State of the Word 2018: WordPress Embraces the Block Editor

photo credit: WP Tavern

WordCamp US kicked off in Nashville over the weekend, following the release of WordPress 5.0. In the first 48 hours, 5.0 had been downloaded more than 2.8 million times. It passed 3 million Saturday night.

“There’s been a lot that’s been going on, so I’d like to allow WordPress the chance to re-introduce itself,” Matt Mullenweg said during the preamble of his State of the Word address. He invoked the four freedoms as the project’s constitution and called the community back to its roots.

“It’s the reason we’re here,” Mullenweg said. “WordPress isn’t a physical thing; it’s not a set of code. It’s kind of an idea. WordPress is backed by the full faith and credit of every person and company that depends on it.”

He reiterated the project’s mission to democratize publishing and recast his vision for advancing the open web.

“Like I said a few years ago, we’re building a web operating system, an operating system for the open, independent web and a platform that others can truly build on,” Mullenweg said.

WordPress’ 32.5% market share and its commercial ecosystem, which Mullenweg estimates at $10 billion/year, give the project the resources to make a powerful impact on the future of the web.

Mullenweg Builds a Compelling Case for the Block Editor

photo credit: WCUS Photography Team

Mullenweg drove home the necessity of Gutenberg by showing a selection of videos where new users struggled to accomplish simple tasks in the old editor. Their experiences were accompanied by painful commentary:

  • “This feels like writing a blog back in 2005.”
  • “This was very finnicky; this does not work.”
  • “How would I add a caption? I have no clue.”

Mullenweg described how he used to effortlessly switch back and forth between the visual and HTML editors prior to WordPress 5.0 but realized that not all users are able to do this.

”This has been our editor experience for over a decade now and many of us have learned to deal with it,” he said.

He followed up with a video demonstrating how much easier these tasks are in the new block editor and identified blocks as the way forward for WordPress.

Some attendees commented after the fact on how the user testing videos, paired up against an expert using Gutenberg, seemed unbalanced and they would have liked to see videos of new users attempting the same tasks in the new editor. The goal of that segment, however, seemed to be more aimed at communicating the need for Gutenberg and the possibilities it opens up once users have had the chance to grow into it.

Mullenweg Urges Attendees to “Learn Blocks Deeply”

Millions of early adopters have already embraced the block editor during phase 1 of the Gutenberg project, which closed out with 1.2 million active installs and 1.2 million posts written. There have already been 277 WordCamp talks on Gutenberg, 555 meetup events focused on the new editor, and more than 1,000 blog posts discussing it.

Blocks are taking over the world of WordPress. Version 5.0 shipped with 70 native blocks and there are already more than 100 third-party blocks in existence and 1,000 configurations related to that.

“Blocks are predictable, tactile, and can be simple like a text block, or as rich as an e-commerce interface,” Mullenweg said. He described them as the new DNA of WordPress, from which users can create anything they can imagine.

Mullenweg showcased two sites built using the block editor, the Indigo Mill and Lumina Solar. These beautiful sites open the imagination to what Gutenberg is capable of bringing to websites. will be highlighting plugins and themes to push the block ecosystem forward. There are also more than 100 Gutenberg-ready themes available to users on the directory and a new Gutenberg block tag that is currently live for plugins. It will also be available for themes soon.

Mullenweg highlighted tools like the create-guten-block toolkit, Block Lab, and Lazy Blocks that are making it easy for developers to create their own blocks. Block collections and libraries are also emerging. He said one of the priorities for 2019 is to build a directory for discovering blocks and a way to seamlessly install them.

Building on the homework he gave to WordPress developers in 2015, to “Learn JavaScript Deeply,” Mullenweg urged the community to “Learn Blocks Deeply.” Blocks provide a host of opportunities to improve the user experience beyond what Gutenberg’s creators could have imagined in the beginning.

Gutenberg Phase 2: Navigation Menu Block, Widget blocks, Theme Content Areas

Mullenweg announced the next phases for the Gutenberg project. Phase 2 has already begun and focuses on site customization, expanding the block interface to other aspects of content management. This includes creating a navigation menu block. Reimagining menus is will be challenging, and Mullenweg said they may even get renamed during the process.

Phase 2 goals also include porting all widgets over to blocks and registering theme content areas in Gutenberg. An early version of phase 2 will be in the Gutenberg plugin so anyone wanting to be part of testing can reactivate it.

During the Q&A time, one attendee asked a question about how this phase seems to include very little about making layout capabilities more robust. He asked if Mullenweg plans to let those the marketplace handle those layout decision or if core will define a layout language. Mullenweg responded that it may be more prudent to see what others in the ecosystem are doing and cherry pick and adopt the best solutions. He also remarked that it would be exciting if users could switch between different page builders in the future and not lose their content.

Gutenberg Phases 3 and 4: Collaboration and Core Support for Multilingual Sites

Mullenweg announced that Gutenberg phase 3, targeted for 2020, will focus on collaboration, multi-user editing, and workflows. Phase 4 (2020+) is aimed at developing an official way for WordPress to support multilingual sites. When asked what that will look like from a technical standpoint, given the many existing solutions already available, Mullenweg said he didn’t want to prescribe anything yet, as it’s still in the experimental stage.

Other major announcements included a highly anticipated bump in the minimum PHP version required for using WordPress. By April 2019, PHP 5.6 will be the minimum PHP version for WordPress, and by December 2019, the requirement will be updated to PHP 7.

WordPress releases are going to come faster in the future, as Gutenberg development has set a new pace for iteration. Mullenweg said he would like WordPress to get to the point where users are not thinking about what version they are on but instead choose a channel where they can easily run betas or the stable version.

Mullenweg Acknowledges Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned in the 5.0 Release Process

WordPress 5.0 was one of the longest and most controversial release cycles in the project’s history. Those outside the inner circle of decision-making endured a great deal of uncertainty, as dates were announced and then missed, with secondary dates thrown out in favor of pushing 5.0 out with just three days’ notice.

“We were scared to announce a new release date after missing our previous one,” Mullenweg said, acknowledging the controversial release date. He said this seemed to create a lot of fear and uncertainty until they announced a new date. The dates seemed to come out of the blue and were stressful for the community.

Mullenweg highlighted the lessons they learned in the process of releasing 5.0:

  • Need the various teams across WordPress working together better
  • Need to keep learning JavaScript, even more deeply
  • Importance of triage and code freezes
  • Always announce release dates

Mullenweg noted that WordPress 5.0’s beta releases were tested 100 times more than other releases, which he said contributed to Gutenberg becoming more robust before landing in 5.0. However, these positives seemed to be overshadowed by several critical breakdowns in communication that many feel betrayed the community’s trust.

He noted that people used the plugin review system as a way to vote on Gutenberg and that perhaps the community needs a different medium for expressing those kinds of things. Users did this because they felt it was one of the only feedback mechanisms where they had a voice. Negative reviews piled on in the early days of the plugin’s development but they continued steadily throughout the feature plugin’s journey into core. After 5.0 was released, negative reviews on the Gutenberg plugin have continued to pour in, and its rating has fallen to 2.2/5 stars.

Growing Pains and a Call for Transparency

photo credit: David Bisset for Post Status

Mullenweg said that Gutenberg development happened entirely in the public eye, surfacing many challenges associated with developing open source software in public. The code was public, but the most important decisions were made behind closed doors. This was compounded by the developer community voicing frustrations during core dev chats and on social media.

During the Q&A segment, several audience members called for more transparency in the release process, noting that most of the posts and announcements regarding 5.0 came from Automattic employees. Morten Rand-Hendriksen, who has become somewhat of a community firebrand at WordCamp Q&A’s, received applause for his question regarding the use of the word “we” in connection to posts on the make blogs. He pressed Mullenweg for more insight into where these decisions are made.

Mullenweg said the “we” he meant in regards to 5.0 release dates referred to a private channel where the release leads discussed it. He said with so many people showing up to the dev chats, the discussions became difficult.

“I don’t just go in a cave and come up with these things,” Mullenweg said. “A lot of people were showing up [to dev chats] who had never contributed to WordPress before and were crowding out the discussion of the core team.” He also said the private conversations were “every bit as feisty as the public one,” except there weren’t any drive-by opinions.

To those on the outside, these meetings appeared to be secret, as they were never referenced or summarized on the make blogs. This left the developmer community wondering where these decisions were coming from and whether or not they had a voice.

During the Q&A, Mulllenweg said he listened to vigorous discussion and diverse viewpoints from release leads coming from different companies, while gathering as much information as possible from reading reviews, blog posts, and comments from the community. He described this process as part of the art of trying to make sense of all the different things people are saying and balance that.

Supporting a BDFL-led project requires a certain amount of trust that the leadership is listening. Over the past several weeks Mullenweg has made a strong effort to keep the channels of communication open.

The painful user testing videos Mullenweg shared demonstrated how desperately WordPress needed to grow out of its old editor. It isn’t often that core makes changes that affect nearly every corner of the WordPress ecosystem at the same time. This experience came with its fair share of growing pains. Despite communication missteps during the 5.0 release process, Mullenweg has successfully navigated the project through this rocky transition. Although WordCamp US attendees seemed road weary after 5.0, they were united by a shared desire to move forward and continue working together with the leadership that has kept WordPress on the course of growth and improvement for the past 15 years.

Laravel Homestead for WordPress Theme and Plugin Development

Turns out Laravel Homestead is almost exactly the development environment I was looking for — it can be added as a Composer dependancy to any PHP project and configured using a simple Yaml file. The host machine needs only Vagrant and VirtualBox.

tl;dr: See this pull request for how I added Homestead to the Widget Context plugin.

How it Works

First, we add a very minimal Vagrantfile to the project root which reads the Homestead’s configuration from Homestead.yaml (could be named anything) and triggers the provisioning logic in scripts/homestead.rb using the supplied configuration.

We install WordPress a development dependancy in package.json and configured it from the same Vagrantfile using an inline shell script (and WP-CLI which comes bundled with Homestead):

config.vm.provision "shell",
	inline: "wp config create",
	privileged: false

and use a dedicated wp-cli.yaml which defines the database access parameters and credentials:

path: /home/vagrant/code

config create:
  dbname: homestead
  dbuser: homestead
  dbpass: secret

which are used as defaults during wp config create.

Note that wp-cli.yaml lives within our theme directory so we specify the WP_CLI_CONFIG_PATH environment variable in Homestead.yaml which points to wp-cli.yaml inside the virtual environment.


Laravel Homestead runs the provision scripts as root inside the virtual machine so the regular non-privileged vagrant user can’t write to disk which prevents us from downloading and setting up WordPress from within the virtual environment. This can probably be adjusted with a few additional lines of configuration in Homestead.yaml.

Use Contact Form 7 to collect business leads and enquiries? I created Storage for Contact Form 7 plugin which stores them safely in WordPress database.

Get it now for only $19 →

Blocks, Plugins, and You

WordPress 5.0 has been released and with it the new block editor for composing posts has been released.

There are exciting possibilities afforded by the new interface and we like to show off new things. So, we’re showcasing plugins that are block-enabled.

If you’ve written a plugin that introduces or improves blocks, or know of a plugin that does, email us at Note that these must be plugins with their block-enabled version currently available in the Plugin Directory.

We’re featuring these plugins in a new “Blocks-Enabled Plugins” section in the directory, as well as in a new section on the WordPress Plugins homepage.

We will be doing something similar with themes soon, so stay tuned!


How to test WordPress 5.0 — and every other new release

December 6, 2018, is the day we shall remember for the birth of WordPress 5.0 and its new block editor. While we love the new editor, we’re advising people to hold off updating to WordPress 5.0 until early next year when the release will be much more stable. Not to mention, the busy holidays will have come and gone. This should leave you ample time to thoroughly test the new release and come to grips with the inner workings of the new block editor. Here, we’ll explain how you can easily set up a local testing environment to safely test WordPress 5.0.

Step 0: Always back up your stuff!

We can’t say this enough: always, always, always back up your site! Set up automatic backups using plugins like UpdraftPlus, Blogvault, BackWPup or online tools like ManageWP. Most WordPress-friendly web hosting companies like WPEngine have tools to make and manage backups as well. So, options aplenty — use them!

Step 1: Set up a local server

To test WordPress and its new block editor Gutenberg locally, you need to install a local server. In the old days, you had to download and configure all pieces of this puzzle by hand, making it a tough job for the average site owner. Today, you can install a fine-tuned local server in a matter of minutes and with a minimum amount of clicks. During the installation, you’ll even set up a WordPress site so you can get going quickly.

There are several local server tools aimed at the WordPress user, but we find ServerPress and Local by FlyWheel to be the best and easiest to work with. In this article, we’ll focus on Local by FlyWheel as that has the nicest all-in-one interface, handy SSL support and a unique way to share your local site online.

Download Local by Flywheel

Go to the Local by Flywheel site and click that big green Free Download button. Choose your operating system, fill in the fields and hit the Get it now button. The package will now download to your computer. Double click on the installer package to install Local by Flywheel on your computer.

Set up your local WordPress site with Local by Flywheel

After Local by Flywheel is installed on your system, doubleclick it to run the app. You’ll notice it’ll take a while to start all services. After it’s done, you’ll be greeted by a screen with a big green button to create a new site, click that button.Install Local by FlywheelGive your site a name and select the preferred environment. If you need different server specifications to match what you use, you can choose these in the Custom settings. Click Continue and fill in a username and password for your new local WordPress site. Local by Flywheel select user name and passwordClick Add Site. Your computer will need some new privileges to run Local by Flywheel. Accept and Local by Flywheel will finish the setup. Your server and site are now running! Click Admin to log in to the backend of your site or View Site to visit the frontend.Local by Flywheel interface

Set up your local WordPress site

Log in to your new local site with your credentials. At the moment, this is a totally empty, brand-spanking-new WordPress website. It looks nothing like your site and that’s not what you want, right? So, you’ll have to do something about that. You’ll have to get your files, posts, plugins, settings and themes — everything. To do that, you need a full backup of your site. In this case, you’ll use the Duplicator plugin to make an exact copy of your site to your local server. Log into your real site, install the Duplicator plugin from the Plugins directory and follow the instructions.

Step 2: Making a Duplicator backup

After installing Duplicator, you can make a new so-called package. A package is a complete collection of every part of your site. You can move this package easily to another server, or a local site like you’re doing here. Duplicator can do a lot of other stuff and we’d encourage you to read up on that.Duplicator package screenClick Create New and set up the details for the package. Give it a name and browse through the options. For most sites, the default settings are fine. Do give the other options a look-see, though.duplicator create package settingsHit Next and Duplicator’ll start scanning your site. This can take a little while, depending on how big your site is.Duplicator scan completeOnce it’s done, you’ll get an overview of the status — it’s best if everything is green here. If it is, you’re good to go and you can start building your package by clicking the Build button. Building might take a while. After it’s done, you’ll get two files to download. You can place these files in an empty folder in your localhost’s root folder. There’s a link to some documentation on how you can install the package on your new local site.

Move the package to your local site

Open the Local by Flywheel interface and click on the little arrow next to the site path, this will open the local files for your local sites. Place the two package files in a new folder in the root of the public folder of your local site.local files buttonNow, open your browser and go to your new local site: test-1.local/test/installer.php, or whatever the name of your test site is. This opens the Duplicator box to restore the package. For most sites, the default settings will be sufficient. Don’t be afraid to check these out.duplicator reinstallCheck the terms box, click on Next and wait until Duplicator is done. Select Connect and remove data and fill in the next fields based on the data available in your Local By Flywheel Database settings. If you’re using Duplicator to set up a real staging environment on your online server, this is where you fill in the details of your newly made database, along with its user, password and host data.Hit Test Database and you should see a Success message. After that, you can click Next and hit Yes when Duplicator asks for conformation.In Step 3, you can determine how the URL and path are set. It defaults to the sub folder you added, but you can change that to root. After that, you’re done! You can now log in to your brand new copy of your real site and check if everything was ported over nicely.After logging in, Duplicator will show a notice asking you to delete the installation files before continuing using your site.successfully migrated

Step 3: Set up WordPress Beta Tester

Once you’ve verified your old site is working great, it’s time to update WordPress to the latest version. Since WordPress 5.0 is now out, you can update your test environement via the regular update process. Alternatively, there’s a great plugin that can help you test upcoming releases. The WordPress Beta Tester plugin makes it incredibly easy to test the very latest development versions of WordPress, even if they are so-called bleeding edge nightlies.

Find WordPress Beta Tester in the plugin repository, install it and activate the plugin. To test get the latest version of WordPress 5.0, you need to go to Tools > Beta Testing and pick the Point release nightlies. After that, go to Dashboard > Updates and you’ll see that there’s an update available. Hit that blue Upgrade Now button to get started. Eventually, you’ll see that Welcome to WordPress 5.0 screen. That’s all! The WordPress Beta Tester will keep your test site updated to the latest WordPress version.Welcome to WordPress 5.0

Step 4: Install the Classic Editor plugin

WordPress 5.0 is now active on your test site and you are welcome to explore it. There’s one thing we need to do, though — install the Classic Editor plugin. With this plug installed everything will become like it was before the release of WordPress 5.0 and you can continue to use the old editor instead of the block editor. At the moment, we’re advising people not to upgrade until WordPress 5.0 is a bit more stable, come January. Even then, we’d like people to install the Classic Editor plugin to minimize the risk of things breaking down. The Classic Editor plugin is available until December 31, 2021.

Of course, you can try this out on your test site as well. Find the Classic Editor plugin in the repository, install and activate it. Go to Settings > Writing and pick one of the two options: replace the new editor with the Classic Editor completely, or use the new editor by default and make the Classic Editor a fallback option.Classic Editor settings

Step 5: For extra insights install Health Check

In need of more insights into the inner workings of your WordPress install? If so, the Health Check plugin might give you what you need. It offers a great overview of everything that is going on on your site and it even has a Troubleshooting Mode that helps you find and fix issues. You can find the Health Check plugin in the WordPress plugin repository.

Step 6: Test all the things!

Now that you’ve set up a complete local copy of your real site, it is time to get testing! Click through your posts and pages, check your theme, find out if all your plugins are compatible, test your meta boxes, shortcodes etcetera, etcetera. Users of page builder plugins should take extra care to check that these plugins are fully compatible with WordPress 5.0 and the new editor.

In addition, the most important thing for you to do is to get acquainted with the new block editor. How does it interact with your content? Are there ways to improve your content with the new possibilities the new editor offers? Maybe there are blocks that help you build your content? Or you might just get a brilliant idea for a totally new block. Everything is possible. Now, go forth and test!

Bonus step 1: Set up a staging environment

A local installation of your site will only get you so far. While you can test how your site looks and works in a local environment, there’s no way to test using a real-world set-up. For this, you need a staging environment. A staging environment is a restricted copy of your site on your server that you can use to test and develop your site. Depending on the setup, you can push changes you make on your staging environment to your live site. Many WordPress-friendly web hosters like Kinsta and Siteground offer an easy way to set up and manage a staging environment.

Bonus step 2: An alternative with WP-Staging

In addition to setting up a staging environment at a hosting company, or using Duplicator to fix this for you, there’s another option: the WP-Staging plugin. This plugin helps you set up a staging environment right from the WordPress backend.

Happy testing!

In this article, you have seen how easy it is to get a local version of your site up and running. If you’ve followed along, you can now go out into the wild and start testing every inch of your site to get ready for WordPress 5.0 and the new block editor. Don’t forget, you should test every major version of WordPress, not just this one. If you want to make testing an even more integral part of your set up, you can choose to set up a staging environment on your server.

The post How to test WordPress 5.0 — and every other new release appeared first on Yoast.

How to Selectively Enable Gutenberg Block Editor

Previously, we covered numerous techniques to disable Gutenberg. For example, you can disable Gutenberg on specific post types, user roles, post IDs, and so forth. But what about doing the opposite and conditionally enabling Gutenberg? For example, if Gutenberg is disabled by default, you could then selectively enable it on whichever post types, user roles, or whatever criteria that's required. So this tutorial explains how to enable Gutenberg using simple WordPress filter hooks. You'll learn how to enable Gutenberg for any single posts, new posts, post meta, categories, tags, and post types. Plus some juicy tips and tricks along the way!


WordPress 5.0 “Bebo” Released, Lays A Foundation for the Platform’s Future

In 2016 at WordCamp US in Philadelphia, PA, Matt Mullenweg announced to the world that a new post and page editor would be coming to WordPress. “The editor does not represent the core of WordPress publishing,” Mullenweg said.

His vision of the editor was geared towards a more block-based approach that unifies widgets, shortcodes, and other areas of WordPress. Today, that vision has become a reality with the release of WordPress 5.0 featuring project Gutenberg.

The New Editor in WordPress 5.0

Instead of a large blank canvas, content is broken up into a series of individual blocks that are independent from the content as a whole. For example, you can edit the HTML of one block without it affecting other blocks.

The editor comes with more than 16 blocks to add content. You can add more blocks by installing and activating plugins.

Some of the Blocks That Are Available in WordPress 5.0

Each block typically has two areas where you can manipulate its content. The Toolbar, which displays when hovering over a block, and the Inspector located in the right-hand sidebar. The Inspector houses less-often used settings that require more screen space.

Between the top toolbar, block toolbar, inspector, block mover, and hidden elements that don’t appear unless hovered over, there are a lot of user interface buttons. I suggest spending time crafting a test post to get familiar with what each button does.

To see the new editor in action, check out the following demo video.

A Short Demo of The New Editor in Action

If you’re not ready for the new editor or discover incompatibilities with themes or plugins, you can install the Classic Editor plugin. This plugin will disable the new editor and replace it with the one in WordPress 4.9.8 and below. The WordPress development team has committed to supporting the plugin until December 31st, 2021.

Those who use assistive technology and experience accessibility issues with the new editor are encouraged to install the Classic Editor plugin until the issues are fixed.

Twenty Nineteen: A Fully Compatible Default Theme

WordPress 5.0 comes with a new default theme called Twenty Nineteen that is fully compatible with the new editor. It includes front-end and back-end styles to provide a What You See Is What You Get experience. It also supports the Wide and Full image alignment options.

A screenshot of Twenty Nineteen Front-End on the Left, Back-End on the Right
Twenty Nineteen Front-End on the Left, Back-End on the Right

You can see the theme in action on Matt Mullenweg’s site.

What Happens to Existing Content?

Content not created in the new editor is placed into a Classic block. This block mimics the old editor and provides users a choice to migrate it into blocks. However, migrating content into blocks is not required. Most content shouldn’t be affected by updating to WordPress 5.0.

Where to Get Help Using the New Editor

For new users, the editor might be an intuitive experience but for many WordPress veterans, it introduces a steep learning curve. After all, the previous editor has existed for more than 10 years.

At the moment, there is a Gutenberg handbook for Developers and Contributors but not for Users. Work is underway by the Docs team and other volunteer contributors to put together an initial document to release in 2019.

Until the official handbook is published, you’ll need to seek help and education elsewhere.

WordPress 5.0 Essential Training

Morten Rand-Hendriksen, an educator for LinkedIn Learning has published a course that walks users through the new editor. It’s available to view for free for the next three weeks.

Gutenberg Times

Birgit Pauli-Haack has been keeping tabs on Gutenberg’s development for more than a year. Gutenberg Times contains relevant information about the editor for users and developers.

WordPress Support Forums

Volunteers are standing by ready to answer your questions. If you think you’ve discovered a bug, incompatibility, or are experiencing trouble with the new editor, please post it in the support forums.

WordPress 5.0 Field Guide

The WordPress 5.0 field guide provides important links and information for developers and users related to this release.

WordPress 5.0 Is the Beginning of A New Journey

While WordPress 5.0 introduces a new editor, it also lays the foundation for what’s to come. The first phase of project Gutenberg was the editor. The second phase is the Customizer with a focus on full-site layouts. The third and fourth phases will be shared and discussed by Mullenweg at this year’s WordCamp US.

The new editor is part of a long process to reinvent WordPress. Matías Ventura, Co-lead of the Gutenberg project succinctly explains why the need for Gutenberg exists.

WordPress has always been about the user experience, and that needs to continue to evolve under newer demands. Gutenberg is an attempt at fundamentally addressing those needs, based on the idea of content blocks. It’s an attempt to improve how users interact with their content in a fundamentally visual way, while at the same time giving developers the tools to create more fulfilling experiences for the people they are helping.

How can such a vision happen without dismantling, rebuilding, fragmenting, or breaking the WordPress ship that for over a decade has been carrying the thoughts, joys, and livelihoods of millions of people and more than a quarter of the web?

The ship, like Theseus’, needs to continue sailing while we upgrade the materials that make it. It needs to adapt to welcome new people, those that find it too rough to climb on board, too slippery a surface, too unwelcoming a sight, while retaining its essence of liberty. This is not an easy challenge—not in the slightest.

Indeed, we called it Gutenberg for a reason, for both its challenges and opportunities, for what it can represent in terms of continuity and change. It is an ambitious project and it needs the whole WordPress community to succeed.

Matías Ventura, Co-lead of the Gutenberg project.

As the new editor makes its way across the world, it will be interesting to see what the reactions are from users who experience it for the first time. It will also be interesting to see what the developer community builds that takes the editor to new heights.

WordPress 5.0 is the beginning of a new journey for the project. One that will have bumpy roads, new discoveries, and plenty of opportunities to learn. So saddle up and keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle until it makes a complete stop.

WordPress 5.0 is named after Bebo Valdés who was a Cuban pianist, bandleader, composer and arranger. The release was led by Matt Mullenweg with Allan Cole, Anthony Burchell, Gary Pendergast, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, Laurel Fulford, Omar Reiss, Daniel Bachhuber, Matías Ventura, Miguel Fonseca, Tammie Lister, Matthew Riley MacPherson as co-leads. At least 423 people contributed to the release.

Yoast SEO in WordPress 5.0: a visual guide

Today, WordPress 5.0 comes out. It ships with a brand new WordPress editor, previously known as Gutenberg. If you decide to update — read Joost’s post to make an informed decision on that –, you’ll find a brand new interface with lots of changed functionalities. You might wonder what happens to Yoast SEO if you use the new editor? Don’t worry, your favorite SEO tool is ready for WordPress 5.0! In this post, we’ll show you where to find all the Yoast SEO tools in this new editing environment.

WordPress 5.0

What’s all this fuzz about WordPress 5.0? As mentioned, it brings the new WordPress editor, aka Gutenberg. Read Edwin’s post to find out what it is and why it could be such a big step forward. Or read our answers to FAQs about the new WordPress editor. Wondering if you should update now? Then check Joost’s advice. In any case, don’t forget to test what it does to your website first!

Yoast SEO in WordPress 5.0

Since Yoast SEO 8.0, our flagship plugin is compatible with WordPress 5.o. First, we introduced the Yoast SEO sidebar with most features in it and later on, in 8.2, we made sure the snippet preview worked in the sidebar as well. We’ve fine-tuned stuff and added some super handy structured data blocks too: an FAQ block as well as a How to block! With those blocks you can create FAQ and How to pages with structured data in a jiffy. More on that further down this post.

A Yoast SEO metabox… and a sidebar!

Don’t fret! You can still find your post optimization tools in the Yoast SEO meta box below your posts and pages. The snippet preview, the readability and SEO analysis, just to name a few, are still there at your disposal.

Nevertheless, we’ve grabbed the opportunity to move most Yoast SEO features to a more convenient spot too: the sidebar! The advantage of that is, that you can optimize your posts without scrolling up and down all the time.

So now, you can optimize your content in two spots:

  • In the Yoast SEO sidebar, next to the blocks;
  • In the Yoast SEO meta box below the blocks.

A few features are only available in the Yoast SEO meta box. We’ve listed those at the end of this post.

Yoast SEO in the sidebar

Where to find Yoast SEO in the sidebar? Just click on the Yoast logo on upper right side of your screen. An overview of available Yoast SEO features will unfold:

Yoast SEO in the sidebar WordPress 5.0

How awesome is that! You don’t have to scroll down to find your scores and tweak your posts. Let’s go through the features one by one.

The snippet preview and editor

The first item you’ll see is the snippet preview. Click on it to preview what your post might look like in the search results. You can edit your SEO title, slug and meta description here:

modal snippet preview

The readability analysis

One step down in the sidebar you’ll find the readability analysis. Click on it to unfold it. The readability analysis will provide you with feedback on the readability of your copy. Are many of your sentences too long? Do you use subheadings? Is your paragraph length ok? Strive for a green smiley to make sure your copy is easy to read!

yoast seo readanility analysis in the sidebar

If you have red bullets, e.g. for sentence length or passive voice, you can click on the eye icon to see which sentences you can improve.

Your focus keyphrase

What phrase would you like your post or page to rank for? This is your focus keyphrase and you can enter it in the sidebar now too:

focus keyphrase sidebar

Yoast SEO will run a check on your content and see if you use your focus keyphrase in the right places. You should strive for an overall green smiley next to your focus keyphrase.

On Yoast SEO Premium? In that case, you can set synonyms of your focus keyphrase too and the SEO analysis will take those into account.

Google cares about context. If you write about a particular topic, it makes sense you mention related topics as well. For instance, if you’d write about autumn you’d mention rain or falling leaves too. If you place your content in the right context it’s easier for search engines to understand and rank your content. That’s why you can enter related keywords in Yoast SEO Premium too.

In the Yoast SEO sidebar you can click on + related keyphrase and add the keyphrases that you shouldn’t forget to mention in your copy:

related keyphrases Yoast SEO sidebar

Cornerstone content

Do you know which content is the most important content on your website? (If you don’t, please read this post about cornerstone content!). Here you can mark those essential articles as cornerstone content:

cornerstone content in the Yoast SEO sidebar

If you do this, those articles will get a stricter SEO analysis, because they should be exceptionally good articles. And, if you’re on Premium, they’ll appear on top of your internal linking suggestions, because you should link to them often.

Internal linking suggestions – Premium only!

The last item in the sidebar is our internal linking suggestion tool. If you link related posts and pages to each other, it’s easier for users to navigate your website. On top of that, it helps Google to make sense of the focus of your website. Our internal linking tool helps you to find and link related content:

gutenberg sidebar internal linking

Yoast structured data blocks

Structured data can give you a competitive edge in the search engines. It’s also likely to become more and more important in the years to come. Our structured data blocks make implementing structured data super easy. Everyone can do this, no need for a developer!

The FAQ block

Our first structured data block is the FAQ block. It helps you implement data for your frequently asked questions page. Just click on the + sign on top of your new editing screen, and you’ll see the Yoast Structured Data Blocks:

After that, it’s just a matter of filling out questions and answers! Read Edwin’s post to find out how the FAQ structured data block works exactly.

The How-to block

Have a lot of how-to articles on your site? The other Yoast SEO block will help you add structured data to those articles. Just select the block and fill out the necessary data, like total time and the steps people have to take:

An empty HowTo content block in Gutenberg. Just fill in the fields to get going!

Read the full instructions on how to add how-to structured data with Yoast SEO here.

What you won’t find in the sidebar — yet

Some features aren’t incorporated in the new Yoast SEO sidebar yet. For instance, the features you’ll find in the advanced tab in the Yoast SEO meta box, like the meta robots tags, breadcrumb titles and canonical URLs. Also, if you want to check the Social previews (a premium feature), you should still go to the good old meta box below your post. We’ll keep you posted when new features are added to the Yoast SEO sidebar!

The post Yoast SEO in WordPress 5.0: a visual guide appeared first on Yoast.

WordPress 5.0 Targeted for December 6, Prompting Widespread Outcry Ahead of WordCamp US

During last week’s core dev chat, Matt Mullenweg urged developers to consider WordPress 5.0 as “coming as soon as possible.” Nevertheless, his decision to set Thursday, December 6, for the new release date has taken many by surprise.

Official feedback channels and social media erupted with largely negative feedback on the decision, as the new release date has 5.0 landing the day before WordCamp US begins. This is a travel day for many attending the conference. It also means both of the planned follow-up releases will be expected during the upcoming weeks when many have scheduled time off for major world holidays.

Yoast CEO Joost de Valk, one of the most vocal critics of the 5.0 timelime, posted a public message of dissent that resonated with many on Twitter:

We vehemently disagree with the decision to release WordPress 5.0 on December 6th, and think it’s irresponsible and disrespectful towards the community.

However, we’re now going to try and support the community as well as possible and we hope to show everyone that Gutenberg is indeed a huge step forward.

Although Gutenberg as a project has strong support from many large companies in the WordPress ecosystem, much of the current uproar is rooted in a communication published in early October that indicated 5.0 would be pushed to January if it missed the first set of planned release dates:

We know there is a chance that 5.0 will need additional time, so these dates can slip by up to 8 days if needed. If additional time beyond that is required, we will instead aim for the following dates:

Secondary RC 1: January 8, 2019

Secondary Release: January 22, 2019

Should we need to switch to the secondary dates, this will be communicated as soon as we’re aware.

Companies made plans based on this schedule, but after those dates passed Mullenweg was unwilling to commit to honoring the previous communication. The plan from the outset may have been to “play it by ear” and incorporate new information as it became available, but the developer community had been counting on the published deadlines to be definitive.

“This decision was made in disregard to earlier specific timelines and promises, and does not take the realities on the ground into account,” Morten Rand-Hendricksen said. “I agree with @yoast it is both irresponsible and disrespectful.”

Although reactions on Twitter run the gamut from unbridled optimism to full on outrage, many of those commenting on the schedule have fallen into resignation, convinced that community feedback never really mattered when it came to scheduling the release.

Mullenweg’s rationale behind announcing the release date with three days notice is that Gutenberg and/or the Classic Editor are already active on more than 1.3 million sites. Users do not have to upgrade to WordPress 5.0 until they are ready. If they opt for the Classic Editor, the editing experience “will be indistinguishable from 4.9.8.”

Users who are informed enough to make this choice will be well-prepared when they see that 5.0 update in their dashboards. However, one of the chief concerns is that millions of WordPress users will update without testing. Plugin developers are scrambling to ship compatibility updates and support staff will need to be on hand to help users navigate any incompatibilities or bugs in the new editing experience. Hundreds of WordPress professionals will be traveling to WordCamp US when 5.0 is expected to ship, which poses challenges for supporting users who experience problems with the update.

“I do not think the attendees of WCUS are more important than much larger portion of the WordPress community who does not (and cannot) attend, and there are numerous ways to deal with 5.0 before or after the 6th if that particular day is inconvenient for someone, regardless of the reason,” Mullenweg said in response to comments regarding the date conflicting with travel plans.

The release date announcement has well over 100 comments from frustrated contributors and developers expressing concerns, and Mullenweg has been responsive in the comments. He has recently ramped up communication ahead of the release, regularly attending core dev chats, adding dedicated office hours to connect with the community one-on-one, and answering some of the most pressing Gutenberg questions on his blog in a lengthy but inspiring FAQ post.

Despite these communication efforts, contributors who are not employed by Automattic have said they feel this release has been plagued by a lack of transparency regarding decision-making. Many WordPress core committers, core contributors, and former release leads have pushed back on releasing before January to no avail. Their concerns and disappointments during the process hang like a dark cloud over what should be an exciting time for the future of WordPress.

“No matter how bad the process around WordPress 5.0 might have been, finally setting a release date was the only right step following the RCs,” WordPress core developer Dominik Schilling said. “Let’s see if it’s also the beginning for doing it better to get back on releases which everyone will love.”

John Teague, who runs an 11-person operation, managing 210 enterprise hosting clients, summarized how many are feeling ahead of WordPress 5.0 shipping out this week.

“I so want to be supportive of this release,” Teague said. “But between the top down, heavily Automattic managed process, poor release communication, super short RC2, RC3, punting on accessibility, and now this two-day notice to 5.0 release – it reminds me of an old Air Force saying when instructors sent barely trained pilots up for their first solo:

‘Send em up and let God grade em.'”

Should you update to WordPress 5.0?

WordPress 5.0 is coming out December 6th, or, as I’m writing this, the day after tomorrow. This came as a surprise to us, as this release date has only been communicated to the community today. Given this short notice, we thought it would be wise to give you advice on what you should do. Note that Yoast SEO has been ready for this release for a few weeks.

There are several decisions you should make before updating to WordPress 5.0:

  • Is now the right time to update?
  • Can your site work with Gutenberg?
  • Do you need it?

Is now the right time to update?

If you have a holiday coming up, or if this is a busy time in your company’s or site’s yearly calendar: postpone updating. Everything in this release will still be there in January. In fact, as multiple patch releases are being planned already, it’s probably going to be more stable in January.

Can your site work with Gutenberg?

WordPress 5.0 introduces Gutenberg. Gutenberg changes the way the editor works in WordPress, read this post if you don’t know what it is. Overall, we think it’s an improvement.

But not all plugins are ready, and it’s important to know if the plugins you are using are ready before you hit update. If you only run Yoast SEO, you’re fine. If you run other plugins that integrate with the editing experience, make sure to check (either by testing or checking the plugins documentation) that they’re ready for, or at least “work with” Gutenberg. If they don’t, install and activate the Classic editor plugin before updating.

Do you need WordPress 5.0?

If there is no compelling reason for you to update, our suggestion is going to be: wait. WordPress 5.0 will probably be more stable in January than it is now. Let’s be clear: we absolutely love Gutenberg and what Yoast SEO looks like in Gutenberg. The Schema blocks we’ve added are very cool. Yoast SEO is ready. We don’t think WordPress 5.0 is as stable as it should be.

So our advice boils down to: if you can wait, wait. 

When you upgrade to WordPress 5.0

When you upgrade, please, as always: make a backup. If you have a staging environment, please use it. If you don’t have one, and your site is critical to your business, get one. This goes for every major software release though, not just this one.

The post Should you update to WordPress 5.0? appeared first on Yoast.

NaNoWriMo 2018 and Beyond

Winner's certificate for the 2018 National Novel Writing Month

Small ripples flow toward my chair at the edge of the lake, the aftershock of ducks playing across the way. They’re getting their morning bath in the cool water. I tug the plaid afghan tighter around my shoulders while waiting for the morning sun to breathe warmth across eastern side of the farm. The hens are already cackling, their voices overpowering the rooster who has been crowing since 3 a.m. One must have laid the first egg of the day. She and her sisters are letting the neighborhood know about it.

I take a sip of my coffee before opening the pages of my leather notebook, a gift passed down from my grandfather. I need to continue penning the great Southern American novel before hitting the fields. A few crops from the fall plantings remain. It’ll be winter soon. My morning routine will need to adjust. For now, I’m bearing through the chilly mornings. I want to enjoy what time I have left writing from my favorite spot.

Don’t mind me. I’m just picturing where I’d thought I’d be at this point in my life. The goal was to be a fulltime writer/novelist by the time I was in my 30s. My 40s at the latest. I always had this Walden-meets-lake-house-in-south-Alabama picture in my mind where I’d spend my mornings finding some inner truth about what it means to be human, to inhale the nature of the world and spew it out on the page.

Life has a funny way of taking you on twists and turns and side-streets and down-the-road-to-see-your-auntie and everything else in between.

I’ve been fortunate enough to do work that I love for the past decade, but it’s not the big dream. My dream of being a writer led me down the path of creating a blog. Then, I learned to code so that I could fix things on my blog, which led me to a career in Web dev. Now, I’m back to the beginning. I need to continue focusing on the reason for me going down this path in the first place—writing.

After 13 years since my first attempt at a novel, I decided it was time to put effort into realizing my dream of being a novelist. Therefore, I decided to give National Novel Writing Month another go.

I won.

The challenge was to write 50,000 words toward a completed first draft in 30 days. I passed the mark three days early. I wrapped up the month with 55,216 words. Trust me when I say that is no small feat when you’ve built up 13 years of fiction-writing rust.

Today I want to share some of the things that I learned during this journey.

No way I could write that much

When I tell people about the challenge, one thing they always say is that there’s no way they’d come close to writing that many words in a month. While I did say that it’s no small feat to punch out 50K words in a month, it’s actually not that hard when you break it down to smaller goals.

To hit that magical 50K finish line, you must average 1,667 words each day. That doesn’t mean you must hit that number every day. You can start out slower, get your writing muscles in shape, and finish out strong.

I kept a personal goal of shooting for at least 1,500 every day. I only seriously undershot that goal on 2 days—once when I was sick with a stomach virus and once on a busy Thanksgiving-esque weekened dinner with the family. I still wrote on each of those days without hitting my goals, but that was okay.

When it comes right down to it, consistency is more important. This is something I’ve learned over the years from Web development and other challenges I’ve taken on. Putting in daily work, no matter how much, will keep you on track for doing whatever it is that you set out to do.

Writing 1,000 or 2,000 words in a day is nothing for me. I do it often when writing blog posts, tutorials, or some form of documentation. I’m certain this post will be in that ballpark. Keeping that pace every day for a month made for a bit of a challenge.

For a good part of the month, I wasn’t on par with where I should’ve been to hit 50K. However, I was always close behind. Somewhere toward the end of the second week, I was blasting out 2,000+ words on some days. I’d built up a good habit and my fiction-writing muscles were churning away. In the final week, I was well ahead of where I needed to be, with two or three days of wiggle room in my schedule

Crossing the 50K finish line is great, but crossing the 25K midway point was the best part of the experience. Once I hit that, I was like, “I got this.”

The best piece of advice I can provide to anyone who might be considering writing a longer work of fiction is to not worry too much about the end goal of hitting 50K, 75K, or even 100K words. Think about consistently working on your manuscript and setting up smaller goals for yourself along the way.

Mastering a craft is work

One of the things I’ve tried to teach my younger brother recently is that he must put in the time and work to become a great songwriter. Talent is not enough to take him to the next level. Writing songs whenever the mood strikes you is not a great plan of action if your imagination isn’t in the mood every day.

In the opening paragraphs of this post, I laid out an idyllic vision of a writer’s morning. We all have these pictures in our heads of great artists building the most beautiful works of art when their muse gifts them with their next creation.

In reality, it’s all about honing your skills. Learning the craft. And doing it over and over and over.

When I first became a Web developer, I sucked at it. I mean I really sucked. I wrote my first bit of HTML code in the spring of 2003. It’s been 15 years now, and I’m still learning new things all the time. I’m always becoming better at what I do.

I’m a few chapters away from completing this first draft that I began on November 1st. As an avid reader, I can tell you that it’s not particularly good. I’m okay with that. It’ll probably be a while before I create something that I’m ready to share with the world.

What I have done is learn. I imagine in 10 years that I can look back and share this first draft as an example of everything not to do when writing a novel.

Practice makes perfect.

I know it’s a cliché, but it’s a good one. It’s a saying that we all learn from the time that we’re children. I will continue practicing and one day publish a novel.

Wrapping up the first draft

Today is the first day that I’m not required to write anything toward my first draft. The challenge is over, but the manuscript is unfinished. I’ll probably write something anyway. It’s in my bones now. Writing has become an addiction that I must satisfy.

I am going to slow my pace a bit. My next challenge is about finding the right balance between writing and my regular design/dev work. There’s only so many hours in a day that a person can spend doing deep work. Because I’m in a field that requires a high level of creativity, I need to not burn it all out on writing. I must save some of that energy for putting food on the table.

My new writing goal is going to be to hit 1,000 words each day until I complete the first draft. I’m estimating another 15,000-20,000 words before the story is complete. If all goes well, I will have completed my first first draft of a novel.

Beyond NaNoWriMo

I’d like to say that I’ll move immediately to the first revision phase of my current novel in January. Being perfectly honest, I have a couple of other ideas that I’d like to get into. The act of creating a story has opened my mind to other ideas, and I’m itching to work on them. I’ll wait to see how I feel about that after I’ve completed the first draft and made it through Christmas.

I will continue writing something.

While I talk about this being work, I haven’t mentioned how much fun it is. I love stories. Books. TV. Movies. D&D (which I recently played for the first time). I love it all. The great thing about writing a story is that you get to learn and grow and laugh and cry with characters that you created.

People ask me all the time what the story is about or what’s going to happen. I tell them that I don’t know; I haven’t finished the story yet. Writing is an act of discovery. With each new writing session, I learn something new about my characters that I didn’t know the day before. Non-writers think that’s weird and that I should already know what’s going to happen. The act of discovery is half the fun for me.

With that said, I want to try my hand at plotting an outline in the next first draft. At least build a rough path for my characters to travel and return to if they veer off course. I was a pantser this NaNoWriMo, which is someone who is writing by the seat of their pants.

I’m fairly certain that I’ll take on this challenge again in November 2019. In the meantime, I’ll keep working on my craft.

Mullenweg Ramps Up Communication Ahead of WordPress 5.0 Release, RC2 Now Available

WordPress 5.0 RC2 was released today with 15 notable updates, including improvements to block preview styling, browser-specific bug fixes, and other changes. RC2 was released simultaneously with Gutenberg version 4.6.

The official release date for WordPress 5.0 has not yet been announced, because it depends on feedback from RC2 testing. Contributors’ uneasiness with not having an official release date seemed to reach a critical tipping point during this week’s WordPress dev chat, as many participants pressured Matt Mullenweg, who is leading the release, to give more information on when they can expect 5.0.

“It is very important that we have a release date to aim for,” ACF founder Elliot Condon said. “I’m finding the current ‘waiting game’ quite stressful, and I suspect a few other developers will share the same feeling.”

Tensions were high as contributors cited various reasons for wanting a date, including companies needing support staff on hand, upcoming holidays, documentation planning, and the importance of user trust.

“We’re determining the release date based on the open issues,” Mullenweg said. “Please consider it as coming as soon as possible, when everything is resolved.”

“I hope it’s clear we’re trying to get this out as soon as possible, but don’t yet have enough data to announce an official date. As mentioned last week we have done a number of December releases in the past, and may this time, but don’t have enough data to announce a new date yet.”

Mullenweg also urged dev chat attendees to keep in mind that any site administrators can install the Classic Editor plugin to keep the current editing experience, regardless of the 5.0 release date. He said the date will be announced via a P2 post, not during a dev chat.

“If you want to know what to plan on, please don’t hold anything back based on expected dates, please test or deploy the RCs, that’s what they’re for,” Mullenweg said.

In the meantime, Mullenweg is spending the weekend taking questions from the community during 24 office hours slots. He also published a lengthy post titled “WordPress 5.0: A Gutenberg FAQ,” which reaffirms WordPress’ mission in the context of Gutenberg. It answers questions like “Why do we need Gutenberg at all?” and “Why blocks?”

“I knew we would be taking a big leap,” Mullenweg said. “But it’s a leap we need to take, and I think the end result is going to open up many new opportunities for everyone in the ecosystem, and for those being introduced to WordPress for the first time. It brings us closer to our mission of democratizing publishing for everyone.”

The stats Mullenweg cited about previously having 9 major WordPress releases in December (34% of all releases in the last decade) indicate that a December release may still be on the table. His post addresses the perceived urgency behind getting Gutenberg out the door and into the hands of users. In evaluating WordPress 5.0’s readiness, he said it’s important to differentiate between the code being ready and the community being ready.

“In the recent debate over Gutenberg readiness, I think it’s important to understand the difference between Gutenberg being ready code-wise (it is now), and whether the entire community is ready for Gutenberg,” Mullenweg said.

“It will take some time — we’ve had 15 years to polish and perfect core, after all — but the global WordPress community has some of the world’s most talented contributors and we can make it as good as we want to make it.”

The post also offers a preview of where Gutenberg is going in the next site customization phase and how it will change the way users build their sites.

“The Editor is just the start,” he said. “In upcoming phases blocks will become a fundamental part of entire site templates and designs. It’s currently a struggle to use the Customizer and figure out how to edit sections like menus, headers, and footers. With blocks, people will be able to edit and manipulate everything on their site without having to understand where WordPress hides everything behind the scenes.”

Mullenweg said he plans to talk more about the next phases following site customization during the State of the Word address at WordCamp US. If you have questions about Gutenberg and where it’s headed, the comments are open on his post.

Reaching higher together: how we all benefit from open source

You may know this open source fanatic as WordPress Core Contributor or esteemed speaker on WordCamps and other conferences. Today, Software Engineer & WordPress Consultant Alain Schlesser shares the details of his first experiences with open source and how to learn from, as well as contribute to open source projects. And, he is clear on one thing: “A world without open source would see less frequent technological advances, and they would come at a higher cost.” Read the 4th interview in our shout-out to open source interview-series, and find out how we all benefit from open source!

Q. Why is open source so important to you?

My belief is that open source is the principle that allows ‘knowledge’ to scale in the software engineering field. Reinventing the wheel before being able to tackle the actual problem can only take you so far. If everyone can stand on the shoulders of others, we can all reach higher and higher with time.

Q. In what way do you contribute to open source?

I contribute or have contributed to a lot of different existing open source projects, the most popular being WordPress Core. I also maintain or co-maintain projects, like WP-CLI, the command line interface for WordPress. Additionally, I also make sure that the client projects I work on contribute all reusable code back as open source packages. I usually collect these projects under the ‘brightnucleus‘ GitHub organization.

Q. When did you hear about open source for the first time? What were your thoughts about open source back then? And what are your thoughts about open source now?

I became more directly aware of open source in the mid-’90s. At the time, I got fascinated with the Sourceforge site, which hosted thousands of open source code repositories. It was the first time I had access to that amount of source code to freely browse and reuse for my purposes. It was a game changer for me. Endless amounts of knowledge in the software engineering field freely shared among peers!

At the time, I did not even have internet access at home, so whenever I had the opportunity to get access to the internet, I browsed the code repositories on Sourceforge and downloaded ZIP archives of whatever I wanted to inspect closer, to take the code back home with me (on floppy disks!).

Nowadays I think that open source is a critical part of our modern society. Almost everything is software-driven, and almost all software builds upon open source code, directly or indirectly.

Q. Does open source say something about the quality of the product?

Open source does not directly state anything about the actual quality of a product, but it does make it possible for anyone to assess the quality of a given product in detail. Proprietary software is not necessarily better or worse, but you only find out about its real qualities after starting to use it, you cannot vet it upfront.

Q. When and what was your first open source contribution?

I’m not entirely sure I remember correctly. I think it must have been a hardware driver for the Linux project, somewhere around the mid- to late-90’s. When I was experimenting with Linux for the first time, the driver situation was still really bad, and a lot of the less common hardware was not supported at all, or only supported in an incomplete and buggy way. It was pretty normal back then to write hardware drivers for more exotic hardware yourself, if you really wanted to get that new gear working.

Q. How do you learn from open source? How can others learn from open source?

Just open the code and read it! Most of it comes with both documentation and inline comments, so it should be easy to figure out what it does and why it does it.

If you reuse existing open source libraries, you can easily jump into and out of the libraries’ code and examine what it does. This open source variant of ‘learning by doing’ is a very fast way of improving your own code.

Projects that are well maintained will also usually provide you with free code reviews when you submit a pull request or patch. This is pretty close to having a mentor looking over your shoulder and telling you where you can further improve, all at the cost of zilch – it can’t get much better than that.

Q. Why is open source important for everyone?

It is difficult nowadays to find an electronic device that does not use any open source tools or libraries. Everyone is literally surrounded by the benefits of open source. A world without open source would see less frequent technological advances, and they would come at a higher cost.

Q. Do you have to be a developer to be involved with open source? How about diversity within the open source community?

No, you can easily get involved in open source without being a developer. Just take a look at the WordPress Community as a vibrant example of this, where people of all industries and backgrounds come together to collaborate on common goals.

Q. I want to contribute to open source! Where do I start?

Take whatever you are very passionate about and be very curious about it! I would bet you don’t have to dig deep to find open source projects that are related and that would welcome your contributions. If you need more hands-on guidance, start with an open source portal like GitHub, where you can browse thousands of popular projects and see what they need help with.

Read more: 3 reasons open source is awesome »

The post Reaching higher together: how we all benefit from open source appeared first on Yoast.

WordPress 5.0 RCs, Gutenberg related news and food for thought!

Today’s roundup focuses on WordPress 5.0 and its upcoming release date, but we’ll also discuss some interesting and new Gutenberg related news. And, I did my best to introduce a couple of interesting bits throughout this roundup. Every single link is certainly worth checking out! Let’s dive in, shall we?

When will WordPress 5.0 be released?

The question I heard most in the last couple of weeks was this: When will WordPress 5.0 be released? And that is a great question! Unfortunately, not one we have a straight answer to at the moment. The first Release Candidate (RC) was released last week and we’re expecting RC 2 today. But, that still doesn’t point to a specific date. The best answer we currently have is that the date will be communicated. Basically, this means the Core team is working hard to fix the outstanding issues but is not quite ready to commit to a specific date.

My take is that they don’t want to send out a message with a specific date again if they’re not 100% sure they can commit to it. Matt Mullenweg certainly isn’t excluding a December release in his Gutenberg FAQ:

Is it terrible to do a release in December?
Some people think so, some don’t. There have been 9 major WordPress releases in previous Decembers. December releases actually comprise 34% of our major releases in the past decade.

So, let’s just wait and see what happens in the next week.

Gutenberg related news

A few Gutenberg related things have happened in the last couple of weeks that I think could be of interest for you to know. Matt Mullenweg’s post about Gutenberg FAQs is one of them, but there are more.

Block Lab

In a previous roundup, I talked about how ACF would be used to generate blocks for Gutenberg. But they aren’t the only ones trying to figure out how to improve this flow. Block Lab is trying to do exactly this as well. It introduces an interface in the WordPress Admin and a simple templating system for building custom Gutenberg blocks. Definitely worth checking out if you’ve been looking for easier ways to implement custom blocks.

Jetpack 6.8 introduces blocks for Gutenberg

Jetpack 6.8 was released this week and with it shipped a couple of blocks for the new WordPress editor. You can read all about it in WP Tavern’s post about Jetpack 6.8 or read the full release post for Jetpack 6.8 on Jetpack’s blog.

Food for thought

Smashing Magazine published an interesting article, by Leonardo Losoviz, about the implications of thinking in blocks instead of blobs. One thing Leonardo says particularly rings true for me:

I believe that switching from blobs of HTML code to components for building sites is nothing short of a paradigm shift. Gutenberg’s impact is much more than a switch from PHP to JavaScript: there are things that could be done in the past which will possibly not make sense anymore.

A paradigm shift is indeed what we’re looking at here. I’m enthusiastic about the things this new WordPress editor allows us to do that were previously very hard to do.

At Yoast, we’re also very excited about the possibilities the new editor introduces and we’ve already got some great ideas lined up. Not only will it allow our content analysis per post to be much more granular, but we also see a great opportunity to improve lots of different kinds of rich data. Our current How-To and FAQ blocks, introduced in Yoast SEO 8.2,  being the first examples of this.

Interesting site speed project

Delivering a speedy website has to be a number one priority for you. We’ve talked about how to use a page speed test to optimize your WordPress website before. Site speed is a topic that will become increasingly important as we move forward. This week, I came across an interesting project along the lines of our post about improving site speed that got me very excited.

Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages that is part of the Chrome browser. You give Lighthouse a URL to evaluate, and it runs a series of audits on the page for performance, accessibility, progressive web app capabilities, and more. It then generates a report on how well the page did.

Imagine bringing those audits fully into the context of WordPress powered sites. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Well, we may very well be heading that way. An interesting project aiming to do exactly this is to be kicked off at WordCamp US next week (will we see you there?). Imagine the impact of such a tool! Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Read on: What is Gutenberg? »


The post WordPress 5.0 RCs, Gutenberg related news and food for thought! appeared first on Yoast.

How to Bulk Delete WordPress Posts (2 Easy Solutions)

Do you want to bulk delete WordPress posts? WordPress makes it super easy to manage posts from the admin area. However, if you want to delete a lot of posts then selecting and deleting them may take some time. In this article, we will show you two quick and easy solutions to bulk delete WordPress posts from your blog.

Bulk delete WordPress posts with two easy methods

Method 1. Bulk Delete WordPress Posts without Plugin

This method is easier and is recommended for all users. It uses the built-in WordPress functionality to quickly select a large number of posts and delete them.

First, you need to visit Posts » All Posts page. From here you can click on the bulk select box on top to select all posts displayed on the page.

Select all posts

If you don’t want to delete all of the selected posts, then you can now go ahead and uncheck those posts. Otherwise, you can click on the ‘Bulk Options’ drop-down menu and select ‘Move to Trash’ option.

Move to trash option

Next, you need to click on the ‘Apply’ button to delete selected posts.

WordPress will now move the selected posts to trash.

Using this default method, you can only select 20 posts at a time. What if you wanted to delete hundreds of posts?

Simply click on the ‘Screen Options‘ button at the top right corner of the screen. This will bring a pull-down menu where you need to change the ‘Number of items per page’ to any number you want.

Change the number of posts to be displayed

Next, click on the Apply button and WordPress will display the number of posts you selected earlier. You can now go ahead and bulk delete posts as described above.

Note: Deleted posts will be moved to WordPress trash and will remain there for 30 days. After that, they will be permanently deleted from your WordPress database.

Bulk Delete Posts by Specific Author or Category

Now let’s suppose you want to delete posts filed under a specific category / tag or written by a specific author? You can simply click on the author, category, or tag links to display posts associated with them.

Display posts by author, category, or tag

For example, clicking on the ‘News’ category will show you the list of posts filed under that category. You can then select the posts and move them to trash by using the Bulk Options menu.

Method 2: Bulk Delete WordPress Posts using a Plugin

The default bulk delete options are quite adequate for most users. However, there are some cases where you may need more options to quickly select specific posts and then bulk delete them.

For example, if you want to delete posts filed within last few days or posts older than a certain number of days?

Luckily, there is a plugin that lets you bulk delete posts using advanced filters.

First, you need to install and activate the Bulk Delete plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, go to Bulk WP » Bulk Delete Posts page in your WordPress admin area to delete posts. The plugin offers multiple ways to filter and select posts that you want to delete.

Bulk WP Settings

You can filter posts by duration, select posts published in last x days, delete them instantly without sending to trash, and even schedule to delete later.

As you scroll down further in the settings screen, you will find more options to select and delete posts by categories, custom taxonomies, custom post types, and more.

Sort and select posts by category

Bulk Delete can also be used to bulk delete comments, pages, users, and custom fields.

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily bulk delete WordPress posts using these two methods. You may also want to see our list of the best WordPress plugins for business websites.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Bulk Delete WordPress Posts (2 Easy Solutions) appeared first on WPBeginner.

WordPress 5.0 RC 1 Released, Gutenberg Passes 1 Million Installations

WordPress 5.0 RC 1 was released over the weekend after a string of five betas that began in late October. According to the Gutenberg stats page, more than 1.1 million sites have the Gutenberg plugin installed and users have written more than 980,000 posts using the new editor. These numbers are conservative estimates, as the numbers only include sites and sites running Jetpack.

Most of the changes included in the RC were outlined in the Gutenberg 4.5 release post last week. An update published today shows 12 PRs waiting for review in the 4.6 milestone, 14 open issues in the 5.0.0 milestone, and more than 150 issues open in 5.0.1 and subsequent releases. Dev notes for 5.0 have been published and tagged on the blog.

WordPress 5.0’s official release date was set for November 27 but after further evaluation the date has been pushed back. Last week WordPress core core committers, contributors, and former release leads made strong, last-minute appeals to hold off RC and defer the release to January. Development is moving forward desipite the pushback. A new release date has not yet been announced. The current plan is to monitor feedback on the RC and the team will make a decision from there.

Mullenweg Responds to Critics on Twitter, Reiterates Vision for Gutenberg

Over the weekend, Matt Mullenweg responded to critics on Twitter who voiced concerns about his leadership and communication throughout WordPress 5.0’s development. One particular post titled “Let’s Take A Very Serious Look At Gutenberg,” written by WordPress developer Cameron Jones, sparked conversation. In response to Cliff Seal, who urged Mullenweg to “re-cast the vision of WordPress in a way that accounts for the apparent urgency of this effort,” Mullenweg responded:

Many people who try to start publishing with WordPress fail; those who don’t struggle with shortcodes, embeds, widgets; those who can toggle to code view to do basic tasks in the editor, and for clients set up elaborate meta-field and CPT based schemes to avoid catastrophe.

Gutenberg aims to solve these problems, improve the WP experience for all its users, and open up independent, open source, beautiful publishing on the web to a class of users that couldn’t publish with WordPress before.

It may seem rushed to people unused to this pace of development and improvement in the WordPress world. However this has been a pace sustained for almost two years now, and we still look slow compared to some modern software. Speed of iteration is enabled by the new tech stack.

It bothers me at a deep, moral level to hold back a user experience that will significantly upgrade the publishing ability and success of tens or hundreds of millions of users. It hasn’t been ready (for core) yet, so it’s not released. I hope it will be soon!

This may all look very quaint in retrospect, when we look back three or five years from now. It’s a tough transition but the foundation Gutenberg enables will be worth it.

Matt Medeiros, another vocal critic of Mullenweg’s leadership on WordPress 5.0, recorded a video, expounding on his concerns about transparency and the rushed pace. He summarized the frustrations that inspired him to make the video.

“While I agree WordPress needs innovation to reach new users that desperately require freedom over their content, especially within the context of today’s social networks, I don’t agree and am also discouraged by Matt not sharing the product vision with the community,” Medeiros said. “It’s polarizing to build software under the guise of openness with a mission to democratize publishing, but not give the same people volunteering to ‘Five for the Future’ a voice for the future.

“Lack of communication, not Gutenberg or the team developing it, has lead to the current divide and we’re left asking — why? WordPress has always had a branding problem and this continues to muddy the lines between open source project and WordPress the ‘product.'”

The 5.0 release is heading into the home stretch but Gutenberg has several phases ahead with many more years of development. Mullenweg’s responses on Twitter over the weekend indicate he is interested in keeping the lines of communication open throughout the process. He said he plans to dedicate more time to responding directly to feedback.

“One thing will try: I’m going to open up some listening office hours in the next week so people can talk directly,” Mullenweg said. “I want everyone to be and feel heard, as they have been since the beginning of this process in 2016.”

NaNoWriMo 2018: The home stretch

A desk in a dark room with a desk-lamp illuminating the area. A typewriter sits next to it.

Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Iron Bowl.

It’s a three-day time and energy suck for anyone who’s trying to maintain a high level of creative energy and get some work done. I managed to make it through the holiday and keep a good writing pace with 1,739, 2,331, and 859 words on each of the days. Yesterday was the toughest simply because my schedule didn’t allow for anything but a single 35-minute writing block.

National Novel Writing Month is now in its final week. At this point, many people have already won. Some folks passed the 50K-word finish line a week ago. Some are now soaring past 100K.

Me? I’m doing what I set out to do. I’m keeping a consistent pace and making it a habit to write every day regardless of whatever else is happening in my life.

Attempting to keep up with others would do little more than contribute to burnout. One of the things I love about NaNoWriMo is that I’m not competing against anyone else. The community is in this together. It’s encouraging to see others dealing with and overcoming many of the same struggles in their works of fiction. In the end, the only person you’re competing against is yourself. You either sit down, buckle up, and put in the work or you don’t.

I could’ve easily written yesterday off as a no-writing day, a day where life wasn’t going to allow me to put pen to paper. But, I felt the pull of my incomplete manuscript. It was calling me to continue the story. Habit. After three weeks of doing anything every day, it’s hard to break out of the routine. My habit-building plan was bearing fruit.

Early in the challenge, I was attempting to get to 1,500 words if I could. I knew if I could keep that pace, I could make up for any losses later. And, it seemed to work. I’ve had a number of 2,000+ word days since then and kept an overall pace of 1,822 words/day. I’ve built my writing muscles up to consistently write more in shorter bouts of time.

With the final 6 days of NaNoWriMo ahead, I have 6,254 words left to become a winner. I plan to hit that in 3 days and cross the 50K mark on Tuesday.

After you’ve written nearly 44K, a measly 6K is nothing.

I don’t intend to stop once I’ve crossed the finish line. I estimate that I’m only about 2/3 through with the story. There’s no “The End” for me this November. After NaNoWriMo is over, I want to finish the first draft of this novel.

Then, I want to get straight to work on my next writing project. I’ve had a good idea burning a hole in my brain for the last week or so that I want to spend some time on. It’d be a good time to let my first completed draft of this story sit. Perhaps I’ll come back and edit it after it’s mellowed for a time.

For now, I’ve got a challenge to win. 50K, here I come!

WordPress 5.0 RC Expected on U.S. Thanksgiving Holiday, despite Last-Minute Pushback from Contributors

photo credit: KaylaKandzorra i miss you grampa.(license)

WordPress core committers, core contributors, and former release leads made strong, last-minute appeals on Monday for the 5.0 release to be deferred to January. RC was expected Monday but those urging its delay cited the large number of open issues on the milestone and the fact that many confirmed bugs are being aggressively punted to followup releases.

“I do not see how we can seriously ship a release candidate today,” Joe McGill said. “In doing so, we are either saying we’re ok with shipping a major version of WordPress with this many known issues, or that the term ‘release candidate’ does not actually have meaning. I would suggest that we revise the schedule to push back RC for at least 4 weeks so we have a reasonable deadline and, in the mean time, continue releasing betas.”

Nearly every contributor involved in the discussion was enthusiastic about Gutenberg but urged release lead Matt Mullenweg to allow for four weeks of RC and code freeze to give the community to prepare.

Contributors said they don’t understand the rush to get 5.0. Several noted that Gutenberg seems to be measured by a different rod of success than previous releases where headline features were held to a different standard in regards to shipping known bugs.

“We’re fast approaching a million (Jetpack tracked) posts made through the editor, with the non-tracked number probably a multiple of that,” Mullenweg said in response to contributors’ concerns. “There’s been an explosion of plugins building on top of Gutenberg and some things like the work ACF and Block Lab have done that seem really transformational for WordPress. For those whom the editor is not a good fit they can opt in at any point, including post-5.0, to Classic and continue using WP exactly as they had before until at least 2022 and likely beyond.”

Mullenweg identified a few questions he sees as “good measures of success for Gutenberg:”

  • Are people, when given the choice, choosing to use it over the old editor?
  • Can they create things they weren’t able to create before?
  • Are new-to-WP users more successful (active, happy with what they create) than pre-Gutenberg?
  • Are interesting things being built on top of it?

Interesting plugins are being built on top of Gutenberg but they are breaking with every release of the plugin. Gutenberg 4.5 was released yesterday, matching the first 5.0 RC feature set. It includes a large number of changes and bug fixes that have gone relatively untested by the community at large. Most notably, 4.5 introduced a regression that caused a white screen of death when trying to load custom post types in the classic editor, forcing a 4.5.1 release earlier in the day. Every release introduces changes that cause plugins to break, requiring immediate updates from plugin developers.

Gutenberg technical lead Matias Ventura posted an update today, confirming that WordPress 5.0 will miss the planned November 27 release date but did not offer a secondary date.

“The date for 5.0 release is under consideration, given it’s not plausible for it to be the on 27th,” Ventura said.

WordPress 5.0 Will Ship “When It’s Ready,” Contributors are Focusing on Getting Release Candidate out ASAP

When the second set of November dates for release were missed, many assumed WordPress 5.0 would fall back to the secondary dates in January, but that has not yet been confirmed. The previous scope and schedule Gary Pendergast outlined said the November dates could slip by up to eight days if necessary and that if additional time was required, they would aim for the January dates:

Secondary RC 1: January 8, 2019

Secondary Release: January 22, 2019

During the regularly scheduled core developers’ chat today, the discussion regarding WordPress 5.0’s release date became heated, as contributors continued to push for a January release. Pendergast suggested that December might have a viable date, to which Yoast CEO Joost de Valk responded, “I’m going to raise hell if we do December.”

WordPress plugin developers and agencies are trying to plan for upcoming holidays and want to have staff available when the release lands. Many of those who attended the meeting were hoping to receive confirmation on the release being pushed back to January.

“Please also consider the plugin shops that are rearranging their priorities to have blocks ready for 5.0, only to have had to fix them several times in the last few weeks,” Kevin Hoffman said. “The success of 5.0 depends just as much on third-party support as it does core.”

“There’s agreement on that from all sides, that the amount of code churn and missed earlier deadlines means that the 27th is untenable,” Mullenweg said. “RC is still possible soon, but please don’t assume that implies a final release date until we see how that goes and pick one. I hope that it shows that we are willing to change decisions based on new information, it’s not about being ‘right’ or sticking to previous plans blindly.”

This statement indicates Mullenweg may be considering dates that were not included in the original schedule, as he later said,”If y’all can take the data without freaking out about what it means for the release date, there have been 8 major releases in December, it’s actually been 34% of our last 23 major releases.”

Several contributors agreed that getting an RC out ASAP would finally force a longer code freeze for Gutenberg’s UI, API, documentation, and features. This would give the community more time to prepare.

“As part of the development team for almost two years now, I’d love for us to draw the RC line soon for the sake of everyone’s fatigue,” Matias Ventura said. “And think it’s ready to be drawn. I am concerned with letting us do ‘one more little thing’ and pushing the stability line further down, in an almost endless process.”

Contributors are now wrapping up the last few tickets and the plan is to get the release candidate out tomorrow during the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. Given WordPress’ global contributor base, releasing on the holiday shouldn’t be an issue. The team is also still investigating the possibility of bundling the Classic Editor plugin with updates for existing WordPress sites.

“Our focus right now is on a great RC,” Mullenweg said. Throughout Gutenberg’s development Mullenweg has said WordPress 5.0 would ship “when it’s ready.” No release date will be announced until the team has had time to evaluate the release candidate.

“It is true that the primary thing is whether it’s ready, and it’s not currently ready,” Mullenweg said.

In 1928 John A. Shedd published a little book called “Salt from My Attic.” It included a saying that U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper said was influential in her life: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

Shipping a major overhaul of WordPress’ editor has brought a fair share of uncertainty and frustration to contributors and the community that depends on the software. After mission-critical issues have been resolved, it seems to become a cycle of fixing and breaking things that could continue indefinitely. Although the holiday timing isn’t ideal, if Gutenberg stalls much longer it’s going to be burning daylight. At some point the ship just needs to push away from the port and see how it sails.

Reminder: We can’t rename plugins post approval.

When you submit a plugin, the plugin slug (i.e. the URL) is determined from your plugin’s display name, as set in the main plugin file. The slug can be changed while a plugin is in review but we cannot change it once your plugin is approved.

That’s why, when you submit a plugin, we send you an automatic email telling you what your slug is, and asking you to please reply immediately if that slug is wrong. We also show you what the slug will be on the post-submission page.

If you fail to tell us before we approve your plugin, you’re going to be stuck with the name you got, unless there’s an extenuating circumstance (like a legal issue, or a typo). We do not accept ‘resubmissions’ to fix the name, as we’re making every reasonable effort to get the information out there for you to act on.

Please. Make sure you read the emails. Make sure you check the slug after you submit. Tell us right away when you spot something wrong. And above all? Remember you have full control of your slug in your own submission 🙂

#reminder #policy

I will write a novel

Man adjusting typewriter. A page sits in the machine on a white table. There's a cup of coffee to the left and a phone sitting to the right.

I stepped outside and away from my porch this morning (I usually work on the front porch, breathing in the fresh air). I picked up a rake and gathered fallen red oak leaves into small piles that my cats are now frolicking in. Another pile seems to be the new, designated litter box.

I needed the movement. My muscles have had little work for the past three weeks outside of walking around the house and carrying the daily 5-gallon pail of water to the chickens and ducks. For the most part, I’ve been firmly glued to my chair on the porch.

I even made some coffee, which is not something I do often. I like coffee, but I tend to go on coffee-drinking binges where I’m slurping 32-ounce iced mochas at 2 a.m. and skipping whole nights of sleep. So, I limit myself to the heavenly concoction of fresh-ground coffee with chocolate or caramel or hazelnut to special occasions or just the random cup once in a while.

Yesterday, I completed my 19th day of National Novel Writing Month. That’s NaNoWriMo for those of you who haven’t followed my blog or have somehow missed the craze all November where people are posting daily word counts.

I finished the day with 34,275 words of NaNoWriMo’s challenge of 50,000 for the month. I’m in a good position at this point. I’m ahead of where I need to be and only have 15,725 words left to finish in the next 12 days (including today). If I keep up with my current pace of 1,803 words/day, I’ll have 2 days to spare. That’s good because I’m coming up on the busiest days of the month at the end of this week.

I can feel this NaNoWriMo win in my gut. I’ve come too far to let something like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Saturday’s Iron Bowl get in the way of crossing the 50K finish line and overcoming this challenge. After pushing through that stomach virus earlier in the month, this should feel like child’s play.

The novel I’m currently working on may never see the light of day. It needs a lot of work. I’ve changed so many things that anyone reading it now would think I’m hopping between alternate universes where one character is being portrayed by their doppelgänger from one chapter to the next.

Even though this work is so disjointed, I have a feeling that it’s the start of something bigger for me. I know for a fact that I have it within me to write a novel if I’m determined to do it. While I’m some 15K words away from completing the challenge, I already feel like I’ve won.

Aside from Pro WP Plugin Development, I’ve never written something this large in scope. And, I’ve certainly never written this much toward a work of fiction.

My fiction writing professor in college told the class on the first day the answer to the question that everyone would want to ask her by the end of the course—“Do I have what it takes to be a novelist?” She told us that every single person in that room had the talent to do it. But, it’s only the ones who put in the work that will actually become a novelist.

This is me putting in the work. I may have taken a few years of vacation, but I’m here now.

I am going to write a novel.

Pressing questions about Gutenberg: the new editor in WordPress 5.0

December 6th, 2018, we’ll see the release of WordPress 5.0. With it comes one of the most talked about — and divisive — new features ever: a brand-new editor, the one we currently know as Gutenberg. Gutenberg is not just a simple refresh of the interface, no, it is an entirely re-imagined editor with a new concept. Blocks will be your best friends from now on. Here, we’ll answer a couple of burning questions about the new WordPress editor.

A little refresher: What is Gutenberg?

Gutenberg is a new, cutting-edge editor in WordPress. It uses the concept of blocks to offer a more visual way of organizing your content. These blocks are like LEGO blocks, and because they are standardized, every block works the same way. Pick the one you like to add to your content, fill in the necessary contents and move on to the next block. This process is easy to understand — no longer do you need shortcodes, custom fields or external code to get something done. Almost everything is available as a block — and if not, it will arrive soon.

This new editor comes at a time when WordPress is the most prominent CMS out there. WordPress powers over 30% of the web and the adoption is still growing. Competition, however, is getting fiercer. The growth of sitebuilder tools like Squarespace and Wix is explosive. WordPress needs to stay ahead of the pack, but to do that it requires a drastic technological overhaul. WordPress 5.0 and the Gutenberg editor bring not only an updated editing environment, but also a rebuilt foundation that will support many more revolutionary developments. For more information, please read the official Gutenberg Handbook to learn all about the how and why of the new WordPress editor.

When will WordPress 5.0 arrive?

WordPress 5.0 is scheduled to arrive on Thursday, December 6, 2018. Time is short, which means you need to get busy getting ready.

Will my site break when I update to WordPress 5.0?

There’s always a possibility of that happening, but the WordPress core team does its utmost best to prevent this. WordPress 5.0 is a major release, and you shouldn’t forget that an average site is made up of many moving parts — themes, plugins, meta boxes, custom code, etc. There are thousands and thousands of themes and plugins, and not everything works well together — a crooked combination of those could very well cause your site to crash. So, before you upgrade to WordPress 5.0 and activate the new editor, you should have thoroughly tested your configuration for faults. You should at least install the Classic Plugin to be sure.

Will Yoast SEO continue to work?

Absolutely, we’ve been supporting Gutenberg for some time now. Our first Gutenberg-proof release was Yoast SEO 8.0, and we’ve improved support up to our most recent release, Yoast SEO 9.2. We’ve introduced a special Gutenberg sidebar to make it easier to work with Yoast SEO inside the new editor. Also, we added structured data content blocks for two schema’s: how-to and FAQ. You can now add valid structured data to your post by simply selecting a block and filling out the fields. But that’s not all; this new WordPress editor lets us do all kinds of cool stuff en we’re currently exploring several exciting options. Stay tuned!

I want to test Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0, but how do I do that?

Testing doesn’t have to be hard — for most sites, you don’t need a full-fledged staging environment. Here’s a very concise guide to help you start testing right away — even if you want to test current and upcoming release candidates:

  1. Install a local server like DesktopServer (there’s even a blueprint for Gutenberg you can install) or Local by Flywheel
  2. Install a backup plugin on your site, like Duplicator
  3. Run a full backup of your site, including themes, etc.
  4. Migrate the Duplicator package to your new test site
  5. Install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin
  6. Select which type of beta you want to install in Tools > Beta Testing
  7. Install the latest WordPress update

Another viable option to quickly get a copy of your site working is the WP-Staging plugin. Whichever route you take, you should have a mirror image of your site, and that should be enough to test WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg on. After this process, check everything — your content, themes, performance, everything. Install the Health Check plugin to help find any problems. And, above all, ALWAYS back up your site before doing anything drastic.

I’m a bit hesitant to update to WordPress 5.0, can I wait?

Sure! You can wait it out for a bit to see what happens. Some people rather sit on a release and update only when a supporting release becomes available. There’s no need to immediately hit that update button, especially during the busy holiday season. Or, if you do want WordPress 5.0, but not the new editor, you could always install the Classic Editor plugin and run the update once you’re sure nothing breaks. The Classic Editor plugin will receive support until December 31, 2021.

I’ve heard people describe Gutenberg as a page builder, is that true?

There’s a big misunderstanding about this, but, no, Gutenberg is not a page builder — not yet at least. The new WordPress editor is also not a front-end editor. As it stands now, it is a content editor. Gutenberg introduces the blocks concept and makes it easy for you to get the most out of your content.

While the new WordPress editor makes it a lot easier to visually build a page, it won’t let you enter the territory operated by Elementor or Beaver Builder. Keep in mind that this is only the first stage of the Gutenberg project. Initially, we’ll get a revamped editor with a drastically modernized core. After that, we’ll enter stage 2 in which we’ll see a move from post to page templates. Ultimately, in stage 3, Gutenberg will evolve into full site customization.

Remember, customization is the primary goal of Gutenberg — design not so much. It will take a long time before Gutenberg will make page builders obsolete, if ever! Gutenberg was not built to put page builders out of business. On the contrary, the new editor provides a solid foundation for page builders to build on using modern technologies and a shared concept. In the end, this will improve both page builders as well as WordPress itself.

What are these blocks all about?

Blocks are the core concept of the new WordPress editor. Everything we needed an editor, shortcodes, meta boxes, custom post types or widgets for, you can build with the universal concept of blocks. As we’ve said before, you can think of blocks as LEGO bricks — pick the pieces you need from the pile and build until your work is done. Blocks are consistent, findable, dynamic, easy to understand and a breeze to work with. Rearranging the blocks is simple — use the move arrows on the left side of the block, or drag and drop them. Blocks are also individual pieces of content that contain all the metadata in a simple package. If you want, you can save blocks as a reusable block to use elsewhere, thus saving you loads of time.

What will happen to my existing content?

Your content will still be there, of course, and everything will probably be fine. Old content lives in the so-called classic format; this is a big blob of text instead of the blocks you’ll get when you make a new post. Of course, you can convert your existing content to blocks whenever you want. Open the post, click inside the classic block, click on the three little dots next to the text field and select Convert to Blocks. Most content should be converted without issue.

Gutenberg classic format convert to blocks

Convert classic format text to Gutenberg blocks

Existing and old posts probably won’t automatically convert to using Gutenberg blocks — and automated conversion processes won’t necessarily do a great job of presenting the page. At some point, website managers might need to go need back through everything they’ve written and ‘upgrade’ that content if they want those posts to remain competitive.

If you don’t want to convert your content to blocks, you can always continue to use the classic editor inside the old content. There’s an embedded version of the old editor, and you can continue to edit the old post right inside Gutenberg. If you want, you can even add a Classic block and continue to work a bit like the old days. But if you really want to kick Gutenberg to the curb, you might be better off installing the Classic Editor plugin.

What’s the best way to learn the new editor in WordPress 5.0?

Our SEO wizard Jono Alderson has some great tips:

“It’s not enough to just write anymore. Many people prefer to write their content in external systems (Google Docs, Word, Notepad, etc), because historically, that’s been a cleaner/easier environment than writing directly in the WordPress editor. However, to take advantage of Gutenberg, you really need to be writing in it as you construct the page. Really taking advantage of the system requires that you think about the structure of your content, the layout, the block types, and their formatting. That’s a much more involved and conscious process, which people will need to plan and prepare for.”

What will happen to my shortcodes?

Shortcodes are used for loads of reasons, so it was a priority for the Gutenberg team to make sure that everything continues to work as it should. Shortcodes will live on in separate shortcode blocks, and you can keep using them as you did before. Eventually, you’re better off turning these shortcodes into blocks. This way, your shortcode content becomes visual content, and you can see what happens when you add it to a post. No need to keep clicking that Preview button to see how it looks on the front end. What’s more, shortcodes become part of the consistent Gutenberg language and will be a lot easier to understand for everyone.

Will Gutenberg work with the plugins I use?

The WordPress ecosystem prides itself on its extensibility — you can find loads and loads of plugins for every task imaginable. This comes with a cost though, as it is impossible to test every combination of these plugins to find problems. So, it’s hard to say if the plugins you use will continue to work like before. Not only does that depend on your configuration, but also on the willingness of the plugin developer to keep the plugin updated.

Will Gutenberg work with my theme?

WordPress 5.0 should work fine with any theme, but it could be that theme builders still need to build in Gutenberg-specific features like block styling and full-width images. The same goes for page builders; there’s a chance that your custom work needs some fine-tuning. As we’ve said before, test everything before updating your live site.

Will Gutenberg hurt my rankings?

Rest assured, Gutenberg will not kill your rankings. You do, however, need to take care when updating. If for some reason, your site has a lot of errors after updating and you’re not quick to fix them, search engines might see this a sign of bad maintenance and take that into account when evaluating your rankings. This is another reason why you should test everything thoroughly before hitting that Update button on your live site!

Does Gutenberg have any other implications for SEO?

A potential worry we have is one of site speed — and we all know site speed influences SEO. Currently, Gutenberg adds a bit of overhead to your site that might have an impact on loading speed. Adding this across the board for a load of sites might make a whole piece of the web somewhat slower. While it is unclear what the effect of this might be, we know search engines prefer fast sites, so we hope this issue will be solved.

Plugins for Gutenberg might pose a risk, says Jono:

“Plugins are going to start adding support for all sorts of different types of blocks. Some of them are going to make a mess. We’re anticipating plugins which add blocks which make sites slow, add messy inline code, cause conflicts, and duplicate functionality – people will need to be careful when they consider which plugins they use!”

On the other hand, Gutenberg produces very nice, clean HTML compared to real site builders. Not to mention the elegant way we can now work with structured data, as we do with our Yoast SEO structured data content blocks. Gutenberg also gives us a lot of tools to improve the way we work with content.

Can I use Gutenberg with assistive technologies?

There’s been a big discussion about the accessibility of Gutenberg. While the Gutenberg team said from the start “accessibility was not an afterthought,” it does feel like it was. Several members of the accessibility team even resigned because of the sad state of affairs. So, to answer the question is Gutenberg accessible? No, not fully. It will take a while before that will happen, if ever. It’s not a perfect situation, but there’s always the Classic Editor plugin as an ultimate fallback. Gutenberg is in development for nearly two years and, to keep momentum, it has to be rolled out sooner, rather than later. In that regard, accessibility experts have shared a lot of grievances over Gutenberg, but, looking back, might not have contributed enough to fix or prevent those issues.

I can’t cope with this change! Why can’t everything stay the same?

We can understand the frustration, but to stay ahead and to evolve, WordPress needs to keep moving. While the process leading up to Gutenberg might not have been the prettiest, everyone felt the old editor was long in the tooth and in drastic need of an update. But the beauty of this new editor is that it not only transports it to the 21st century but that it has the potential to jump some light years ahead! Much of what we’ve been dreaming of will become possible.

But of course, we all need time to adjust to it. We’ve been using the classic editor for many years and built up a lot of muscle memory. That’s why Jono’s suggestion is so good: work inside the editor, get accustomed to it so you can unlock the full potential of it!

Please tell me your favorite time-saving tip!

Ok, one of the things I find myself using a lot in WordPress 5.0 is the / shortcut. Type this in an empty block, followed by the first letters of the block you want and you will be instantly presented with the block you’re looking for. You can use this for everything! Try it; it’s awesome.quick select gutenberg

Read more: What is Gutenberg? »

The post Pressing questions about Gutenberg: the new editor in WordPress 5.0 appeared first on Yoast.

Figma Partners with WordPress to Improve Design Collaboration

Figma logo

Figma, an online collaborative interface design tool, has donated an organizational membership to the WordPress project. The browser-based application helps designers and developers collaborate more efficiently and is used by organizations like Microsoft, Slack, and Uber. It provides design tools, prototyping, previews, and real-time feedback, all in the same place, and is often described as the “Google Docs for designing apps.”

Figma aims to match the way designers work today in collaborative roles, with features like shared component libraries, versioning, live device preview, and Sketch import. It was created to offer “one single source of truth for design files.”

“Where we may have used multiple tools in order to support all the parts of the design process, Figma incorporates many of the core features of other tools all in one product for a more efficient and powerful workflow,” Alexis Lloyd, Head of Design Innovation at Automattic, said in the announcement on the make.wordpress design blog. “I’m excited about the possibilities for how Figma can make the WordPress design process more collaborative, robust, and efficient.”

Figma launched in 2016 but has quickly gained popularity due to its seamless developer handoff exports and cross-platform compatibility. Many teams inside the WordPress community are already big fans of using Figma. 10up has been using the tool as part of the company’s design process. The SketchPress library that 10up created, a collection of WordPress admin interfaces, symbols, and icons, is in the process of being converted into a shared team library for Figma so that WordPress contributors can take advantage of it.

If you have held back on getting involved in designing for the WordPress project because of archaic collaboration tools, working with Figma may improve your contribution experience. Designers can get access to the Figma team by signing in with a Slack account using the invitation link. New users can upgrade their default “view” capabilities and get access to edit files by requesting permission in WordPress’ #design Slack channel.

Contextual Related Posts v2.5.0

I’ve just released Contextual Related Posts v2.5.0 and existing users can update the plugin as usual from within their WordPress install. This release adds a few minor features as well as a few bug fixes that were reported by users.

Disable on AMP pages and mobile devices

One feature requested by a lot of users is to disable the related posts display on mobile devices and AMP pages. With the inbuilt cache, the display of the related posts is super fast. However, you do need to write some custom styles in order to make the display work on both mobile and AMP pages particularly because of the screen size.

As a result, some users requested an option to disable the display of the posts. Previously you could use filters to override the display, but now you have two options to disable related posts on mobile devices and pages that have the AMP endpoint. I’ve tested this with AMP for WordPress.

You can find the settings under the General tab.

New filters

I’ve also added two new filters crp_thumb_alt and crp_thumb_title. These allow you to override the alt and title tags of the post thumbnail. By default, these are alt="{post title}" and title="{post title}".

Additionally, v2.5.0 also introduces a new function and filter crp_permalink. This allows you to override the permalink of each post item e.g. add a query string for tracking purposes.

Detailed changelog in Contextual Related Posts v2.5.0

  • Features:
    • New option to disable related posts on mobile devices
    • New option to disable related posts on AMP pages
  • Enhancements:
    • New filters crp_thumb_alt and crp_thumb_title to edit the post thumbnail alt and title tags. Use this to remove/replace the tags
    • New function and filter crp_permalink
    • Saving a post will delete its cache
  • Bug fixes:
    • Fixed CSS validation errors
    • Removed conversion of table schema from/to InnoDB. If you are using a version of mySQL above v5.6, you can alter the table engine to use InnoDB with a FULLTEXT index
    • Prevent errors from non-existent post id (virtual post). Contributed by @jnorell

The post Contextual Related Posts v2.5.0 appeared first on Ajay on the Road called Life.

Contextual Related Posts v2.5.0 was first posted on November 18, 2018 at 8:01 pm.
©2003-2018 "Ajay on the Road called Life". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact me at

Block Context for Gutenberg

Block Context for WordPress Gutenberg Editor

I’ve started working on the Block Context plugin for Gutenberg — a companion to my Widget Context plugin which has around 70,000 active users. You’ll be able to show and hide content blocks for certain users, user roles, etc.

Sign up for the email updates on the plugin homepage if you would like to get notified when it’s ready.

Use Contact Form 7 to collect business leads and enquiries? I created Storage for Contact Form 7 plugin which stores them safely in WordPress database.

Get it now for only $19 →

WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg, WooCommerce updates and a bonus!

This week’s roundup focuses on what’s new in Gutenberg, WordPress 5.0, (of course!) but we also discuss WooCommerce’s upgrade instructions and we have a cool bonus for you! Let’s get to it!

It’s been a bit of a slow week when it comes to news in general. Well, that is, if we ignore the usual suspects: Gutenberg & WordPress 5.0 😉.

Last week’s big announcement was that WordPress 5.0 would be postponed to the 27th of November. This pushes the release date back until after the most intense e-commerce weekend online: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Postponing the release for roughly two weeks addresses only some of the arguments out there, but it’s good to see the Core team is listening to outside input.

The last Gutenberg beta

Gutenberg had its last beta release with the release of Gutenberg 4.4, yesterday. Next up are the Release Candidates. The most important updates in 4.4 are:

Some long-standing usability issues were improved around image uploads, permalinks, columns, video backgrounds, etc. It’s now also possible for plugins to remove core panels from the Document sidebar.

Per usual, you can read the rest in the release post over at Make WordPress Core: there are quite a lot of improvement and bug fixes. Furthermore, this release saw a decent amount of refinements with regards to Accessibility and Performance. Two topics we at Yoast hold very dear to our heart.

WordPress 5.0 beta 5

You could easily be fooled thinking the upcoming WordPress 5.0 release is all about integrating the Gutenberg editor, but there’s more!

PHP 7.3 compatibility

WordPress 5.0 also introduces full compatibility with PHP 7.3. The last known PHP 7.3 compatibility issue has been fixed with the release of WordPress 5.0 beta 5. If you’re curious to find out what you should know about PHP 7.3 and WordPress, check out the developer note on the Make WordPress Core blog.

Twenty Nineteen

I’ve mentioned before that WordPress 5.0 will ship with a new default WordPress theme. This beta release saw a lot of small but important improvements for Twenty Nineteen.

WooCommerce & WordPress 5.0

Usually, when there’s an update to any WordPress plugin, it can be processed fairly smoothly. However, in some cases, you should test updates in a staging environment first, before you do this on the live site. And in some cases, you should test in a staging environment and follow a specific sequence of steps.

With the upcoming WordPress 5.0 release and WooCommerce, this is the case. The tl;dr is that, before you update to WordPress 5.0, you first need to update WooCommerce to the 3.5.1 version. If you’re running WooCommerce, as we do, make sure you read their announcement first.


If you have many different types of content on your site, you’ll know it can get a little bit confusing at times. This week, I saw an interesting new product trying to tackle exactly that problem. OrganizeWP aims to provide a new and improved way for editors to manage their content. Learn more about their features here.

The post WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg, WooCommerce updates and a bonus! appeared first on Yoast.