This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 19th August 2019:
There will not be a WP Builds LIVE News this week due to the fact that I’m holiday. Sorry about that. Normal service will be resumed next week!
Plugins / Themes
Astra 2.0 — Setting New Standards for WordPress Themes! – 20% off (possibly too late?)
Pretty Links Turns 10! – Get 60% off – use code PL1060
Not WordPress, but useful anyway…
Transcript (if available)
These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.
Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Hello there. Good morning and welcome to this, the WP Builds weekly WordPress newsletter. This is number 77 it covers the WordPress news for the week, commencing the 19th of August, 2019 and it was published on Monday the 26th of August, 2019 as usual. Just a couple of things before we begin head over to WP Builds.com and you use the menu at the top and you'll be able to find a whole load of ways of keeping in touch with WP Builds and all the stuff that we do. The best way is to go to WP Builds dot com forward slash subscribe which is the subscribe link. And over there you'll be able to join all sorts of things that a couple of newsletters want to update you about podcasts and the news that you're listening to. Now when we publish those, another one to get yourself onto an email list so that when we hear of WordPress product deals, we can alert you to those straight away.
Nathan Wrigley: 00:51 There's also options to find us on your favorite podcast player, so for example, apple podcasts and Spotify and so on and so forth. Join the Facebook group, 2,200 members and there's all sorts of other things like messenger updates, our youtube channel and so on and so forth. But yeah, WP Builds.com forward slash. Subscribe. The other one is WP Builds.com forward slash deals over there. You're going to find a whole bunch of WordPress deals. It's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week it keeps growing. We had a couple every month, but if you're in the market for a WordPress product or service, go check it out. You never know. You might be able to get yourself a few dollars off over there. And the last one I suppose is WP Builds .com forward slash advertise. If you would like your WordPress product or service advertising to a very specific WordPress audience, then head over to that URL, WP Builds.com forward slash advertise and fill out the form just like Kinsta did.
Nathan Wrigley: 01:48 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. Migrate Today for free at Kinsta Dot Com and we do thank all of our sponsors for helping out put on the WP Builds's podcast and news. Just one thing. Normally on a Monday at 2:00 PM UK time we have the live version of this news with some notable special guests. This week it's not happening cause I'm going to be on holiday, so yeah, sorry about that. If you're expecting that to happen, it shouldn't be, but well, we'll return to normal service next week. Okay, let's get stuck into the news. Our news is always divided into little sections and the first section is always to do with WordPress core and I've got three things for you really related very much to WordPress core.
Nathan Wrigley: 02:47 The first one is over on the make.WordPress.org website entitled WordPress 5.3 it shed jewel and scope. It's a very brief article by Francesca Murano and it says that the Beta release will come out on the 23rd of September. The release candidate will be on the 15th of October and hopefully all things being well. The release dates will be the 12th of November. It's being led by Matt and the release coordinator is Francesca Morano, so we'll see how this goes. There's much, much more detail about this. On the second link, which is over at WP tavern entitled WordPress Five Point Three Development kicks off UI polishing editor improvements and new 2020 default theme and it goes into much more detail. We have quite a lot of detail actually, so the things that are going to be highlighted in this particular release. Executive Director of the WordPress project, Josepha Haden posted a summary Grouping support for dividing your pages, intersections, motion support for visual motion when moving and arranging blocks, column patterns and widths, support for fixed column widths and predefined layouts, big images, support for saving progress after a big image fails to upload media accessibility, PHP 7.4 and then a few other things.
Nathan Wrigley: 04:08 There's also going to be a new 2020 default theme. Now the interesting thing about this is it's not being designed from the ground up as it always has been in the past. On this occasion, this theme is going to be the work of somebody in the community who's already sort of demonstrated that they're building something with a Gutenberg compatibility. So that's quite interesting. I quite like the idea of that and the final thing, which is not to do with 5.3 it's to say that WordPress 5.2 0.3 release candidate one has been announced. This is Jake Spurlock on make.WordPress.org and there's a great big list. I'm not going to go through this, probably about 30 bullet points of the things that have been changed, but as always they need to be bug tested. So if you're into testing things, go and check out that article and hopefully we'll get release the release candidate 5.2 0.3 will come out to very, very soon.
Nathan Wrigley: 05:02 Still on WP tavern, we have an article entitled WordPress poised to begin implementing proposal to auto update older sites. To 4.7 this very long pieces. Just basically summing up that position. We had this proposal a few weeks ago that we would automatically update sites because of the security benefits from that model of doing things well. This seems to be sort of taking on some kind of momentum and this article discusses exactly that. I don't know what your positions are. Obviously it's going to affect people who simply don't have the capability to receive emails. They might long since have lost the developer email or contact with the developer and so on, but it's going to hopefully respect the decision. If you've already decided to opt out of automatic updates. It's going to respect that decision, but it's obviously going to upset a lot of people and so it proves to be if you read this article, there's lots of voices and I can see why if people haven't been contacted and they are suddenly updated to a much more up to date version 4.7 in this case, then perhaps things will break and they won't really understand why things are broken, difficult decision.
Nathan Wrigley: 06:13 But I think in the future the whole automatic update thing needs to be by default. Really. It'd be nice if we get to the position where everything was automatically updated all the time. Um, but we're not there yet because of the, the backlog and the history of WordPress in the past. But uh, an interesting discussion, very long, lots of dissenting voices, lots of approving voices and lots of interesting discussion around this subject. The last piece in the WordPress core section comes from WP tavern again and it's entitled a no follow option for links is coming to Gutenberg. Apparently this is going to happen. We now are going to have the capability at some release in the future as well as adding the option to open a new tab in Gutenberg. You have to click the little down Arrow. You'll now have the option to do a no follow link as well and obviously for people like um affiliate marketers and so on.
Nathan Wrigley: 07:06 This is quite good news because the guidelines from Google state that these kinds of links should exist and there is literally nothing in in core Gothenburg that has this capability but it's going to be added. Just one little pet peeve if it would be possible. Anybody listening to this, would it be possible to float right the toggle switches instead of floating underneath the URL, if they could actually float underneath the the drop down link which opens up the capability to add new tabs and no follows, that would be really nice and cause less than mounting under the community section this week. The first article, well two articles, actually, both of them over on make.WordPress.org I linked to one from a few weeks ago where we talked about a new proposed project called WP notify. It's from Jonathan Bossinger and I link to that so that you can see what the terms and conditions are, if you like, of this proposal.
Nathan Wrigley: 07:59 The idea is that we would have a unified place to put all of the admin notices and they would be a way to kind of turn them on and turn them off and make them available to you in that way. Well, it seems like this is getting some traction because a meeting has been announced to be held on Monday the 26th of August. So today in the feature dash notifications channel and the idea is to kickstart this project and improve the notifications that you get in the Admin area on WordPress. So thanks Jonathan. I think this is a great little project. This next one is a very interesting little article all about the design of a logo. It's over it. 2020.asia Dot wordcamp dot org and it's entitled WordCamp Asia Logo, a design journey and Bella Ratmilia describes the journey that was undertaken to get the logo, which I have to say I think is sublimely brilliant.
Nathan Wrigley: 08:50 I really, really like it. How the process that was that was was pursued in order to get this logo off the ground, right from sort of initial sketches to getting it approved by various people and it just demonstrates the level of thought that's gone into this one little asset which is going to be a part of WordCamp Asia. From now on. I guess it's brilliant. It's just not being a designer. This stuff is all a bit of a mystery to me and I really like it and would commend it to anybody, whether you're a designer or not. Lovely, well done. Over on make.WordPress.org we have an article entitled discussion how to handle conflict of interest situations. Well as WordPress grows and the community increases, there are many more things happening and there are no guidelines that are very clear, at least anyway on how to avoid a conflict of interest.
Nathan Wrigley: 09:39 Say for example, you're on one particular team and then another subdivision of that team needs something deciding and you are part of that decision making process but you're also part of the other sub team. How does that work? Which situation leads to which results? How do you know when there's a conflict of interest, when to step away, when to hand it over to somebody else and so on. So this is going to be looking at that and the the things that are going to crop up in this discussion are what kinds of conflicts of interest situations we have now and what might we encounter in the future, how to work around these. Can we accept the conflict of interest in some situations and what would be the best approach to disclose situations where someone notices a conflict of interest. It's a really interesting topic and the discussion has just opened up, but it's released a massive, massive amount of comments down below, so if this is something that you're interested in, urge you to go and check it out.
Nathan Wrigley: 10:34 This next piece tackle something that I'm really not all that familiar with. It's entitled what is Web p and how to enable it on your WordPress website. It's over on WP news or fi.com and the article explains all about the usual format, PNG dot Gif and dot jpeg and so on and so forth. Then it goes on to talk about Web p and how it can be used to save quite a lot of space. On average it's about 25% smaller than the equivalent jpeg image. It has the capability to do animations as well, so it's got that in its favor, but the, the problem I suppose is that not all the browsers are supporting it. Most notably, Apple's safari browser has yet has no support and there's been no talk of adding support. So that really is a bit of a, a bit of an inhibiting factor.
Nathan Wrigley: 11:21 But this article then goes on to explain five or six different plugins and ways using SaaS apps and so on that you can get Web p images created for you. Um, and really I think if it turns out that safari for you is not used, is not, you know, your visitors are not coming from safari hardly at all. This really could be a strong contender for you to install. Just really just to get things going a little bit quicker on your website. This is going to be a very quick one. It's over on WP lift.com entitled Siteground, a new hosting dashboard, no more c panel. If you are using siteground, which I know that many of you are, then this might be of interest to you that they're going to be ditching the c panel option. So the familiar way that you've interacted with your websites will be going away and they've built a bespoke new user interface.
Nathan Wrigley: 12:11 How to say it quite like the look of it. It seems to be in keeping with the way that a lot of these hosting platforms are going. You know, a lot of their rivals have built their own interface for managing things. It looks very nice. It looks very modern, but you'll obviously have to get familiar with it and if you're a siteground user, this article will will help you do exactly that. Always keen to get a bit of an advantage in terms of SEO. WP Explorer has an article entitled how to set up Google site kit in WordPress and it says Google site kit is a brand new SEO analytics plugin developed by Google for WordPress. It enables you to connect Google's online marketing services such as search console, Google analytics, page speed, and many more. Once connected, you'll be able to view search analytics, page speed performance, and other data directly in your WordPress dashboard.
Nathan Wrigley: 13:01 But as with all these things, it can be a little bit difficult to set up and fraught with pitfalls of this article will tell you exactly how to do it with lots of little tips and you know, images saying, click here now do this. Now do this and uh, and basically shortcuts the whole process to make it the whole lot, the whole thing a whole lot easier. So recommended for people who want to get Google site kit inside their WordPress install. The next piece comes from a new service called Colibri. It's a Colibri wp.com. It's entitled WordPress page builder that gives you design super powers. This is kind of like new service from a company that used to be called cloud press. They've decided to multiple that service. I've tried this very, very briefly and it basically allows you to create a page builder like experience, but instead of having a different interface, it hijacks the customizer and you create everything from inside the customizer and things pop out from different sides of the customizer.
Nathan Wrigley: 14:01 Um, it looks pretty decent, but it's brand new. I don't know if anybody's got any experience with it or how far it'll go, but anyway, just nice to see a new service coming out. It's all self hosted. You Click one button to get a new site going and it does all the WordPress install for you. It installs all of the plugins that they need inside of WordPress to make their features work. And from there you can design away and export it when you're finished, which is rather nice. Right. Let's move over now to plugins and themes. We've got a few pieces in this section today. The first one is over on WP astro.com entitled Astra 2.0 setting new standards for WordPress themes and the long and the short of it is that they've updated, got an brand new version coming out 2.0 it's enormously popular.
Nathan Wrigley: 14:50 I is installed on something like 400,000 websites, which is just amazing and apparently that's, you know, a staggering amount each and every day and the too long didn't read his Astra 2.0 reinvents the cost of the structure of the customizer, the new options make Astra the easiest theme available today. Your customizer experiences made blazing fast and more important. You are able to build websites even faster with extra 2.0 the takeaway here really is that they've decided to group things differently inside the customizer. So the idea is that if you want to interact in any way, shape or form with the logo, all of that will be in one place. You needn't go to three or four different sections in the customizer and I'm sure if you've played with the customizer at all, you've had that problem. Where is this thing and you think you found the setting and okay, that's got to do with the logo, but that's not the setting I want.
Nathan Wrigley: 15:38 Well, they've tried to group them all so that everything now is in one place and I think it's a nice initiative. I hope that lots of other themes take this on board because it seems like the sensible way to do it going forward, so well done. Astro, go check it out. Now at the time that I was writing this, there was a coupon on the website so that you got 20% off a, it was automatically applied. I'm not sure if that will be too late by the time you listened to this, but it was available so you might be able to get 20% off, which would be nice.
Speaker 2: 16:07 Yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: 16:08 If you want to send out some marketing materials to your WordPress website users, I could plug in to do that with his groundhog and over on groundhog dot. Io. We have also version 2.0 their takeaways are, they've got a new funnel builder, which is version two, which changes the interface slightly. It's far less things to distract you. They've got a new email builder as well with a simplified, uh, at editing interface and so on. They've improved their dashboard to give you statistics and they've opt in, tasted the contact screen. Um, they've got some new improved optin forms as well and they've also added integration with plugins such as lifter LMS, Tuta, LMS, learn dash and various others. So a nice little update if you're using that plugin, be sure to go and get it updated because it looks really, really good. Well done guys.
Speaker 2: 16:58 Okay.
Nathan Wrigley: 16:58 A few weeks ago on the news, we talked about the theme review team taking action to curb obtrusive admin notices. You've all been there, you've installed a WordPress theme and suddenly half of the page has been taken up by a perhaps an advert or some instructions of what to do next and the team have felt that really this needed to be taken in hand and dealt with and so they came up with some new guidelines. The all the themes now need to use the admin underscore notices API. Interestingly, storefront from woocommerce, which obviously owned by automatic was one of the people that they targeted and they've come out and changed it as has a theme called the noto theme from Pixel grade and many, many more. So I think it's really nice that this was decided on. I think it's really nice that some of the big themes are starting to take notice because the idea is that if they don't take of this, then their themes will be pulled from the repo and obviously no theme author would like that to happen.
Nathan Wrigley: 17:55 So a nice outcome I think and good for everybody going forward. We don't really need to see all of that stuff. We can, we can find our stuff on a page on your website should we really needed to. I'm sure if you are a genesis user, then you'll be pleased to know that a new version has come around. It's version 3.1 now owned by WP engine. They've included something called genesis starter packs. Genesis themes come equipped with one click setup which allow users to set up a fully customized site. Now genesis users have the option to set select, sorry, which starter pack they want during the one-click setup process and the starter pack, it says empowers users to select the demo content during the setup process and in turn the content plugins, menus, and widgets are all automatically imported, so that'll speed things up for you.
Nathan Wrigley: 18:42 Also, there's exposure to the WordPress API. It includes endpoints for WordPress rest API. This opens opportunities I guess for developers who want to use to create headless WordPress sites with genesis and there's some additional features. Easy manual removal of Genesis schema.org markup, genesis sidebar and block editor. New footer text fields on a whole lot more. So go and check out genesis 3.1 if you're an active user staying on the subject of Genesis. Our friend Eric Ham over at Cobalt apps has released the Genesis Dev pack. The idea is these bundled three genesis related plugins all into one handy little purchase bundle. The idea is that you'll get the genesis Dev kit plugin, you'll get the theme or pro plugin and you'll also get instant ide and you're going to get all of those three things rather than buy them separately. You get them in a cheaper bundle and the the ticket price for those three is $99 so again, if you are using genesis, I'm sure you've come across Cobalt apps and Eric Hamm products before and they're certainly worth checking out to speed up your development process if you have a client or indeed, if you yourself have a website where you have multiple editor role users, you might be interested in this one.
Nathan Wrigley: 20:00 Over on WP tavern, it says fabric or dashboard plugin brings a CMS overview to multi-user editorial sites. It's relatively new. It's, I've got quite a long period. I think it was about six months of extensive Beta testing. It comes from the guys at yes, we work and it's whole new dashboard interface, so when you log into your admin area, you'll get a completely different set of widgets and it displays the post pages, blocks and the custom content types that make up your sites. Recent activity and updates across content, media and comments, upload sizes, format and possible security issues. It is by me saying that doesn't sound all that radically different, but it is a very, very different take. I mean it looks like the WordPress WordPress dashboard that you're used to, but it really is drilling down. It says fabrica dashboard was built to be content aware without any configuration.
Nathan Wrigley: 20:50 It automatically detects the different types of content in use on the site, including custom post types and custom taxonomies and populates the dashboard widgets accordingly. So it's absolutely fabulous if you've got multiple users signing in and they're all trying to create content, but you'd like to have an overview of everything that's going on. The limitations of the, the regular dashboard are clear and this really, really will help with that. So I can imagine a site like WP tavern, which has created this particular post will find this fabulous useful because they've got lots of people logging in and somebody needs to see, oh, I have oversight of everything that's going on. So great.
Nathan Wrigley: 21:26 pretty links, a plugin which allows you to change the, the way that your links look like from your WordPress install are 10 years old. This is a plugin, I suppose it's used a lot by affiliate marketers and things to sort of disguise their links possibly. But you can turn any URL into any of the URL. It comes from a team that have been developing it now for 10 years. And in celebration of this, they've decided to give you guys a 60% off. Now, I hope that this promotion is still lasting. It says on the website, it's for one week, but if you click on the link in the show notes, you can go and uh, and there is actually the coupon code that you need to use, uh, in the show notes as well. It is in fact p l 10 60 p l 10 60, so you can use that and get yourself pretty links, which has turned 10 so well done, uh, to Blair and his team
Nathan Wrigley: 22:16 over onto the security section. Now, I've only got one piece for you today and it's entitled wordfence now works on WP engine and with load balances. Um, I didn't realize this, but when you are not logged in as an administrator, then there is no way to write to the file system in the configuration that WP engine have. So I suppose that's a great security precaution. If there's nobody actively using the site as an administrator, then you shouldn't be able to write stuff to the file system is just really good idea. I didn't know they did that. Um, and now wordfence have enabled it so that they can use their firewall, which requires permission to write to the file system. They've come up with a technical way of doing this. And so it is simply just to say that from now on you will be able to use a word fence on WP engine WP build section.
Nathan Wrigley: 23:11 Uh, I'm just gonna mention the podcast that we put out this week. It was number 142 called easy life store, your layouts in the cloud with Andrew Palmer. Andrew Palmer is the guy behind the page builder cloud plugin, which allows you to save all of your beaver builder breezy elementor whatever page layout templates and so on into the cloud. And then when you start a new project, you can just download them straight away from your cloud. It's a very cool platform and he explains how it works and essentially it stops you from having to reinvent the wheel each time you start a new project or upload your own saved rows and so on. This enables you to do it with just our point click interface and a yeah, he explains how it all works and how you can get yourself on board. That is all the WordPress stuff I've got for you this week, but a couple of items over in the, not to WordPress but useful anyway, over on webkit.org they have an article entitled Webkit Tracking Prevention Policy as we know things have moved on since the days of cookies and now it's possible to track all sorts of behavior in browsers through all sorts of ways.
Nathan Wrigley: 24:18 And this in this article explains how webkit believed that this is not something that should be allowed and the policy goes to explain what it is that they're going to do to stop the tracking practices that lots of websites or slightly more nefarious techniques might use. And so it talks about the different methods of tracking. So for example, cross-site tracking, stateful tracking, covert stateful tracking, navigational tracking, fingerprinting and so on, and then outlines what it is that they're going to try to do to prevent it. If you are a privacy advocate and you consider privacy to be important online, then this is certainly the kind of thing that you'll welcome in your browser. Just last week we had the WP virtual summit, which, which we mentioned in last week's news and I noticed that they were using a piece of software called Hey summit to organize that. I'm the founder of hey summit.
Nathan Wrigley: 25:14 Ben Dell was on the podcast explaining how it all worked and they have a course out, it's called zero to summit to bootcamp. So if you are in these sort of educational space or you want to put out some kind of online summit together, they put together this course that you can take. It's four weeks in total and they've a, they've released it into the wild and it'll teach you how to set up your own summit, how to, you know, how to do all of the different pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that you'll need and a, yeah, maybe go and check that out if you feel like you'd like to do something like that. Right. That's all the news that I've got for you this week. I hope that you found it useful. The WP Builds's podcast is brought to you today by Kinsta. Kinsta's managed WordPress hosting to the next level, powered by the Google cloud platform.
Nathan Wrigley: 25:58 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, you can migrate today for free at Kinsta .com okay. Join us on Thursday for a podcast episode or come back here next Monday for a news bulletin with next week's news. Hopefully by then we'll have a live, because as I said, there is no live happening in the, in the WP Builds groups this week cause I'm on holiday. So without further ado, I'm going to let you get on with your day and say bye bye for now.