WP Builds Newsletter #83 – WordPress 5.3 Beta 2, WordCamp U.S. tickets and Facebook decryption

This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 30th September 2019:

WordPress Core

WordPress 5.3 Beta 2

Preparing Themes For WordPress 5.3

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GoDaddy Pro

Date/Time component improvements in WordPress 5.3

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WordCamp US tickets on sale

Brian Gardner Steps Down From StudioPress and here

WordPress Theme Review Team Brings Back Review Shindigs

First Look at PHP 7.4 for WordPress Developers

Matt Mullenweg and David Heinemeier Hansson Discuss WordPress Market Share, Monopolies, and Power in Open Source Communities

Kinsta – Automatic MySQL Database Optimizations, Self-Healing PHP, GCP Firewall and More Disk Space (SSD Storage) on All Plans

Gutenberg Tips

Plugins / Themes

Here Comes Hummingbird 2.1 With Compressed Caching & Cookies

BuddyPress 5.0 Introduces BP REST API, Paving the Way for Blocks

Automattic Has Discontinued Active Development on Edit Flow Plugin

SmartSlider3 – New template – Portfolio Categories

Deals from this week

Piotnet Addons For Elementor

Yay Images – $59 for 1,000 images


WordPress “Theme Editor” Plugin: Multiple Vulnerabilities

WordPress Vulnerability Roundup: September 2019, Part 2

A New Wave of Buggy WordPress Infections

WP Builds

Spinning up a WordPress optimised server in minutes with Spinup WP

LIVE – UX and UI audit with Piccia Neri WP


Nothing this week, but please let me know if you have a vacancy!

Not WordPress, but useful anyway…

Facebook, WhatsApp Will Have to Share Messages With U.K.

Spotify now lets you add podcasts to playlists

Google Announces New Ways to Hide Personal Activity, Including Incognito Mode in Maps

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Transcript (if available)

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Hello there. Good morning. And welcome to this the WP Builds weekly WordPress newsletter. This is number 83. It covers the WordPress news for the week commencing the 30th of September 2019 and it was published on Monday the 7th of October 20. My name is Nathan Wrigley from picture and work dot co dot u k - a small web development agency based in the north of England and a few bits of housekeeping before we begin head over to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe and there you'll find a whole bunch of ways of keeping in touch with what we do at WP builds a couple of newsletters to sign up to the gray box.
The one on the left if you're on a desktop is to sign up to get alerted about this the Monday news and the Thursday podcast the one on the. Which is blue says subscribe to the WP Builds deals updates. Now. This is one that I could strongly recommend in the run-up to Black Friday and so on because all I'm going to do is send you a very simple plain text email as soon as I hear about a WordPress deal and obviously they'll be lots of those coming down the pipe very very soon on that page.
You'll also be able to subscribe to us on your favorite podcast player. Join Over 2250 WordPress has in our Facebook group and also our. I'm not as well. So there we go WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe head over to the deals page WP Builds.com forward slash deals and you'll find a whole bunch of Wordpress steals.
It is a bit like Black Friday, but every day of the week, so if you're in the market for something go check that out and last but by no means least WP Builds.com forward slash advertise. If you would like to get your product or service in front of a very specific word, press audience a bit like kin studded.
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Okay, let's get stuck into the news for this week. Every week we divide our news up into different sections and the first section is always entitled WordPress core. And the first piece on the WordPress core is entitled WordPress 5.3 your Betta to its on wordpress.org and it is just to say that we have migrated over to Beta 2.
There are very few things worthy of mention some highlights include that there is more work being done on the Block editor there have been some bugs which have been squashed on the default 2020 theme, which is going to ship with. And them stairs also some accessibility bug fixes and enhancements on the interface changes introduced in 5.3 beta 1.
They've also adding support for Rel equals U GC, which is user-generated content because. Sighs I mentioned in the news a few weeks ago Google has added this as a possibility and attribute value. So for things like comments and so on this would be perfect. So there we go some nice updates in WordPress 5.3 beta 2.
The next piece is over on WP Tavern and it's entitled preparing themes for WordPress 5.3 just in tadlock is saying that you know, it's coming around the corner very soon. Hopefully we'll get WordPress 5.3 on November the 12 and it's going to offer us 12 release cycles of Guttenberg from version. 5 point 4 2 version 6.5 over its lifespan.
And he's saying that really if you're a theme developer you really do need to be looking at the changes that have happened in the block editor AKA Guttenberg recently because when 5.3 does ship it may be that your theme will break in some particular case. So for example, he says that WordPress 5.3 introduces new server side block style functions.
This means the theme authors who prefer PHP can now register custom block style variations without writing JavaScript code. He also mentions that some. HTML blocks are going to cause breaking changes. It says despite WordPress has commitment to backwards compatibility over the year. The gottenberg team hasn't maintain this approach with blocks block HTML output in the editor and the front end has changed for some blocks.
These changes will break custom stylesheets in many cases on the ones that he points to are the blocks entitled group. Table and gallery and in the testing that Justin's Donnie feels that the gallery block is the most obvious candidate for breaking changes. We also had some new block classes added several new classes are making their way into 5.3.
So for example WordPress is doing away with inline styles for Left Right and Center text alignment and they're being moved into your CSS style sheet and theme authors also need to make sure that they support new classes. For the following blocks heading paragraph quote and verse so that's a nice article by Justin pointing out possible pitfalls for theme Developers.
The third and final piece under the WordPress core section is over on make Doc wordpress.org. It's a fairly technical piece of writing. It's entitled date time component improves in WordPress 5.3. I'm not going to go into the history of this but essentially the daytime component really has been needing an update because it's code dates back to PHP for which is quite some time ago.
It was retrofitted to work with PHP 5, but essentially there's been a whole load of. Movements and the unit testing done and so on and this is going to ship with 5.3. So you'll have the option in version 5.3 of Wordpress for unified time zone retrieval new date localizations PHP interoperability, and we will be phasing out WP timestamps as well.
Alright, the next section is entitled community and covers WordPress Community News. And the first piece we've got for you this week is to say that word Camp us which is taking place in Saint Louis this year. The tickets are now on sale. You can go to 2019 dot u s dot wordcamp dot-org and click on the tickets tab or forward slash tickets is probably the easiest way to get it and you can find that there are 50 bucks per ticket.
There's going to be over 40 speakers half a dozen workshops. And a whole load of other amazing stuff going on. I don't know how quickly they traditionally sell out. My guess is that they would go reasonably quickly and there's also options on that page to offer sponsorship as well. It seems like it was only yesterday that we were talking about the acquisition of studiopress buy WP engine.
Well, it isn't it's actually 15 months ago that they acquired it and the founder Brian Gardner has announced this week that he is actually going to be stepping down from studiopress. He's fulfilled his contract with WP engine and now it's time for him to do new things. The article that I'm reading from his on WP Tavern and Justin tadlock, obviously admires Brian really rather a lot.
Not only for the fact that he kind of was the one of the Prime movers in the commercialization of the theme business, but also the fact that his themes were so rock solid and used by many people reliably for for a decade or more but also the fact that he didn't really cause any major force in his life.
He did everything by demonstrating. His Brilliance with WordPress themes rather than you know, kind of flash bang PR techniques or anything like that. He also mentions the fact that Brian's biggest regret is that he didn't kind of create a way of recurring the revenue to begin with rather selling it as a one-time package and also talks about what he's going to be doing in the future.
He's now a jobbing theme developer who is For Hire over at the authentic web design company that he founded. The next article which is again from WP Tavern is entitled WordPress theme review team brings back review shindigs. Apparently there were things called shindigs in the past are you didn't really know about these but they're going to be kicked off again.
The idea is that we get a whole bunch of people in the same slack Channel at the Slate at the same time and they have a concerted effort to fix a bunch of themes all at the same time and do it more quickly. Hopefully as a result of this the. Tension apparently is to do this on the first Saturday of every month and you can find out more by going to this particular page.
The the intention is also to be able to teach people how to perform these reviews and quickly check for common issues. So if you never done this before this might be a perfect time to kind of show up and see if you can be schooled in how to do this quickly and help the theme review team to progress its work.
PHP 7.4 is slated to be released in November. Very late, November 20 19. So that means that obviously they'll be some new features to look out for and again on WP Tavern we have an article entitled first. Look at PHP 7.4 for WordPress developers. There is no way that I'm going to try to explain this article, but you can go and see about all of the new features that will be included that are going to affect you if you're a.
Press developer. It's things like typed properties Arrow functions unpacking inside of a raise. And then he also goes on to describe some of the features which will of course be deprecated when 7.4 rolls around. So perhaps go and check the article out for a more in-depth analysis. We normally draw your attention to text-based content, but I'm going to draw your attention to a podcast because this week Matt mullenweg had a conversation with David Hina Maya Hansen to discuss market share monopolies and Power in the open source communities.
It's a very long conversation. It does at various times get a little bit while fractious is not the word, you know, they have strong opinions on different sides of the fence is shall we say and it's really really well worth listening to they they get into the Weeds about. All sorts of things how Matt mullenweg would like WordPress for example to be kind of like the the future of the web the operating system if you like off the web and they disagree on quite a lot but also they have quite a civil debate, but it's well worth listening if you've got an extra hour.
Two articles this week from consider. The first one is entitled automatic mySQL database optimizations self-healing PHP gcp firewall. So if you are a consistent user all of this is going to be happening automatically you don't need to do anything. But basically they say that optimizing your database is one of those things that you know, it gets neglected.
It's very rarely something that people are particularly interested in but it is a good thing to do. So kingster have decided. Implement a new system which automatically kind of fine-tunes your mySQL database settings based on the needs of your website. It's optimization will run once per week and hopefully it will ensure mariadb performance is a little bit better.
If the process somehow detects that something has gone wrong, then it will send a notice to their sysadmin team so that they can fix it themselves, you know, which is a manual thing also in the past if things went wrong with your PHP, you could click something in their admin panel and restart it and you know, that's great.
But what if you didn't know it gone down well now it will try to restart itself automatically. They're calling the self-healing PHP and should something fail again, you will automatically. I'm get a sysadmin log, which will be sent to their team so that they will hopefully again manually fix it and also instead of being behind a third-party firewall.
They are now going to be using Google Cloud platform firewall. They are of course. Cancel that is to say are based on the Google Cloud platform. And now they're going to be using the Google Cloud platform firewall, which kind of I suppose makes sense. You've also got one other notable option. I think which is now you can actually deploy wordfence into a Kenster website.
I think previously it was a disallowed plug-in on their Network and now it is allowed. The other thing to mention is that they are increasing their amount of SSD storage on all plans. So, For example, the starter plan has doubled from 5 gigabytes to 10 gigabytes. The Pro Plan has gone from 10 to 20 and all of the business plans have gone up as well.
So again, that's quite nice. It's all it should have be added already automatically into your dashboard if you're a consider using. The last piece in the community section is actually a Twitter feed. It's a Twitter moment and it's by editors kit and it's just called Guttenberg tips. And essentially if you click on the link and maybe book Market, it's just a series of very short little like animated gif tutorials about how to achieve things in Guttenberg that you maybe didn't know was possible.
I presume the Jeffrey's going to be adding to this overtime because at the moment there's that's quite a quite a few. But because of the way it's organized, obviously if you were to follow this you would have the ability to get this stuff automatically, which is really nice. Right, let's move on to plugins and themes.
That's our next section. First one we've got for you today is from wpm udev. They have a optimization and caching solution called hummingbird and hummingbird 2.1 has just been released the notable features are that now up time notifications can be set to go out to multiple users. So let's say for example that if your site goes down previously it would just go to the site admin.
Whereas now you can specify any number of people who should be notified I can imagine that. Being quite useful. They're also going to be serving compressed versions of cached files says in the past. We usually served compressed versions of files already cashed in most cases the web server would send out the compressed version.
But in some rare cases compression is not enabled on the server side. So what this means is if your server doesn't support gzip compression, then hummingbird will just take care of that by itself, which is quite a nice a nice update. You're also going to have the option to skip page caching on mobile devices.
It would appear that some users requested this they would like the mobile version of a site to to not be cached and you can take a box so that that doesn't happen and also you can now clear the cache at set intervals. So for example, you could say every 10 hours Let's just clear the cache and empty it out and we can begin again and there's also preload page caching.
So rather than the site having to. Find a visitor shall we say somebody comes to your site and uses a page and then obviously the cash is created. It's now going to pre create those caches all by itself. Whether people are visiting or not and they've also got some new Integrations siteground wpengine.
Opie cash varnish de V WP hide and security enhancer as well as ie11 compatibility. If you are a user of buddypress, then it might interest you to know that buddypress 5.0 is around the corner and WP Tavern has an article entitled body, press 5.0 introduces BP. Rest API Paving the way for blocks.
It's going to be called Le gustó and it was released this week and it has a new rest API new invitations API and also they're going to be putting some of their information the body press info on the site. Health screen should that be needed there's full documentation for the rest API and includes endpoints for members group's activities private messages screen notifications and extended profiles and I suppose of note is the fact that this means that blocks are also going to be coming to body press on the article.
You can see an image of an example block. So hopefully as 5 becomes 5.1 5.2 and so on will get more and more of these blocks able to integrate buddypress more. Seriously into the block editor. If you've been using a plug-in called edit flow, then you might need to know that automatic has decided to discontinue using it and it flow which is our modded modular editorial plug-in it enables collaboration inside the WordPress.
Admin. Well, it's now going to be yeah put to one side. It hasn't been updated apparently for nine months and according to this article on WP Tab, and there was a period in time where it wasn't updated for over two years. So some frustrated people. Who are using it? There's 10,000 installs using it at the moment reached out and said look can we find out what the definitive what the definitive status of this is and a representative from automatic said that the company will no longer be editing it it is however listed as a WP.com VIP plug-in and so I'm guessing that it's going to be continuing in its Support over on that platform.
But anyway, it's gone. It would appear that a good alternative to this is a. Plug-in called publish press so if you are using edit flow, you might want to go and check out publish press. A very quick one. If you like to put sliders on your WordPress websites smart slider 3 would seem like a good option.
They have released a new template called portfolio categories and you can see it by clicking on the link. It looks really nice. It's very very minimal. It occupies the whole screen and slides of the entire screen from left to right with a clear indication that there are other objects to the left and right to be explored and I really like the look of it.
So there you go check that out. The next section is about deals and I've got a couple of things that I've spotted this week on the internet, which are available. The first one. I really don't know how to pronounce this but it's an element or add-on pack deal. It's called Piat net. I think Pi OT n ET and it's a whole series of add-ons for elementary.
And when I say a whole series I do mean that rather a lot you can go and click on the link in the show notes and you can check it out and they are offering the lifetime package at the moment for. He told us which is akin to their old pricing. So it's considerably cheaper than it then it will be and little also maybe go and check that out of here in Elemental user.
And the other one is a company called. Yay images, which is a stock image finding service and you get all of the usual capabilities if you download it through their platform, then you are entitled to use it in any which way you choose. They have good good search feature. It turns out I quite quite like the capability to search for things like red cars and it seems to return pretty good results.
It's on appsumo at the minute $59 if you want a thousand images and you have the capability to download those at any point in the future, so it's not limited in terms of time, but it's 59 dollars per thousand if you want to go and grab that from up sumo. Three articles link this week. I'm not going to go into the details in the security section simply because the details are often too difficult to describe in a very short little podcast like this.
But here we go were where barks I've got an article entitled WordPress theme editor plugin multiple vulnerability. So if you're using theme editor go and check that out. I themes do their bimonthly Roundup of a whole bunch of plugins and I like this because of the fact that they include little thumbnails of all the.
Of all the plugins that they found problems with so you can easily just scroll through the article and stop or recognize that logo. I probably should read that one. And then finally the security website has an article entitled a new wave of buggy WordPress infections and it says we've been following an ongoing malware campaign for the past couple of years.
Now. This campaign is renowned for its prompt Petition of exploits for newly discovered WordPress theme and plugin Runner abilities and it says that every other week things are being added. Maybe go and check that one out. It gives examples of the latest injections, but I cannot possibly read it out.
It's just a bunch of numbers. So yeah. Anyway going check that one out. They shamelessly self promotional WP build section two things that we did this week. The first was that we released a podcast over on WP bills.com called spinning up a WordPress optimize server in minutes with spin up WP so this is Brad to Synod from delicious brains and they've got this amazing capability called spin up WP and the idea is that you basically click a few buttons and it allows you to.
Clay spin up a server. It's completely specific to Wordpress bespoke admin panel and so on and so forth and he talks about why this is a good idea why he built it and why you might like to check it out. And the other thing that we did was we did a. WP builds ui/ux review while I say we did Peach and Airy came on we did it live on Facebook and YouTube and there was quite a lot of nice commentary going on at the time.
You're very very good natured these events that are lovely the Live Events. So yeah, if you're into website UI and ux we went through three and a half sites. We're going to pick up where we left off with the the final website, but it's really nice and it's just nice to get a different perspective on why picha thinks that certain things work and don't.
Work and it may be that you agree or disagree, but it's nice to get a different perspective. I keep bludgeoning this to death. I'm going to keep doing it. I think it's the job section only we have no jobs. I'm hoping that if I just keep saying this people will eventually twig on to the fact that I would like to put some jobs into this new section and send me some jobs.
So if you've got any if you know of any please forward them to me, you can use the contact form on the website and I will try to get them out in front of a wide audience. Right, we're getting towards the end. Now the very last section is always entitled not WordPress, but useful. Anyway first piece is over on the bloomberg.com website entitled Facebook.
WhatsApp will have to share messages with UK social media platforms based in the US people like Facebook WhatsApp. So on are going to be forced to share users encrypted messages with British police under a new treaty, which is going to be signed within the next month. It will compel social media firms to share information and to.
Pull the investigation of suspected criminals. Now, I'm not entirely sure if this is useful in the sense that if it's done if the encryption is done, right and certainly in the case of what's up. I know that it I'm pretty sure they're using the signal protocol in which case it's bulletproof at the moment.
I'm not sure what this thing passing on of encrypted information will achieve other than to have it. Maybe they're hoping that they can some point in the future access it I'm not entirely sure but obviously this is going to cause. To alarm, you know, if you create a back door for one person. Well, then you back create a backdoor for everybody and presumably at some point in the future.
We will discover this to our costs don't know where you stand on the whole privacy side of things. But anyway, this is this is now a thing which is quite new. Podcasters Rejoice if you are a Spotify user you can now add your podcast to your playlists. So this is quite nice. So I'm not Spotify users.
I'm not really sure about how the UI works but now you'll be able to add specific podcast and podcast episodes into playlists. I presume you'll now be able to model up songs and you know the songs that you want to hear with podcast episodes that you want them here and I'm I'm assuming that until now that those two things were segregated from.
The but now you will so you know, what can I say stick WP builds right in your favorite playlist go and do it right away. The last thing that I've got for you this week is over on the search engine Journal. It's entitled Google announces new ways to hide personal activity including incognito mode in maps lots of people are obviously rightly.
I think kind of a slightly concerned that a giant tech companies like Facebook and like Google are able to amass lots of data. I think Google has made a real concerted effort to make it possible to expunge what they have on you should you make the effort to go and find the menus which are. Be buried within menus, but now they're making all of this a little bit easier.
So for example, now you can use an incognito mode in maps. So let's say for example, you do not wish for Google to record to your map timeline, if you like where you have been and what mapping you've been doing where you can now enable that so that it just simply doesn't track what you're doing with the maps.
You can also Auto delete your YouTube activity quite why you would want to do that. Is anybody's guess but there you go you can. Select so that it is auto deleted. It could be like a three month or an 18-month period so every three months it expunged it or every 18 months or you can just say until it's manually deleted and finally you can also now tell the Google Assistant that you want it to destroy things that you've said to it.
So they give an example of saying the Google trigger word. Delete the last thing I said to you or again the Google trigger word. Delete the things that I said to you last week, which all of which seemed like really useful things to for Google to be adding in and I think this is a very laudable thing that they're doing.
The wp builds newsletter was brought to you today by Kinsta. Kinsta takes managed WordPress hosting to the next level powered by the Google Cloud platform. Your site is secured like Fort Knox and runs on speed obsessive architecture. You can access to the latest software and developer tools such as PHP 7 SSH and staging environments and the best part their expert team of Wordpress Engineers are available 24/7 if you need help, So you can migrate today for free at Kinsta.com.
Okay, that's all I've got for you this week. Please join us again next week for the new WordPress Weekly News which will cover the week that we're about to begin join us on Thursday. When we'll be having our regular podcast. It's very likely to be a discussion episode between David and I but also come back come back on this day this Monday live at 2 p.m.
UK time in the WP Builds Facebook group. Actually. I prefer it actually if you go now to WP Builds.com /live. Simply for the live episode. I'm not trying to dissuade anybody from going to the Facebook group, but just for the live episodes at 2 p.m. UK time go to WP Builds.com /live because there you can access live comments, which we used pretty much for the first time last week and it was great fun watching the comments coming.
Okay. I hope that you found something useful and all of that. 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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