WP Builds Newsletter #90 – Gutenberg 6.9, are themes needed and who owns .org

This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 18th November 2019:

WordPress Core

Gutenberg 6.9 Introduces Image Titles, Block Patterns, and New Theme Features


Let’s #DoSummitGood Together

GoDaddy Pro

WP FeedBack Design Community

Announcing New JavaScript, React and WordPress Bootcamps

Duplicate content: Causes and solutions

Our Early Review of the Newspack Project from Automattic

WordPress Web Design Trends For 2020

WordPress should deprecate themes — a modest proposal

Elementor contest

Plugins / Themes

Microthemer – Drag and drop CSS grid

Project Huddle – New Release! Get Less Email. See the Bigger Picture.

Brizy – Popup Builder 2.0

Toolset – Displaying Fields in Your Block Editor Designs

Smart Slider 3.4 – Sneak Peek

Love Advanced Custom Fields? Now SmartCrawl Does Too!

Deals from this week

WP Builds Black Friday Deals Page


High Severity Vulnerability Patched in WP Maintenance Plugin

WP Builds

Are we boring?


IncSub – Blog & Email Editor

Not WordPress, but useful anyway…

Private Equity Ghouls Buy Non-Profit That Handles .Org Domains

The WP Builds podcast is brought to you this week by…

GoDaddy Pro

The home of Managed WordPress hosting that includes free domain, SSL, and 24/7 support. Bundle that with the Hub by GoDaddy Pro to unlock more free benefits to manage multiple sites in one place, invoice clients, and get 30% off new purchases! Find out more at go.me/wpbuilds.

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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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Hello there. Good morning and welcome to this. The WP Builds weekly WordPress newsletter. This is number 90 it covers the WordPress news for the week, commencing the 18th of November, 2019 and it was published on Monday the 25th of November, 2019 just a couple of things before we begin. A few bits of housekeeping, if you like.
Black Friday is just around the corner. Now I know for some of you, you are getting your wallets ready for this experience. It happens once a year and it tends to be a very busy time because plugging vendors and theme vendors and basically everybody seems to be knocking money off. And what I've done is I've put a page together [email protected] forward slash black, that's WP Builds.com forward slash black and it's a whole heap of filterable and searchable black Friday deals.
If you click on the yellow bottom at the top search and filter, you can decide what it is that you want to look at. You can just simply type in a search. So for example, the plugin name that you're after. Or you could say, I want to only look at deals that are to do with themes or hosting or whatever it might be.
So yeah, really good page to go and check out for. Please feel free to share that. It does help. Put the WP Builds podcast on, and I'm very happy to announce that we've got three sponsored slots at the top. And so the guys over at WP Ultimo project huddle and micro femur have sponsored that page.
And so that's really, really kind of them. And I'd like to extend my warmest thanks for them doing that. So yeah, once more, WP Builds.com forward slash black in the run up to black Friday. The other thing to mention would be WP Builds.com forward slash advertise if you would like your WordPress.
Plugin or theme or whatever it might be, putting in front of a WordPress specific audience and a few people who've done that. Our page builder cloud work faster in your page builder of choice by reusing your cloud, save templates, import and export any layout to any of your WordPress websites.
Page builder cloud works with elemental BeaverBuilder, brizy Gutenburg and many more. And you can get a free trial up and running at page builder, cloud.com. And kin sta. Are you tired of unreliable or slow hosting? If so, check out kin 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. So you can migrate today for free at dot com and we thank all of our sponsors for helping us put on the WP Builds podcast. Okay, let's get stuck into this week's WordPress news. We always divide our news into different sections.
And the first one is WordPress core. This week, only one piece of news, it's over on WP Tavern. It's entitled Gutenburg. 6.9 introduces image titles, block patterns, and new theme features. So Justin Tadlock writes about. The launch of 6.9 of version of Gutenburg. So there were a few bug fixes like, there was a invalid content terror when selecting a color for the pull quote block and a few other things like that.
But essentially the, the ticket items here are that you now have an image title attribute fields, which you can click on by clicking the advanced option. When you insert an image, so that's quite handy. Also, there's the initial block patterns API. Now, the idea of this is if you are the creator of a block and you have a whole variety of different scenarios that that block could perform, say for example, that that block is about setting up different arrangements, different columns.
For example, you can use this block pattern API to give the user an initial. Set of choices. So for example, you might show them some images of here's what two columns look like, or a left sidebar and a larger right area and three columns and so on. So that is now in Gutenburg 6.9 so hopefully block creators will be able to make use of it and thereby make it a whole lot easier for the rest of us to to go through the process of setting up whatever complex configuration of block they have in mind.
Also, we have some block gradient presets. Gutenburg introduced. The idea of gradient backgrounds in version 6.7, but, it was felt, I think that some of the, the color palette choices where we're not, we're not quite as useful as was hoped. So now theme developers and so on can get their hands on this and, and put their own in.
and there's a whole bunch of other things that Justin goes on to talk about block templates for themes and so on. But anyway, nice updates to Gutenburg and we're now on version 6.9. The next section is always the community section, and we've got various articles, well, quite a few articles this week under that section.
The first one is [email protected] website and it's entitled do summit. Good. Nice. Play on words there. it's an online summit, which is bringing the word press for good. Community together and for good. What we mean by that is the people who are kind of doing something slightly more philanthropic, it's a free online event, bringing various Forgeard entities and funds from within the WordPress community together to talk about relevant topics and share the knowledge.
nine sessions, 13 speakers, and it all kicks off on the 3rd of December, 2019, which is also known as giving Tuesday. And if you click on the link in the show notes, you'll be able to click the register now button and get yourself onto that. And places are limited. So maybe do that, sooner rather than later.
WP feedback is offering a quite an interesting new service. If you click on the link in the show notes, you'll be finding out about the idea that you can get free feedback from your peers. Now, clearly, if you've designed a website before, you've probably are into those moments where you're not entirely sure.
What it is that you need to do next. You feeling scratching your head a little bit and thinking, I'm not sure if I've got this quite right. It'd be nice to get somebody else's eyeballs on it. Well, that's great if you work in an agency, but what if you work by yourself, for example, or you know, there's a small team and you're all scratching your heads so.
Vito Peleg who runs WP feedback, has this new option within WP feedback. And the idea is that you'll log in and you'll be able to post your website in order to receive feedback from other WP feedback users. So that's quite interesting. And then you can obviously submit your responses to other people's designs.
So it's a bit of a two way process. You upload your website and, and hope that people will give you inspirational ideas and vice versa. You look at other people's websites and hopefully give them some inspirational ideas. So again, click on the link in the show notes and you'll be able to log in with the free plugin.
You don't need to actually pay for the paid version of the plugin to get this working. And yeah, just, it's a really interesting idea. It's like a little community of people giving each other feedback about their websites. If you've ever tried to play with Java script within WordPress, you'll know that it can be fraught with learning challenges.
And one of the people who attempts to tackle that problem and get you the knowledge that you need is Zach Gordon. It seems that Gordon speaker on a number of occasions, and he's absolutely brilliant. Well, he's had these courses and bootcamps going for quite some time now, and he's. Decided that he's going to slim them down because I think the feeling was that the, the previous iterations, the, the learning was spread out over a really long period of time.
So now the, the JavaScript course is going to be a six week online boot camp, as is the react course, as well as the Java script for WordPress boot camps, so that they're all going to the sort of six week model in order that you can, learn more intensively. I think that's probably a good idea.
The idea of spreading out over a year. Which was the initial concept, and then six months or three months, I think it was, was, was just a little bit too long. And so it's been adapted. So maybe go and check this out, especially if he wants to learn this stuff in a very short space of time.
Quite a nice SCO article on Yoast to this week, as you might expect. It's called the duplicate content causes and solutions. So because we're using a CMS, we no doubt know that it's quite possible to have the exact same content, which is held in one place, in the database, pop up in various different places on the website.
It might be in, no, I don't know, a a category list or something like that. And so Yost this week are tackling How these problems can occur. It's the kind of thing that might need explaining to a client. I feel. So the idea that they might not understand the concept of how the URL works and so on and you know, URL parameters and things like that.
And then it goes on to explain the idea of canonical URLs and how you can really solve these problems. I would say this is kind of a little bit client facing friendly. Perhaps not. Perhaps it's the sort of thing that you ought to read to yourself, but, anyway, it's a nice article and it explains this somewhat confusing problem.
and obviously you don't want Google thinking that you've got two pieces of content, when in fact, you've literally only got one. I've spoken a couple of times in the last few weeks about news pack, which is automatics project starting at $1,000 per month in which you basically get a, a version of WordPress, which is specifically designed to work for a S a small to medium, I suppose, publishing organization, like a little local newspaper or something like that.
Well, the guys over at published press have got an article entitled our early review of the new SPAC project from automatic. You can download. The news pack plugin from, the get hub repo that there isn't, it gives the links there. There's three different options. They recommend that you just download the new, the news pack plugin and then it brings along with it some other interesting things.
So you'll need to install amp constant contact forms, coral project, discuss for WordPress, MailChimp for woo commerce and publish to Apple news. So they all go in as well as well as jet pack. Um, PWA, Gutenburg, Yoast SEO, Google site kit, and a news pack blocks. Google is actually a sponsor of news pack, so that's hardly surprising that the Google site kid is in there, but, it seems to be fairly favorable.
So you've got these news pack blocks which enable you to display, featured images and have things listed in, look, it looks like a right sidebar of your recent recent, yeah. Things that you've published and so on. And it also brings along with it the opportunity with woo commerce to, to have, well not so much a pay wall, but a donate option so that you can monetize your content.
And it feels to me like the guys that publish Pressfield, like this is quite a good initiative. Maybe they'll, maybe they'll join forces and create blocks for this anyway, worth looking at, especially if you are, if you're working with a news organization for one of your WordPress websites.
When I was a little bit younger, I used to obsess about all the latest design trends, and frankly, I've kind of lost sight of all of that and just kind of do what I do. But it's always interesting to catch up with people who find this stuff valuable. And we've got an article on WPM you, Devin titled WordPress web design trends for 2020.
and they go on to design to talk about some of those trends, what they think is coming. They talk about, you know, the, the usual stuff, like the fact that everything is becoming a block. And then they talk about some of the themes which are using blocks very, very well. And perhaps we'll touch on this a little bit later, whether or not we'll be using them.
The games in the future or whether they'll just be one default theme, but the, the takeaways are that in the future we really want to be making things that load faster. Well, I suppose that makes sense. Making sites that you can talk to now. I currently don't really do any talking to websites. The only thing I talk to, I think you'd probably Google, I'm on my phone and also making sites that talk back.
So the ability for sites to actually. yeah, communicate with you, which is absolutely fascinating. And the future possibly if things like more animations or less animations, the use of video backgrounds and so on and so forth, multi-lingual. Anyway, it's a jam packed article full of all sorts of interesting ideas.
And I recommend that if you want to know what's coming in 2020, or at least our best guess, then go and check this article out. I touched on this subject a moment ago, but an interesting piece today on the Mike schenkel.me website entitled word pressure, deprecate themes, a modest proposal he's writing in response to something that we mentioned from Justin Tadlock on the WP Tavern, and ask all that he produced entitled themes of the future design framework and a master theme.
And what he says is he's a, he's a Backend developer. He is quite plain. He makes no bones about being a good designer. And so when he needs to make some kind of website, he does rely on themes. Actually, he doesn't, he's got a works as a team, but when he needs to do a project all by himself, he kind of goes off and finds a theme, but realizes quite quickly that the theme at best could maybe do 85% of the things he wants.
The do anyway. We've all been there before. We've got a theme and we've tried to make it to do what we want and we waste quite a lot of time. So he's essentially saying, what about if in WordPress six we just got rid of themes all together and essentially built websites out of components blocks in the block editor.
Now the article is very, very long. Well, not very, very long. Probably take about. 10 minutes to read, but it makes some really interesting points. Now, depending on if you're a theme developer, you may think that you know, this is heresy, or he's making the point that there might be an opportunity to actually earn more money by producing a whole range of blocks, which in total, if you were to buy a particular component block to do this one job, like.
Header just by a header or just by a footer or something like that. Then it may be that adding all those bits up, you actually end up spending a little bit more money. Okay, so clearly this is going to be confrontational. Clearly it's not going to suit everybody, but I would definitely say it's worth a read and I can certainly see this future happening.
Should the WordPress community will, it's to happen. Now, we mentioned black Friday at the top of the podcast, but, it's an interesting one. Elementary, it's a YouTube video. Elementary. I've got a really interesting take on black Friday. They don't do marketing by half, do they? And so this video illustrates the fact that there'll be giving away not just, reduced pricing on elements or, but they're also going to be giving away a ton of.
Actual physical products and things like iPads and headphones and so on. But that also be giving away one on one time with their staff, which is quite interesting. So depending on whether you win one of their daily contests, you might be able to speak to Ben Pines or their designer or the developer.
So, you know, I think that's a really interesting take. They're giving away. The, the very thing that they know that they're good at. So yeah, maybe go and check out the YouTube video, which gives you details about how you can enter. Okay. Let's talk about plugins and themes for a little while.
We've got six or seven articles, and the first one is from micro Thema. They've put together a dragon drop CSS grid creation tool, and it's sublimely cool. Sebastian web is the guide behind this, and if you click on the link, you'll go. Immediately into an online demo of how the tool works. Now, the nice thing is if you're not familiar with CSS grid, then the idea is that you can create a demo or you can play with it with the online demo, and it includes the instructions.
In the demo, so you can fiddle with the instructions. Now there's an overview button up the top in the menu, so you can actually watch some videos that you prepared as well. Or you can just get stuck straight in by looking at the page that automatically defaults and, and use his instructions.
So for example, it says, click the target button, then click the gray border of a container, and then the green. Plus icon and so on and so forth. In other words, he's going through how this tool works. Now out of the box, it supports Gutenburg, Elementor, and Beaver builder, but it's really interesting.
It's super powerful. Oh, really impressed. I, I followed the instructions and then started dragging things around and the whole, the whole page that he'd created changed before my very eyes, and I was able to drag things over here into four columns and change the order of the columns just by clicking and dragging.
So yeah, really, really recommend checking this out. It looks fabulous. The next one is over on project huddle. They've released version 3.8 of their plugin and the, the feature that they want to highlight in this one is the fact that if you using project huddle to streamline the client communications between you and the client, often if the project is going along a, a click, a quick rate, the system project huddled might generate a whole ton of emails.
Well now if you go to project huddle settings, emails, there's the option to create summary emails. So rather than go out immediately. You can say, okay, a summary every five minutes at most, or 30 minutes at most, or three hours at most, and then you get a summary email with all the bits and pieces listed instead of one email.
Each time something happens. it will contain a summary of project approval status, new comments, tasks, assigned approval activity. Tasks that were resolved and so on and so forth, and that everybody can kind of opt into various different types of emails as well as a little toggle update preference option as well.
And you can do daily and weekly reports as well. So yeah, really nice update over in project huddle. The next one is over on the Brizzy website. It's all about their pop-up builder, which is achieved status of 2.0 Now the idea of this is that Brizzy has created a, a fully integrated pop up solution where you do, you build all of your popups completely in the page that you're currently working.
And there's a video that which you can click, it says, watch the video on the page and you can. It's about three minutes long and you can see just how it works. So it's kind of got everything. It's got templates for every scenario you could imagine. So it might be sign up forms or for videos, cookies, a features, newsletter, subscribe forms and sales stuff.
All of that. They're all included, and the ability to have them so that they are global and you can set the conditions upon which they appear. it's all done with a drag and drop interface. There's literally nothing that you need to do. You'd never, ever need to leave your page. So yeah, it looks like a really, really nice solution.
go and check it out. A few weeks ago, we talked about how toolset had decided that they were going to use the block editor as their way of creating views in the future. They're not getting rid of the old way of doing things, but they're making this kind of like the, the the first, the first way that they would like you to do it, I think is fair to say.
And there's a video over on YouTube. If you click the link, you'll get to the video called displaying fields in your block editors designs, and it's talking about a kind of a list of. People that they wish to show. And it goes on to explain how you can essentially with the block editor, go and put in custom post titles, custom post images, and custom post URLs onto custom buttons all within the block editor.
Adjust the number of columns that you want to show. And the whole thing took about. Well, realistically, I think when she'd practice, you could probably do the whole thing in under a minute. yeah, very nice. Every single thing done as custom blocks created by toolset in the Guttenberg interface, and you can see all the options for, Oh, I don't know.
Moving the images around, scaling things, changing the URLs and creating a custom color for the bottom and so on. Yeah, it's really nice. I think this project's really heating up and, yeah, maybe, maybe if you've not used tool sets. Things like this will make you look at it again. Smart slider three has had, or is about to have an update to version 3.4.
What they've basically tried to do with this update is to get rid of a load of the things that they felt was sort of getting in the way. So they're describing it as reshaped, redesigned, and reborn. you've got a Nice new dashboard with a lot of the stuff that they say they'd cut off the unnecessary functions and UI elements.
So it's really simple to see what's going on. And in terms of the, the slider itself, the massive face lift on the slide editing experience, you've got a new home for the slide libraries. And, and so the takeaways are, updated improvements or fixes to. Break points, hide slides, right click menu, keyboard support, timeline and tool tips.
And so yeah, if you're a smart slider, three person, go check this out because it's what's coming around the corner. Very soon. There was an interesting post in the WP Builds Facebook group recently all about why, why you might want to use custom fields and the person posting are and forget who it was.
Kind of was trying to work out what the, what the reason for it was. And so quite a few people chipped in and talked about, you know, reusable content and so on and so forth. And so this article on the WPM U dev websites is entitled love advanced custom fields. Now smart girl does too. So firstly, I should say that it's a very long piece, and about three quarters of it is just a tutorial.
On how to use advanced custom fields. So if you haven't used custom fields before and you're thinking to yourself, okay, this is something I should get into, this article is great for that because it teaches you how to use them. But then it goes on to say that they're, well, that is to say WPM you devs SEO plugin, which is called smart Croll, was not configured to work with those advanced custom fields, but now it is smart core, smart crawl pro will now support advanced custom fields.
Fields, which is quite nice, and it goes on to explain right at the very bottom how they play together, what it is you need to do, where you need to go to find that and what settings to change and so on and so forth. So yeah, that's nice. If you're using smart crawl, now you can use ACF with smart girl too.
The next section is entitled deals or deals of the week. And really the only thing I have to say is that black Friday is around the corner, so I'm going to mention that URL. Once again, WP Builds.com forward slash black and they are going to find absolutely. Tons of WordPress related products, hosting, plugins, themes, and so on, all filterable or searchable, and I am using affiliate links on that page and it certainly does help to put on the podcast.
If anybody feels that they would like to go to that page and click on those links before purchasing, I would really appreciate it. WP Builds.com forward slash black. A very, very light touch on the security news. I've only got one article for you this week. It's on Wordfence, it's in, it's called high severity vulnerability pack patched in WP maintenance plugin.
So if you've ever heard of used or deployed WP maintenance, then maybe go and read that article. It's certainly worth checking out the self promotional bit that all GP built self promotional bit. Yeah. David and I put out a discussion podcast last Thursday called, are we boring? Slightly click baity title.
We're talking about Briony Thomas' watertight marketing book, and we've made this into a bit of a series, and today we talk about, yeah, whether or not you've got an emotional connection. Does your brand inspire people to be interested? Have you got something which really sums you up. And defines you in opposition to all of your competitors.
So that's what this particular podcast was all about. I also have a section entitled jobs and I've got one for you this week. Very quickly, if you're into blog writing and creating emails, inc sob, who are the people behind WPM UDEV they have a post for you. It's entitled while the job is simply called blog and email editor, and if you click and click on the link in the show notes, it will tell you all about what that job requires you to do and what perks and benefits you get.
The last section is always, well, we call it nothing to do with WordPress or, well, not to WordPress, but useful anyway. And it's all about the fact that now this should be interesting, I think to most of us. I've always considered the.org domains to kind of feel a little bit like nonprofits charitable, doing good.
Well, it turns out that, Gizmodo report this week that a private equity firm has actually bought up all of the rights to handle. Dot org domains. The company is called ethos capital. Let's hope they do have ethics behind them anyway, so if you have any.org domains, I really don't know what this means in the future.
We hope that it will be maintained and it will carry on in the exact same way that it has been forevermore, but you never know. It's my maybe worth sort of brushing off the.com or the.net variation for your particular domain, just in case this all goes a bit pear shaped. Okay. That's all the WordPress news I've got for you this week.
I hope that you enjoyed it and find it useful. The WP Bill's podcast was brought to you today by page builder cloud. If you want to dramatically speed up your WordPress website workflow, then check out page builder cloud. It securely saves all your templates to your own cloud. You can then reuse them for any other website in seconds.
Page builder, cloud works with element or, but you've a build a breezy Gutenburg and more and it's not just for page builders. You can save contact forms and ACF layouts to get a free trial today at page, build a cloud.com. And kin step Kinston 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'd access to the latest software and developer tools like PHP seven SSH in staging environments and the best parts, their expert team of WordPress engineers are available 24 seven if you need help and you can migrate today for free at dot com.
And we do thank our sponsors for helping us to put on the WP Bill's podcast. Okay. Join us next Thursday when we'll have a regular podcast episode. Join us back in next Monday when we'll do the next version of the coming weeks, WordPress news, but also don't forget WP Builds.com forward slash live 2:00 PM UK time.
We have a live version of this news. I'm joined by some notable WordPress guests, and it's always a little bit of fun. So WP Builds.com forward slash live or you can find it live in the Facebook group. And don't forget, WP Builds.com forward slash black for those black Friday deals. 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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