WP Builds Newsletter #75 – Core update debates, plugin updates and podcasts playable in SERPs

This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 5th August 2019:

I’m on holiday this week and so there will not be a WP Builds LIVE News this week. Sorry about that…

WordPress Core

Feature Project Proposal: WP Notify

GoDaddy Pro

Proposal to Auto-Update Old Versions of WordPress to 4.7 Sparks Heated Debate


WordPress Explores Forming a Nomination-Based Advisory Board

WordCamp Long Beach to Debut a “Future of WordPress” Track

Feature plugin discussion: a consent and logging mechanism for user privacy

How to Create Gutenberg Block Plugin using wp-scripts with PostCSS Build Process

Plugins / Themes

Page Builder Framework – New WooCommerce Features! – Premium Add-On 2.1

EditorsKit 1.9 Introduces Block Styles, Utility Classes, and Full Height Editor Screen

Jetpack 7.6 Improves AMP Compatibility, Adds Preview and Upgrade Nudge for Blocks Only Available on Paid Plans

1 Year Backups with WP Security Audit Log premium

Beaver Builder Mega Menu

Brizy – State of Development


Malicious Plugin Used to Encrypt WordPress Posts

WordPress Vulnerability Roundup: July 2019, Part 2

WP Builds

Feeling insecure about security (Part 1)

Not WordPress, but useful anyway…

Google Makes Podcasts Playable in Search Results

Google is shutting down its Trips app

Bootstrap Adopts New Long Term Support Plan, Moves Version 3 to End of Life

Google Images on desktop adds a side panel and feels more purpose-driven

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Hello there. Good morning and welcome to this. The WP Builds weekly WordPress newsletter. This is not my 75 which covers the news for the week, commencing the 5th of August, 2019 and it was published on Monday the 12th of August, 2019 my name's Nathan Wrigley from picture and word.co. Dot. UK, a small web development agency based in the north of England. And just before we begin, I'd like to introduce you to three or four little links over on the WP Builds website. The first one is WP Builds.com forward slash. Subscribe. And if you go over there, you'll be able to subscribe. You've been find every single place where we post WBP builds content. So for example, there's a couple of newsletters that you can join. There's the links to get yourself on the podcast feed. There's the Facebook group of over 2,200 word pressers and there's also things like our youtube channel and you can get messenger updates and so on and so forth.

Nathan Wrigley: 00:55 The other one to mention is WP Builds.com forward slash deals. Now, this is a page we put together. It's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week there's absolutely loads and loads of WordPress deal. So if you're in the market for a plugin or a theme or something like that, go and check out that page and there's some coupon codes that you can use to get yourself some money off. So that's quite a good deal. And the last one I'm going to mention this morning is WP Builds.com forward slash advertise if you'd like to advertise on WP Builds and get your product or service in front of a wider audience, go there 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: 01:44 And you can migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com and we really do thank Kinsta for their support of the WP Builds podcast. Now normally I would read out the news and I would mention the fact that lie, even the Facebook group [email protected] forward slash Facebook we would at 2:00 PM have a live live news where we get some, some people in the WordPress community onto discuss this particular news item. Now turns out I'm going to be on holiday and so that will not be happening. Sorry about that. Uh, it will be back next week and then I'm going on holiday again for another week and so there'll be next week and then we'll be off for another week and then we should have normal service restored. Anyway, let's crack on with the WordPress news for this week. As always, the WP Builds newsletter comes in different sections and the first one is always WordPress core and we've got a couple of items in there for you this week.

Nathan Wrigley: 02:43 The first one is over on the make.WordPress.org website and it's a post by Jonathan Bossenger, who's actually been on the podcast talking about the GPL. And this week has posters entitled Feature Project Proposal. WP notify and he says that he thinks that the notifications that we get in WordPress need have a bit of an update. You know, sometimes they can be absolutely enormous pushing the content down. You've got no control as a user about what comes in and what doesn't come in. So you can get some plugins that push absolutely masses of advertising material in that way. Um, and so he's projecting into the future with a project called WP notify and he wants to make a, an extensible backend implementation as well as a single front end use case. And the backend implementation. He speaks about with a five point bullet lists about how that would be achieved, but probably from the user's perspective, the front end use cases, what he wants us all to see in our WordPress installs, and it's going to have an admin bar integration that allows a notification state and opens a panel to read and dismiss current notifications, a settings page that allows user control so that you can show and hide in the Admin Bar, which notifications come your way.

Nathan Wrigley: 04:03 And I just think this is such a good idea. The idea of having notifications as an item in the admin bar at the top and then a settings page where you can say, I wish to see these and I don't wish to see those. And then further he goes on to explain how this could be really useful. So for example, it might be possible if it was built in such and such a way to push notifications out to third party services like slack or managed WP and also it might be possible to suck things in. So for example, things from get hub might be shown in your WordPress install. So I just think this is really fantastic idea and much, much needed to be honest. Right at the bottom of that page there is a call for volunteers and so if this project interests you, go and click on the link and follow on to become a volunteer.

Nathan Wrigley: 04:52 The next piece this week comes from the WP tavern website and it's called proposal to auto update. Old versions of WordPress to 4.7 sparks, heated debate. I think it was last week that we mentioned that the security team at the moment have to backport all security patches to version 3.6 of WordPress could be 3.7 but the point is this is a very onerous task and so maybe there are some better ways of doing this and Ian Don thinks he's hit on one. He's a full time contributor to WordPress core and he sponsored by Automattic and he's published a proposal for moving this policy forward. He is suggesting that support for the latest six versions of WordPress a would be good with an auto update of unsupported sites to the oldest supported version. That would mean that the currently supported versions would be 4.7 to 5.2 and the 3.7 to 4.6 branches would eventually be auto updated to 4.7 and he's saying that in practice this basically means about two years of support.

Nathan Wrigley: 05:55 Now some people think this is a great idea, that comments on the thread, a range from, you know, this is great too. This is crazy. What are you thinking? Because there's no way of knowing the state of any of these WordPress sites. There's no way of determining what plugins and themes and a lot of these sites are probably being utilized by people who simply never log in. They're kind of brochure sites and perhaps the admin address in WordPress was the developer who's long since disappeared and has got no connection to the project anymore. And so yeah, this is just a really interesting concept. I have to say on a personal level, I like the idea of automatically updating things, but I, but I'm in WordPress all the time, so it wouldn't really bother me. I can see the concerns though from the point of view of those people who who sites might break. And really that's the last thing we want to do. Anyway. Interesting debate. Interesting new topic of discussion. So go check that out.

Nathan Wrigley: 06:49 The next section is community and the first item is on WP tavern entitled WordPress explores forming a nomination based advisory board. Well, there's obviously been a little bit of controversy recently, especially around Gutenberg about the, the nature of the way that WordPress is governed. And this week we have, um, a proposal, um, put forward by Josepha Haden, who is the executive director and she's put published a first draft. This was a couple of weeks ago. This came out, uh, explaining the idea for this advisory board. Now the idea would be that there would be between 12 and 15 people on this board who would give kind of nonbinding advice to the project. Now I suppose that's the crux of the issue. There was a project which did something similar a little while ago, which kind of failed and late last year it was finally thrown in the Bin, if you like. So the idea of this is that these board members would be part of the community.

Nathan Wrigley: 07:52 They'd have wide and varying interests within WordPress and they would suggest things and whether or not they would be taken on is anybody's guess. However, I suppose it's a move in the right direction, but the, the idea that this would be in some way nonbinding has raised some eyebrows. People are saying, well, what would be the point of that if we were simply going to be ignored? And there was no, no binding mandate for the decisions made by this by this panel of people. Others are saying, well if is it going to be paid, is it not going to be paid? If it's not going to be paid then it probably excludes a whole load of people and diversity issues get raised at this point. You know, are we just bringing to the table people from let's say the corporate sector who can afford to nominate members?

Nathan Wrigley: 08:32 We don't know, but it's definitely an interesting development. If you are interested in WordPress's governance then this is certainly something you'll be interested in checking out. Staying with WP tavern, we have another article entitled WordCamp Long Beach to debue a future of WordPress track. Well, WordCamp long beach is going to be happening in October this year for them. The fifth to the sixth to be precise. Interesting that it's going to be put on in a uh, a series of local eateries are quite like the idea of that. Um, it's the only event happening in the Los Angeles County this year. Lots of meetups, but it's the only WordCamp. They've got a call for speakers, but the, the thing that's of interest here is they've got this track I suppose called the future of WordPress, which is a more philosophical concept style presentation. Um, normally this is the, the purview of the very big word camera's possibly where there's lots and lots of scope to do lots and lots of talks.

Nathan Wrigley: 09:27 And I really like the idea of this just talking about the big picture, blue sky thinking and all that. It's the kind of thing that I would really enjoy. So if you're in that part of the world, ah, go check it out, you might want to get yourself signed up the space where I think it's 250 attendees and also right now there is a call for speakers happening. So very interesting project. I hope more of this stuff comes to smaller word comes because as I said, it really does fascinate me. Thinking about the future of WordPress, Heather Burns a advocate for privacy online, has published something on the make.WordPress.org website. Coincidentally, she will actually be on the podcast in a few weeks time. So listen out for that. The article is entitled feature plugging discussion, a consent and logging mechanism for user privacy. Now the idea here is that there would possibly be a feature plugin which would enable people to have a complete oversight of their interaction and privacy options within a WordPress website and it's a very long piece and unfortunately I can't dedicate the time to it here that it deserves, but I will quote our roadmap notes.

Nathan Wrigley: 10:34 Consent captures refer to creating a means for users to express their consent to data capture and usage and to change their opt in or opt out status at any time through easily accessible means such as front end or user settings or account information areas. Consent logging refers to creating a means for administrators to collect a history of how users have opted in or out of various means of processing their data across core themes and plugins to view the current status of that consent and to make that history available to use as a standard way for WordPress core plugins and themes to obtain consent from users should be established to provide a consistent and stable experience for administrators, developers, and users of all kinds. And there's much, much more that she says, but essentially they're looking at ways to make it so that every body interacting with a WordPress website has full oversight of what it is that they've consented to with the options to presumably tick boxes to on consent or re enable consent.

Nathan Wrigley: 11:36 And, uh, I really do like all of the things that Heather is doing. And so I would urge you to go and look at this if privacy is of interest to you. We don't often mention tutorials, but I thought that this won't be, it might be a nice one. It's over at Jeffrey Carandang.com, and it's entitled how to create Gutenberg block plugin using WP scripts with post CSS build process. Um, and he says that he's been writing and extending Gutenberg block editor, which of course he has. Um, and he's had a lot of requests for a creating block and build processes tutorial. And so this is exactly that. He says, I'll be very happy to do something about this request with added post CSS build processing to make it more useful and extra special. So this in effect is that it's a tutorial with lots and lots of um, code so that you can copy and paste your way through doing exactly that, interacting with the Gutenberg editor, um, to do your own thing.

Nathan Wrigley: 12:38 If you are a user of woo commerce and you are a user of the page builder framework, then you're going to rejoice at this next one which is entitled New Woo commerce features premium add on 2.1 and it's over at the page builder framework website. Um, they are on version 2.1 of their premium ad-ons and it's now in Beta. And this article explains all of the lovely new features that have been added. Visa VI, Woo Commerce. So you've got a nice new quick gallery view where you can slide left and right and see the images of a particular product. You've got native cart popups. So in your menu at the top right, you can see your total being amended as you add things to the cart and it pops up to say what whatever is in your cart. Got Infinite scroll of products so that they just keep on loading down at the bottom.

Nathan Wrigley: 13:25 And you've got a wonderful off off canvas sidebar where you can see and do things like filter what kind of products or what, you know, filter things by price or category or whatever it might be. And you've got a, a nice distraction, free checkout. There's a whole load of other stuff as well. And this explains all of those lovely updates. So I think if you're using woocommerce, this is a real serious, serious contender for ease of use. Um, going forward to the page builder framework. Jeffrey Carandang is back for a second piece this week over on WP tavern we have an article editors kit 1.9 introduces block styles, utility classes and full height editor screen. We're going to concentrate on two of those pieces. Jeffrey Carandang's editor kit has got to version 1.9 and we've got block styling features for the image and cover blocks and it allows you to change these blocks to be displayed as circular, diagonal, inverted, diagonal with rounded corners or shadows.

Nathan Wrigley: 14:24 There's also a full screen height display option so that you can essentially make your sections with Gutenberg and editors kit into hero sections. Nice implementation looks quite nice. You can got some different options with different buttons in the the options panels so that you can see nice and clearly what it is that you're trying to achieve and you've also got this full height toggle that I just mentioned where you can make whatever it is that your playing with whatever content you're creating, a full height so that it fills the viewport and you have to scroll down until you get to the content. I've seen this on lots and lots of websites and whilst it may not be suitable for everybody, it's nice to see that this has been included by Jeffery. Users of jetpack. May Be interested to know that jet pack 7.6 improves. Amp compatibility, adds preview and upgrade nudge for blocks only available on paid plans. This is WP tavern once again and jetpack 7.6 was released this week and the notable features are related posts now display on amp views and images and are rendered via jetpacks image CDN. If the module is active and the amp plugin is now capable of styling the jetpack sharing buttons without loading additional CSS. There are some other features that are mentioned in the title there. The upgrade nudge under the preview and you can go and check that article out if you are a jet pack user.

Nathan Wrigley: 15:51 This week we have something from WP security audit log and that is to say that now you get one year of backups with WP security audit log premium. Now those backups are going to be taking place of via the blog volt system. Now if you click on the link in the show notes, there isn't an actual news article about this. There is just the pricing pace. So click on the link and then click the pricing button and you'll notice that the two plans are the professional plan and the business plan. Now give you one year of blog volt backups. So if you are using WP security audit logo you were thinking of using it, then this might just tip you over the fence as it were. We have just run a competition. So congratulations to the 10 people who won a year of the license really well done to you.

Nathan Wrigley: 16:39 And um, yeah, if you are in the market for this, then this may just be the thing that you're looking for. A new plugin is born. This is called the beaver builder Mega Menu Plugin. Click on the link in the show notes to take you to the the website. And over there you'll see exactly what you're expecting. There is a mega menu demo and if you hover over the, the different types of venues, I fear that this website at the moment is running on some fairly slow hosting because of the speed at which those mega menus launch. But if you're a beaver builder user, you get the idea, you've got the option to add normal menus plus very, very complicated menus all built within beaver builder. So you can have images and images with subtext and you know, different heading styles and so on. And it's lovely. I think it's a very nice implementation. I confess I haven't used it so I can't say how easy it is to use. But anyway, there it is. Beaver Builder users, you now have a mega menu option.

Speaker 4: 17:36 Okay.

Nathan Wrigley: 17:37 Last week, Dimitrie Baitanciuc from breezy was on the WP Builds live news bulletin that we do on a Monday that I mentioned at the top of the podcast. And he's released an article called the state of, um, on, although I don't feel the apology was needed, he's decided he would like to apologize to the people in the community because of a, a lack of communication. So this article is spelling out exactly what is going on with breezy, where they are in their update cycle, why it's been so long since the last update and how they're going to enforce better communication in the future. I'm really nice if you've bought breezy, it would appear that essentially rather than taking their foot off the pedal, all that they've done is they've simply not been communicating and they've instead decided to concentrate their resources on development. And um, you can see from this article exactly what's coming up next.

Nathan Wrigley: 18:30 So they talk about the updates, having custom fonts, various optimization, improved UI capabilities and so on. And then also what's coming over the next two or three weeks. So, um, great. I really appreciate Dimitri doing this and uh, I think it shows a bit of character to apologize. Okay, that's the end of the plugins section, plugins and themes section. Now we'll move on to security. Very light touch as always, we don't delve too deeply into the security, but over on the security website we have an article entitled the malicious plugin use to encrypt a WordPress posts. The plugin, which honestly could you believe it is called WP security encrypts blog posts. So this to me feels a bit like the kind of malware that we've been getting recently so that things have been encrypted on our computers. Now it's encrypting blog posts. I suppose the idea here is that at some point this can be weaponized and monetize with bitcoin or something.

Nathan Wrigley: 19:25 So that will will encrypt your blog posts and thereby make your website absolutely pointless. And if you give us some cash, we will, we will decrypt your posts. Unbelievable. So please don't install WP security. It's a, it's the idea that this would be called, that is absolutely abhorrent. The only other bit of security news that I want to mention this week is I themes usual post WordPress vulnerability roundup and this was July, 2019 part two and it lists out all of the plugins. We have mentioned this before, but I just think there's so much good content in there. Go and have a look at it again, it lists whole load of plugins that you may or may not need to get updated if you recognize their names. David Waumsley and I this week released a podcast discussion episode calling, feeling insecure about security part to one. We had so much to say on this subject that we split it into two podcasts and it's just David and I talking about what it is that we do for WordPress security.

Nathan Wrigley: 20:29 We talk about non WordPress stuff as well. Um, sites that we don't manage and it's a really nice little discussion we get into products that are out there, what we've used in the past, what we talk to clients about and so on. And I would encourage you to listen to it and follow up with part two next week. That all I've got for you in terms of WordPress this week, but we have some, as always, we have a few articles entitled not to WordPress, but useful anyway. And the first one is over at search engine journal and it's called Google makes podcast playable in search results. Now this is really interesting because for the longest time I've been thinking to myself, well, it does seem a bit silly that these newspapers are getting annoyed because Google is taking a little bit of their content and posting it on their serps pages so that people can see what it is that they want to read before they wish to read it and decide for themselves.

Nathan Wrigley: 21:23 Well now the shoe is on the other foot and Google has decided to make Google serps pages able to play podcast episodes. So in the future, should you stumble across a particular search, which reveals podcast episode, you'd be able to hit the play button and all of a sudden I'm thinking to myself, oh, that seems a bit interesting. It would be nice if people went over to my website to play those things. So you know, now I understand what it was all about. Anyway, an interesting development. Maybe, maybe search result pages are not the best place to consume this content but it, but it's there anyway. The stuff is freely available so Google can index it and no doubt to will index it. So there you go. Staying with Google this week they've decided to shut down their trips app, which is an app that you could use to kind of plan your trip.

Nathan Wrigley: 22:14 I must say I used it and I found it to be really interesting and as with all things Google, it just makes me a little bit nervous about the future. I know that some of their core products, things like Gmail and so on, don't really feel like they're going away anytime soon, but it doesn't make me feel in the future I'm going to be a little bit more apprehensive of using a new Google product because I've been bitten by this probably half a dozen times. Got into something, Google got into using it and making it a part of my regular routine only for it to be shuttered when it wasn't. Of any interest to enough people. Anyway. There you go. That was the discussion. Really. It wasn't really about the trips, it was more that Google seemed to be creating products only two to kill them off later.

Nathan Wrigley: 22:54 Maybe you could tell me what your thoughts are on this. Those of you that are using bootstrap might be interested in the next piece. It's on WP tab and again and it's entitled, bootstrap adopts New Longterm support plan moves version three to end of life. Well I'm sure we've all used at some point the open source frontend component library, it's the most popular one that there is and from now on, each major major version will receive at least six months of support after it's retired, followed by six months of critical bug fixes and security updates before transitioning it over to a maintenance status where sort of in for the moment. And we've got five under development. So I just think this is a nice development, gives people a bit of security about the legacy of bootstrap so they don't need to go around fiddling with every site immediately to get it up to date.

Nathan Wrigley: 23:44 They can, they can worry about it over a year long period before it finally hits and maintenance. That very last piece I've got for you this week, again on tech crunch, Google images on desktop as a side panel and feels more purpose-driven. I don't know if you've used image searches. I do it rather a lot and the the implementation they have at the moment, if you were to click on an image to get more details about it, it would have opened up a great big black full width horizontal bar, which just seemed to be really kind of really bad UI in UX. It really got in the way, so they've completely thrown the baby out with the bath water and now when you click on it, a panel of exactly the same content really swoops in from the right, thereby enabling you to still see all the images over on the left, all of the little thumbnails, and then if you click on a different thumbnail, the panel just changes in real time.

Nathan Wrigley: 24:34 And I just think absolutely, this is the way it should have been from day one. I cannot understand why they did it the way that they did and and confess to, to coming up with this exact idea myself many, many moons ago. So weld on Google, right? That is it. That's all the news that I've got for you this week. I hope you found some of that useful. Please as always, leave us some comments. Join our Facebook group, WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook to 2,200 odd members over there and you can contribute because I always post these updates over there. As I said, there won't be a live, uh, on Monday because I'm on holiday, but we'll be back next week. Then we'll have another week off and then we'll be back. The WP Builds News letter was brought to you by Kinsta. Kinsta takes managed WordPress hosting to the next level, powered by the Google cloud platform.

Nathan Wrigley: 25:25 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 are expert team of WordPress engineers are available 24 seven should you need help and you can migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com so join us next Monday for another update of the coming weeks WordPress news or join us on Thursday for the podcast. And if not, maybe we'll see you over in the Facebook group. And, uh, well I hope that you have a lovely week. Bye Bye for now.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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