This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 30th March 2020:
Plugins / Themes / Blocks
Deals from this week
Mailpoet Lifetime Deal – $49
WPfomify Lifetime Deal – $49
Nothing for you this week…
Not WordPress, but useful anyway…
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 news. This is number 108 it covers the WordPress news for the week commencing the 30th of March, 2020 and it was published on Monday the 6th of April, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley, and before we begin, just a couple of things.
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Speaking of which, let's get stuck into it. Each and every week we block our news into different sections. And the first section is always word press core, and a quite a sizeable WordPress core update this week because we moved from version 5.3 dot X to version 5.4 it's called . Absolutely. After the jazz musician, Nat Adderly, as always, it's after a jazz musician.
I think modern work makes the decisions about what the names are and being one of the three project leads. I suppose it was up to him to decide this time again. What I would suggest is that you click on both articles and read them both through. The first one is on wordpress.org and it's entitled WordPress 5.4 add, delete.
And it goes on to explain in some detail all of the things which I'll summarize in just a moment. And also if you click on the second one under the . Core section, you'll open up WP taverns version of a very similar article entitled WordPress 5.4 Adelae includes improved editor, new blocks and developer API APIs.
So I'll go back to the wordpress.org on first. It obviously mentions all about the, the fact that we've got 5.4 it talks in very broad detail. It's a much shelter article and it talks in broad detail about what's been added. So we have two brand new blocks, social icons and buttons making. Interactive features fast and easy.
It says, new ways to color gradients in the buttons and cover block have been added as well. It says that you can guess a whole lot less. 5.4 streamlines the whole process for placing and replacing the multimedia in every block. Now it works the same way in almost every block. And there's also various different updates.
Their cleaner UI, they claim it's also 14% faster and 51% faster to type time. So what they're claiming is that it's a really good update. Things like privacy have been included. And this is quite an important part, I suppose if you're building websites for people, it says 5.4 helps with a variety of privacy issues around the world.
So when users and stakeholders ask about regulatory compliance or how your team handles user data, the answer should be a lot easier to get. Right. and what else have we got? There's a bunch of stuff for developers and I'll come onto that. I said it was led by Matt Mullenweg, but it was also co-lead.
So the three of them, Francesca Murano and David Bohm wild as well. There were 520 sorry, 552 volunteer contributors. 361 tickets were solved on track and 1,226 pull requests on GitHub were also sorted out. So there's a lot going on. If I just move quickly to the WordPress Tavern article. Now, if you've been listening to this podcast for any length of time, the new section.
Justin makes exactly the same claim that I'm about to make. We have pretty much covered everything that's in 5.4 over the proceeding weeks. If you've installed the Guttenberg plugin, then none of this will be new because you will have had the features going from Gothenburg 6.6 right through to 7.5 while all of those features have dropped in WordPress core 5.4 so much of this will not have been a surprise, but if you haven't been using the
But plugin. Then there is a whole ton of new stuff. Like I just mentioned, there are things like I'm a social icons block and various other things changes for developers as well. Like we said just a moment ago, there's a gradients API for the cover and buttons blocks. There are also breaking changes that theme authors need to take account off several CSS classes.
I've been renamed within the block editor, so that could be important. And there's also the collections API. Like I said, we have covered every single bit of this over the proceeding wide in Oh two or three months each and every time a new feature has dropped. We've mentioned it and hopefully now you've been an updated all of your WordPress websites.
The only minor problem that I had was on a couple of websites that I updated for some strange reason, the favicon, the icon, which appears in the Chrome or Safari or. Firefox, whatever browser tab somehow reverted to WordPress, so I simply had to go in and click save on the original favicon. Apart from that, everything seemed to go very smoothly, so I would encourage you to update to version 5.4 ASAP.
The next section is community, and we've got quite a few articles for you today. The first one I want to mention is over on 20 twenty.europe.wordcamp.org and it's a piece simply entitled WordCamp Europe 2021 dates confirmed, obviously with the current lockdown, the COBIT 19 spread as it is at the moment.
Just about every event has been either taken online or canceled word. Camp Europe has decided to postpone and they've actually got a new set of dates it's going to take place in the exact same place. So the the city is Portugal's Porto and the event arena is the superblock arena, and the dates are new, though we're moving to the third, fourth, and 5th of June, 2021 there's nothing much to do at this point.
There's no email list to apply to or anything like that. Simply. Put it in your diary and maybe come back in six months time to see what the developments are. Speaking of events, we've got a new one coming around fairly soon. This is WP feedbacks of virtual summit. It says go behind the scenes with 30 plus world-class WordPress agency owners, developers, and marketeers.
So this is taking place online between April the 27th to may, the first 2020 you can register your email in order to express interest in the event. And if you scroll down to the page linked in the show notes, you'll see that there's a whole . Slew of people who are going to be talking about their areas of expertise.
Literally, literally, it's a bit of a laundry list of people in the WordPress space who I'm sure you've heard of before, many of whom have been on the WP Builds podcast and weekly WordPress news, and it's all happening over two or three days. My understanding is it's going to be prerecorded and then you can hopefully see each and every one of those as they come around.
So there you go. I think it's quite likely that in some way, shape or form, your business will have been effected by the covert 19 lockdown that's taking place throughout the world at the moment. And a lot of us are sort of scrambling around trying to find useful resources, different ways to pivot the businesses that we have in order to keep things profitable.
This is quite a nice little collection of resources. It's [email protected] click on the link in the show notes and it's basically just a collection. Of articles, curated list of articles trying to be helpful. So they're in all sorts of categories. So for example, some of the items listed are entitled care plan, retention, action plan, learn how to close more agency prospects in an uncertain economy.
Disaster loan applications for us businesses only. You get the idea. It's a ton of. Hopefully useful articles that you, you may very well need in the short term. This kind of page presumably will go away after everything has calmed down a little bit, but right now it may be some place where you can find some articles that you've been desperately searching for.
Click on the link in the show notes. Okay. I've got four pieces for you now in quick succession. The first is on the toolset blog entitled create dynamic testimonials in WordPress, and it's the guys from toolset explaining what they believe makes a good testimonial. They're given some sample testimonials.
They talk about things like attacking the pain points short and honest, and so on and so forth. Putting faces and images in there. And then of course they explain how it is that you might achieve this with their suite of products under the umbrella of toolset. So that's quite nice. The next one is on the element or website is entitled experts beater, and you can find this by clicking on the link in the show notes.
It says, discover leading web creators collaborate and grow your business. It says, elements are experts as a network for web creators to showcase your finest work, get hired and hire fellow web designers, marketers and developers. There is an option here to find an expert. You click on the button and you, you look for people for, I guess an expertise in an area where you believe you are lacking.
And also. You can apply, there's a button entitled to become an expert. And with that it says create a profile, showcase your best design, marketing and development projects, and get hired by other web creators and site owners. So quite interesting. I suppose in a way it's trying to link freelancers who believe that there's some sort of piece missing from the jigsaw of their agency and hook you up with.
People who have proven themselves, at least as far as the elemental, guys's concerned, capable. I'm assuming that there is some requirement in here to be interacting with the elemental page builder, but I'm not entirely sure because I haven't applied myself. But anyway, you can find it out by clicking on the link in the show notes.
This next one is for those of you who are constantly looking for cloud based services to host your websites. This is from the press labs blog. They have an article entitled press labs dashboard, first cloud, native hosting platform for WordPress, and they say that. The press loves dashboard came to life because they needed something which was essentially completely online, SAS based, if you like, and they are providing scalable, automatic, and highly available solutions for keeping WordPress sites protected and fast on the heavy traffic.
It's using the . Coobernetti's technology powered on top of the Google cloud platform, and it says, why should you use the dashboard? Because it was built as a re-imagined site management platform that allows managing, scaling, and updating the WordPress backend in a modern and reliable way, right into your Coubernetties cluster.
The dashboard delivers a fluid, horizontal and dynamic scaling solution. Based upon incoming traffic. So if that seems like your thing, and that's what your appetite, they claim it's a complete WordPress experience from top to bottom, and you don't have to do much thinking to get things scaling as fast as possible.
Well, click on the link in the show notes and you can find out more. The last one under the community section is on the WordPress Tavern website. It's just in Tadlock with an article entitled proposal to update the WordPress coding standards for modern PHP and starts quite interestingly with the sentence of WordPress is a dinosaur.
If you're a PHP programmer, and I've had any opportunity to work outside of WordPress in the last 10 years, there's likely a few dozen things that frustrate you when diving back into the 16 year old projects code base. Now there's good reason why the code base is fairly old, I suppose, and that's because they're trying to support backwards compatibility.
Obviously, recently we were bumped up to version 5.6 of WordPress that happened a little while ago. There were lots of people saying, well, why don't we just go. For the jump to seven whilst we're at it. And anyway, we are from 5.3 we've moved up to 5.6 and Justin points out that really there's an awful lot that still needs to change.
And he points to an article, which was published on the 20th of March by Juliet Reinders Follmer. Entitled proposed an extensive set of guidelines and the proposal is a draft. It'll need to be fine tuned feedback from developers and so on. And the proposed standards are broken down into the following topics.
There's about eight of them or so. Namespace declarations, inputs, use statements, traits and interfaces type declarations, declare statements, strict typing the colon, colon. Plus constant operators, additional new rules covering various items, and anyway, if you are into PHP and this is your thing, and you do believe that WordPress needs a bit of a bit of a kick up the backside and brought into the modern world, then perhaps this is something that you yourself ought to be contributing to.
Certainly reading. Okay. Let's move on to our next section, which is plugins, themes, and blocks, several articles for you this week, and the first one is over on the brizzy.io blog. It's entitled a new, a Brizzy elements, UI, UX fixes, improvements, and more. The best way to describe this really is they've added a ton of new features.
So for example, they've got a new notification system for errors if to use as a trying to work on the same page and you comments element which lets you immediately change your commenting system from WordPress. Comments over to discuss or Facebook comments, new timeline element, and you audio element that allows you to upload your own audio files.
New switch element, a nice new star rating element. You playlist element for videos and a new Twitter element as well, so you can add your Twitter timeline feed. And they've also added a whole bunch of different things. So they've added icons for vertical, horizontal options for the tab element, and they've added icons for the accordion element and a whole bunch of other things.
Really, there's a lot going on here. In all honesty, I think it's a very significant . Date. So if you haven't been using your breezy account, then maybe it's time to sort of dust it down and see what's going on. At the moment, it looks like they've got 600 or so lifetime licenses left, so maybe this is a good one to jump on.
The guys over at web arcs. I've got a nice update. They've got a blog post entitled how to auto update vulnerable plugins or with a web arcs. So it says, introducing the new web arcs feature to auto update vulnerable plugins on the component page on the web arcs portal. So if you a user of the WebExs security solution, you'll know that it's a component based solution that.
Tackles lift little components of the WordPress install. So for example, CMS and plugins and themes and so on and so forth, and now they've got the opportunity for you to auto update things. Now you need to log into your dashboard. Some of the features include the ability to update everything on the site.
You could only update specific sites, specific components on all sites, or only vulnerable or. Outdated components, which seems like an interesting option. So obviously they're keeping an eye on all of the vulnerabilities that are out there. And so having the option to only update things automatically where there is a vulnerability, which has been updated or removed by an update, seems like a really interesting idea.
They make the point that you have to be on plugin version 2.0 0.11 and presumably you can do that by updating easily. And then switching this on in your web arcs dashboard. Users of body press, you'll be pleased to know that body press 6.0 Bita has introduced the group and member blocks. I'm learning this from Justin Tadlock over at WP Tavern.
So this came around just last week and you need to be on PHP version 5.6 and version 5.0 or more of WordPress if you want to use the new blocks. But essentially there are two blocks, a member block and a group block. You can find those in a body press. Category inside the block editor. So where you insert your blocks, there's now a body press category and the two options are pretty straightforward at the moment.
Essentially, if you drop in a member block, you get a nice display of a member, including their profile image and a button to view their profile. And if you do the same with the group block, same sort of thing, you get the icon for the group and the option to visit the group. Justin says that the way the settings are organized is a little bit silly in that they're all in their own separate.
Tabs, which they really didn't need to be, but it looks bright. It looks like body press are kind of embracing this and they are saying that in a few, well maybe he actually says in a few years time, this is coming from the lead of buddy press, the lead developer, John James Jacoby says in a few years time when blocks have matured and the other defacto way to interact with everything.
I can imagine there being a single body press block that wraps the entire functionality of the community into a single block, like its own little. Web applets, which is rather nice. Anyway, if you are a body press user, maybe go check this out. WPM devs, foreman, ator plugin has received an update this week, and the article talking about it is entitled WordPress login and registration forms have arrived in formulate a 1.12 and exactly as you might expect.
You can now create. Custom registration forms for new users and login forms for users who are already logged in using for Mineta. So you can drag in a whole variety of different fields into the registration forms and the login forms and simply save them and you're done. You can create, obviously, your own templates or use templates, which has already been created for you.
So you might like to jiggle around the way that usernames, passwords, and emails are handled and so on and so forth. But the article explains how you will do all of this. It's fairly long actually, and fairly comprehensive, explaining how to set the forms up and then how to deploy them and so on and so forth.
So WPM you'd have form an to users, a couple of added things that you can now use. Speaking of customizing the user, logging in and so on. We've got a new update from David Von grease over ultimate dashboard. The change log is version 2.1 is released on March the 27th and we've got a couple of new things which have been added.
Now, the ultimate dashboard is a plugin which allows you to. Completely alter the way that your WordPress dashboard looks for you or your clients. You can use page builders and so on and so forth to set it up in whichever way you like. But there's a couple of new things added this week. The first one is you can now customize the user login, so that sounds like something, you know, a lot of people would like to do.
You can restrict widgets to particularly use a rolls. You can also restrict widgets to just a specific user, and there's a new WP admin, modern layout as well. There's a couple of tweaks as well, but you can click over to look at the change log, and obviously if you update to the latest version, you'll find all of these goodies in there already.
Moving on deals for this week. I've linked in the show notes to the WP Builds a deals page, and also I've linked to the email form that you can fill in if you want to be alerted about deals as and when we hear about them, I send those emails out two or three times a week. most often it's less than that.
And then there's also a few deals. The first one is to say that cobalt apps, they've got absolutely loads of apps, but COBOL apps have 50%. Off their all access, all access lifetime. Now, I think this will only be available to listeners of the podcast on the 6th of April because I believe it runs out at the end of that day.
But if you're lucky enough to listen to this, you can get 50% of all cobalt apps. All access or all access lifetime. Click on the link in the show notes and there's no need to apply a code. It's already done. Also, I themes are having a 30% sale. They've got an April sale on 30% off all their products.
Again, click on the link in the show notes, and then I'm blinking as I did last week. Two, three deals. There's a lifetime deal on mail poet, $49 lifetime deal on happy forms. Again, $49 and another one at $49 is WP FOMA fi all linked to in the show notes. As always, our security section is a very light to touch.
I'm just going to mention the articles and hopefully you can dive into them more deeply. If those plugging names ring any bells. So Wordfence tells us there is a high security vulnerability leads to closure of plugins with over 100,000 installs. So this is the contact form seven date to pick our plugin.
So if that name rings a bell, go and read that article. There's a critical vulnerability affecting over 200 sites in the rank math SEO plugin. Apparently that has been patched, but nevertheless, you might want to see what was going on there. And finally, there's the article, which I think a lot of people have been reading lately all about how to keep your zoom conferencing safe.
Obviously, a lot of us have moved over to zoom conferencing because of . The, the isolation, the fact that you're trying to work remotely at home and the default settings, leave us open to something called zoom bombing, where people, if you've not got it set up properly, can sort of just jump into your call.
Allegedly, I was reading this morning that zoom have now patched this and they've made waiting rooms the default option. Now, I don't know if that means that it will override settings. It may be that this just takes care of everything. If you just stop your zoom installation. But nevertheless, if you want to be.
100% sure. Read this. You'll know what settings to look out for them, so on and so forth. And the last one is the WordPress vulnerability news for March, 2020. It's one of these articles that you just scroll through, look for things. So for example, there's an arbitrary writing file problem in lifter LMS.
the rank mass problem that we've talked about, pre privileged escalation in the elemental page builder, all of the different things that we've probably mentioned over the last month or so, they're all. Listed in one handy, easy to scroll article. So go and check that out. The next section is the blatantly promotional WP build section.
Just one thing for you, it is to say that I had a chat this time on the podcast. It was episode 173 with David Decker. David Decker and I met in the WP Builds Facebook group, and then we met in the real world at WordCamp Europe last year, and I decided to bring him on and we talk about his work. Press journey.
It's a lovely one because it's basically a story about one man's sort of forays into WordPress, how he got into it, how we ended up developing plugins and so on and so forth. So definitely urge it too. It's lovely, very, very calming story, and I really enjoy chatting to him. Right? That's all the WordPress news I've got for you this week.
But don't press stop because we always have a little bit at the end, which is not related to WordPress, but is useful. Anyway, this one I suppose is highly related to WordPress, but not specifically. So it is a new service called SEO. Hi, Eve. And it's. Titles itself as the only white label SEO partner your agency needs, and I'll read, welcome to SEO high, very simple, transparent and proactive SEO service that will equip you to sell and deliver SEO contracts.
While we do all the service level work for you, you can obviously register for this. It's begun now. It's an SEO service that's basically going to do the work for you, and they claim that it's transparent, affordable, reliable, proactive, and they make the claim that each. Hi, Eve can be aligned to every client, and what they mean by that is choose a mixture of our three pathways to create the perfect mix of SEO services for each client.
We understand that each agency has a different skill set and each client has different needs. That's why we created pathways, but basically, if you want to offer. Hand all of your SEO work to SEO hive, then you can certainly do that. We've had Pete Everett, the guy behind it, on the podcast. WP Builds weekly WordPress news on a couple of occasions, and so if SEO is something that you believe is important, but you just can't be, be doing with doing it yourself and go check out SEO, how are you.
If you're anything like me, life has been sort of turned upside down somewhat by the, by the fact that your children are at home all of the time now and over on WebDevStudios we have an article entitled how to work remotely with kids at home. They make a disclaimer, which is so true. It's not easy.
You'll need a lot of patients and try to remember that. There are your kids and you love them. So basically it goes into all the different things that you can do. Some recommend, well, loads of recommended online resources, things to keep them busy, but busy in a meaningful way. Some of them are paid for.
So for example, there's a service called time for learning, which has a monthly subscription, but there are other things which are free. Obviously. It kind of takes a bit of a slant towards coding and what have you. So there's things like tinker, which is a computer programming site where you can learn for, well, basically.
Children from five upwards. Let's say I'm learning how to program in a simple way. Then there's things like Khan Academy and so on. It's just absolutely loads of things. YouTube channels listed and just might be a useful resource if you're, if your children are testing your patients. The penultimate article I've got for you this week is really interesting.
It's on the base camp.com blog. I can't say that I've got expertise in this area because I don't really involve myself with a team particularly, but it says group chat to the best way to totally stress out your team. I'm imagining that lots and lots of teams have jumped to doing groups. Chat and basically it's like an all day meeting with random participants and no agenda.
And they say over the past few years, persistent group chat tools like Slack and Microsoft teams have taken hold and strangled companies. What began as a novel way to quickly communicate company-wide has become a heavy-handed interruption factory with serious consequences. And they make the point that if you've got these kind of always on real time chats in which people are dropping in and dropping out all of the time, there's hardly a way to be productive.
There are some positives. You can hash things out quickly. You can spread red alerts. It could be fun, and there's a sense of belonging attached to it, but they also say that, you know, if you switch these things on too often, you get mental fatigue and exhaustion. You've got this ASAP culture, which is not really a nice way of nice way of describing these.
Everything's got to be done now, fear of missing out or not having a say. You know, if you drop out for a minute, will something have been . Decided whilst you were absent, thinking align at a time rather than a thought at a time. There's implied consensus, knee-jerk responses and the list just goes on and on.
In other words, the, the list of negatives is significantly higher than the list of positive. So if you are trying to figure out what's the best way for your company to have online meetings and online chats, maybe this article will be of use. Speaking of online meetings and online chats. The last article for you this week is entitled Facebook messenger launches desktop app with unlimited and free group of video calls.
So you may very well get caught in the problem. That base camp just suggested, and it is exactly that. Facebook have launched a desktop app. Now my understanding is this is for windows and Mac OS only. I don't know what the number of participants is, whether it's on limited or whether there's a particular, you know, a point at which you can not get anybody else on, but it's there.
It's completely free. And obviously you'll be sending everything through Facebook servers, but if that doesn't bother you too much, you can play with it and see what you make of it. It may be that the whole zoom crisis over the last few weeks has meant that you're scrabbling around for a new alternative, and you know, this might be, it.
Thank you for listening to the WP built weekly WordPress news this week. I really hope that you found something useful and interesting in there. It was brought to you this week 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 PHB 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. We'll be doing plenty of stuff this week. We'll have a podcast on Thursday.
We'll also have our live weekly WordPress news at 2:00 PM UK time on Monday the 6th of April. Join us at wpbuilds.com forward slash live or just come to the Facebook group and you can join me and some participants having a chat about WordPress. It's really enjoyable. Anyway, thanks for listening this week and we'll see you again soon.
Bye. Bye for now.