This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 24th February 2020:
Plugins / Themes / Blocks
Deals from this week
WPfomify Lifetime Deal – $49
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Transcript (if available)
These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Hello there. Good morning and welcome to this the WP Builds weekly WordPress newsletter. This is number 103 it covers the WordPress news for the week, commencing the 24th of February, 2020 and it was published on Monday the 2nd of March, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley, and just a couple of things before we begin, please feel free to share this news episode if you find it useful and think other people would find it useful.
You know, the usual things, Twitter and perhaps email even and Facebook and so on. I'd really appreciate that. Whilst you're up to that, you might want to go over and check out a few things on the WP Builds.com website, WP belts.com forward slash subscribe if you want to keep up to date for all the content that we produce, podcasts on a Thursday.
News on a Monday, which you're listening to now. And also the live weekly WordPress news, which is a 2:00 PM UK time. You can join in with that at WP Bill's dot com forward slash live or in our Facebook group. The other page that I want to recommend is WP Builds.com forward slash deals. It's a bit like
Black Friday, but every single day of the week, there's a whole bunch of searchable filterable coupon codes for WordPress products. So for you in the market for something this week, maybe go and check that out. And WP Builds.com forward slash advertise. If you've got a product or service and you would like it putting in front of a WordPress specific audience, then maybe that page is for you, WP Builds.com forward slash advertise and a company that's done that is Kinston.
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 to today for free at Kinsta dot com and we thank Kinsta for helping us put on the WP Builds weekly WordPress newsletter.
Speaking of which, let's get stuck into it. Shall we. We always block our WordPress news into sections. And the first section is always about WordPress core. And the first item I've got for you this week is over at wordpress.org entitled a WordPress 5.4 beater three there's not really a lot to say. There have been a few little minor improvements.
So for example, there's a whole bunch of Guttenberg fixes, which I'll get onto in a minute. And also there is movement in the display site. Health score. Which is now going to be put into the dashboard. They've been added in, but 24 tickets have been closed. But if you're a tester and you like doing this kind of thing, the dates for releases, the 31st and March, and if you click on the link in the show notes, you'll be taken to the page where you can sign up for that.
The other one that I want to mention is actually over on WP Tavern. It's entitled Guttenberg 7.6 includes rotating tips list and new full site editing blocks. This is written by Justin Tadlock. At the end of last week, 7.6 of Gothenburg rolled out. It was only two weeks ago that 7.5 came out, and so it's developing it quite a rapid pace.
Variations on the speed. It's looks like we've got a . Quite significant speed increases. So for example, in 7.5 it took 8.5 seconds to load a page and 7.7 seconds in the new version. So they've shaved almost a second off. This is based upon a very large post of about 36,000 words with 1000 blocks in it.
So that's good. There's some new speed improvements. There's also a new rotating tips in the block inserter. So when you click the little plus icon at the top right. And you decide which block it is that you wish to select to put in. There's now going to be a rotating list because previously it was just a piece of static static text, which hovered at the bottom, and obviously like anything else, you become immune to looking at it, so it's going to rotate.
Currently, Justin says there's only five or six and they're completely hard coded in. But he's already thinking of writing his own plugin to insert text in there from Josh Sweden's Firefly books. That's quite interesting, but no doubts in the future, this area will be very, very helpful. Perhaps it will have more content in it, enabling people to get to grips with Gothenburg more quickly.
And also there's some talk about the fact that maybe. It will be able to update itself based upon searches that you perform. So you may be looking for a particular type of block and maybe something helpful will come up there giving you instructions about how to deploy that block, which would be rather nice.
Let's hope it doesn't turn into an advertising opportunity, which would no doubt. And knowing that most of us, the other one is to say that there are now some kind of placeholder blocks for the full site editing experience, which we're expecting to come during the period. Course of the next year, they are simply placeholders.
They don't really do anything, but it's allowing you to pull data in. So for example, there's one for featured image tags, comments, count and comments form text, the total to about 12 Justin says, but we need to probably double that in order to have a full site editing experience. So whilst you can play with this, there's not a lot you can actually do with it.
So anyway, nice improvements to the block editor. The next section is all about the community, and I've got several pieces for you this week in the first two are about funding rounds over on tech crunch. We read the story. Strategic raises 6.5 million to bring static WordPress to the masses. This is fabulous news.
Miriam Schwab has been on the WP bills weekly WordPress news live version on a couple of occasions, and they have received 6.5 million in order to take strategic into the stratosphere, which is a ridiculous thing for me to have said. I do apologize. They went out seeking $2 million from Silicon Valley and in an oversubscribed round came back with 6.5 they've received funding.
In a round led by signal fire. Ten one ventures, ACC,L automatic, Seneca VC, Eric Reese village global VC. They've also taken on the Zeev Swarovski, who is the cofounder of PHP along with other things like the Zenda engine. He's joined the company as the CTO. And strategic is basically a solution to kind of flatten your WordPress website so that it just serves up HTML and you can do this with their hosting platform.
The idea is not only to speed things up, but to make things considerably more secure, or they say it means that your site is 99 point now let's count them. Nine nine, nine, nine, nine nine. Percent on more on hackable than it was before. Anyway, I'm so pleased. I've followed this company for the last year or so, and I'm, I'm delighted that they've managed to get this round massively in excess of what they were hoping for, so good luck to them.
Well done. The next story also talking about fundraising is about elementary. It's on the post status.com website, a piece by Brian Cross guard entitled Elementor has raised a 15 million series a led by Lightspeed venture partners, and it is exactly that. They have raised $15 million. Um, and it is, as I said, led by Lightspeed venture partners.
There was talk about whether Envato had in some way also invested some money, but, um, Brian's journalism and investigations has led him to believe that this is in fact not the case. So yeah, it would. It would appear from what Brian's writing that he, along with many other people, I think, believe that elementary is probably going to be launching a sort of SAS version of the page builder.
Maybe something which completely hides WordPress away. We'll have to wait and see. However, they are currently hiring for what they call it, a cloud team, which is tasked with building, maintaining, and supporting the company cloud hosting SAS solution. So obviously this will put them in great shape for being able to build that going forward.
So again, congratulations. We've had Ben pine on the podcasts on a number of occasions, so brilliant stuff. The next piece is about WP feedback, but it's not the normal WP feedback news. It's not about the plugin itself. It's more about the community that they've set up. You can click on the link to the show notes.
This actually takes you to a WP mayor article, but if you go to my dot WP feedback.com you can sign up there, essentially, Vito Peleg, who is actually joining us live on Monday to talk about this. Amongst other things. He decided that everything was a bit too spread out. You know, the WordPress community is in multiple Facebook groups.
It's in a different Slack channels and so on. And so he thought to himself, well, why don't we launch a WordPress based website, which sort of pulls everything together. So as I said, my doc. WP feedback dot C O and you can go there. There's loads and loads of different groups. So for example, there's groups about security, there's groups about the news, which I actually am in charge of.
And there's, you know, you imagine any kind of WordPress related issue, there's basically a group for it, design and so on and so forth. And you can go and check those out. Plus there's a sandbox where you can go and test out the features of, of plugins. There's an awful lot in there. And yeah. Go check it out, but come and join us.
2:00 PM WP bills.com forward slash live on Monday, Monday the 2nd of March, and you will be able to listen to veto talking about it. The next piece I'm going to draw your attention to is on WordPress tab. And again, it's by Justin Tadlock entitled on mag a caps and WordCamps. And in this piece, just in Tadlock talks about people who are wearing make America great again, caps at WordCamp.
Now, I'm going to be very clear, I do not live in America, and I absolutely do not understand. The, the controversy here, I don't understand it from one perspective or the other. I'm simply drawing attention to this article, but it essentially is Justin's opinions on whether or not this, the wearing of these caps, it could be considered political hate speech and therefore should have these.
Should these hats be allowed in places like WordCamps go and read the article yourself. There's a ton of comments down below. People obviously got really interested in this from both sides of the argument, and you can draw your own conclusions. Again, staying with WordPress Tavern. Good by featured themes.
For now we have a piece telling us that the featured themes page was quietly removed from the WordPress themes directory. Now, it would appear that this has simply gone away for a temporary period of time because there's actually an awful lot of piping that goes on in the background, should we say, with API end points and so on.
So it means that we have featured suck. Can't simply be just. Pulled out like that, so it may well come back in the next week, day, year. Who knows? But we don't know what we're going to get. There's obviously a lot of thoughts about this from theme developers because they would like to have their themes featured as it would just have to see how this goes.
But for now, you will no longer see featured themes on the themes directory. I have news about a new event. If you're into blocks, head over to WP block, talk.com this is the building blocks for block builders. It says a free online events for all things block editor. Join us on April the second so it says, WP block talk is a live virtual event with speakers who've been key to designing and developing the block editor.
Join us on April the second Sheffield to be announced and learn to make the most of the block editor build more engaging louts. Create your own custom blocks and understand the inspiration and code driving the whole project. There is a an email capture form on there so you can simply fill out to your email.
And hopefully they will keep in touch with, you have to say, I really like the website's very simple, but they've got this ingenious, ingenious scrolling effect. And if you stare at it for just a few seconds, you kind of think, Oh, how's that done? And then you'll probably tweak that. It's actually just a static image, but it's really clever.
I like it. So it says, meet the speakers, Mathias Ventura, Mel choice, enrich tubal, or on the list. So we know that this is a high caliber crowd, so I'm certainly going to be signing on and seeing if they can teach me a thing or two. WP block talk.com. The next section is WordPress plugins, themes and blocks, and the first piece I've got is automatic theme and plugin updates slated for WordPress.
5.5 Jean-Baptiste Audrice announced the WordPress auto updates feature plugin that says the project seeks to bring automatic plugin and theme updates to WordPress. 5.5 parts of it were. In 5.4 by all accounts, but it's been, it's going to have to wait. Seemingly odd at the moment is that it requires PHP 7.2 although we need backwards compatibility to 5.6 but the idea really is, is interesting.
I'm, I'm, I'm very much supportive of the idea of updating all the things automatically, but clearly I'm sure we've all been burned in the past where we've updated something and it's completely ruined some aspect of the site, perhaps even just breaking it in in entirety. So we would like probably to have some granular control of this and the ability to switch it on or off for various things.
And that seems to be the way it's going. The idea is that you'll get email notifications, which will summarize any auto updates and hopefully a UI in which you'll offer some kind of fine grained control where you can enable or disable auto updates on a plugin by plugin or theme by theme basis. This incor would be remarkable.
Obviously it would be a bit of a hit, I suppose, to some of the plugins and services that we might use to do this, but it does feel that on balance, this seems to be something really, which we should have in core and perhaps should have had in core already. Astra have a piece entitled starter templates, 2.0 building websites just got a lot more easier.
I think they should probably say a lot more easy, but there you go. That is to say that starter templates 2.0 has been launched it Astro starter site started two years ago when you could simply click a button and import an entire website, but they've decided to sort of take a little bit of a revamp. So now you can kind of, well, as you've always been able to do, import different.
Sections or blocks, rows and so on, but they've enhanced the UI so that it's much more easy to look around. There's a sink library to fetch newly added templates as well, so as they're constantly updating them, hopefully you can click a button and they will all sync back and you'll get the new, the latest ones as well.
You'll be able to Mark certain ones as favorite. There's a little heart icon, so ones that you've looked at in the past, you might be able to say, okay, I like that one. Just save that for later. And so on. Um, and just without having to keep trolling and coming back, you can import just SIM single pages. So if you like one particular, I don't know, contact page, for example, uh, over our contact page in the whole site, you can just import that one page, which is quite nice and this is really good as well.
You will be able to automatically inherit. Theme, customize a setting. So if you import a start a template and you, let's say, have red buttons and Oh, I don't know, rounded corners on certain things, then this will, this will all be taken into account. The customizer colors and so on and so forth will be inherited.
So whatever the original walls in the template that you were looking at, it will be overwritten. So that's really nice. Yeah. There's also options to make it compatible with the very popular elemental page builder as well. So really nice weld on Astro. This next one is me. Just really alerting you don't I've, I've come across something that I'd never heard of before.
It's called life canvas and they've just released an update. It's like canvas 1.4 at the moment, and it's just a different take on a page builder. I'm not really going to talk too much about the update because obviously I haven't really mentioned it before, so the updates. Well, there have been updates, which is quite nice, but it's just a really different take on what a page builder is.
So basically it just puts out pure HTML and CSS. So rather than, um, the, the way that you've used to with page builders, like, or, I don't know, Beaver builder and Elementor and so on. This is engineered. They say put a for performance. The whole thing comes in under 150 kilobytes. GE zipped and yeah, hopefully would speed things up should you choose to use it anyway, my intention here is really not to sell it to you, but just to say, Oh, well, I've never heard of that.
Why not go and have a look. Those people who like to customize their WordPress admin, especially when they hand it over to clients will be pleased. That ultimate dashboard has received an update. We're on version 2.9 it was released on the 19th of February and we've got new great new option, which I think a lot of people will really like.
If you are using BeaverBuilder or elemental page builders, you can now create the dashboards with either of those two options. There's a whole bunch of other new things. So an option to set a custom logo URL for the login screen. There's an option to remove the help tab option to remove screen options, tab option to change the dashboard headline and a whole bunch more.
Tips and tweaks as well. So yeah, very nice. Well done, David Von grease for those updates, but especially I think for the added flexibility of the page builder options. That's great. A few deals that got my attention this week. Firstly, I would like to say go and click on the link in the show notes to get yourself alerted when we find out deals on WordPress products and services.
If you go to WP belts.com forward slash alerts or just click on the link in the show notes. It's the first link under the deals from this week section. You'll be taken to a form where you can fill out. And once you've done that, I will just send you news as w as in when I find out about deals for WordPress products or services.
Um, so for that I've got for you this week, there's WP data tables, which is a lifetime deal wishlist member. These have both been mentioned before, but they're still on a lifetime deal. So click on the link in the show notes, and I've added a couple of extra ones. There's a plugin called happy foams, which is a form.
Builder, you know, akin to things like gravity forms and so on. It's obviously not quite as popular, but it may be worth checking out because it's also on a lifetime deal at $49 and WP FOMA Phi as well. So it's like a FOMO, fear of missing out plugin that's also on a lifetime deal. Our very light to touch on WordPress security.
Don't think this is the right place for deep dives, but so we have three plugins which had been mentioned specifically in Wordfence this week. Multiple attack campaigns, targeting recent plugin vulnerabilities. Um, so you can go and read about of that. The second one I'm going to mention is the vulnerability, which has been packaged in the pricing table by SOP cystic.
That's what it says. Sub cystic plugin, that's hard to pronounce. And finally, psych takeover campaign exploited multiple zero day vulnerabilities. So yes, as I said, just go and click on the links if you are interested in those and the WordPress vulnerability Roundup from iOS. Themes has been released.
This is part two and this is one of those posts where you can just scroll through and look at the, the icon. So for example, I themes themselves, sync pro had to be updated for a vulnerability as have some other bigger ones, WP central and Ninja forms and so on. So I would recommend that as well. Anyway, there are full links in the show notes for you to check out.
The blatantly promotional WP Builds a bit. I've only got one thing for you this week, and it's to say that David Walmsley and I released the podcast entitled making an impact. It, I think is our final foray into the watertight marketing book by Briony Thomas. And it talks about how we can stand apart and make our message clear to our clients and hopefully get lots and lots of more clients.
And. Users. So yeah, it's an, it was an interesting podcast, and as I say, it rounds off that whole episode, but it was 168 making an impact. Also, I've got one thing in the job section. It's not, it's not a sort of job where you've got a particular role. You could define this in whatever way you wanted because Amir over at toolset has got, I've got a post entitled need help or help needed rather writing toolset courses.
And it's exactly that. If you're a, a user of tool set and you believe that you are experienced in using it and could teach people, um, in a, you know, in a. Confident and professional way by creating videos and explanation, text and so on. Or they're looking for you the the abilities. You really need to be able to use the entire tool set suites, so types, blocks, maps, access and forms, and so on.
You need to be basic in PHP it says, but you need to be a native English speaker and you can kind of define for yourself. It says they're looking for peer project work part time or full time. They haven't really decided, but they're looking to get some of this stuff out in about three weeks time, so you'd have to act fast.
That is all the WordPress news I've got, but there's three pieces that I want to bring to your attention under the title of, not WordPress, but useful. Anyway, the first one, this is very much me just bringing something to your attention that I feel deeply about. It's on tech crunch. It says, want podcasts to remain independent support.
Independent podcasts, and guess what it says? Basically, it's written by a guy who was with various degrees of success, run his own podcast in the past, and he's basically saying, look, you know the, they're going to be bought up by these corporate giants, and we want these things to be independent. We want them to be.
Um, you know, as, as big as they can be, but not necessarily subservient to, um, to the whims of larger companies. So support your local podcast. That's the, that's the whole point. And I'm sure that you're doing that right now by listening to us and as a gesture of support, kind of, and share it with your friends and family.
There are nice people on the internet and those novelty people on the internet as well. And this week in the search engine journal, we hear about some of the naughty ones, Google's John Mueller, to investigate deceitful link building practices. Good grief. The ingenuity of these people. So a few people have been complaining that they've been receiving emails or tweets or whatever it is, essentially saying, look, we are the owners of one of the images on your website.
Kindly puts a link on your website back to us and we'll forget all about it. And it turns out that these images, in most cases have been completely, legitimately bought. In other words, it's just complete fraud. People are getting backlinks by this bogus tactic of claiming that they're going to be. Oh, I guess sued or something like that.
Should they not put a link anyway? Don't fall for it. If you know that you are the owner of an image, I hope you do know that you are the owner of all the images on your websites. And don't fall for it, but the, the chap mentioned in the article, John Mueller, who's from Google, he's interested to hear of examples of this.
He wants to track this down because he wants to know if people are getting genuine SEO benefits from this slightly dodgy practice. I'm guessing that there is some benefit to it. Otherwise they wouldn't be doing it, but he wants to figure out a way. Presumably to automate a way to track this nonsense down and stamp it out before these people start getting too aggressive and successful with it.
So we're all used to using CMS is to create our websites. Well, there's a platform called coda.io, which I'm not very familiar with in all honesty in that I've never really used it, but it kind of feels a bit like a service like air table or a spreadsheet on complete and utter steroids. In other words, it's a repository.
You can dump any kind of information into this thing. This spreadsheet, like. Thing and then interact with it and display it and all sorts of magnificent and interesting ways. Well, a new thing that they've decided to do is allow you to basically create webpages by pushing things into your code or documents.
This came out last week and yeah, it's just really fascinating in all, honestly, the pages look quite nice. You say you, you push content into your code, a document, and then it will spit it out as a webpage for you. So. Yeah. Just fascinating. Who needs WordPress when you've got a complex spreadsheet. Well.
There you go. That's all I've got for you this week. I really hope that you found that useful or helpful. As I said, I really do welcome any comments and I would be most most pleased to hear from you. You can contact me on the WP Builds.com website. There's a contact page and fill out the form, but it's just nice to.
You know, in the Facebook group and so on and hanging out and learning all about the WordPress stuff that we talk about and yeah, so share it, share it on iTunes or whatever it's now called Apple podcast. Share it on your favorite podcast player. Write a post about it, you know, that kind of thing. Anyway, there we go.
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Bye-bye. For now.
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