This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 9th March 2020:
Plugins / Themes / Blocks
Deals from this week
Mailpoet Lifetime Deal – $49
WPfomify Lifetime Deal – $49
UK based Beaver Builder / Themer freelancer needed – see the post in the WP Builds Facebook group
Not WordPress, but useful anyway…
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 news. This is number 105 it covers the WordPress news for the week. Commencing the 9th of March, 2020 and it was published on Monday the 16th of March, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley, and a few quick things before we begin, please head over to the WP Builds.com website.
Today you will find all of the things that we do. It's 99.9% related to WordPress, so if you're into WordPress, well go check it out. There's a couple of particular pages though, WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe over there. You're going to find a ton of ways to keep in touch with what we do. So for example, a couple of newsletters, one of which.
Tells you when we produce new content like this, the news on a Monday and the podcast, which comes out on a Thursday, there's another list as well though, which will alert you every time we find a WordPress deal on the internet and they come thick and fast. Also, there's ways to subscribe to us on your favorite podcast player, and perhaps you wouldn't mind joining.
One of the ways that we push out our content, so for example, our Facebook group, a place of over 2,400 WordPress's. It's very friendly and there's a YouTube channel. And a whole bunch of other things as well. So go check that out. WP Builds.com forward. Slash. Subscribe. I'd also recommend WP Builds.com forward slash deals.
I keep saying it's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week it's a page full of filterable search. Searchable deals. You can get 10 15 2025 and up percent off a ton of WordPress products, plugins, themes, and the likes. So yeah. Check that out. WP Builds.com forward slash deals and lastly, WP Builds.com forward slash advertise if you have a product or service that you would like to put in front of a WordPress specific audience.
Well, podcast seems like a good place to do it because the audience is so aligned to WordPress anyway. A company that have done it is Kinsta. 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 and we do thank them for helping us to put on the WP Builds weekly WordPress news. One quick one just before we start the news and over to WP Builds.com forward slash. UI this week we are doing our monthly UI UX session.
I'll be joined with peach and airy and we'll go live. If you would like to submit your website so that she can take a look at it from a UI, UX point of view and drop a bombs of intelligent advice on you, then go to that page and you'll be able to fill out the form and you never know. You might be on this week or it might be I'd be put into a queue for the for the next time we do it.
Probably in April. Okay. Let's get on with the news. We always block our WordPress news into different sections. On the first section is always WordPress core. Cut a couple of items for you this time around. The first one is [email protected] and it's to say that WordPress 5.4 release candidate two has dropped.
We're hoping for a release of WordPress 5.4 on the 31st of March. And yeah, so we have a second release candidate mean meaning, hopefully that very, very little is going to change. There've been five fixes since release candidate one the block editor update WordPress packages, WordPress, 5.4 to release candidate to bundle themes.
The 2020 content font CSS selector is too important. There's been a fix to the rest API, something to do with the block editor and another bundle themes. Basically all very minor stuff that you won't need to worry about. However, if you want to be to test it, you can go to that page and get yourself signed up.
The next one is about WordPress 5.4 and the fact that in the new editor, the default will be full screen mode, which is a little bit of a surprise in this piece on WordPress Tavern. Justin Tulloch writes that this was kind of slipped in at the last minute. In other words, it was slipped in a couple of hours before the release candidate was released, and this was all very confusing because normally we have to go through a long process of.
Getting it, getting accepted, and it all resides on the shoulders of Matt Mullenweg. He says, this one is on me as the release lead. I've been meaning to get this in for a while, but it got lost in the shuffle. I'm very comfortable with the decision to have full screen by default, given the user testing we've seen and other qualitative feedback, and so.
Basically from now on, if you open up a new WordPress block editor screen, there are a few caveats to this. So for example, if you've been using non full screen mode, I think it will still revert to that. But there are a few instances. So for example, Justin writes to the editor will be in full screen mode the first time a user opens the editor in a new installation on a new device or whenever a WordPress.
Or whenever WordPress resets or user's preferences. So there are some caveats. Anyway, it's going to go full screen, which is a little bit different. I mean, literally it just gets rid of the admin menu. There is a little arrow at the top left at the moment, which one might expect would open up the WP admin.
You know, the sidebar on the left hand side, but it doesn't, it takes you to the view posts section of the website, you know, all posts as it were, and that seems a little bit strange. Perhaps Justin says they're going to put the WordPress logo into, maybe to add that capability anyway, I don't really have a problem with it.
It's a little bit strange that it was snuck in at the 11th hour when everybody was expecting nothing to be changed because everything ought to be locked down. But other than that, a bit of a minor thing, quite nice. Actually. The next section is entitled community, and as you very well might expect, the community news this week largely revolves around the topic of covert 19 the first piece comes from 20 twenty.europe.wordcamp.org and this is to say, sadly, that WordCamp Europe has been postponed.
I emphasize the word postponed because it hasn't been canceled. In fact. The, the latest news that I've got is that it's going to be happening in Porto in the same location, the same venue, in 2021. So we'll have to see how that goes, but it has been postponed for now. Obviously, if you were intending to go, you might need to look into getting refunds and so on.
The ticket itself will be refunded automatically. They do make the point that if you've used PayPal more than half a year ago, it might take a little time to do that. But nevertheless, it should automatically go straight back into your bank account or whatever means that it is that you paid. They've also written a letter which you can use to prove to people like insurance companies, hotels, and airlines, and so on, that this is in fact a legitimate cancellation and so on.
And, yeah, sad news. and yeah, I wish that it were happening, but obviously in these, in the current climate, we've got to, we've got to do what's wise for everybody. Yeah, very much related to that is a project that I was involved in. It's over on WP and op.org there was the head to project, which involved myself and a few others, notably Carol Alinger and GAM.
Maybe we were going to ride on bikes from . Berlin to Porto and we've been getting ourselves fit and healthy in order to do that. Well for the, for the exact same reasons that the word camp itself has been canceled to this event has also been canceled. And if you click on the link in the show notes, you can find out what the reasons are for that.
And now that we know that it is taking place in the same venue next year, you never know the same kind of event might might well take place next year. We'll, we'll just have to see. Again, related to that is obviously if you're a big sponsor to these events, then it might be something that you feel a little bit disappointed.
You've geared yourself up for sponsoring as a WordCamp and you've got all of your bits and pieces ready and your messaging and all of your documents. Created, but you've now really got no outlet for that, but yet you still would like to have your message put out. And Joe Casabona actually has quite an interesting piece this week called using podcast sponsorship to replace event sponsorships.
And so he's essentially saying that why not replace the the money that you had aligned for sponsorship at real world events? If you can't find a replacement real world events, then what about a podcast sponsorship. He says on the whole, it's more affordable. You may well get a larger reach for it. The, the audio adverts especially they do last forever.
And I know that's the case in our podcast. We don't have some sort of clever technology to, to whip the adverts out of the audio and, you know, whole bunch of other reasons for things like that. So, yeah, I would definitely encourage people to go out and on sponsor podcasts. And as I said at the top of the show, the WP Builds podcast is open for sponsorship.
Should you need to do it. Okay. Back on WP Tavern, obviously with the events being canceled around the world due to Cove in 19 there is a whole load of other stuff that's getting closed down. So businesses, schools, all sorts of things, and just in Tadlock on WordPress to have and has a piece entitled advice for newcomers to remote work and in it, he goes through some of the
Some of the things that he's learned over the last, I think he said it was about 15 years that he's been working remotely. It might have been 12 anyway, it's over a decade. And the things which he enjoys about working from home are the things that we all enjoy working from home. You know, you get your, your own schedule and you don't have to arrive at a particular time and so on.
This is nice, but if you're new to freelance working, if you're like a working from home, if you've suddenly been told you have to work from home. Because your business place is shutting down. Well, this piece is good for you. He talks about how you need organization and structure and also how you need to make sure that you don't kind of lock yourself away and forget about the social side of life and the relationships and yeah, it's a really nice piece.
I would concur with most of it, but keeping the structure going, if you've had a lot of structure in your life is going to be important over the weeks and days and weeks to come. Matt Mullenweg also contributes to this topic. He's got the coronavirus and remote work experiment. No one asked for an in it.
He lays out how automatic had been doing this for a long time, and so they're in a great position to offer some really solid advice. He's also been doing the distributed podcast for a little while. In which he talks about how his, his company has been using distributed work and, and so this has made him a bit of a focus for businesses who have suddenly had to go all remote.
And he's saying things like, you know, sign up for a decent tool. Use something like zoom conferencing, get yourself some good headphones, get some noise cancellation software. Get into something like Slack or base camp to keep your, to keep your. Business, you know, the participants in your business, your employees and managers and so on in the loop.
Do, do regular meetups. It doesn't have to be in person, but go for conference calls and basically get yourself a routine outside of the physical environment that you've been used to. So, yeah, a whole ton of stuff. They're all about Covin 19. And obviously some of it disappointing, but a lot of it very helpful and giving you some advice for what you can do going forwards.
The last one in the community section. This week is over on academy.hubspot.com entitled WordPress training course. How to build a WordPress website using elemental. It's completely free course. It's very short, actually. It's divided up into three sections. Getting started with WordPress, setting up your WordPress website and how to build a website with WordPress and elemental.
It's. The whole thing is just over an hour. And they say that after doing this, in this tutorial, you will learn everything you need to know about how to get started building a WordPress website for your business, from setting up your domain, all the way to making your website both functional and beautiful.
So if you're brand new to WordPress and you've got yourself into Elementor and you're looking for some free tutorials, that's quick and easy to follow. Well, go and have a look at this. The next section is all about plugins, themes, and blocks. And I felt we needed cheering up after the last section. And so just in Tadlock writes on WordPress Tavern, this is so good.
You've got to go and look. The wacky world of sort of brilliant sort of fun block plugins, and this is all about. a chap whose name is hamsy, his name is Nick Khamsi and, and he apparently has a bit of a history of making quirky plugins. The article goes on to say that essentially he doesn't really, it doesn't really like the way WordPress is going.
He finds it all to be a little bit boring. Most themes are all. Of a similar fashion, and everybody's talking about the business case for WordPress all the time, and he just basically wants to inject some fun back in. And so he's, he's got this suite of WordPress plugins that all do minimal things. so for example, he's got this peculiar.
Pointers block, which allows you to replace the points of the cursor on the screen and just, it is clearly used. It's on this article, and rather than having the hand icon or the little arrow, which we're so familiar with, there's a, there's a little cartoon mushroom which is being used. He's obviously used some kind of block to create the gradients and typing text at the top as well.
But there's a whole bunch of other ones. he has a thing called block garden. And a website called sorta brilliant where he goes through this. So a whole bunch of things to make your images look really strange, you know, like really, really strange, kind of blurred and janky and a bit negative. It's very, I can't really explain it.
You have to go onto the website and look, and then he's also got plugins, which from which you can create memes. You can write onto images called meme me. That's just . Brilliant. So I would say if you're feeling a little bit morose or down in the dumps, then go and check out this piece because it's it shore to cheer you up.
It's very frivolous. You in all likelihood, won't ever use the stuff that's created. But if you're feeling a bit adventurous and just want to create a post with a bit of wackiness, then this is worth checking out. One of the block creation tools that we've never really spoken about too much is one called stackable and they have reached version 2.3 of their stackable suite and on their website we have an article entitled introducing the design library and a new block designs.
I think this is really worth a look. Actually. They have. A button inside the block editor. I have to confess it. I think the button is a bit over the top with their logo on it and all, but nevertheless, they, you click that button and up comes a great big pop up. And you can see they've got 139 block designs, many of which look very, very compelling, you know, for just about every single thing.
No doubt hamsy from the last article would be a sighing, but, you know, nevertheless, here they are and you can click on them and install them. I'm sure you've seen this kind of functionality in things like the Astro theme and so on. You can filter them, you can sort by color and so on, and then you just add them onto your page.
Once you've done that, you can then swap them out and you can alter the. The configuration options in the right hand side of the, of the block editor and so on. They've also added a sort of refresh button and they're going to be adding blocks on a sort of very, very common basis, and they're going to update that library every day.
But if you're halfway through a day, you can click this refresh button and if any have come out, then it will, they will appear in that pop up. There's also a no padding option if you want to remove the pattern and quite a few bug fixes as well. But I would say if you want to see something, yeah, really.
Quite nice too, to look at an a ton of designs all gathered up into one place. This looks pretty good. So go to the link in the show notes. Couple of pieces surrounding the Wu commerce 4.0 release. I've got a piece entitled a look at the Wu commerce admin and now in core, this is over on Bob wp.com and it is to say that the admin interface, which was previously a separate plugin, which was called woo commerce admin.
I believe it is now rolled into call. So you've got all of these reports and you get this lovely display. You can choose how charts are displayed, you can categorize the information and show the data that's important to you, set specific date ranges and so on. Well, that's all. Now in core, there's some large screenshots on Bob's webpage, and he also mentions that you can customize this for your own needs.
So that you can talk a little reports and put things on or off, make them visible or invisible. So total sales, average sale order item, sold, returns, tax and so on. You can just toggle them on and off, which is nice. And a whole bunch of other things, which he alludes to another article covering the same topic, but from a different perspective is just in WordPress Tavern post called WooCommerce 4.0 lands with new admin interface and updated onboarding experience.
He makes slightly more technical points and he's basically saying, because this is a major release. Don't just go updating it. Get a backup first and preferably test this on a staging environment. There are things which are different. So for example, there are changes to the action shed. You're in a library.
This is a background job, which runs bumbled in WordPress, and in the past it was a custom post type. It stored its data in a custom post type, and now it's been. Switched over to a custom database table, which it should make it faster, but it also might cause some breaking changes. He goes on about the things that he likes, the updating, the updated onboarding process and so on and so forth.
But yeah, big news for WooCommerce users. Friend of the podcast, Andre Gagnon, he's been on several times, has a tool called project huddle. It's a like sticky notes for websites. He describes it and it's a way of you communicating with your clients and they can give feedback all about how they think your website build is going well.
It's had a bit of a new release this week. There's lots of nice features. The piece that he's written is entitled new release, a website approvals, and a gorgeous new toolbar. So they have, they've got a nice new toolbar. It's got the option to add your logo to it, which is great for branding purposes. It's to kind of maximize bubble and minimizes that you can make it, make it really small or really large.
But the key features are that you can actually now do website approvals and get sign off so they can, so for example, you could sign off a particular. Part of the page, or you could sign the entire website by clicking a button. You can agree to terms of terms and conditions and so on and so forth. So that's, that's a really nice feature.
And he's also got this thing called activity feed, which he says is your very own time machine in the sidebar of every website. Right. Project is an activity feed tracking every action from the moment you started the project. If you're looking for something someone did, but you can't remember when they did it, to just scroll.
It's great. You've kind of, there are attached screenshots you can filter through to relevant content and so on. And this is great. And speaking of filters, he mentions the fact that he's got a whole bunch of new filters in there as well, and they've also added an undo button. You can hide all the comments with the click of a button.
Basically, it's a huge updates to this, you know, already fabulous product product. So project huddle users. Well, go check this out. The next one I'm going to touch on very briefly. It's the publish press plugin. They have five new features added to their publish press permissions free. I'll just list them off.
Specific editing permissions for content categories and tags, category and tag permissions, parents, page permissions, media permissions, and default visibility. So if you are using that plugin, there's a nice update with some nice new features. The next section is entitled deals from this week. The first two are in response to Covin 19 a couple of companies, and I'm talking about loom and TechSmith, are offering significant, significantly different products during this period where people are probably going to have to do a lot more remote working.
And so some of the tools. In the technology space are going to be helpful to that will loom is a screencasting tool, and they've basically cut the price of their plans and added features to their plans. So there might be a higher number of videos limit on the, the, the plan that you did, which has the cheapest pricing and so on and so forth.
So basically they're just giving a load more away in this period. And TechSmith are also offering a lot of, a lot of free use of their tools. So for example, they have things like Snagit and they've got a video offering as well, and they're going . To be free to use until the 30th of June. So I just think that's fabulous.
The other deals that deals that I've mentioned in the past, I've got a link to the WP Builds deals page, as well as the other link there so that you can sign up for deals. so that when I hear about them, I will alert you as soon as I hear about them, but also I've got deals over on . AppSumo for male poet, wishlist member WP data tables, happy forms, and WP FOMA Phi, which I think is unchanged since last week.
The next section is the security section. We do a very light touch on this, and so I've got six things for you today, four of which are from Wordfence. I'll do those first. So I'm just going to list off the names of the plugins and the, you know, if there's anything particularly jumps out at me, I will mention that, but I keep a, as I say, I like touch 100,000 sites are using overlap.
Pop up, build a plugin, it's name is pop-up builder, and there was a vulnerability discovered this week. Again, Wordfence can explain more about that. There's another article on Wordfence entitled active attack on zero day in custom searchable data entry system plugin. That's a bit of a mouthful. So custom searchable data entry system, zero day vulnerability in theme.
Rex Adams, this has now been patched. Apparently 44,000 sites were affected. On this one, but if you recognize the name theme Rex ad-ons, you might want to go and check that out and import export to WordPress users plugin over 30,000 installs. There was a vulnerability patched on March the elephants. So again, go check all of those out.
I've got two articles which sum up lots of the things that have happened in the last period. The first one is it web? It's one of these scrolling articles. We can just go through, look at the names of the plugins, look at the thumbnails of. There, you know, the sort of like the icons, the logos for those plugins.
So for example, there's, there's some of the ones that we've just mentioned, but there's others, XML file, export and import for stamps.com and WooCommerce is mentioned. And so, yeah, I've got that on web arcs and on themes. Just scroll through those quickly and see if any of those plugins shout out to you.
And if they are shouting out at you, maybe go and get them updated ASAP. The totally self promotional WP Builds bit. It is to say that David and I had our first debate this week. It's episode 170 w was called page builders versus the block editor and it's, we pit ourselves. David was in the red corner for page builders.
And I was in the blue corner standing up for Gothenburg and we have our little chats about that. It was quite a nice new, new format. Normally we spend our time agreeing with each other and in this case we decided to deliberately disagree that we'll do a few of these cause it's quite fun. But yeah, page builders versus the block editor, AKA Gothenburg.
It was nice. And also, just a quick reminder. and I are doing our website, UI, UX on the 18th of March at 2:00 PM UK time. Go to WP Builds.com forward slash UI if you'd like to submit your site, but please set it in your calendar and join us live and you can comment on everything that we say. Jobs is the next section.
I've just got one for you this week and you'll see it. You'll have to be a member of the WP Builds Facebook group group because Stuart has posted a job. He said, hope he's okay to post this. I'm looking for a freelance web designer that knows Beaver builder or Thema or, and theme, or I should say, and has experienced working on large corporate.
Enterprise sites. He says the pay is approximately 400 pounds a day. You need to be based in the UK. And and, and it goes on. There's, there's all sorts of other things that he describes, but you can reach out to him in the, in our Facebook group, but you will have to join in order to become, to see that particular job.
But yeah, Beaver builder theme Thema developers, there's a job if you are based in the UK. That's all the WordPress news I've got for you this week, but stick around because we always have a little bit of non WordPress, but useful. Anyway, right at the end, a couple of pieces, and this one is really another coronavirus, but from a completely different point of view, it's about how ISP
Now this. Piece I should say is on tech crunch, and it's very much an America centric thing. Obviously the ESPs and the carriers for your mobile phones and so on are going to be different. There'll be different laws and so on, but it seems that in the United States you have kind of data caps where you pay for a certain amount of data.
Maybe that's on a mobile plan or maybe even coming into your, you know, your landline, your broadband at home, and. During this period with people working at home, there's going to be a huge spike in the, in the amount of data that crosses over the wires and the, the article is really interestingly written.
I like the way they wrote it. It says the first is that a company that sends a subscriber, $150 overage fee because they had to work from home for a month and ran over their data cap is going to be radioactive. The optics on it are so bad that my guess is that most companies are quietly setting forgiveness policies in place to prevent it from happening.
So of course, companies don't want to be seen in a bad light. It is a bit on necessary in this day and age with the internet and the infrastructure that we've got to add data caps, but obviously it makes these companies money, but maybe, maybe this is the time that that is going to change with everybody working from home and expectations going through the roof and these companies being able to supply it at no extra cost, if in fact that's how it turns out.
Maybe this is how it's going to be from now on. Maybe. The coronavirus will bring, bring a new way of pricing your internet in the future. The last piece I've got for you today is over on the verge and it's entitled how social networks can do good while we're all trapped indoors, and it's exactly that.
It is basically saying, you know, if you are going to be working from home and you're going to be stuck inside your home for a lengthy period of time, what about thinking about getting yourself set up with some, some setup so that you can have a kind of social life, gets that, get the ball rolling, get your coworkers or people in your.
Your family or your friends, get them involved in zoom calls, start to use Facebook as a platform to to share video conferencing and so on and so forth. You never know. It might be something that once you get the ball rolling you you rather enjoy. And so there are a few suggestions on this website about how you can do it and what software you can use in order to do it.
Right. That's it for this week. I hope that you enjoyed it and that you found it useful. Please, please, please, if you did find it useful, put a little comment somewhere, maybe on the, on the post itself, on the WP Builds.com website, or you could add a comment on a Facebook post that we put out to do with this particular piece.
Anything you'd like, send me an email if you'd like. I don't mind, but it's really nice. One thing, which really does help us, if you can give us a, a, An iTunes review. I know it's not called iTunes anymore. Apple podcasts or a Google podcasts or Spotify review. Something like that would go down really well.
I really appreciate that. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by Kinsta. Kinsta takes managed WordPress hosting to the next level, powered by the Google cloud platform. Your site is secured like Fort Knox and runs on speed obsessive architecture. You get 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 are available 24 seven if you need help, and you can migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com.
Okay. Please join us at some point in the week Thursday for the podcast next Monday for the next edition of the WordPress weekly news. And although I don't think I've mentioned it, we do go live 2:00 PM UK time every Monday so that we can go through in a live way. The news that we've just talked about and going to be joined by this week, hopefully by Paul Lacey, Bernard Grano and Anchon.
The roof. So join us 2:00 PM UK time. That'll be on the day this podcast goes out, but that's all I've got for you this week. Bye bye for now.