This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 20th January 2020:
Gutenberg 7.3 Brings Navigation Block Colors, Block Collections API, and Dynamic Post Blocks
Gutenberg Can Tackle the Problems the Fields API Tried to Solve
Financial support needed for WP&UP
Call for Testing: WordPress for iOS 14.0
Web Ventures, A Division of InMotion Hosting, Acquires Elegant Marketplace
GiveWP Plugin Users Raised Over $100 Million in Donations in 2019
Introducing Your New and Improved WP Engine User Portal
Plugins / Themes / Blocks
Important Update! Please update ProjectHuddle to 3.8.10 for Chrome 80 compatibility.
Blocksy WordPress Theme Provides a Solid Block-Editor Experience
GoDaddy’s ‘Go’ WordPress Theme Offers a Page-Building Experience via the Block Editor
Announcing the New Theme from StudioPress: Navigation Pro
Have you heard of fl_builder_preview? – Beaver Team
Deals from this week
A New WordPress Theme Builder Hero is Born: Builder Pro – use code BUILDERPRO for 30% off
Sticker Mule – $19 for 50 custom 3″ x 3″ die cut stickers
Oxygen 3.1.1 Now Available – Critical Security Update
WordPress Vulnerability News, January 2020
163 – How to create content with WordPress that people really want to engage with
Nothing for you this week…
Not WordPress, but useful anyway…
Sonos Makes It Clear: You No Longer Own The Things You Buy
Google’s ads just look like search results now
Microsoft Leaves 250M Customer Service Records Open to the Web
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Transcript (if available)
These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.
Hello there. Good morning and welcome to this, the WP Builds weekly WordPress newsletter. This is number 98 it covers the WordPress news for the week, commencing the 20th of January, 2020 and it was published on Monday the 27th of January, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley, and as always, before we begin the news proper, just a few bits and pieces, a bit of housekeeping, if you like.
Head over to WP Builds.com and over there you're going to find all of the things that we do, but some links related to that site, WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe, head over to that link and you're going to be able to join us and find out about all the stuff that we put out each week. a good place to start would be joining the Facebook group.
That group has got over 2,400 WordPress's. Oh, being very polite. I have to say that in all sincerity. It's a very polite and well-mannered group. I'm really pleased about that. So you can join our Facebook group, find our YouTube channel. There's also links on there to subscribe to us on your favorite podcast player, and also there's two lists you can join.
The first one enables you to find out about the podcast when we put it out and the news, which you're listening to now, we do those both on a weekly basis, and it will also tell you about any WordPress deals. There's a separate list for that. WP Builds.com forward slash deals if you'd like to find some deals, it's a little bit like black Friday, but every day, the week there's a whole bunch of WordPress plugins, themes, and so on on that page, and you can avail yourself of a coupon code and get some money off.
So if you're in the market for something this week, go check that out. And lastly, WP Builds.com forward slash advertise. If like Kinsta, you would like to get your product or service in front of a WordPress specific audience. 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, and you can migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com. Just before we begin the news. If you did not know, we do a weekly live version of the news that's over at wpbuilds.com forward slash. Live. That's at 2:00 PM UK time, so if you're listening to this on a Monday when it came out, it'll be at some point today and I'm joined by some notable WordPress guests and we just chat through the news for this week and it's WIC sort of getting into the rhythm of it.
It's quite lighthearted. Anyway, that's WP belts.com forward slash live if you want to join us for that, or it'll be. In the WP Builds Facebook group. Okay, let's get stuck into the news. Okay. We always block our WordPress news up intersections, and the first section is always WordPress core, if there is any that is, and we have some this time it's on WordPress Tavern.
It's entitled Guttenberg 7.3 brings navigation, block colors, block collections, API and dynamic post blocks. And it was written by Justin Tadlock and it's announcing that 7.3 of the plugin has been released quite a significant release in the sense that there were 159 contributions from 56 people. Well, the, the main sort of event I suppose is the speed increases, which is really great.
What they do is they test on a post of 36,000 words with a thousand blocks in it, and the previous version of the plugin had a load time of 6.4 seconds. And the new version, the most up to date one is now down to 4.5 seconds, so that's really good. There's a whole load of other stuff in there as well, and we'll come to that in just a moment.
But the other main event I suppose is navigation block colors. If you were to be thinking that in the future, you're going to be creating entire websites with Gothenburg. Well, an important part of that would be the navigation menu. And it's iterating slowly and right now you've got the ability to change the colors.
It is, as Justin says, not as fully featured yet as it will be with plain old CSS, but nevermind maybe all that's coming so you can do things like add background colors and so on, but the options are still pretty limited. I'm sure that you will want more out of the menus than is currently available.
Another option is dynamic post element blocks. So in previous releases of Gothenburg, you've been able to drop in the post title and post content blocks. So that will obviously then be replaced by the actual title and the actual content of the post. Well now in 7.3 you can also drop in a block with the post author in it and the poster date and the post excerpt.
Now clearly it's sort of baby steps. It would be nice if all. Every single possible thing could be added with these blocks, but we're not there yet. But nevertheless, now we're approaching the point where you can, with Gothenburg pretty much do what most people want to do. So things like author date excerpt and so on is pretty useful.
And there's a new block API as well. It's called the block collections API for developers. And the idea of this really is that you can register a collection of blocks based upon their namespace rather than the old system of using category. So for example, Justin says, if you registered a block with the name space, super hyphen duper.
Then any blocks that you, that you register with that Nate same namespace going forward will become part of a collection. So that just seems like, a much more sensible and straightforward way for developers to have collections of blocks, which are all related to one another. The next piece is, again, by Justin Tadlock on WordPress Tavern entitled Guttenberg can tackle the problems the fields API tried to solve.
This is more of a, a developer piece, I think, really. But, it's all about the, the fact that the past 16 years. Of WordPress's development have seen, well, how, how should we describe it as sort of tangled mess of spaghetti in terms of different API. So for example, if you want to have access to the setting screen, you need to use the settings API.
And then he says, . Do you want to add some theme options to your theme? You need to use the customize API, and then he says, have some fields to output on the user screen. Here are two hooks and a mess of HTML table markup. Sorry, no official API. And he says, this is just a few examples, but yeah. It comes down to this.
most people end users will never need to use this, but WordPress developers need to use these things. And at the moment it's a mess of competing or even missing API APIs. And then he goes on to explain the history of this and how the field's API project was started with the endeavor of sort of unifying all of this so that you could have one API to do absolutely everything.
It never got finished. And then he goes on to say that he feels that Guttenberg. Could be the solution to this. As we've kind of, as we're kind of rewriting history and building everything from the ground up, this is a possibility in the future phases of Gothenburg, this problem could be solved. However, he's also saying, you know.
Feels like it's also possible that it could go in the other direction. and that would be less than a victory says for success. The Gothenburg project needs to have a wider vision on a longer term roadmap that addresses the issues of fields on every screen. Otherwise, projects with easier to learn API APIs will be more enticing to developers.
The idea of . Gothenburg, e-filing. I like that the entirety of the WordPress admin will be off putting off putting too many, but WordPress has to solve its form fields issue. At some point. It might as well reuse the components that we will be seeing actively developed for many years to come. And then in the comments, there's quite a few different opinions.
Some people agreeing, some people disagreeing, but obviously if you're a developer in any way, shape or form, I'm sure you will have run into this problem. And. Maybe go and check out Justin's article and see if you agree and write some comments. The next section is all about the WordPress community. I've got five things for you under this banner today.
First one is just to say that WP and up, which is a charity working in the WordPress space, specifically helping with mental health and physical health and business and skills health. They are requiring some support, financial support, and I would . Really, really ask you to go to WP and aap.org forward slash sponsor there, you'll be given two different options.
You'll be able to do a sponsorship and really the idea of a sponsorship is that you, you are giving some money, but you'd kind of like something in return. In other words, you're going to give a bit of money and that might equal a, a a logo of yours on the WP and hop. Dot org website or perhaps a mention in the podcast, which I actually create those kinds of things.
So that's sponsorship, but then there's also just plain old donations where you're being very philanthropic and you're just going to give a certain amount of money and you ask nothing in return. It's very important work, and at the moment they really, really would welcome your financial support. So WP and op.org forward slash sponsor.
If you're a WordPress user and have access to an iPhone or an iPad and you like using WordPress on those devices, well, there is a call for testing for the WordPress for iOS 14.0 you'd have to sign up for a . Test flight program and join as a beta tester and what have you aren't. Then you have to do that on your iPhone or iPad and then you can go and start to look for some of the bugs that they want you to look at.
There's a list of who I would say there's probably about 10 different things, and if you click on the show notes under the section four word WordPress for iOS 14.0 you'll actually see the list. It would be a little bit uninteresting if I read them all out, but if that's for you, go and click on that and help the iOS project.
I have a little bit of a scoop for you today. I was contacted by Andrew Palmer during the week. Andrew Palmer, until very recently, was the, was the owner of elegant marketplace. Well, during the course of this week, it's been announced that he has in fact sold that to in motion hosting. I don't often go to PR release websites, but this one is on PR, web.com it's entitled a web ventures, a division of it.
In the motion hosting acquires elegant marketplace. So yeah, if you are an elegant marketplace user and you have bought things on that marketplace, then maybe this is something that you need to be particularly mindful of. Andrew is going to be coming onto the WordPress news that we do live at 2:00 PM.
WP Builds.com forward slash. Live. So that'll be on the 27th of January. And he's going to tell us all about what this was about, why he's done it, and what he's going to do, what his continuing relationship with elegant marketplace will be, essentially answer any questions that we might have. So anyway, congratulations, Andrew.
I, I hope that elegant marketplace under these new custodians goes from strength to strength. Just a few moments ago, we talked about WP and up and sponsoring and donating to them. Well, one of the ways that you can denote is by using a plugin on their site called give WP and give WP, or in the news this week on WordPress Tavern with an article entitled give WP plugin users raised over 100 million.
Dollars in donations in 2019 and it really is, the article is just about that. The fact that $106 million were donated during 2019 that sees a significant rise. This is from 88 million in 2018 and two 41 million in 2017 so it's going up and up and up and there's a little bit more information about the plugin.
This is not to say that this is give. WP getting this money. It's just that, that is the money that has passed through the plugin in order to be donated to whatever calls. the, the website is, is therefore, so, yeah. Congratulations to Matt Cromwell and his team. And this article will tell you more about that team and what it is that you can do, to get that plugin and, and learn about the history of it.
If you're a WP engine user, you will be noticing that the interface in your WP engine user portal has been adapted. The article that I'm pointing to says introducing your new and improved WP engine user portal. So when you log in, you'll notice now that there is a different way that the menus are structured.
I have to say that I feel that this is welcome. I have a few sites on top of the UPA engine and they the. This UI from the graphics. I confess I haven't logged in, but the graphics that I'm looking at do seem a little bit more intuitive and a little bit more in line with what we, what we see elsewhere.
So you've got a, a left navigation menu, and there are updates to the, to the portal in there. So you've got improved navigation. You've got . Basically it's left aligned, improved account level visibility in search capabilities as well as new design elements to make it easier to use. And they're also touting the accessibility specific updates that were included in the portal.
Changing the background to a clean white display with enhanced contrast so that the content on the pages is more visible and you've got the font style and densities. We're also. Made thicker and larger, so it should be easier to read. Anyway. There you go. Don't be too alarmed when you log into WP engine next time to find that it looks somewhat different.
you haven't in error logged in somewhere else. Over on Bob wp.com this week we learn about Bob's take on WooCommerce 3.9 being released. He talks about some of the, the new updates. So for example, there's now a new all products block, which you can drop into your product or page. He says, as the core blocks continued to grow this time around, we are seeing the all products block, which gives you the chance to place your shop page on any page or post, but with more customizations.
and you can see some images on there and you can order by things like price low to high or the other way round rating, sales, menu order and so on and so forth. There's also, a difference in the PHP version required. You will be required for, to use the minimum of PHP seven, and WordPress 5.0 and there's some other odds and ends he mentioned.
So, for example, customizing the pay button. onboarding changes and MaxMind geolocation changes. So thanks Bob for letting us know about all the new things in WooCommerce. If you are a user of project huddle, Andre Gagnon has written a post in saying important update, please update the project total to 3.8 0.104.
Chrome 80 compatibility. Chrome 80 is set to be coming out in a very short amount of time, 4th of February. and you will need to update project huddle in order to comply with Chrome's new restriction on cookies in frames. So basically. Do this before the 4th of February. You don't need to update your client sites with project huddle.
This is just the main project huddle where you've got your main plugin installed and it's all to do with Google, same site property, which must be set to non and secure or for iframes loaded on other sites, and Google is going to be enforcing this. Other browsers haven't taken the same approach, but edge apparently is.
Thinking about doing it. So anyway, if things look broken in project huddle, this is probably the reason in a couple of weeks time and you, you won't still upgrade, immediately, 3.8 0.1. If you're wanting to experiment with the block editor and some free theme, WordPress Tavern has an article entitled Blocksi WordPress theme provides a solid block editor experience just in Tadlock kind of really seems to like this theme.
he said that he threw a whole ton of challenges at it and found it well not to be lacking. It's got 58 five star reviews, 1000 active installs since its first inception. It can be used with popular. Builders like Elementor and BeaverBuilder, visual composer and so on. But he wanted to put it through its paces with Guttenberg, and that's what he did.
And he said it came out with, you know, with goat glowing colors, I suppose is a good way to describe it. It's got a few little elements that he likes. So for example, he mentions the, the block quoted. Some, it just made things. He thought it was just the right amount of styling. Essentially, they've put some new settings.
If you've had a previous install of this, they had some settings in the sort of metal box area beneath the content area, and they've now moved all of that into the right sidebar, which Justin going forward says is the way to go. He says, increasingly he never looks on underneath the block editor for anything.
And so he actually missed it being there. So that's, that's informative. I suppose if you're developing a theme is that in the future, everybody's going to be expecting everything to be on the right sidebar. there's a whole bunch of nice customizer options as well, and a companion plugin if you want to add some additional widgets and so on and so forth.
He says the code is a bit average. He said it's average, but it gets the job done. But on the whole, he says he really likes it and obviously, you know, free is, is nice. Just as an aside, really, I don't want to dwell on this one too long cause we've just covered something similar. Just in also writes a post this week about an arrival theme.
It's called go daddy's go. WordPress theme offers a page building experience of via the block editor, and so he does more or less the same job that I've just described where he outlines a particular theme and how it works with the block editor. But now he's doing it with go daddy's one. He's used this one in the past.
It's now been available since October, I believe. On a get hub repository, but it's now been approved by the theme review team and is it available, is available in the repo. And one of the things that he mentioned is that it's, it's compatible with co blocks, which is a companion plugin for this particular theme.
And of course that is also owned. by go daddy who acquired it last year, I think there's something like a hundred thousand installs of, of that. So that's pretty impressive. Anyways, just to sum up, he says it's not ideal for blogging. It's got limited yet useful theme options. and he thinks the code is of no surprise to most people.
There's nothing shocking in there. It's theme templates were primarily HTML and PHP with a little bit of that sprinkled in. So anyway, good for DIY ears. Go check it out. Now as if that wasn't enough for you, but this one's not on WP Tavern. Studio press have a post saying, announcing the new theme from StudioPress navigation pro, and this really feels like a watershed week in many ways, because that's now.
Three themes being mentioned. I can't remember the last time I mentioned three themes in a row. So this is their new theme, and instead of using code blocks, they're using atomic blocks, and you can use predefined blocks sections, and there's a whole bunch of sections. You'd see them all in the image.
So there's the usual things like, testimonial sections and, hero sections. And. Post sections and all of that kind of stuff. you can alter the image styles in the block editor. and there's a whole range of options there as well. But yeah, there you go to all three themes this week that are really leveraging the block editor to do some of the heavy lifting.
So that's absolutely brilliant. We'll see how this develops over time. I've been imagining this day would come and maybe the, maybe the weight of the future is now being brought to bear on themes. But you've a build a users, you're going to like this piece. It comes from the Beaver team guys, and I've entitled it.
Have you heard of FL on the score builder? On the score preview, which, which is really quite interesting actually. So when you edit a page in BeaverBuilder, at the end of the URL is inserted query FL under score builder, which is great. That's innocence invokes the Beaver builder page builder experience.
And you can fiddle with it. But it does. Cause problems. For example, if you want to use the inspector. So Tom, Carla's from Beaver team pro has figured out a nice little trick. So instead of upending FL on the scope builder, you simply modify that. You have to do this manually with FL under scope builder, underscore preview.
And he opens that up in a new tab and all the changes that you make are reflected in that new tab. But there's no admin bar and there is no Beaver builder sort of interface. Just you just get the amendments and therefore you can fiddle. With the inspector and see what's what. So, just a nice little trick and a wonderful, what a, what a great labor saving device that will be.
So go check that out and see what I'm on about. Click on the link in the show notes. The next section I want to talk about is deals from this week. And speaking of page builders as we were just a moment ago, there is a new kid on the block. It's from the guys over at theme fi. It's called, build a pro.
Now, I confess I've never used it. I don't know what it's like at all. But should you be in the market for a yet another. do you want to try out another page builder? These guys have got one for you now there is, the reason it's in the deals section is because there is a coupon code. Click on the link in the show notes and then use the code, which again is in the show notes and you're going to get 30% off.
So again, you know, I don't know what to make of it, but there it is. The other deal that I wanted to mention has nothing to do with WordPress at all. It is in fact from sticker mule, you've seen Mac laptop screens emblazoned with many stickers. Very often they're bought from sticker mule. They will shape them so that they go around your logo perfectly with a little white board, or I've used them for WP Builds and I've seen lots of people giving them away at WordCamps.
Normally they're 70 bucks for 50 but right now it's 19 bucks for 50. so yeah, that's all there is to it, that three by three inches and, they'll do free shipping to anywhere on the planet. So that's really rather nice. Okay. Next section is security. Always take a very light touch on this because I don't feel this is the perfect forum for it, but three pieces today.
If you are an oxygen page builder user, then you need to update because there is a critical security update. Go and get yourself updated to 3.1 0.1 right away. this was disclosed on the 15th of January to them. And whilst they were looking into the, disclosed the vulnerability by Sam Thomas from pen test, dot co.
Dot. UK, they found another one which was related. Now they're not telling us what these are, except they're calling it critical because they feel that it would be best if everybody just updated and was given an update window. And then after the fact, they can announce what's going on. So anyway, oxygen users.
At the time of writing, we have seen over 2000 newly infected sites since we started tracking the infection. So if you're getting people complaining of being redirected. Maybe this is the culprit and you can click on the show notes and find out about that. And the the one that I've got for you right at the end is I often do these summation posts where you can go and look at what has been infected during the course of a month.
This week I'm going for the web arcs version entitled. Web, WordPress and vulnerability news, January, 2020 and you can go and look for all of the names of the plugins which you use, and you could see all of the kind of thumbnail images of them so that you can very quickly just scroll through and work out.
If any of them might have affected you. The enormously self-promotional WP Builds bit. This week I was speaking with a very nice chap called miles Beckler, and we talked about around the subject of how to create content with WordPress that people really want to engage in. and I've written, we always were always told as kids that it's okay to make mistakes and that the more mistakes that you make, the more that you learn in the future.
Adults don't seem to have that approach though. We want everything correct right away and to make almost zero mistakes on our first try. So we talked to miles Beckler and he's going to tell us about how we can make fewer and fewer mistakes with our content so that it's engaging and people want to read it.
simple premise. If you create the content that people are actually searching for. It's more likely that it will be discovered due to its SEO benefit. Anyway, go and check that out. Okay. I don't have any jobs for you this week. We do have a job section, but I've left it blank because I don't actually have anything that I need to tell you.
So now we'll move on to the, not WordPress, but useful anyway, section, and over there I've got three articles. This first one, I sort of, I find this mildly annoying. It's. [email protected] is entitled. Saunas makes it clear you no longer owned the things you buy. and it's basically a piece about old, old devices that sourness, kind of have the capability of bricking.
So there is this . System that they have where you can return. and or you can sort of de-registered and old device by buying a new device. So you go to the source website upgrade and then they'll offer you some money off. I think it's 30% if you tell them about your old device that you want to upgrade, if you like now you're not giving them the old device, you just telling them about it and then 14 days, I think later they, they render that device obsolete.
On usable w what? So basically you're buying a piece of hardware, which has built into it kill switches. Now, to me, that just seems crazy. Their argument is that they don't want to support things which are out of date. My argument would be, well. That's not up to you. If I want to keep using it, I should be allowed to keep using it.
Good grief. It's a speaker for goodness sake. It should work forever and ever. No matter how technical the innards are. Anyway, go and read this and see that the brave new world, which we're creating for ourselves. The next one is over on the verge.com and it's just, this is just quite interesting. I don't know if you've looked at the SERP results lately, but I'm finding it increasingly difficult to spot very, very quickly.
What is a Google ad and what isn't, and the verge of obviously detected this as well, and they're saying that they're basically indistinguishable. Now, the only slight change is that the ads have a fava icon, which says ad, whereas the. All the things which are not ads have their own favicon. So it's that tiny little square at the top left of the listing, which indicates, and I suppose in a way, maybe Google have figured out, just like the rest of us did years ago.
I'm sure that in the old system where they had a sort of nice beigey background on the sponsored posts, people were just scrolling past it and it was really easy to. For your brain to kind of block that out. So with this, they've made it such that you have to do a little bit of extra work to see what a sponsored post is and what isn't.
There's no banner saying sponsored at the, certainly no background color or anything like that. So anyway, there you go. See what you make of that. And last, but by no means least Microsoft leaves 250 million. Oh dear. Customer service records open on the web. This is on the threat post.com website. There was a misconfigured Microsoft cloud database, which had 14 years.
Ouch. 14 years ago. Customer support logs, including 250 million records, and it was on the open internet, completely unprotected in any way, shape or form for 25 days. Now I th I suppose the real problem here is that there was so much interesting information that database contained a wealth of fishing and scam ready information in plain text, including customer in Maryland.
Customer email addresses, IP addresses, physical locations, descriptions of customer service, claims and cases, case numbers, resolutions and remarks, and internal notes marked confidential. Now, I am not the recipient of too many scam calls, but the ones that I get are always concerning a windows PC. The problem we face now is that if somebody calls up and has all of this data to hand, Oh, hello sir.
I'm just following up from your call on the 25th of November last year. Yes, I've got the case number here. we just like to follow up and, just let you know that we've got a nice new free patch that we can download for you if you, if you follow my instructions and boom, they've got you. So this must be a real headache how this happened.
Goodness knows. But they've got a bit of clearing up to do. So beyond the lookout. For, you know, an increase, I suppose, in these, fake prank calls and the, the harm that they want to do, you and your windows machine, right? That is all that I've got for you today. I'm hoping that you got something useful out of it.
The WP Builds. A weekly WordPress news is brought to you 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've got 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, they're available 24 seven if you need help.
And you can migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com okay. Join us 2:00 PM if you're listening to this on the day it came out, 2:00 PM UK time, WP bills.com forward slash live and join in the conversation. If not, maybe we'll see you on the podcast on Thursday, and if none of that happens, maybe you'll catch this news episode next week with the latest news from the week, which is just about to commence.
Thanks and bye bye for now.
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