their own homes or wherever they might be and contribute in that way. Apparently this has worked really, really well in other situations.
Nathan Wrigley: 04:25 So for example, the polyglots global translation day has been really effective and they've been able to do a rather large amount of work but not having to travel to a WordCamp. And so this idea has been muted and we'll see how this goes. They say that there are certain tasks which are suitable for this for for example, teaching new contributors, how to use track, updating the handbook and documentation and organizing sprints for jumpstarting larger tasks so they're not trying to achieve everything, but there's a whole lot of work that they do say that there's literally an endless supply of tasks that they need to do. So if accessibility is a bit of an issue that you like to spend your time with, perhaps you should go and read this article and see if in any way you can contribute on that day without having to go anywhere.
Nathan Wrigley: 05:09 Staying over on WP Tavern, we have another article entitled WordSesh, e m e a coming September 25th and new virtual WordPress event for Europe, Middle East and Africa and it is just saying that basically we have a 12 hour events scheduled for September the 25th 2019 and the focus will be on the time zone, which is suitable for people living in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. There are going to be 50 minutes slots, plus there's going to be some 15 minute sessions as well. Um, it'll all be recorded and made available on the WP sessions website afterwards. They're actually looking for speakers at this moment. Each speaker receives free coaching and if their your talk is accepted, you get a $250 stipend and the deadline for that is the ninth, so you've only got a few days left if you wish to apply, but this events format is becoming really popular.
Nathan Wrigley: 06:04 Apparently the, the word session that happened earlier in the year had a thousand people sign up of which 700 attended on the day, which is a very, very good margin and also they're thinking that this one might be slightly bigger than they've done so far because they've limited it in time to this 12 hour slot when all the people in, in those times zones are awake. And also the fact that word can be you is significantly bigger than any other event than perhaps there's a greater audience. Anyway, go and check this article out if you'd like to sign up for that online event, whether you're just going to be attending or whether you wish to speak. And the WordCamp News just keeps on coming again. On WP Tavern, WordCamp Central America organizers prepare proposal for 2020 event in Managua, Nicaragua. And this is just to say that off the back of WordCamp, he use enormous success.
Nathan Wrigley: 06:52 We now have WordCamp Asia, which I'll come to in a moment, but the, the guys in Central America have decided that they would like to put a WordCamp Central America, uh, together. So in this region there's been lots and lots of events, 4,000 people participating over the last few years, 230 events since 2014. And so it feels about right to put an event on which coalesces all of those communities into one. The plan is to have it in October, 2020 so that it doesn't conflict with any other existing WordCamps. But again, if you're listening to this and you are in that part of the world and this is exciting to you, then go and read that article and you may be able to get involved. The, the idea is that it's going to be a three day event contribute today and then four tracks going on during the main conference.
Nathan Wrigley: 07:39 So if that's you, go get yourself into this article and find out how you can get involved. Well, the WordCamp news just keeps on coming because over on 20 twenty.asia.wordcamp.org we have the call for speakers. WordCamp Asia in 2020 are looking for speakers. The application is available until the 25th of September, 2019 so you've got a few days to go and you can apply to speak at that event. They're claiming that they're going to have hopefully have about a thousand people in attendance and it's going to be run over two days and it's all going to be done in English on this occasion. So yeah, if you are wanting to sign up, go visit that page, click on the link in the show notes. Okay, let's move away from WordCamp, shall we, but stay on WP Tavern because we have an article entitled Ninja Forms, parent company Saturday drive acquires cold air, a WP. Well, you've heard of Ninja forms, no doubt.
Nathan Wrigley: 08:37 And you may have heard of Caldera. WP, which is a forms plugin based upon react, its developer Josh Pollock who is very active in the WordPress community, has joined Saturday drive the company who own Ninja forms along with Ninja shop and send WP. So very interesting because Josh Pollock said that up until now it's basically been a side project. In fact, he says to quote, if it ever felt to you like Caldera forms was a part time thing. That was true. It's not true anymore. And whilst Pollock himself, it would appear is not going to be working directly on Caldera anymore. The team at Saturday drive have said that they're going to continue development of it. The idea is to have two form plugins. So there'll be having Ninja forms at the same time as Caldera forms, which strikes me as a little bit odd, but apparently the, the owners of both, um, formed plugin solutions.
Nathan Wrigley: 09:31 Say that they've been friendly competitors with you know, for years and years. So it doesn't seem too strange but it just seem a little bit interesting to me. A company having two very, very different approaches to two forms, but you never know. They might people to sort of share some development time and make some, make some changes along the way. But very interesting, especially if you're using Caldera forms. You might want to just read this article just to convince yourself that nothing is going to change. You thought you'd got away from WordCamps. Well there's one more word com story looking in this week's news and again, WP Tavern WordCamp us 2019 to offer free onsite childcare put very simply, if you have a child between six weeks and 12 years old, you're going to be able to bring them along and drop them off and you don't even need to worry about their food because that will be taken care of.
Nathan Wrigley: 10:23 They'll begin given lunch and snacks and it's a, it's a drop in drop out service so you can come and get them whenever you please. There's no particular schedule. I just think this is fabulous. So it allows people who might otherwise be restricted in going because of childcare issues, uh, to come along. It's organized by Virginia Beach Company called a helping hand who are certified to, to run this kind of service. So fabulous if you haven't done so well, where did already you need to preregister by selecting parents with child tickets. Um, so maybe if you've already bought a ticket you might need to go and investigate that again. But a fabulous, I think this is such a nice development. Wow. Time really flies. It was a year ago since WP engine acquired studio press, the makers of Genesis and on the studio press.blog, we have an article by Brian Gardner entitled WP Engine acquired Studio Press a year later.
Nathan Wrigley: 11:17 It's quite a long piece and it's all about the fact that really Brian I think is tremendously happy with the way that things have gone since the acquisition by WP engine. It starts out by explaining how they came to the decision to sell and then that they found WP engine was a, a good, the good buyer. And what I mean by that is they made all the right noises and they represented themselves very well according to Brian Gardner, and he became increasingly confident that this was going to be a good move. But then he goes on to talk about how that actually transpired and what happened and how delighted he is. He talks the community how the community has really sort of seen a massive resurgence. So the slack channel is livened up and they've got all of these events where they gather at WordCamps and try to figure out what the, the goal is for the future.
Nathan Wrigley: 12:06 They've, they set themselves four goals, especially about being open and they've managed to increase their presence in the, in their social media and so on. Post what they're going to do and then post articles about what they did actually do and get lots of feedback, meeting up with people at word, WordCamps and so on and so forth. There's a lovely article and then of course towards the end it talks about the road ahead, what it is that they're going to be trying to do in the future. And I would highly recommend this to anyone, whether or not you're a studio press user or not. It just seems like Brian Gardner is extremely happy with the way things have gone in the last 12 months. Those of you that have heard of WP c l I will know that it's a command line interface for interacting with WordPress.
Nathan Wrigley: 12:47 It can be a little bit challenging to get stuck into the command line because it's so unfamiliar. If you're used to using the WordPress admin or perhaps page builders or something like that, but it's possibly worth all the effort, but it's, it's difficult to get started. So I've picked a, an article this week by Pascal Birchler. It's on Pascal Birchler, a.com. Click on the link in the show notes and it's a very, very long and exhaustive article about the commands that you can use to interact with WordPress through WP Cli. I can't really explain that. What's in this. You've just got to go and read it for yourself. If you're interested in speeding up your work flow through the terminal. Speaking of developing, maybe you develop sites locally and you might use a tool, for example, local by Flywheel offers the capability to install something on your Mac.
Nathan Wrigley: 13:36 And from there you can click buttons and have a local installation of WordPress set up in just a few moments while they've had this free tier, they bought it from pressmatic many, many years ago it feels like now. And they've now decided to launch a pro version to build on top of their free version. They've got some new technologies in there, they've got magic sync, which kind of recommends what files should be pushed up to your, uh, live server. You can submit in app support tickets and um, yeah, and essentially it's an, it's an improvement on what's already there for free. There's a little um, pricing table where you can see what the community version, which is the free version. It's now called the community version offers and what the pro version offers. And you know, typically you can see some extra ticks. Some of the things I've just mentioned, this magic sync and deploying to Flywheel staging sites and so on.
Nathan Wrigley: 14:28 There's also a team version. The pro version is $20 per month. The team version is $50 a month. And a if that interests you, go click on the links and find out more. This next article could have gone into all sorts of categories for this week's news, but I'm onto plugins and themes now, and this could have gone into security or possibly core, but it's on WP Tavern and it's saying that the WordPress security team is exploring different approaches of backporting security fixes to older versions of the WordPress software. Um, I didn't quite realize the, the depth that this took, but essentially whenever there's a sort of security fix that the team apply, I've got to back port it to version 3.7 which was the moment that they introduced automatic background updates. And that's 15 releases. So the amount of time that it takes to test, especially against older versions, is incredible because they have to test this on all of the versions of WordPress.
Nathan Wrigley: 15:22 And there's only 1%, sorry, naught point. 1% of sites are on version 3.7 but they still have to expend a large amount of time and energy and it hurts the team's ability to, you know, carry on and do things into the future. So the team have been throwing around some different ideas from keeping it as they do at the moment, to possibly having widgets, which will pop up information about what needs to be done to sending out more emails to only supporting a certain number of versions of WordPress back in time. So that could be a number of versions or it could be an amount of time on the calendar. There's no decision been made at the moment. But if you, if you have an opinion on this and I think it is an important thing to have an opinion on, then maybe you could go and get in touch with the security team.
Nathan Wrigley: 16:09 There are links in this WP to have an article and voice your opinion. Obviously we want all versions of WordPress to be updated, but if it's inhibiting the team's ability to do things properly because they're going back to years and years to patch the code, then there maybe an a rethink is in fact needed. If you joined us last week for the WP Builds live news that we do 2:00 PM on a Monday where we get people from the WordPress community to come on and discuss their WordPress weekly news that I'm reading to you right now. Well, Ben Pines was on that and Ben Pines is from elemental and he kind of did a sneaky little reveal of something which I'm now able to share because they published it live. It was made available on the 1st of August. Elemental is introducing monthly template kits, so each and every month they're going to be releasing a template kit and they've, they've started this month and I think I have to take my hats off to them.
Nathan Wrigley: 17:05 I think it's fabulous what they've done. They've not only provided templates, but they've provided a whole heap of documentation. You know how to install it, how you can possibly use it. All of the photos are included for free. They've named everything. And then navigator tool, um, it's got all the emotion effects included and it just looks absolutely fabulous. If they can keep this up, then I think they're going to be making their current users very happy. So this first template includes four oh four pages archive and singular templates, pop up templates and much, much more. So go read the exhaustive very long and well-written tutorial. Um, and really hats off to elements or I think they've raised the bar here and their users are going to be delighted by this development back on WP Tavern and article entitled metal box plugin introduces MB blocks a PHP based extension for creating custom blocks.
Nathan Wrigley: 18:01 If you have a need for creating custom data in your WordPress website, you may have come across metal box before. It's very, very popular. I think they've got 400,000 active installs. So it is actually quite huge. Well, they've taken a step possibly from the lead of ACF who did this a few months ago. You can now create custom blocks with their extension and you don't have to learn things like react to web pack or Bible. You can just do it all in PHP. So this is now available, I think it came out a couple of days ago. So go check it out. I have to say I'm not a particular user of Pinterest, but I know that millions and millions of people are, which is probably why we have commerce, have announced Pinterest for WooCommerce over on WooCommerce.com it says grow your brand and find new customers with Pinterest for woo commerce integration. So now you'll be able to immediately set up a secure connection between WooCommerce and Pinterest.
Nathan Wrigley: 18:58 You'll be able to list your entire WooCommerce product catalog in a couple of minutes, automatically refresh new products over to Pinterest boards and so on and so forth. So there'll be buttons on the product images so that people could save things too to Pinterest. And you'll be able to streamline the pin management from your WooCommerce dashboard and a whole bunch of other things. So I can see if you like an apparel store or something like that where design and brand is very important. This might be a really useful interest if especially if you've got a large Pinterest following and just setting up your WooCommerce. Also, go check it out. If you're a theme developer, this might be of interest to you because the theme review team over@makedotWordPress.org have announced theme sniffer version 1.1 0.0 and WP theme review version 0.2 0.0 released. It says the updates of the themes sniffer plugin and the WP theme review coding standards is out.
Nathan Wrigley: 19:52 Theme sniffer is a plugin utilizing custom sniffs for PHP coats. Never that statistically analyzes your theme and ensures that it adheres to WordPress coding conventions as well as checking your code against PHP version compatibility. Need I say more? There's a list of things that have been changed in this release. Plus there's a very short six point bullet pointed list of things that are in their roadmap. They need some contributors to this project. But obviously if you're making themes and you want to be in the repo, you need everything to be compatible and this project may well help you automate some of that stuff. Justin Tadlock tweeted that, I've never done a tweet as a piece of news before, but Justin Tadlock has tweeted this week, SVG background pattern options via the WordPress customizer. Still got some cleanup and fine tuning to do, but this is pretty cool and there's a little video of him playing in the customizer and changing the backgrounds of his entire page in the customizer with these F s v g images, which kind of overlap and tesselate it is.
Nathan Wrigley: 20:52 It's very cool. Justin, keep going. Brilliant. During last week's news, we actually talked about the fact that toolset had upgraded to bootstrap four. And um, we talked about this on the live news as well. Well, they've released an article this week called more than grids using bootstrap four components on toolset based sites. And because it's a tutorial I can't really explain, but it enables you to go through the process of getting bootstrap for working on your website style, your elements using bootstrap classes and they give some examples of how you can do that with cards and then they give another example with a, what they call a jumbotron and then how to use bootstrap classes in toolsets views with short codes and so on and so forth. So anybody using tool set, this might be a nice article for you to take a look at to enable you to do things more quickly.
Nathan Wrigley: 21:43 We're doing a light touch on the security, so we're onto the security section now. Very light touch. The first one is to say, well two things really. The first one is the I themes of vulnerability reports for part two of July has been released where they outline all the different things that I themes as noticed going on in the security world this week. So nice list broken down by plugin after plugin. So you can go there and just check out, see if any of the plugins are ones that you've got installed. And there's rather a lot of them this month. And wordfence also do something similar except they call it the wordfence weekly. So it covers a week instead of two weeks and you can go and check that out as well. And they do a similar thing but it's less graphical and more text based. The other one to notice is security on their website.
Nathan Wrigley: 22:30 This week I have something called the Neapolitan back door injection. Uh, again please go and check that out. If security is your thing, go and read about this on the security website. From a security point of view, having the most up to date version of any software that you're using is tremendously important. And that would apply to PHP as much as anything else. And on the search engine journal website this week, we find out that apparently 61.6% of WordPress users are running out too dated versions of PHP. They have a nice chart showing which versions are in use and it is alarmingly massive amounts of people. You know, this is millions of websites running on versions of PHP that are are out of date. So the warning here I suppose is just go and get yourself updated, you know, speak to your host, ask your host if they can update you if they haven't done already.
Nathan Wrigley: 23:24 But it does seem like a very alarmingly high figure following directly on from that over on make.WordPress.org this week we have proposal for increasing PHP version in WordPress and it uses the same art. So I'm presuming the search engine journal possibly got their data from here and it goes into explaining the versions of PHP that are used much the same way that the search engine journal, the article I just mentioned did as well. And then talking about ways that we can get to people to update and the what the roadblocks are and quite likely the roadblock will be something to do with the fact that a, people never log in or B, people have discontinued paying for premium plugins and so they're nervous that I'm updating will mean that their older version of the plugin will cease to function correctly. So they're talking about having a PHP update widget, which will display a message saying PHP update is required and so on and so forth.
Nathan Wrigley: 24:20 And then in this way, hopefully when people log in, there'll be able to see what it is that they need to do and go and talk to their host and seek some reassurance. Bit of self promotion, if that's all right. Now just to say that WP Builds, we released a podcast episode of this week and titled a better way to manage your media library with Stuart Brameld. Stuart Brameld has a plugin which enables you to offset all of your media assets and so on. The plugin is called WordPress media library and it works with Amazon and Microsoft as your and um, you know, if enables you to put all of your media somewhere else so that it's instantly available via their global CDN network. And it seems like a really nice plugin. So go and check out the post if that interests you. Okay, we're on the home stretch now because we're into the, not to WordPress but useful anyway, section, the final section and over on the verge this week, chrome 76 arrives, making it harder to use flash and easier to dodge paywalls.
Nathan Wrigley: 25:23 So although most users have probably discontinued using flash, it is still available and it won't truly die until 2020 the browsers for the last couple of years have been blocking it and you've had to click on things to enable it. Well Google have kind of decided, nope, we're going to default over to ask first. So all of that is going to be switched off so you won't even kind of get the option to, to use flash. And I think this probably makes sense. Um, the other option that they've got going on this week is that they've enabled, well I should say disabled, the capability of the browser to give away data about whether it's in, incognito mode. So as an example, publishers like the New York Times have been able to poll the browser and say, are you in incognito mode? And in that way they've been able to avoid things like, well, you can read five articles for free and we will monitor when you're using those five articles.
Nathan Wrigley: 26:23 And of course people have just been going into incognito mode and reading and then going into income when you to mode and reading and getting up to as many articles as they want. And so the New York Times figured out, well, if you're incognito, we're just going to bar you in every way. You're not gonna be able to read anything. Or Google have decided to switch that off. So making it thus harder for publishers like the New York Times to block your content. Very quick tutorial mention this week we have on s training's website, we have CSS Flexbox number one, creating your first Flexbox layout. This is for those of you aspiring to use Flexbox in your designs. They've put together a nice lengthy article about how you might do that. I'm not going to mention exactly what's listed in it, but uh, if this is for you, go check it out.
Nathan Wrigley: 27:12 Tech crunch.com have an article entitled AWS is new text to speech engine. Sounds like a newscaster. Well I suppose in the past, anybody that's taken text and pushed it through there, the learning technology and got speech out the other side as a notice that it sounds a little bit like an android and so they've made some steps to make it sound a little bit more human. I have to say, I'm still not convinced. It sounds pretty good, but it definitely doesn't sound like a a true human, but it is interesting. It's added in kind of like fake pauses for breathing and things like that. So, um, you know, I guess the day will come where it will be indistinguishable if we're closing our eyes, whether we're listening to a human or a robot. Still I feel at the moment I can tell the difference, but it is definitely getting closer.
Nathan Wrigley: 27:58 Anybody into marketing will no doubt have heard of Seth Godan before while he's put together this little list of books entitled the Best Books on marketing and he lists five books called Syrup Marketing. A love story. This is marketing. You can be seen. Sorry, you can't be seen until you learn to see the Republic of tea and new rules for the new economy. So if Seth Godin says something is good, I'm, I'm inclined to think that they probably are good. So if marketing is on your list of things you want to get better at, then go check it out. I presume the third book, which is his own, is a, is probably the purpose of this article, but nevertheless, the fact that he's included for others is very nice indeed. Well, that's it. That's all I've got for you this week. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope that you got something out of that.
Nathan Wrigley: 28:47 As always, please leave us some comments either in the Facebook group or perhaps in the post itself. Just to let you, let me know, I should say whether or not this is useful, anythings that I missed out, any things that could be improved, and please, please do join us at 2:00 PM when we'll be doing this whole thing live in the WP Builds Facebook groups or that's WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook. The WP Builds news was brought to you this week 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, their expert team of WordPress engineers are available 24 seven if you need help and you can migrate today, you for free at Kinsta dot com okay. As I said, join us at 2:00 PM if you want to be part of the conversation around the WordPress news in the Facebook group. We'll maybe see you back here next Monday for another news bulletin with next week's news and we release the podcast every Thursday. All right, I hope you have a lovely week. Bye Bye for now.