This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 13th April 2020:
Plugins / Themes / Blocks
Deals from this week
Cloudimage Lifetime Deal – $49
Mailpoet Lifetime Deal – $49
WPfomify Lifetime Deal – $49
Nothing for you this week…
Not WordPress, but useful anyway…
The WP Builds podcast is sponsored this week by…
We thanks them for their support of WP Builds.
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 110 it covers the WordPress news for the week. Commencing the 13th of April, 2020 and it was published on Monday the 20th of April, 2020. My name is Nathan Wrigley, and just a few things before we begin the usual housekeeping.
I would really appreciate it if you've gotten involved with WP Builds in some way, shape, or form that could be sharing the podcast. For example, going to WP Builds.com copying and pasting the URL and just. Sending it out to some email list or perhaps, I don't know, putting it in your Facebook group or something like that.
A good thing to do as well would be to go over to your favorite podcast player and give us a rating. I understand that. That's really good. Another way of keeping in touch with what we do is to go to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. Over there. There's a couple of newsletters that you can sign up to, one, to be alerted to the content that we produce, podcasts and news episodes and so on, and the other one to find out about WordPress deals as and when we hear about them.
You can also subscribe on your favorite podcast player and join our Facebook group of two and a half thousand WordPress's over on that page as well as a whole bunch of stuff there. WP Builds.com forward slash deals is our deals page are searchable, filterable list of WordPress deals. There's a whole load of coupon codes over there, permanent deals.
They're not just for black Friday, they're 365 days of the year. They're always there. So WP Builds.com forward slash deals if you're in the market for something this week. And also we're on the lookout for some advertisers at the moment. So if you've got a plugin. Or perhaps a theme or something like that, and you would like to have it put in front of a WordPress specific audience, then please feel free to go to WP Builds.com forward slash advertise and we will see if we can get you on the WP Builds podcast or weekly WordPress news.
Speaking of which, let's get on with the new, shall we. We always divide our WordPress news up into different sections, and the first section is always WordPress core. One piece for you today, only over at WP Tavern, an article by Justin Tadlock entitled Gothenburg, 7.9 adds gradients two more blocks. Extra topography controls and new patterns just in seems to think that this is a really nice feature update.
And because Justin says it, I'm inclined to believe it. It's been quite awhile since the last one. Well, if you can consider three weeks to be quite a while, but it does mean that there has been a lot happening under the hood. So very quickly, there are now gradients to all the things. Previously gradients could only be used to, ah.
Taking things like the cover and the button blocks. Well now that's been extended to columns, media and text blocks as well. He does make the point that it hasn't really been leveraged by theme authors so far. But anyway, the capabilities are there. We've got some typographic changes for headings and paragraphs.
One of his longstanding peeves he says was that the heading block didn't previously have. The option to change font size. Instead, you had to use things like H one H two and so on to to get that to happen. Well, now you can do that, but he is slightly concerned that those options have been extended to include line Heights, which isn't available to theme authors.
So we'll have to see what happens with that. And also there's three new block patterns. And so block patterns, if you like a collections of blocks, and there are three new ones. There's the . The hero two columns, which displays a group that encloses an italic paragraph, a heading, and a two column block of text.
There's the numbered features, which display several groups of columns with a number on the left and text on the right. I can actually see myself using that. I like the look of that one and this peculiar one called the it's time one where it outputs a paragraph, two columns, and a large paragraph that reads.
It's time. So yeah, that's a really interesting update. Anyway, go and check it out if you haven't done already. There's an awful lot that's happened. One of the things that he is also happy with is the fact that the, the code quality has seen some improvements. There seems to be an awful lot of effort done, to, to make the code quality.
Slightly leaner, and they've also included a short cut, a keyboard shortcuts if you want to toggle on and off they full screen layout, which no doubt has confounded many of you since you upgraded to the most recent version of WordPress core. But the shortcut is control, shift, alt, and F. so you've got to remember control shift alternative.
So it's not really much of a shortcut is it? Nevertheless, there you go. Nice updates to Gothenburg. Okay. The next section is entitled community, and I've got three pieces for you today. The first one is back to WP Tavern, and again, just in Tadlock with a piece entitled the road ahead. What's in store for WordPress for the rest of 2020 I would urge you to read this one.
If you read nothing else this week, this would be a good one because it's Justin's very intelligent. Take on. Probably what's going to happen during the rest of this year, and it comes down to a few things. He's leaning heavily on Josepha Haden, who is the executive director of WordPress, who provided a, an update for the 2020 goals, and Justin feels that most of these are going to be shippable.
WordPress 5.5 is due in August and WordPress 5.6 is due in December, and. We have the following things coming up, some of them really quite exciting. The first one is automatic updates for everything, and by that we literally mean everything. So at the minute you can have automatic updates for minor releases of WordPress, but the intention is to move to automatic updates for plugins and themes in WordPress, 5.5 and then possibly WordPress, 5.6 automatic updates for absolutely everything, including core versions of WordPress.
Now be interesting to see how. Much of a crisis is caused by automatic updating of plugins and themes, because obviously we've all been there. Things have broken because of automatic updates, or should I say just updating and you know, and then discovering a problem later down the road. But this will no doubt.
Force plugin and theme developers to think really carefully about pushing something to be live on the repo, because obviously if it's going to be automatically updated, they could be inundated with a ton of support queries if something breaks. Anyway, that's a really nice, nice addition coming along the along the road.
Also, we've got the block. Directory integration. So the block directory landed in Guttenberg 6.5 which is a little while ago. It was an experimental feature, and the idea is that you'll be able to simply say, well, I'm missing a block, and you'll be able to go and search for it in much the same way that you do for plugins at the moment, the blocks will simply do one thing and you'll be able to install it directly from the block editor, which is really nice.
Now we've talked about full site editing rather a lot. The intention for this is by WordPress 5.6 so by the end of the year, hopefully you'll have full site editing. And also there's talk about a block area for widgets as well. And obviously with the way that the transition has occurred, there's still a little bit of a lag between.
Perhaps what you had in the sidebar and so on, and what's going to be possible as a block. And so that's going to be looked at. And also global styles. The option to probably have styles stored in a Jason file, which can then be amended through a sort of user interface areas and be able to use a color picker or, or a font size picker or something.
And it would update that Jason file. So yeah, there's. Absolutely loads coming in. There is actually more talk. Things like a navigation block is mentioned by Justin as well, but that's the, the main highlights from this piece. So really, really exciting year ahead. I feel. I'm staying on the WP Tavern for the next one, but this one's a guest post by Chris Mayer Arnar, and it's entitled state of the meetup on the lockdown, and it is simply this, if like me, you're accustomed to going to WordPress events, you'll probably have been involved in WordPress meetups as well as WordCamps.
Obviously that's all passed at the moment. And so it's Chris's thoughts on all of this. How. At the beginning it felt a little bit of a shame that these live events were being canceled, but obviously we all cracked open zoom and Skype and so on, and he's just got a bit of a take on what, what that's been like, how it was really painless.
You know, we're lucky in that most of us can operate the technology that we're working with. And we can figure this stuff out for ourselves. And so he talks about exactly that. He's wondering, of course whether after this is all over, whether we'll return to the live meeting events where we all turn up in person, or whether we'll just be virtual and maybe a bit, be a bit of a hybrid of both.
Obviously it's nice to invite people from different parts of the world to those meetups. As I know they do it. WordCamp London for example. Every single year. Talk mag, run this competition called plugin madness, and it's a situation in which you can vote for your favorite plugin. And all I'm going to do is say that this year's winner beating out competitors like Wordfence, advanced custom fields, woo commerce and custom post types UI was elemental.
So well done, elemental. This is now their second year in a row. Let's see if they can make it three in a row in. Plugin madness 2021. The next section is plugins, themes, and blocks, and I've got quite a few few this week. The first one, well, it's actually comprised of two things. I was alerted to this new plugin by Paul Lacey, so I've included his tweets where he says, cool news and then links to this plugin.
The plugin that I'm linking to is over on get hub, and it's actually just called leave at a door for WooCommerce. It's a very simple idea. Obviously in this current period where a lot of people are just embarking on delivering what it is that they stock in their store, but they're not delivering it actually to the hands of the people who have ordered it.
They're delivering it to the doorstep. This simple plugin leaves a checkbox on the checkout page of your store and you tick it if you wish to have something just simply left at the door. If you tick that box, a little text input will be revealed where you can optionally tell them some additional instructions.
I'm sure you've been through this with something like Amazon, so it's a really simple little idea, but it obviously is going to help people at the moment who are transitioning and would like to have that data socked into their store information so that they can put things in the right place when they deliver those meals or whatever it might be.
So great stuff. Users of toolset. You'll be pleased to know that there is now an article on the toolset.com website entitled tool set blocks are 1.2 Bita offers image galleries or masonry and more, and it's exactly. Okay. What you'd imagine, it says the upcoming release of tool set blocks lets you display images the way you want.
It includes new gallery and slider blocks for static images and dynamic lists in templates as well. And so there is exactly as described and you gallery section, which you can find when you insert a block from there, you get the option to make that into a grid. Masonry or a collage, and there's also this image slider block as well, where you get to customize how many images go in there and what sort of size they are and what the buttons look like to go from left and right as well.
So yeah, really nice. It's accompanied by a video on, I have to say. Whoever this guy is that they've hired. I think he's a keeper. This video is really sublimely good. it's just really professionally put together. This chap is clear, cogent, and explains it all in very, very well laid out and thoughtful way.
So, Bravo for this higher weld on tool sets. I like his style. Stackable is a collection of blocks that you can download, and they've introduced a new advanced columns and grid block, and I have to say it's pretty impressive. They have increased their block collection up to 24 blocks. They're now on version 2.4 0.0 and this new one enables you to do with columns, literally, as far as I can work out anything that you could possibly want.
They got this lovely in genius way of resizing. Let's say for example, you put three. I have columns next to each other and you wish to resize them. There's simple buttons that you can click to select whether you'd like one to be wider than the other two or the middle one to be the widest. And then underneath that they've got this slider where you just grab the handles and the handle represents the, the gap between the blocks.
It's hard to describe, but very, very simple to understand. Once you've seen it. There are options for changing the height and whether you want things to be top aligned, center lined, bottom aligned, color options and a whole ton of other block settings. And really, I feel this is a beautifully done piece of work.
If you are struggling to make things, have columns and correctly sized themselves. In the block editor. Well, this looks like a cracking way of doing it. It just encapsulates almost everything you could possibly need as far as I can see. So that is stackable, advanced columns and grid block. If you're using WooCommerce, you may be interested to know that one of the extensions automate woo.
4.9 has received an update. It will be dropping at some point, hopefully before you've heard this podcast episode, and they've got a few new features. One of the main things is that they have speeded up the way that things happen. So at the moment, things are using WP Cron, and that could take us as much as a few minutes to produce the
The content that you want to do. So as an example, somebody ordered something. It might take a minute or two for them to get the the receipt email of that because we're waiting on Chrome to do its work. Well, they've tightened that up a little bit. They've also added user tracking and they say when WooCommerce use usage tracking, I should say, is enabled automate.
We will now include configuration and usage information in the data center WooCommerce to allow us to create a better user experience in the future updates. There's a new subscription payments can't variable. And a bunch of other updates as well. For example, an error message will be added to the workflow log when there are no valid email recipients.
It's a bit of an edge case plugging this automate Wu, but if you are using it, you've got a nice new update. The next section is all about deals and there's a whole host of them this week. It's quite good bum per week for deals. I guess people are kind of inside and perhaps they're opening their wallet a little bit more than usual.
I don't really know, but the first couple of links are just for the WP Builds deals page that I mentioned at the top of the show where we have a 365 days a year coupon code list, which we the permanents. You know, if you go there anytime of the year, you can get 20. 25 30% off notable WordPress plugins and themes and so on.
So that's all there plus options to get yourself on the email list as well. But I'm just going to run through what we've got. We've got a few new ones. We've got one called the checker, which is an email list cleaner. So if you've got an email list and you want to clean some of them out. I have no idea how these services work, but they claim to be able to clean out all of the spam and the junk ones and the ones that are bouncing and so on.
That's available for $49 if you need some royalty free images, deposit photos is back on so you can bag yourself a whole load of images. Maybe you could stack that one up and get yourself a load, which we'll see you right through to the end of the year or so on. There's a new one called quotas as well.
If you're sending out proposals, there's a whole suite of tools which do this kind of thing, but this is a new one on me. The idea is that you send out nice looking proposals, which clients can agree to online and they look professional and hopefully we'll get the job done for you. There's also one called play HT.
If you're a blog poster and you would like to enable people to listen to your blog posts, then you simply publish your blog post and it creates some audio that goes with it. I have to say the audio doesn't sound quite as silky smooth as you would hope, but you know it's AI. It's not going to be as good sort of pauses in the wrong areas and things, but it's not half bad.
If you pick the right voice, you can get them to sound really quite reasonable. Cloud image is an image squasher so it's something like short pixel or WPM you'd have smashed that still there. Elfin sites, widgets, there's like a thousand or so different widgets in that deal. Things like Facebook comments and login things, just loads of different options.
Male poets, an email sending service, happy forms, WP FOMA fi and 30% of themes. They're all in the show notes, so click on them and see what you make of them. The next section is security. We always have a bit of a light touch on security. You never feel, this is quite the right place to go into this in depth, but listen out for the plug in names that I'm about to mention because Wordfence tell us there is an unpatched high severity vulnerability in widget settings, import or export or plugin.
So if that one rings a bell, go and read that article. There's also another article on Wordfence entitled vulnerability patched in the accordion plugin. 30,000 sites are using that one. So it's worth checking out. And as I mentioned, very often I themes, they do their little Roundup where you can just scroll through.
They made it even more easy to scroll because the images are less big. So it just highlights all of the plugins. You can flick through this page in a matter of seconds and see if any of these plugins are the ones that you've got deployed. And if so, go and you know, sot sorted out. If you're like me in Europe.
Kind of into security, but you don't really know the technicalities of certain things. You may be interested in this one on the talk back website. It's called D dos. So distributed denial of service attacks explained what you need to know and how to prevent them. And it's exactly that. It's got lots of nice diagrams and it explains in fairly technical detail.
You don't have to be a . Technical person, you know, it doesn't use lots of weird acronyms and things, but it does explain what you can do and how you might mitigate it. One of the things you might want to do is of course, is to use a web application firewall or a WAF, which raises the question. What on earth is that?
Well, the last article in the security section is by WPM UDEV entitled, what is a WEF website application security explained. A bit like the last one, where it takes a difficult subject and tries to break it down into human language. WPM you'd ever doing that this time around, they're saying how a web application firewall works, what its purpose is and how you might deploy it as always with these things.
There's, you know, there's some, there's some little product upsell because they have something, in their hosting platform, which they've just launched. But, nevertheless, very nice article. The blatantly self-promotional WP Builds bit. This week we released a podcast. It was episode 175 entitled having a system for word of mouth marketing with Jason Resnick.
Got on the phone with Jason A. Little while ago, and we talked about exactly this. The sort of antithesis to everything being automated is trying to make it much more word of mouth, trying to leverage those people who've. Already used your product or services who you believe would make good ambassadors, and Jason's got a whole ton of really interesting advice about how you can make this happen.
Some of it is automated, most of it is semi-automated, so don't leap into this thinking of able to set it up and forget it because you can't. There is a lot of actual stuff to do and that stuff to do never goes away. But it is interesting and it kind of returns a little bit of humanity. To the whole process of using a word of mouth marketing.
So check it out. Episode 175 with Jason Resnick. It's a slow time for jobs, so I haven't got any of those for you this week, so we'll move right along to the very last section. Nothing to do with WordPress, but do stick around because some of this is quite interesting. We call this the, not to WordPress, but useful anyway.
And the first one is over on the BBC website to say that Apple and Google are teaming up to create a contact tracing Kovac 19 app. Now, this is interesting because obviously Apple with their iOS platform and Google with the Android platform, they know a lot about who's been where. And so what they've decided to do in a privacy friendly way, and I'll explain about that in a moment.
I decided to combine their efforts to create an app, which doesn't leach user data, which is privacy focus, but which will give you information about whether or not you have potentially been in contact or in close proximity with somebody who has declared themselves to have got the coronavirus. So the way it works is you'll need to have Bluetooth switched on, and as you walk around in the world.
You will come into contact with other phones, your, even if they're buried inside your pocket, it doesn't make any difference. The, the Bluetooth connection will be constantly yelling, here I am. Here I am. Who are you? Who are you? And if my phone comes into close proximity with your phone, a little connection will be made and my phone will store that information.
Your phone will store that information. Now, at some point, let's say for example, I contract that virus and I declare myself. In the app to have it. It will then reach out and I'm not sure how the, how all of this will work. It gets a bit technical, but it will reach out to all of the people who I have been in close proximity with.
Now, it's interesting because the government in the UK have kind of said, this is a lovely idea, but we would like to have that information. Whereas Googles and apples approach is not that. It's not about sharing it with any large entity. It's about literally communicating directly with the people. Who you've been in contact with, you won't know who they are.
You can't exactly email them or SMS them or anything. The app does it all for you, and it just says somebody that you've been in contact with in the recent past has got the virus. You might need to self isolate yourself. So it's a lovely, lovely idea. and we'll have to see if it's taken up or whether the governments are going to want more central control because obviously their 10,000 mile view, they need to know.
And have this data, I suppose, if they're going to make an effective response. We're staying with Google, but this is a very different article. It's over on search engine journal entitled Google suffers, major defeat must pay French publishers. Well, this all came about a little while ago because the French news organizations were a little bit annoyed that Google was kind of scraping their content and putting it in its news listings, and they were requiring the, the French, news outlets to sort of.
Put things together in a format which Google could cope with. So the French government are, by the sounds of it, said, look, we, we're, you need to pay the, the organizations for their content. It's not any good. You just saying, well, you do as we want. And so Google simply turned off the tap. They just simply stopped showing French news.
And the government in France said, no, you can't do this. If you wish to operate in France, you're going to have to, you know, really back away from this. Posture because it's a little bit ridiculous. And the search engine journal, see, this is a major defeat for Google. It says this is a major loss for Google because it appears to create a precedent for Google to have to pay news organizations for the right to use snippets, titles, and images.
Google has always argued that is doing good for the publishers by sending traffic to those new news organizations. So we'll have to see how this story develops, but may be. Just maybe Google are going to have to start paying if they want to scrape your stuff. And the last one is all about Google as well.
It's Google all the way to the bottom, isn't it? This week? So this is over at talk mag. It's called Google data studio tutorial basics, beginning tips, and next steps. This is Google's data studio. I don't know if you've used it before, but it's a way of analyzing and keeping the keeping track of all the data on your site.
It's got absolutely loads of features so it can pull data from Google analytics, AdWords, Google sheets, MySQL, YouTube. Just to name a few, but it is very, very, I mean, it's like a geek's dream. There's charts and graphs and lines and curves all over the place. X and Y axis is coming out of the wazoo and it's maybe a little bit complicated.
So this article explains how you use it, how to set it up, how to make sure that you're compliant, how to log in, how to explore the studio, how to add data sources, and basically how to do everything. It's very nice and simple to use. Should you have gone through this article. Okay. Thank you so much for listening to the WP Builds weekly WordPress news this week.
I hope that you got something out of it and that you found it useful. If you did, please consider sharing it in whatever way you see fit. Like I said, at the top, it'd be very nice if you could give the podcast a review in your favorite podcast player, but also just sharing it word of mouth as we were talking about a moment ago, and perhaps even, you know.
Writing about something in Facebook and so on. Also, please reach out. I'm very happy to hear what you think about it and maybe ways that we could improve it as well. Alright, that's all we've got for you for this week. Hopefully we'll see you at some point during the coming week. We'll have a podcast on Thursday and we'll be back on Monday next week doing the same thing with some different news, but don't forget 2:00 PM UK time.
We've got the WP Builds weekly WordPress news live. Join us for that. WP Builds.com forward slash live. Bye-bye. For now.