WP Builds Newsletter #101 – WordPress 5.4 beta 1, WordCamp Asia cancelled and many phones kills Google maps

This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 10th February 2020:

WordPress Core

WordPress 5.4 Beta 1 Ready for Testing and Feedback


WordCamp Asia 2020 is cancelled
Sending love to WordCamp Asia
Wordcamp Asia Cancellation Fee Assistance Package from Wordfence (other partners joining)

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Better Together: WP Engine and Flywheel Make Local and Genesis Products Available to All Customers

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Plugins / Themes / Blocks

Fluent Forms Update: Post Creation, Chained Select, Trello and more

Convert Classic Content to Blocks With the Bulk Block Converter Plugin

EditorsKit Tackles Typography With First Premium Add-On

BlogVault – We’ve got a makeover!

StockPack – free images in your media library

Deals from this week

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WP Data Tables Lifetime Deal – $49

Wishlist Member Lifetime Deal – $49

28% off Ocean WP with code: OCEANHEART2XVAL2020 – whilst it lasts


Improper Access Controls in GDPR Cookie Consent Plugin

Critical Vulnerability In Profile Builder Plugin Allowed Site Takeover

WordPress Vulnerability Roundup: February 2020, Part 1

WP Builds

166 – The when and who of marketing

WP Builds LIVE Weekly WordPress News – 10th February 2020


Nothing this week…

Not WordPress, but useful anyway…

ICANN Allows .COM Price Increases, Gets More Money

This Man Created Traffic Jams on Google Maps Using a Red Wagon Full of Phones

You can now make sick beats in Microsoft Excel

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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 101 it was published on Monday the 17th of February, 2020 and it covers the WordPress news for the week. Commencing the 10th of February, 2020. My name's Nathan Ridley, and a few little bits of housekeeping before we begin.
Head over to WP, build.com forward slash subscribe and over there you're going to be able to keep in touch with all that we do at WP Builds. There's quite a bit. So for example, you've got a couple of options for newsletters you can sign up to be alerted for when we produce new content, but there's also a deals newsletter, and if you fill in that form, we'll be able to tell you about WordPress deals as and when they come up.
Speaking of deals, head over to our deals. Page WP Builds.com forward slash deals over there is a collection of coupon codes for notable WordPress products. It's filterable and searchable. I redesigned it fairly recently, and so you can go and find something. So let's say for example, that you are in the, in the market this week for a particular plugin.
You could go and search to see if it's available on there, which it might be. And if it is, you can get yourself some cash off. Also, WP Builds.com forward slash . Advertise. If you would like to advertise on the WP Builds podcast, get your product or service in front of a WordPress specific audience. And couple of other things just before we get started.
The first one is to say that we have a UI UX session. Suddenly last week we had to cancel it because Peacher wasn't feeling particularly well. So head over to WP Builds.com forward slash UI and you'll discover that we've rescheduled it for tomorrow or Tuesday. And come along and you'll be able to hear Peacher reviewing three, probably three websites that have been submitted by some of us who are the users of WP Builds content.
And yeah, she's always got some very interesting and. Worthwhile advice to listen to. I say listen to it. It's actually on videos that you can see what she's on about, which is going to be far better. And the other ones I mentioned is that obviously every week we have a live session. It's actually going to be hosted this week by Paul Lacey because I'm having a couple of days off.
I'm off to Wales with my family. And so Paul Lacey is going to be there this week and being joined by Leo Mindel and Vito Peleg. So join in 2:00 PM UK time WP Builds.com forward slash live. The WP Builds newsletter is brought to you today by Kinsta. Are you tired of unreliable or slow hosting? If so, check out.
Kinsta whom takes managed WordPress hosting to the next level, powered by the Google cloud platform. All our plans include PHB seven SSH and 24 seven expert support. You can migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com okay. Let's get stuck into the new, shall we. We always group our WordPress news into sections.
And the first section, if there is any, is always WordPress core, and we've got one piece over on the WordPress Tavern by Justin Tadlock entitled WordPress 5.4 beta one ready for testing and feedback. And it is just that a beta one release of 5.4 came out on the 11th of February. It closed off 258 different tickets.
it is shed jeweled for release toward the very, very end of March, and there will actually be a beater to quite possibly by the end of this week. So February the 18th, there's a few bits and pieces in there, but really this is one of those beta testing things. If you want to go and check it out, read the post and you can sign up.
But there's been some significant improvements with the block editor. So for example, there's now a welcome user modal, which pops up if you are using it for the first time. Justin makes the point, and I think I agree with him that probably this should have landed when Gutenberg came out in version five sort of 16 months ago or so now would have been quite good to have that.
But there are some other improvements. The navigation block, which has been talked about quite a lot, is not making it in, although it is ready for use. It's felt that it will be. Far better to deploy it to when things like site headers, footers, and sidebars are also available in the block editor and then not quite yet, but there are some other color options like gradient backgrounds for blocks and things like that, which have been added.
And there's quite a lot of developer changes as well. So for example, the get calendar function is going to break some HTML, so you'll need to adapt if you are, if you're the owner of a plugin which uses that particular function and there's a new apply short. function, which was added as an alias for do short code, and there's an explanation of what that's for.
But yeah, a nice little update, but only for beta testers at the moment. You'll have to wait for another six or so weeks to get your hands on this in the normal channel. Next up, we have WordPress community news, and the news this week has been absolutely dominated by the cancellation of WordCamp Asia. It was the inaugural event for world campaigns.
You're 2020 and it's been canceled. Matt Mullenweg made the call with only 10 days to spare, and the reactions have been mixed and varied. If you are to drop into our Facebook group, you'll see that. Some people were disappointed and other people who were expressing that perhaps they thought this was the right decision.
Allegedly, the decision was made over quite a lot of liberation, several days deliberation. But as the story develops, it does appear that the infection is still spreading. And so. Putting people at risk, especially given the nature of the fact that this infection can be contagious during a time that you don't even know that you've got it.
You haven't developed Simpson symptoms, should I say, and so Matt's made the decision to pull it. It's a very, very difficult thing to do. And I'm sure that, you know, looking back, there'll be lots of people saying, well, with hindsight, we could've gone ahead perhaps if the, the pandemic doesn't materialize, but it seems that the majority of people, from what I've read, are.
Thinking this is the right decision. What's the point in risking putting a thousand people together in one room, in one place, close by to where the, where the virus began. And I have to say, I think on balance. I agree. anyway, it has been canceled. There's been a lot of outpouring of sentiment around this.
So one of the articles that I linked to is the word. Press, sorry, the word camp Europe 2020 blog post entitled sending love to WordCamp Asia in which they talk about the fact that they woke up to this news and they're expressing solidarity, hoping it can go on next year. And also a third piece is to say that the guys over at Wordfence within a few hours of the whole thing being announced, they had put together a package of $10,000 and the idea is that people can apply to this fund.
So that they can perhaps be reimbursed for costs that they've born already. So that might be, for example, a hotel or a flight which they otherwise might have lost. It does say. On the piece that, so you'll be able to refund up to $200 per person. It's on a first come first served basis, but ever since then, a few other companies have matched that.
And by the time that you hear this piece of news, I'm sure that there'll be many, many more people matching. So for example, go daddy stepped in and a couple of other companies, and I'm, as I say, I'm sure that this story will develop. Let's hope that lots of people aren't out of pocket, from, you know, from this absolute tragedy, but difficult decision.
And, and let's hope that next year we've got some brighter news. Oh, sweet. We mentioned that local by flywheel has been altered slightly. It's an app simply being called local flywheel. The hosting company, of course, was acquired by WP engine a little while ago, and so I suppose having it branded as local by flywheel didn't make much sense anymore.
So it's now called local, but flywheel customers can now use it as well as WP engine customers. So it's going to link to WP engine's digital experience platform. And the idea being that you. Create a site locally and you basically click a button and all of your, well, everything, settings and themes and files, the whole lot is taken up to the WordPress digital experience platform that WP engine have.
Or you could obviously stick with. Local working with flywheel. The other thing to say is that now flywheel customers also have access to the Genesis framework. Again, some consolidation in the WordPress space. Studio press was bought a little while ago by WP engine, and obviously now that flywheel WP engine are kind of almost synonymous with one another.
It made sense to release this to the users of flywheel, so you get all of the Genesis framework themes free of charge. Very nice. Let's move on to plugins now. So the next section is entitled plugins, themes, and blocks. The first one is over at WP, managing ninja.com they are the owners of fluent forms who had a lifetime deal fairly recently, and I think got quite a lot of customers.
They've got some significant updates. The poster is entitled fluent forms, uptake post creation chain, select Trello, and more. The big news is that you can now have advanced post creation. And what they basically are saying is that you can link forms to hook in to ACF fields. So for example, you might have a form on the front end that you can then populate with an ACF post field, which is quite handy.
And the website. The blog post demonstrates how you might do this and what it is that you need to do to, to make that happen. Also, you're going to be able to do, use a registration forms so you can style the way that users log in or create their accounts on your website. They've got a new option to upload a CSV if you want to create like a drop down menu.
So. That could be quite cumbersome. If you have, I don't know, let's say 10 or more fields that you need to add to your dropdown, and you know, if you had hundreds, for example, a country country selector that might have many, many, many, then you can just do this with a simple CSV. As I said, they also have a send in blue integration and Trello integration as well.
So nice update from those guys. What would the block editor becoming so capable? There's probably a lot of people out there who are making decisions about whether or not they're going to keep the classic editor on their websites. If you wish to take content from the classic editor and put it into the block editor, there are certainly ways to do that.
However. The WordPress way of doing it means that you have to do it on a per post basis. Of course, if you disable the classic editor, it puts all of the old content into the classic block. but maybe there's a better way of doing it. And over on WordPress Tavern, just in Tatlock talks about convert classic content blocks with the.
Bulk block converter plugin. And so we have the bulk block converted plugin and it enables you to do this on, well, multiple, multiple, multiple things all at the same time. He goes into show how the plugin works, how you can bulk select what it is that you want to convert, and how you can then convert those into blocks.
So if you have a client or indeed yourself, you've got a lot of content that you want to switch over and get rid of the classic editor. This may well be for you. We've talked a little bit about the editors kit to plugin and the fact that Jeffrey Karen dang has made a plugin, which unlike other plugins in the block editor, it doesn't actually install a block.
What it does is it enables you to have. Diff, a different range of features to edit your text. So it just basically expands what the, the block editor does. In fact, in many ways, if you had it installed and didn't know you had it installed, you wouldn't realize that there was a different plug in there. It just creates a whole ton of extra options and it fits seamlessly.
Into the interface. Well, WordPress Tavern this week has opposed editors. Kit tackles, topography with first premium Adam. So up until now, that plugin has been completely free, and it still is. There's a whole ton of customization options in there, but with the amount of time that Jeffrey is spending on it and the amount of interest it's getting, he's decided to add this typographic add on, which is a premium.
Adam . Prices range from 29 to $99 there's a link in the post from Justin, which talks about what this plugin is about. So for example, it says that it seamlessly integrates and it's easy to use. There's block-level typographic control, full page type biography, control presets for a whole bunch of Google font combinations, and you can create those combinations yourself and sort of.
Decide what you want to happen when you click a certain button. What combination of fonts do you want to have? Sizes and font choice and so on or other. there's also the option to set global typographic as well. And, it looks really nice. So this is an add on to the editors kit plugin, which still remains free.
So maybe worth checking out. One of the backup options, which is available for WordPress users is a blog volt. We've had, act chat from the plugin on the podcast, and they've had a bit of a revamp this week. It says that they've basically completely redesigned the UI. There's a whole bunch of other stuff as well, and I'll go through them one at a time, but it just to say that if you log into your blog volt dashboard, and I suddenly surprised to see that it looks completely different.
Well, don't be surprised. You've now heard about it. So here's what's different. The bulk updates. Apparently the whole process is now much more flexible and clean. You can click buttons to choose your plugins, choose your sites, and finally click the update button and you're done. The dashboard has been completely redesigned, is completely brand new.
They say it much more easy to get around and choose the sites that you want to look at and so on. And now there are beautiful designed reports. See it says, now send a beautifully designed reports, which are customizable so that your clients will be happy. So three things, bulk updates, dashboard redesign and reports.
So blog vault users rejoice. I've come across a new plug in this week, which I think is worthy of mention. It's probably tackling a job which is available in another plugin. I'm not entirely sure, but I've not used anything like this, so I thought I'd mention it. It's called stock pack, and it's a plugin which enables you to search free image library.
So for example. Pixabay on splash deposit photos and many more. It adds a tab to your media library called stock pack. And if you're going to there, you can simply search. So an example might be search for a dog and loads and loads of free to use images. Of dogs pop up. And then of course, you can simply click on the image you want and then download it, and then it just puts it in your regular download library.
They've got two pricing options. They've got a free one, which allows you to do 50 requests per hour, which to me seems like probably in my case, more than enough, or if you were willing to pay them $19 per month, you can have 500 requests per hour. It just looks like a very neat solution. for those of you producing lots of content where you need free images.
Every week we try to round up all of the deals from a particular week, and it just suddenly occurred to me that I've never really, as part of the newsletter, talks about the WP Builds email news alert. So if you click on the link in the show notes, you'll be able to go to a form. And if you fill out that form, basically I will send you an email.
As soon as I find out about a WordPress deal, they're basically plain text. The titles are ludicrously obvious, saying what it is and how much you're going to get off. So. You'll be able to tell right away if you even want to open the email. So that's what the first link is for. It's trying to get you onto that list so that hopefully with a little bit of help from me, you can save yourself some money on WP deals.
The other two I've mentioned in previous weeks since I'll be very brief, it's two deals which you can find their lifetime deals. One is on WP data tables, which is a way of showing a whole range of. Tables and charts on your WordPress website. It looks pretty feature rich. You can link it to CSV files, Excel files, and Google sheets, and it'll show all of that data.
The other one is wishlist member, again, on a lifetime deal. It's a plugin with a lot of heritage. I'm not sure that the UI has kept up with a lot of the other ones, but I'm apparently they're addressing that and it's very, very popular and it's also available on a lifetime deal. And the other one to mention, there were a few deals that came out over Valentine's, but then they expired at the end of Valentine's day, but one which is going to be sticking around into this week is ocean WP.
They've got a deal on, and if you click on the link in the show notes, you will be able to get yourself a slightly random 28% off with the code. I'm not even going to try to say that code. It's far too complicated, but if you just copy and paste that code and they say that it'll carry on until it runs out.
and then there was a fixed date of a few days after this podcast comes out. Security news. Now I just do a very light touch on this because the complexities are far too difficult to explain in audio. I think. So just a few things too from Wordfence and one from theme security. First one from Wordfence is improper access controls in GDPR.
Cookie consent plugin link in the show notes. Go and check it out. But if the words GDPR cookie consent. Plugin ring a bell. You might want to look at that because of the access control problems. It's got also, this one has a critical vulnerability. It says critical vulnerability in profile build. A plugin, a allowed site to take over.
This came out on the 13th of February, and again, the name of the plugin profile builder, so if that rings a bell. Go and check this out as well. And the third one that I mentioned was the, the Roundup, which are quite a few of the security companies do each month or every couple of weeks, they do a little Roundup and you can just look, scroll through the posts, and you can see the thumbnail images and just very quickly see which plugins have been affected.
So I themes this week demonstrates that there were problems with elements or strong testimonials, portfolio filter, gallery, tutor, LMS login by a, a, sorry, ortho and so on. Just just carries on. There's probably about 20 or 30 in there, so go and check it out. The enormously self-promotional WP Builds bits.
We do this each week. Just trying to let you know what we've done. Really, it was David warms of the UI episode 166 of the WP belts podcast. We entitled this episode, the when and who of marketing. We're following the, the book. Watertight marketing by Briony Thomas. And this one is probably about our 10th in the series.
And we look at when it is best to offer your marketing messages as well as who you might be targeting them at. And there's a lot to this really. We, neither of us claim to be experts. We're learning from the book really. But we talk about some of the strategies that she suggests, how it is that you might discover who it is that you want to target.
And of course, when is important too, because in this day and age. There's a lot of people online all the time. The other one that I would mention is I'm linking to a version of the live news that we do every single Monday. We typically started about 2:00 PM UK time and it creates a YouTube video, which I actually embed in the WP Builds weekly WordPress news, but I'm also linking to it here so.
If you didn't see it last week, we were joined by some very nice guest and had a nice long chat. As I said, we'll be starting 2:00 PM UK time this Monday, so that will be the 17th of February, but I'm not going to be on this one because I'm having a day off with my family. And so Paul Lacey will be comparing with Leo Mindell and Vito Peleg.
You can find [email protected] forward slash live. That's all the WordPress news I've got for you this week, but we've always got some non-word WordPress stuff. In fact, I call it not WordPress, but useful anyway, and this week, the first one is going to cause a lot of anger. I'm sure it is. To say that I can.
Allows dotcom price increase gets more money. Now, this is not necessarily a brand new piece, but I picked up on it for the first time this week. If you've got lots of.com domain names, you might be interested that I can, who has the capacity to decide whether the prices can go up or down, has decided that they can go up.
They have. Come to a sort of closed door decision with Verisign. And what it basically means is that during the next few years, they can add 7% onto the price each year. So for four years, up until 2023 they can not 7% each year. Then there's going to be a two year for years. From which time the prices can't go up, and then there'll be another period in which they can raise prices by 7% each year.
I'm not sure if that means 7% on top of the price now, or 7% on top of the price at the end of each year. Probably the latter. So it means that the price of your.com domains might go up as much as 70% I can themselves apparently are going to be re receiving about $20 million as a result of this. So it does seem slightly peculiar.
The people who are in charge of this stuff can just arbitrarily decide to put the price up, given the nature of the commodity that they are selling on the fact that they have a complete monopoly over this stuff. So yeah, really interesting. The next one is over on the vice.com website. This is just really an interesting and quirky story.
I don't know if you use Google maps, but these days Google maps on your mobile phone has the capacity to give you information about the state of traffic, where you are going. So for example, it might show a nice green road and the green road is indicative that the road is clear and traffic is running as normal, or it might show orange or Oh God forbid red, and if it shows a red, then you are, you probably ought to be redirecting yourselves because the traffic is.
More or less at a standstill. So the way that they do this is by polling the phones that are on those streets and asking the phones, are you moving? And the phones comply and give that data back. So this chap, this this, this chapter called Simon worker at, I think that's his name. Wecker I'm going to say.
He filled a little trolley and the sort of thing that you might take to the beach to put your buckets and spades in. He put 99 phones in, all switched on and providing data to Google, and then he walked around the city of Berlin togging this little wagon behind him, and of course his . Pedestrian speed was indicative that there was absolute gridlock, 99 cars completely unable to move at anything other than walking pace.
And so Google helpfully sort of tried to redirect people around the route. Anyway, it's a fascinating read, sort of hi-jinks and a bit of stupidity by this chat, but I just found it to be really interesting. And very finally over on the verge.com I don't know if you're anything like me, but there is a certain part of me that enjoys playing with spreadsheets, growing up with Microsoft Excel and trying to get it to do things, and now I tend to use the online versions of Google and things like that.
Anyway, there's a particular chap who's called XL studio. That's the moniker he goes by, but his real name is . Dylan told chief, he has made a completely functional kind of music making suite in XL. It's utterly breathtaking. I mean, it's ridiculous. There's no doubt. It's probably taken a very large amount of time.
And you know, for like $50, he could have bought a far superior piece of software, but he just wanted to do it. And so he did. So go and check out the video and you can see how he's created like a drum machine, music creation suite. Out of XL sublime to say the least. Right? That's all the news I've got for you this week.
I really hope that you enjoyed it and that you got something useful out of it. Please let me know. WP bills.com forward slash contact or you can just at WP Builds on the Twitter. Let me know what you thought because I'm always interested if I'm doing it in the right way, maybe I'm too long winded, maybe I'm not going into enough detail.
Let me know. The WP Builds weekly. WordPress news was 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 like PHP seven SSH and staging environments, and the best part, the expert team of WordPress engineers are available 24 seven if you need help.
You can migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com and we do thank Insta for helping us to put this podcast together. Speaking of WP Builds and podcasting. We'll have one on Thursday. We put one out every Thursday at about 1:00 PM UK time, but we'll be back with more news just like you're listening to this week, only for the week.
That's commencing the news for the week commencing, and of course we've got our live WP build UI UX session on Tuesday with Peacher. You can find [email protected] forward slash UI and join Paul veto and Leo for the news on Monday, 2:00 PM UK time. Okay, that's it. 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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