This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 20th April 2020:
Plugins / Themes / Blocks
Deals from this week
Cloudimage Lifetime Deal – $49
Mailpoet Lifetime Deal – $49
WPfomify Lifetime Deal – $49
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 111 it covers the WordPress news for the week. Commencing the 20th of April, 2020 and it was published on Monday the 27th of April, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley, and just a few bits of housekeeping before we begin.
It's all the usual stuff, but I like to do it anyway. Head over to WP Builds.com there. You'll find everything that we produce, and we do produce quite a lot of WordPress specific content. A couple of the links that I'd like to mention, if you go to the top in the navigation bar, you'll find a subscribe link that takes you to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe.
And if you go over to that page, you're going to find a whole bunch of ways that we will keep in touch with you should you wish. So for example, there's a couple of newsletters you can sign up to. The one on the left of the gray one is if you would like to keep in touch with podcasts and news episodes that we put out.
We do that twice a week. And the blue one is if you would like to be. Updated as to when ever we hear about word press deals coming on the market, and I don't quite know why, but this seems to be a lot. Just at the moment on that page, you'll also find ways to subscribe to us on your favorite podcast player and join over two and a half thousand WordPress's in our Facebook group.
Anyway, that's WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. Another page I'd like to mention would be WP Builds.com forward slash deals. This is a always on 365 days of the year deals page where you can find significant amounts of notable WordPress plugins and themes. It's searchable and filterable, and it's like I say, it's there all the time.
So if you're in the market for something this week, go and check that out. You never know. You might find a deal. Before your eyes, and the last one is WP Builds.com forward slash. Advertise. If you would like to advertise your product or service in front of a very specific WordPress audience, then please go over there and fill out that form and we'll get you on the podcast.
Okay? Let's get stuck into the news for this week, shall we? We always block our WordPress news into different sections. And the first section is always WordPress core, and the first piece is over on WordPress Tavern. Sarah Gooding is back to the Tavern, so she's helping out with Justin title at once more, and she's written a piece called WordPress dash icons project to discontinue development in favor of new icon component.
And very simply, the WordPress dash icons are the little icons that you see in the WordPress . Admin area, so the little dashboard icon on the posts and pages icon on the settings icon and so on. They're all little dash icons and the project's been going for ages, but it. It doesn't really get updated too much.
In fact, the last update of yacht was in May, 2019 and apparently prior to that, it was something like three years before it got an update. It's like a Sprite. So at the moment it's got about 340 icons and they're all loaded at once. And you know, clever CSS means that you can position the, The S the icon that you need at the appropriate time, but it's been decided that this is going to stop.
Any new submissions are going to be put on hold. So if you were hope, hoping to get a dash icon submitted into the project, that's now not going to be the case. We're going to move to SVGs instead, which I think is a whole lot better. So rather than loading 340 dash icons, of which you may only use one or two, now you'll be able to load whichever ones you need.
And only. The ones that you need in SVG format, which is very small and compact. Anyway, so yeah, this is interesting. Hopefully you'll be able to use the dash icons going forward. In fact, apparently it's going to be maintained in core indefinitely is the word, so I don't know exactly how long that means, but plugin developers, you're going to have to decide whether you're going to embrace the new icon component or stick with the old dash icons.
The next section is the community section three pieces for you today. The first one in titled Guttenberg hub launches online block template builder. This is Justin Tadlock again over on WordPress Tavern and he's mentioning the online block template builder and it looks really interesting. I would say this is worth pausing this.
Whole podcast four and going and checking it out because essentially, if you've never used Gutenberg before, if you've been thinking, well, it seems fairly limited. It's not for me. This is a project which enables you to create templates. There are over 200 available. Essentially, you go to the interface, you decide which sections you want.
So for example, you might like a three column section with a particular background. You might like a video section or some rows aligned to the rights and text to the left and so on and so forth. You get the idea. You go over there, create them, and then you simply copy and paste some code and perhaps a tiny bit of CSS as well, and you bring it over to your own websites.
And within a matter of moments, you click some more buttons. And that whole layout is completely editable. We've mentioned this before, but in this particular piece, Justin has an actual play and seems really. Surprisingly impressed by it. He was able to throw together a page in just a matter of moments.
So the kind of thing you've been able to do with a page builder for a very long time, but now this seems to be becoming more and more the kind of thing that will be possible in Gutenberg now. There is a slight clue chair in that you've got to go to this third party website or install a Chrome extension and then create what it is that you want.
And like I say, copy and paste the code literally. Takes a few key strokes of your keyboard, but still it would be nice in the future if this could be better fitted into the upcoming pattern system, as Justin mentioned, and then all of this wonderful stuff could happen directly inside of the Guttenberg editor anyway, as far as I've, as far as I'm concerned, this is.
A real flag in the sand, a real moment where you can see the capabilities of Gutenberg and how really unskilled users will be able to create really nice louts. You know, almost immediately. It's actually interesting, right at the bottom of the PCs creating a Gutenberg form builder as well, which I didn't know about, which may be worth a look.
Everything to do with a form created inside of Gutenberg. Next one is WPM U dev. I don't know if you know, but they have a hosting solution now. It's just called WPM UDEV hosting. It's based on top of digital ocean droplets, and they've decided to amend their pricing. That is to say that if you bring more than a few sites, they're going to reduce the pricing very simply.
It's 20. Sites or more, and you'll get 10% off 50 sites or more. We'll get you 15% off and a hundred sites or more. We'll get you 20% off. So if you're not sure about how you want to do your hosting and you've got a WPM, you'd have accounts or indeed you wish to sign up, then you can get up to 20% off. If you bring a boat load of websites over, there's, there's more detail about all of this and how it works in terms of the digital ocean droplets and so on.
Over on the piece, click on the link in the show notes. We don't often bring you video content in the EWP Builds weekly WordPress news, but I like this one. This is Claire Brotherton. It's over on wordpress.tv. It's her word come Glasgow 2020 so that was in February. Just a few months ago. She did a talk entitled examining the accessibility of popular WordPress page builders, and the video is about half an hour long.
I confess that I've watched a PR. Portions of it. I didn't see the whole thing from through, from start to finish, but she breaks down how popular WordPress page builder. So for example, element or BeaverBuilder and so on, cope and how they are or are not accessible. So she takes, for example, she puts certain patterns of rows together and examines every single little nuance and detail about whether or not they are accessible, what they could do better.
And a notable example might be a simple contact form. How would that. Play out for somebody who was using a screen reader, those kinds of things. And she breaks it all down. And honestly, I learned a lot in the few, in the bits and pieces that I watched, all sorts of things that I didn't realize were not being done that weren't being done in page builders that are used.
So if accessibility is something that you need to, you know, to SWAT up on, then this video might give you an idea of which page builders do which things better. Our third section is called plugins, themes, and blocks, and we've got five pieces for you today. The first of which is firstname.lastname@example.org they are producing.
Then ninth monthly template kit. This one is called the online course template kit. Basically, each month they release a kit where you can just. Click a few buttons and you get a whole range of pages created for particular niches already done in elemental, ready to just use and modify to your own needs.
Well, they've identified that in this time where everybody's in lockdown. There seems to be a very large upswing in people wishing to produce course content websites, so using LMSs and so on and so forth. So this template kit is squarely aimed at that. It's free for pro users. They have a sort of homepage where they talk about the main benefits of the online course.
They have course pages all laid out, so they've got a sort of menu item to the right and then the course overview and what it is that you're going to be getting on the left. Then they've got lesson pages about us and contact pages, headers, footers, and menu popups. They're also dealing with four Oh fours help areas, course completion pop up and.
So on and so forth. So essentially, if you're using an LMS and you really don't have the time to spend designing something utterly bespoke, this might be right up your street, click a few buttons and you are done. Maybe just tweak the colors and the fonts and it's ready to go. This next one comes from the friend of the podcast, David Von Greece, who is behind the page builder framework.
He's taken over the maintenance of a really interesting project on the wordpress.org repo, which has been established for a little while by the looks of it called Kirky. Now, Kirky has a lovely icon of a pig. By the looks of it, and it's a customize a framework. Now, I have to confess, I'd not heard of this before, but it has over 400,000 active installation, so it's pretty gigantic and a really healthy amount of five stars reviews.
And I'll read the description. It says. Using Kirky theme. Developers can create rich experiences for the WordPress customizer, but using best code practices included are more than 30 custom control types, ranging from simple sliders to complex type biography controls with Google font integration. And it goes on and there, there's a great big long list of all the different things that you might need in the customizer.
So. Really, this is only for people who are theme developers, and you should already be familiar with the customizer API before you start getting into it, but fabulous project. So essentially, if you've got anything to do with the customizer, this might be something that you're interested in on. I am delighted that David Von Greece has taken over a project such as this, because I know that he is.
Somebody that writes very, very nice code and also I think will be a really great custodian of this project. So this is good news. Now, I mentioned earlier that we have a deals page email@example.com forward slash deals on, I mentioned that it's searchable and filterable. Well, all of that is done. The searching and filtering is done via a plugin called facet to WP.
It's a fabulous plugin if you haven't used it before, and. The goalies behind facet WP have released a change log. And so this is of interest to me and hopefully to you to a 5.3 0.3 says, we've rebuilt the plugin updater is now significantly faster and only requires one request to fetch all updated data.
We've removed the get hub dependency for all, for add on updates, add on change logs now appear in the plugin info modal, and there's a few other bits and pieces as well. So hopefully . If you're using facet WP, you'll be able to update to their latest version and it will all behave a little bit more quickly.
I do like this plugin very much indeed. This next one is just a fun little plug in. It's being mentioned on WordPress Tavern. Sarah Gooding writes, chatterbox plugin that uses WordPress blocks to show conversations. So imagine that your in something like Facebook messenger or WhatsApp, you'll know the UI.
That perfectly. There will be your messages on the right in a little bubble, and then there will be your respondents messages on the left in a different colored bubble, and possibly there might be some media in there, so example photos and so on and so forth. Well, this little plugin chatterbox aims to mimic that in a Guttenberg block.
So if you can imagine, let's say for example, you wish to demonstrate to the, you are available on chat and you want to show people what that looks like. There is an hour block to do exactly that. You essentially write the text that you want to be displayed on the screen, right? What it is that your respondent would say, put in images and so on.
It's just such a fun little thing. A chap called Dave Ryan, who's a developer at Bluehost has created it. It's very simple at the moment. There's no background colors or anything like that, but he says, once. The block and context API matures. He plans to add a message, background, text, colors, and so on. So very specific use case for this one, but you never know.
There might be a use for it that you've, and you feel that you could use it right away. The last one in this section is again over on WordPress tab and Sarah Gooding writing frontage. He raises a 1 million euros with automatic and K fond. Again, I confess, I've not heard of these guys, but from titty is a free open source framework for building WordPress themes with react and they've raised a million euros.
Now, I don't know the proportion paid byK fund or if there's any other investors, but automatically. picked up 22% of that, so presumably $220,000. The, the idea is to lower the barrier to creating fast loading react powered WordPress websites. and Sarah Gooding writes, it removes the hassle of setting up and configuring all the tooling.
The framework seems to have captured Automatic's interest as a homegrown WordPress solution. For sure. Facilitating decoupled setups that use react on the front end. So you'd be interested in this. I presume if you are a WordPress theme developer, they're kind of saying it's an alternative to PHP themes.
So the company behind it posts to go. Identified Gatsby and next JS as front city's chief competitors. So if those names ring a bell, this might be something that you want to look at. The major differences between frontier T and other popular JS frameworks are apparently that it's rendered dynamically.
This means people have to rebuild it. The HTML, each time they edit or publish content, it's opinionated, which means that it has its own state manager and user's emotion for the CSS. The handle. So there's no need to learn graph QL or the rest API. So this is aimed squarely, I suppose, that people who are new to this, perhaps it's going to make things a little bit easier and we'll see how this project develops along the road.
The next section for you is deals. There are lots and lots of deals at the moment, so do excuse me for posting so many of them, but I think there's so many that it's worth it. the first couple of links are simply to WP build stuff. That is to say the searchable filterable deals page that I mentioned earlier.
The next link is all about getting you onto our email list where you can be alerted when we hear about these deals. And then there's a whole bunch of . Plugins and themes and so on, which are available. I think there's probably about 10 or more that we've listed this week. Several are carried over from previous weeks, but I think it's worth mentioning them in case you missed previous weeks.
But the first one I want to mention is a plugin called, if so, now, if so, is a plugin which enables you to create. Dynamic content on your WordPress website. So for example, it might be that you wish to show only a certain element or Beaver build a row when somebody from Australia visits your page, or perhaps you want to.
Show a particular type of content. When somebody comes from a different location, like from Facebook or from Google, you can do AB testing with it. It's really powerful and in all honesty, I'm quite surprised they've put themselves up on the deal site. Nevertheless, there it is. It starts at $49 I'd highly recommend going and having a look at it.
I've also put a link to a video that I made about a year ago all about how to use it. And honestly, I don't know if the plugins changed much since then, but it gives you some idea of some of the capabilities that the, that there are with this plugin, but definitely worth checking out. There's also one on there called a pub law, which is the ability to share jewel and create social media posts and so on.
There's an email list, clinical, the checker deposit photos are giving away loads of photos, royalty free, and so on. I also want to mention I'm Matt Davis. He's got the funnel packs, series of emails and things that you can send out to people, at different times and absolutely stellar service that people are raving about.
And funnel packs at the moment have got a 20% off discount because they managed to reach the milestone of being around for one year. It's called the birthday bundle. And you can save up to $244 so again, click on the link in the show notes. And the other ones are ones that I've mentioned recently. So the ones specifically I think, which might matter to WordPress users are cloud image, which is a bit like an image squasher.
There's elf site widgets, mail poet for sending out mass emails, happy forms, WP FOMA fi, and 30% of items product. Anyway. Tons and tons of stuff in the deal section this week. So maybe, maybe pulls this in, govern, actually look at the show notes to find the deal links themselves. The next section is always called security, and it's a very light touch.
This is not the area for us to get into the so many, so many deep and dark mysteries in the security section, and we just sort of brush over them fairly quickly. Two pieces for you this week. A Wordfence piece entitled critical vulnerabilities patched in a map, oppress maps plugin. Apparently this has 80,000 installs, so if the words map press maps.
And plugin alert something in your mind and you think, I've definitely got that installed on a site somewhere. Maybe go and check that one out because there is a critical vulnerability that has been patched. In fact, I believe it's two critical vulnerabilities, and the next one is just the, the vulnerability news Roundup.
Which a lot of these security companies put out, and this time around we're looking at web arcs, his version, it's called the WordPress vulnerability news, April, 2020 and as I've said many times, this is just great because you can scroll through and look at the pictures and look at the names and see if any of these plugins are something that you recognize and if so, what it exactly is that you need to do to get things fixed up.
The next section is the blatantly promotional WP build bit. We did podcast number 176 David Walmsley and I talked about lifetimes, deals versus subscriptions. Really interesting subject. It was suggested to us by a . WP Builds a Facebook group person of great notoriety. David McCann is very helpful in there.
Thank you, David. And he thought this would be a good subject for us to discuss, and so we did. It's interesting because it's, you would imagine that it's always a good idea to have a lifetime deal pay once it's cheap, isn't it? Well, there's more to it than that, and it largely comes down to the words. So.
Port and supporting the developers and having support going forward. But the podcast talks about our load more than that. So I would definitely recommend having a listen. Okay. Now we've got the jobs section. I've got to fear this week, but those two jobs are from the same company. The company in question is strategic.
We've had Miriam Schwab on the WP Builds live weekly WordPress news, several times. And. This week. She has a senior WordPress engineer's job as well as a senior full stack engineers job. She does say that although they are a Jerusalem based company, the members are distributed around the world of the team.
And so that might well be the case for you. Obviously if you live in Jerusalem, there might be a benefit to that, but if you are not living in Jerusalem, fear not, you can still apply so. A fabulous company recently received a very large funding round, and so hopefully the future for strategic is very bright.
Might be worth hopping onboard if you have those skills. The last section that we've got is entitled, not WordPress, but useful. Anyway, we always bolt on a few bits and pieces at the end from around the internet, which I feel are of interest. The first one that is over on the convert box website. Now, convert box is a fabulous tool.
If you haven't used this before, it's a really great tool which you can integrate with your WordPress website. It's a . Platform, but it allows you to create things like popups and banners with a whole bunch of options. It's really slickly done. They've got a fabulous interface for building these things and highly recommend it.
I've used it myself on several occasions, but they've got some new features. They've got advanced. Yeah. Conditional targeting, which is new, new multiple triggers. So instead of it just having one trigger before, you can now say, for example, I don't know if a person is inactive on a page for more than 30 seconds trigger something, or importantly the or there.
If the visitor abandons the page, there's not just one condition. They've got a new, more flexible display frequency. And they claim that their user experience has been improved as well. Although in all honesty, I thought it was one of the best user experiences I've ever come across. So fabulous news for convert box users.
This next one is an important little project. It's to do with security, I suppose. It's over on the naked security dot dot com blog and it's entitled at last a use for all those phishing emails you've been getting. Well, apparently there's been a real. Upswing in phishing attacks because of the coronavirus people coming up with all sorts of nefarious ways to get information out of you, claiming all sorts of different things.
And so the guys over at the UKs national cyber security Centre or N C S C for short, have come up with just an ingenious way of kind of getting on top of this. Essentially. They're going to start creating a sort of silo for all these emails and and coming up with ways that they can thought this stuff as it happens, all you've got to do to assist in this project is each time you get a phishing email, now clearly at some point you're going to wish to Mark it as spam, but also prior to doing that, if you could simply forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org so that is not.
F, I, S H, that's reports at phishing, P, H, I, S, H, I, N, G. dot gov.uk. Then they will go and look at it. They will see if there's ways that they can block email addresses from whence it came working out. If certain hosting companies need to be contacted to talk about these malicious links, and generally why raise awareness if there's a common thread, which comes up.
Suddenly they can obviously get in touch with the news outlets and so on and alert them to what's going on. So really fabulous initiative and you can all help and it requires very little effort. Now I have a sad admission. I love cable tie DS. I really, really love cable tardies because I don't like cables.
Sort of wandering off and straying in different directions. I like my cables to be nice and tidy and cables. Hate being nice and tidy. They desperately wish to be on tidy and go everywhere but not this cable. This is so good. It's called the super color and it's over on Kickstarter. They were hoping to raise 8,000 pounds and as it stands at the moment, with nine days to go, they've raised just under a million pounds and it's going up.
In front of my eyes. Every couple of seconds it refreshes and goes up like three or 400 pounds. It's super cool. It's basically a cable with lots of little magnets attached at various equal distances along the cable that allows you to kind of just curl it and by curling it, it kind of, it kind of locks itself together in a circle.
It doesn't have to be a circle. It could be a bigger circle, a little circle. You can flatten it out. You can do all sorts. Yeah. Honestly, I cannot describe how cool this is. You have to watch the video. Go watch the video. I bet you some of you invest in this project as soon as you see it. It's so fabulous.
A beautiful piece over on visual capitalists.com not going to dwell on this for very long. It says visualizing the length of fine print for 14 popular apps. So this is the terms of service that you have to sign up to, and there are 14 companies. All of them. You've heard of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tinder, Amazon, and so on and so forth, and it shows you sort of against each other.
How long the terms of service are now the, the winner in terms of the quickest one to read his Instagram with only 2,451 words, which would take the average user about two and a half. Sorry, nine and a half minutes to read. Then we've got Netflix slightly every 11 minutes to read, and then it goes up. So for example, Apple, it'll take you about half an hour to read their terms of service and it gets worse and worse until finally the winner or the loser, if you, if you prefer, is Microsoft a gargantuan Walden hour and three minutes to read, which is just shy according to this.
Of the reading of Shakespeare's Macbeth. So there you go. It just compares them all and just goes to show how ludicrous it is for anybody to be expected to read any of this stuff. Honestly. Why is it not made more simple. If you sell things online, it may be that you require Google shopping indexing to help you along the way.
Now this, I find this a little bit difficult in that they try to look a bit like search engine listings, but they are actually paid for listings. Well, apparently. Not for much longer. They're going to be opening free product listings, at the end of April. Now this is going to roll out initially in the United States, but it should be expanding globally soon after that one imagines.
It's got something to do with the Corona virus and the fact that everybody is dropping their advertising budgets to unimaginably small levels compared to it just a few months ago. But where you re, you know, we'll just have to see whether this carries on. I would imagine that they're trying to really get.
The head of companies like Amazon for which they send most of the traffic. I would have thought, and if Google shopping tab can become better source for price comparisons and so on, then that would probably be good because that's often the first place I go when I'm searching for a new product, only to end up at Amazon, and obviously Google miss out on that share of the a share of the revenue and they're trying to do something about it.
Well, I'm sure that you've noticed normal people, not WordPress, people using the word zoom more than ever before. Previously, six months ago, nobody that I knew particularly knew what zoom was. Now everybody is doing it. Zoom conferences here and there and everywhere because we're all in lockdown. Well, zoom have obviously done very well out of this, but they've also had their fair share of bad news in term of the P terms of people's zoom bombing and security updates.
Well, they aim to fix all of that. They've promised a 90 day. freeze on features, and they're going to come out with zoom 5.0 later this week. The new updates, there's an hour security icon that groups together a number of zoom security features. You can now use it to quickly lock meetings, remove participants, and restrict screen sharing and chatting in meetings.
And various other things like passwords for meetings are enabled by default for most customers, although it admins can fix that if they want to in their particular, in their particular scenario. Anyway, there you go. I know that quite a few jurisdictions have actually banned zoom, so this is obviously zoom trying to claw back those customers who came and then suddenly went away again.
Lots of other options of course, but zoom seems to be winning the race for Mindshare at the moment. Okay. That's all I've got for you this week. I really appreciate you joining us. Please reach out to us. You could add a comment at the bottom of the actual post itself, or if you wish you could head over to the contact page and fill out something there.
Yeah. Or go to the Facebook group, WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook and you can join the conversation. We always create a thread about each particular piece of news and better yet, why not join us on Monday at 2:00 PM UK time when we'll be joined by some word pressers and we do a live version of this news.
We sort of put it up on the screen and chat through things. It sometimes goes off message a bit, but it's very good fun. There's lots of comments. Increasingly people are getting into the idea of commenting on it and it's really good fun. So that's 2:00 PM UK time. That page is w P builds.com forward slash.
Live. So if we don't see you for that and we don't see you next week for the news, and we don't see you for the podcast on Thursday, who knows when we'll see you again, but I hope it's soon. Bye. Bye for now.
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