WP Builds Weekly WordPress News #116 – WordPress is 17, Block Experiments and nearby Earth

WP Builds Weekly WordPress News #116 – WordPress is 17, Block Experiments and nearby Earth

This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 25th May 2020:

WordPress Core

Happy 17th, WordPress

Gutenberg 8.2 Includes Editing Flow Improvements, Cover Block Content Positioning, and Pattern Categories

Premium WordPress hosting for everyone, small or large

Community

WordCamp Europe 2020 Announces Schedule, Plans to Debut Networking Rooms and Virtual Sponsor Booths

New Toolset course – WordPress Directory and Classifieds Sites

Current State of WordPress Themes – Analysis and Recommendations

AB Split Test plugin - the fastest way to create split tests in WordPress

How Automattic pays its remote employees across different geographies

Plugins / Themes / Blocks

Diving Into Automattic’s Block Experiments

Elementor Pro v2.10 Beta Release

Almost 100% Faster! Page Builder Framework 2.4

WooCommerce Is Testing a Block-based Cart and Checkout

GretaThemes Releases Lightweight, Block-Ready eStar WordPress Theme

Deals from this week

Get the WP Builds Deals emails delivered to your inbox!
and
The WP Builds Deals Page

Security

High Severity Vulnerabilities in PageLayer Plugin Affect Over 200,000 WordPress Sites

WordPress Vulnerability Roundup: May 2020, Part 2

WP Builds

181 – How to visually build your WordPress translations with TranslatePress

Jobs

Nothing this week!

Not WordPress, but useful anyway…

There’s an Earth around our nearest star

NASA scientists detect parallel universe ‘next to ours’ where time runs backwards

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group.

The WP Builds podcast is sponsored this week by…

Kinsta
and
AB Split Test – The fastest way to create Split Tests in WordPress
and
The WP Builds Deals Page

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.

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Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Hello there. Good morning and welcome to this, the WP Builds weekly WordPress newsletter. This is number 116 it covers the WordPress news for the week, commencing the 25th of May, 2020 and it was published on Monday the 1st of June, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley and a few things before we begin the usual housekeeping, if you like, head over to WP Builds.com that's our website where we curate loads of WordPress specific content each and every week.
It's mainly a podcast and the news that you're listening to now, should you wish to. Keep in touch with what we do. Head over to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe on that page. You'll be able to sign up to a newsletter to tell you when we produce a podcast or a news episode, and also to keep you in touch with some deals when we hear about them.
Also, you'll be able to subscribe to us on your favorite. Podcast player with the links on there and join our Facebook group of over two and a half thousand. WordPress's. Very, very friendly, polite group. Indeed. So that's WP. build.com forward slash. Subscribe. The other one is WP Builds.com forward slash.
Deals. This is a 365 days of the year, kind of a bit like. Black Friday page loads of people have reached out to me with their products, WordPress specific products, and given me coupon codes. They're permanently there. It's searchable and filterable. And so should you be in the market for something this week, I would urge you to check out WP Builds.com forward slash deals.
Just in case we've got a deal on there that might fit your requirements. And last WP Builds.com forward slash advertise. If you would like to have your product or service put in front of a WordPress specific audience, you never know. You might have a WordPress plugin or a theme or something like that and you would like to reach WordPress as well.
We can help you with that a bit like we helped 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. Try a demo for free at Kinsta dot com and we were also sponsored this week by AB split test.
Want to set up your AB split test in record time, like in a couple of minutes. Use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers, rows, really anything. And the best part is that it works with element or BeaverBuilder and the WordPress block editor. You can check it out@absplittest.com and we do thank our sponsors for helping us put on the WP bills weekly.
WordPress news. Speaking of the weekly WordPress news, you may or may not know that we actually have a live version of that news. It's on a 2:00 PM UK time on a Monday each week, and we essentially go through the items that you're about to listen to now, me explaining, but we go into them in more detail and we go into them with some live guests.
This week I should be being joined by Barbara soul. Paul Lacey and Scott Kingsley Clarke. So head over to our Facebook group, WP belts.com forward slash Facebook or WP Builds.com forward slash live and you can join in the conversation about the WordPress news, speaking of which, let's get stuck into it.
Shall we. Each week we divide our WordPress news into different sections. On the first section is always WordPress core. If there's anything, and this is a cherry piece of news, WordPress has turned 17 over on the WP Tavern. Justin Tadlock writes a piece simply called happy 17th WordPress. It's an interesting analogy.
He draws between the sort of teenage years of. Of a growing child up towards being an adult, and how in those teen teenage years, a few things can go wrong and he draws the parallel between the, the problems that we've had with WordPress over the last couple of years and how hopefully in the distant future, well, I should say the near future, those problems will be ironed out as we head from being another lesson.
Yeah. I think towards maturity. It's an interesting piece. He makes the point that right now, 36.7% of the top 10 million websites are powered by WordPress. So that statistic continues to grow month by month, and he talks about the beginnings of WordPress. Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little back in 2003 started by forking B2 cafe log, and he draws attention to some of the changes that had been made over time.
Anyway. That not really a piece of news here except to say weld-on WordPress 17 years old. Staying on WordPress Tavern. We have Justin Tadlock writing a piece, Gothenburg 8.2 include editing flow improvements, cover block content, positioning, and pattern categories. Well, Gothenburg, 8.2 has dropped and there's a few nice little features in here.
The first one is that if you want to copy an entire block, you can now do that. You use. Control or command C a, you can copy it in that way, or you can cut it with control or command X, if and that you should be able to then paste it somewhere else, which is rather nice. Hitting the enter key whilst editing an image.
Caption will create a new one. Paragraph. So this is for situations where a user wants to continue writing after inserting an image and a caption. That's quite useful. Also, there are some nice additions in terms of the cover block. You've now got the option to position content within the cover block with like a little matrix.
Imagine, Oh, I don't know. You're in. G suite and in G suite there's little little menu in the top right hand corner, which looks like nine dots arranged in a three rows of three. It's a bit like that, so in other words, you could center it. Center, left center, right top right, top left, and so on and so forth.
You get the idea, you basically click where you would like the. Background positioning her to be and it should be taken care of. That all seems really nice. I rather like that. And now we've also got categories for block patterns. Guttenberg 8.2 has ticked nearly all of the patterns, API boxes, which Justin wanted.
and the latest one is categorizing patterns. Currently the default interface shows the following seven categories. Text, hero columns, buttons, gallery features, and testimonials. And there's also an uncategorized section in which everything else can go beneath that. There's a little bit of information about, the sort of APIs that are used to make this work.
And so, but yeah, really nice. I would certainly urge people to go and check this out. We are getting more and more feature rich as the weeks go by. The next section is called community. And the first one I have for you this week is again, WordPress Tavern. But this time Sarah Gooding, WordCamp Europe, 2020 an empty schedule, plans to debut and networking rooms and virtual sponsor booths.
So we're just a week away, really from WordCamp Europe. It's going to be taking place very, very soon. And the schedule has been announced. There are Friday and Saturday sessions. They're split into two. Two tracks. Each session will run roughly 30 minutes, in terms of talking time, and then there'll be followed by a 10 minute Q and a with obviously a little bit of time to get yourself ready for the next session.
The schedule also has a few 10 minute lightening session talks with 15 minute breaks every hour. Now. It is going to be wrong, virtually, and you can go and check out the schedule for yourself. There's a neat little way that you can kind of bookmark things that you wish to see, and you can in fact put your email address in there and be alerted when that session is about.
To begin, it looks like it's going to be run using zoom, which is quite interesting. The capacity for zoom to run these large scale events, one hopes is able to withstand it. I'm sure it will be. And there are going to be kind of like sponsorship, breakout rooms and all sorts of fun stuff like that as well.
So if you haven't got a ticket, they are still, according to this article, still being released in batches. there's a contributor day, which is going to be taking place on the 4th of June. So it's very soon now. So go and get yourself signed up if you haven't done already and hopefully we'll see you there.
During this time, lots of people have moved over to creating courses, whether that's for WordPress or just courses in general. Online learning has become an important part of everybody's lives, and I just want to draw attention to something that tool set have put together this week. It just looks really nice the way that they've presented it and the, the manner in which it's laid out, it looks really great.
It's a entitled WordPress directory and classified site, so it's. That's a course teaching you with the tool sets plugin, how to set up a directory and classified site. it looks really nice. You've got various different chapters. There are 12 in total, which guide you through some of, some of, we've got a couple of videos, many of which you've got sort of three and four.
And in one case, chapter 10 has 10 different sections. And I just really like the way that it's laid out, just like the way the page looks. And so maybe a bit of inspiration if you're designing some. online courses for some of your clients, this might be a good way to, to decide how to present it.
Friend of the podcast. David McCann has released a really thorough article this week as he always does, entitled current state of WordPress themes, analysis and recommendations. it is absolutely enormous, and he just sort of goes through all sorts of different things. So for example, the introduction, he talks about general purpose, WordPress theme, the introduction of.
Gothenburg, how gotten burgers come of age and how it's taking over WordPress. how it is the future. is this a good time to be creating a new theme? And then he sets up a whole variety of different tests, which you can read about. And he, so for example, he does a Gothenburg test and he describes how the test was set up and then he tests it against various themes.
So the 2019 theme, Astra. Beaver builder theme Blocksi Devi and loads more just, that's probably about half of everything that he went into. And so if you're into themes, and if you're into seeing how those things stack up in the age of Guttenberg, I would highly recommend that you go and check out David's piece.
There is absolutely no way that I could do it justice in the few short moments that I've got, but massive amounts of screenshots, massive amounts of information about how Gothenburg. Bits and pieces are displayed in your favorites, WordPress themes and some really neat conclusions about what you might want to do in the future.
So well done, David, as always, highly recommended. The last one in the community section is over on tech crunch. It's entitled how automatic pays its remote employees across different geographies. Now, this is interesting because quite a few companies, most notably, I think Twitter have decided that it's going to be.
Going forwards, requiring no employees to actually show up to a bricks and mortar office location, and I'm sure that the truth is going to be that many companies will take on this approach. Perhaps they'll require some people to come back in, but perhaps in order to mitigate costs, they'll say, well, you can carry on working at home if that's possible.
Now, automatic employees, over a thousand people. And they decided to become entirely distributed in 2017 and so this article looks at how they have actually structured their finances. So if you can imagine being spread over the entire world, the sort of difficult question is how do you pay people? Do you pay them according to the typical salary in the country in which they reside, or do you pay them all the exact.
Same amount, and it's just an interesting chat about how this all happens, what Matt Mullenweg sees as the fairest way of doing this and how they go about taking that that difficult financial decision on. So definitely interesting to those people who like the distributed model and perhaps even you've got a company that you'd like to take this way and you're trying to figure out how to remunerate your employees.
Next section is plugins, themes, and blocks. First up, we have Justin Tadlock writing on WordPress Tavern, a piece entitled diving into automatics block experiments. Now I confess, I did hear about this before, but completely lost touch with the whole block experiments repository. But there is one, it's curated by automatic and they have, I believe it's about.
Eight blocks, which are in different States of development. They're very much in beta. Five of the block experiments are now available to download from that repository. Three others are still under development and they just sort of seem to satisfy real quirky things that you might or might not wish to do with the block editor.
And Justin goes on to describe a few of them. One is called the star scape block, and it enables you to put a background of moving stars into your block editor, and so that you can watch things, little pixels, white pixels, moving around on a two great two color gradients, background. it's just really quirky that anybody would wish to do this, but I've seen all sorts of people trying to do something like that with all sorts of polygons.
So there might be a use for that. Another one is called the waves block, and it does exactly what you'd expect. It creates kind of like a, a moving wave in the background. Again, very unusual for anybody to need to deploy this wide rate, you know, widely. But nevertheless, there it is. It's quite interesting that somebody put together the code to do that.
You can control the complexity of it, the mouse speed and the, the fluid speed of the waves and so on and so forth. So that's really interesting. And there's an events block as well where you can simply display in a very clean interface. A, well, a single event. So for example, I don't know, some event that you're putting on, there's a possibility to add a title, a prominent display of a date, an image, and a description and location and so on, so forth.
And there's another one called the layout grid block as well. which I think probably is going to be the most useful one of all in there. Andy way, purpose of this was just a. Demonstrate what automatic have decided to play with. And maybe you could go and have a look too. I don't suppose you're going to deploy an awful lot of it, but you know, interesting to see the state of what automatic are trying to achieve in edge cases in the block editor.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. It's not often that we have a week without some kind of element or news, and this is other mentor pro 2.1 beta release, and they're looking for some beta testers. Now the things which they are going to be introducing in the near, in the near future are multi-step form.
So you know where you fill out a page on the form and then you have to click continue and you go onto the next stage until finally you complete the three or four stages. So they've got this added in and they would like. People to test how it works. test the workflow, test how the whole thing works from start to finish.
And they've got some instructions cause I'm actually, rather than linking to a element or page, I'm actually linking to the guitar repository for this. this particular update. And they're also introducing Lottie widgets. It says, easily add Lottie animations to your site and no coding needed. It says, the Lottie widget holds the potential to completely transform the website.
So you build into a moving one of a kind experience. Are you familiar with the kinds of interactions you see on award websites? Now you can create such masterpieces in element or and without coding. Using Lottie widgets, you can enrich your client's website, increase engagement, and improve the UX. Plus.
It's really cool. So there you go. So the idea would be that while it says again, I might as well just read it cause it sums it up very nicely. Lots of is the leading automation engine that allows you to render SVG and canvas animations in real time. Small animations in the interface can make a big difference.
It says, and so they're looking to get this integrated, make your sites more animation, if that's a word, go and help them out. Go and check out the get hub repository. Friend of the podcast, David Vaughn, Greece is the man behind the page builder framework and he's got some exciting news for those of you that are using it.
And possibly for those of you who are not a post entitled, almost 100% faster page builder framework, 2.4. And so this is exciting news. You're going to get things done more quickly. The first one is in the customizer. David has managed to shave quite a lot of time off the way that you interact with the customizer.
So for example, if you were to make some minor change and you wanted to see the result of that minor change in the past, usually typically you would need to wait for the page to refresh over on the right hand side and to see whatever it is that you changed. Well, in most cases now, David saying that that's been.
But that's been removed. You can actually see the changes in real time. So essentially you've changed the thing that you wish to change, and there you go, you've got an immediate result. So that's brilliant. And he's also managed to get rid of a couple of HTTP requests, a one in the theme and one in the premium add-on.
So I think previously there were 11 and that's now dropped to nine, which enables, by all metrics, the page speed to be increased, which is. Absolutely fabulous. Go and check it out if you haven't purchased it already. I think it's highly recommended. If you're a WooCommerce user, you might be pleased to know that Sarah Gooding has written a piece called woo commerce is testing out a block based cart and checkout.
Well, exactly that version 2.6 0.0 has a woo commerce block and you can customize a whole lot of the things that you would normally be able to customize. And she writes as part of an ongoing initiative to convert the plugins existing shortcodes to blocks come as core developers are testing a new block.
Based cart and checkout experience. This major architectural change has also been redesigned to improve conversion rates for stores. You'll need to update to version 2.6 0.0 as I said, and there are some screenshots in the post about what to the cart block looks like. It's exactly what you'd expect, but now it is obviously.
Encapsulated in a block. And so the settings for the full cart include the option to hide and show the shipping calculator hide and show the costs until an address is entered and so on and so forth, and options to edit the continue shopping text and add more blocks and all of that kind of stuff. So it's just a really nice way of getting your shopping cart in a more customizable way with essentially loading up a one block.
One last thing in this section is again, WordPress having Justin Tatlock, Gretta themes releases lightweight block ready, East star WordPress theme. So this is for those of you who like Justin's technical insight into the creation of themes and so on. And he. He goes into the Gretta themes new theme, which as I just said, is called East star, and he talks about how its fact seems to be very lightweight and as the, the creators of this theme, Gretta themes are also behind the very popular meta box framework.
They also do WP auto listings and fit WP. There might be some use cases in which you can deploy those things alongside one another. Maybe there's some integration there. With Jesus being enabled. It seems that the theme comes in at roughly 10 kilobytes data to the page load, which is pretty lightweight.
And from there, Justin goes into his usual, very lengthy and detailed analysis of all of the different options within the theme. So for example, he talks about the fact that it offers several posts and page templates, for example, a blank canvas, narrow content, full width, wide content, and so on and so forth.
he questions how it does when it handles. The normal run of blogging and so on and so forth, and, and then sort of sums it up and thinks it's pretty good. the site, for example, didn't have too many issues when he was running it. but as always, he's got a few little bits of advice for the developer anyway.
If you really are in need of a new theme and you want to play kind of a look at Easter. Deals for this week. As always, I push forward the ones from last week and add any new ones that I come across this time around. We've got the Emilia WordPress booking plugin. We've got the WP reset link, whisper, Pobler happy forms, lifetime deal.
Give WP 40% off. If so, for dynamic content. It's 20% of funnel packs. I think that one might be running out on the day. This podcast goes live and quotas for creating proposals. So essentially most of those are lifetime deals. Click on the link in the show notes to find out more, but don't forget, we've got our WP Builds deals page that's mentioned in the show notes as well, where you can find all sorts of WordPress deals on offer 365 days of the year.
Oh, is it like touch on the security? Don't feel this is the right podcast for deep dives into internet security, but I've got two things for you this week. The first one is to say high severity vulnerabilities in page layer plugin affects over 200,000 WordPress sites. This is on the word fence blog. And to quote, a few weeks ago, our threat intelligence team discovered several vulnerabilities present in page builder, page layer, drag and drop website builder.
A WordPress plugin actively installed on over 200,000 sites. Goodness me. The plugin is from the same creators as WP central, and it says one floor allowed an authenticated user with subscriber level and above permissions, the ability to update and modify posts with malicious content amongst many other things.
Our second floor allowed attackers to forge a request on behalf of a sites administrator to modify the settings of the plugin, which could allow for malicious Java script injection. So yes, if that name rings a bell, you may very well wish to go and get yourself updated. Speaking of names, ringing a bell, I always linked to one of these, while I frequently do this time, it's from my themes.
It's their Roundup, the WordPress vulnerability Roundup May, 2020 part two and it's one of those posts just keeps scrolling through and if any of those plugins that you see ring a bell, if the names. Jump out and say, ah, I've installed that at some point before. Then maybe pause and find out a little bit more about it.
They blatantly promotional WP Builds bit. We did a podcast this week called how to visually build your WordPress translations with translate press. Now this was a really nice, a nice podcast with a very lovely chat. Called Adrian speck. He came on and talked about translate press. I describe it in the podcast as a page builder for translations.
And by that I mean it's a, it's a visual interface for doing your translation. So instead of it being done in metal boxes, which is typically the way of doing it, you actually navigate to the page where you would like to do your translation. So you click on the area that you'd like to translate and, and type in the translation, and away you go.
It's really impressive. Very nice. They've got a lovely free tier, plus a very, very. Enviable array of pro ad-ons as well. Anyway, go and check it out. The podcast is number one eight one and yeah, it seems like a really a really good project, very intuitive and easy to use. And, so yeah, translate press.
There were no jobs this week that I could find. So instead we're going to move right along to our, not WordPress, but useful anyway, and two pieces this week, both of them to do with space. But before we go into the pieces, I've got, I don't know if you had a chance, but this weekend over in Florida, they launched the space X rocket with two astronauts making it the first commercial.
Manned flight up to the international space station. So really interesting stuff. Watching all of that happen. And thankfully at the time of reading this out into the microphone, everything was working perfectly and the astronauts had managed to dock and border the international space station. Just. Also be fabulous at the times that we live in.
So I went with a sort of space theme because that inspired me. And the first one came on the independent website, and it's titled there is an earth around our nearest star. Scientists confirm it says a planet. The size of earth has been confirmed around the closest star in our solar system, Proxima Centauri.
Apparently it's being called, Oh goodness. Why would you call it anything else? Approximate B, and it has a massive 1.17 earths, which is very similar in size, and it's located in the approximate, habitable zone of Proxima Centauri the star there. And apparently it orbits the sun every 11 days, meaning that a year is 11 days.
Anyway, just absolutely fascinating. The more we. Point our telescopes out into the universe, the more fabulous and wonderful it looks, and this is our last one. Again, staying with the space theme. We've got a piece entitled NASA scientists detect parallel universe next to ours where time runs backwards and experiments in the frozen waters of Antarctica has revealed evidence of a universe.
Born in the same big bang as ours, but with the rules of physics that are completely the opposite. Well, I'm not even going to try to explain what that all means, but if that peaked your interest, go and click on the link in the show notes under and see if you can understand it for yourself. Thank you for listening to the WP Builds podcast this week.
I hope that you found it useful and that there was some content in there that you thought was worth sharing. If so, please use the hashtag WP Builds or possibly even better. The at WP bills might be useful as well. Share it to wherever you think people might find it useful. We've been doing it for many, many years now.
And it's always nice to have some new members. Encourage them to join the Facebook group, WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook and to come and join us on the live on Monday. Every Monday, 2:00 PM UK time, the WP Builds weekly. WordPress news is brought to you today by Kinsta. Kinsta takes managed WordPress hosting to the next level, powered by the Google cloud platform.
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And AB split test. I want to set up your AB split tests in record time while the new AB split test plugin for WordPress will have you up and running in just a couple of minutes. Use your existing pages and test anything with anything else. Buttons, images, headers, rows, really anything and the best part, it works with element or BeaverBuilder and the WordPress blog editor.
And you can check that out@absplittest.com and get a free three-day demo@demodotabsplittest.com. Okay. Maybe we'll see you next week. Maybe not. Maybe we'll see on Monday. Maybe not. Whatever happens, stay safe. Bye. Bye for now.

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