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WPTavern: Clean Blocks: A Free Multipurpose WordPress Theme Compatible with Gutenberg

WPTavern: Clean Blocks: A Free Multipurpose WordPress Theme Compatible with Gutenberg

Clean Blocks is a new free theme from Catch Themes that was released last week on WordPress.org. The design is suitable for businesses, agencies, freelancers, and other service professionals who require featured content, a portfolio, testimonials, a blog, and a services section.

Clean Blocks includes basic Gutenberg compatibility in that it supports all core blocks and is has a few enhanced block styles.

It may seem unnecessary to specify that it is Gutenberg-compatible, since the editor has been part of WordPress core since early December 2018. However, more than half of all WordPress users (~55%) are not running version 5.0+. Nearly 30% are hanging back at 4.9 and 25% are on even older versions.

Theme authors who create products that have Gutenberg-only features are not yet building for the majority of WordPress users. These authors are carving a path for the future of theme development. The Clean Blocks theme doesn’t really fall into this category, as its essentially enables users on WordPress 5.0+ to continue using the new editor without any styling issues. It is also compatible with earlier versions of WordPress (4.8+).

Clean Blocks recommends a collection of Catch Themes’ functionality plugins upon theme activation. These plugins handle things like galleries, infinite scroll, Instagram feeds, widgets, and additional content types. The theme includes dozens of options in the Customizer for controlling nearly every aspect of how content is displayed – from excerpt length to categories displayed on the home page to header text color. This sort of overloaded Customizer options panel is common for multipurpose style themes, and many users have come to expect it.

Check out a demo of the free version to see all the features in action.

The name “Clean Blocks” implies that the theme goes beyond the basics to customize the Gutenberg experience, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The vast majority of the features seen in the demo are controlled by the Customizer. For example, features like Testimonials and Services are not available as blocks. While some theme authors opt to integrate features like this by pairing their themes with block collection plugins, Catch Themes has put everything into the Customizer.

Even with Gutenberg compatibility, many themes still have a disconnect between the back and frontend where certain features can only be configured in the Customizer. This fractured customization experience is one of the necessary evils for this transition time before the block editor is fully capable of handling more complex aspects of site customization.

Clean Blocks is an example of a multipurpose theme that is essentially keeping it old school in terms of content customization, while providing basic Gutenberg compatibility for users who are running WordPress 5.0+. The theme is available on WordPress.org and has already been downloaded several hundred times during its first week in the directory.


Clean Blocks is a new free theme from Catch Themes that was released last week on WordPress.org. The design is suitable for businesses, agencies, freelancers, and other service professionals who require featured content, a portfolio, testimonials, a blog, and a services section. Clean Blocks includes basic Gutenberg compatibility in that it supports all core blocks and is has a few enhanced block styles. It may seem unnecessary to specify that it is Gutenberg-compatible, since the editor has been part of WordPress core since early December 2018. However, more than half of all WordPress users (~55%) are not running version 5.0+. Nearly 30% are hanging back at 4.9 and 25% are on even older versions. Theme authors who create products that have Gutenberg-only features are not yet building for the majority of WordPress users. These authors are carving a path for the future of theme development. The Clean Blocks theme doesn’t really fall into this category, as its essentially enables users on WordPress 5.0+ to continue using the new editor without any styling issues. It is also compatible with earlier versions of WordPress (4.8+). Clean Blocks recommends a collection of Catch Themes’ functionality plugins upon theme activation. These plugins handle things…

Source: WordPress

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WPTavern: Laraberg, a Gutenberg Implementation for Laravel, is Now in Beta

WPTavern: Laraberg, a Gutenberg Implementation for Laravel, is Now in Beta

The family of Gutenberg derivatives is expanding with the beta release of Laraberg, an implementation for Laravel. Maurice Wijnia, a developer at Van Ons, an agency based in Amsterdam, created Laraberg as an easy way for developers building applications with Laravel to integrate the Gutenberg editor. It includes a simple API and support for the Laravel File Manager for uploading files.

“The goal for Laraberg is to give developers the ability to add the Gutenberg editor to any page they like in a way that is as easy as possible, but at the same time it has to prove enough options to tailor the editor so it can fit into any Laravel project out there,” Wijnia said.

Van Ons has a preference for using Laravel in their projects, due to its increasing popularity and active community. Laraberg makes it possible for the agency to tap into the convenience of the Gutenberg editor without giving up the performance and features they enjoy in the Laravel framework. The beta release is now available on GitHub and Pacagist. Van Ons plans to actively implement Laraberg in their own projects and will also be collecting feedback from beta testers.

Wijnia said he was inspired by the Drupal Gutenberg project, whose creators also authored Gutenberg.js, a package that makes it easier to bring Gutenberg into other applications. Providing a foundation for using Gutenberg on any CMS or framework is part of Frontkom’s long term vision for improving the open web and enabling communities to collaborate on mutually beneficial extensions.

As the editor continues to expand to more platforms and frameworks, a CMS-agnostic block library would offer a central place for Gutenberg’s increasingly diverse user base to discover new blocks. WordPress.org has the opportunity to provide that in its own block library, with the support of the Gutenberg Cloud team that pioneered the idea in 2018.

“If Gutenberg Cloud can serve as a proof of concept that WP.org can later adopt as their own, we are happy,” Frontkom CTO Per Andre Rønsen said. He also further commented on the WordPress.org Block Library proposal, advocating for the team to grow their vision beyond the WordPress community only. No official decision has been announced yet. If WordPress decides to forgo the opportunity of providing a block library inclusive of other frameworks and platforms, then the Gutenberg Cloud will continue to be the place for discovering blocks that can be used across multiple platforms.


The family of Gutenberg derivatives is expanding with the beta release of Laraberg, an implementation for Laravel. Maurice Wijnia, a developer at Van Ons, an agency based in Amsterdam, created Laraberg as an easy way for developers building applications with Laravel to integrate the Gutenberg editor. It includes a simple API and support for the Laravel File Manager for uploading files. “The goal for Laraberg is to give developers the ability to add the Gutenberg editor to any page they like in a way that is as easy as possible, but at the same time it has to prove enough options to tailor the editor so it can fit into any Laravel project out there,” Wijnia said. Van Ons has a preference for using Laravel in their projects, due to its increasing popularity and active community. Laraberg makes it possible for the agency to tap into the convenience of the Gutenberg editor without giving up the performance and features they enjoy in the Laravel framework. The beta release is now available on GitHub and Pacagist. Van Ons plans to actively implement Laraberg in their own projects and will also be collecting feedback from beta testers. Wijnia said he was inspired…

Source: WordPress

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WPTavern: Henry Zhu Launches New Maintainers Anonymous Podcast

WPTavern: Henry Zhu Launches New Maintainers Anonymous Podcast

Maintainers Anonymous is a new podcast created by Henry Zhu, who has been the primary maintainer of Babel for the past two years. Babel is a JavaScript compiler used by Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, and millions of others. It is downloaded over 18 million times per month and used by more than 1.8 million repositories on GitHub. Zhu recently left his job at Adobe to work on Babel and open source full-time.

In his new podcast, Zhu is talking with other maintainers to unearth their valuable perspectives and share similar struggles. By presenting them as regular people, rather than faceless code projects, Zhu is aiming to encourage empathy for maintainers.

Maintainers Anonymous is centered around the “how” of maintenance and Zhu is open to having guests from a variety of fields and disciplines, such as a librarian, gardener, or moderator. In an episode titled “Speedrunning with Omnigamer,” Zhu and his first guest, Eric Koziel, discuss the intricacies of “speedrunning,” playing a video game with the goal of beating it as fast as possible. Koziel describes it as a medium for doing an optimization challenge. Since the games are just software, he and Zhu explored how speedrunning intersects with coding and talked about some of the parallels with maintaining open source software.

The next two episodes are a series with guest Stephanie Hurlburt, a graphics engineer and owner of the company that makes Basis, an image/texture compression product. They delve deeper into how business development is relevant to open source, setting healthy boundaries, inherent vs. perceived value, marketing, and more.

If you’re looking for a new podcast to add to your subscriptions, Zhu’s Maintainers Anonymous offers a wide variety of topics and perspectives that touch on open source, maintainership, and other aspects of life and business in the world of technology. New episodes are available on the podcast’s website, and listeners can also subscribe via RSS, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify. Follow @MaintainersAnono on Twitter for all the latest.


Maintainers Anonymous is a new podcast created by Henry Zhu, who has been the primary maintainer of Babel for the past two years. Babel is a JavaScript compiler used by Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, and millions of others. It is downloaded over 18 million times per month and used by more than 1.8 million repositories on GitHub. Zhu recently left his job at Adobe to work on Babel and open source full-time. In his new podcast, Zhu is talking with other maintainers to unearth their valuable perspectives and share similar struggles. By presenting them as regular people, rather than faceless code projects, Zhu is aiming to encourage empathy for maintainers. Maintainers Anonymous is centered around the “how” of maintenance and Zhu is open to having guests from a variety of fields and disciplines, such as a librarian, gardener, or moderator. In an episode titled “Speedrunning with Omnigamer,” Zhu and his first guest, Eric Koziel, discuss the intricacies of “speedrunning,” playing a video game with the goal of beating it as fast as possible. Koziel describes it as a medium for doing an optimization challenge. Since the games are just software, he and Zhu explored how speedrunning intersects with coding and talked…

Source: WordPress

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WPTavern: Celebrate Earth Day by Learning about Environmentally Friendly Web Development on WordPress.tv

WPTavern: Celebrate Earth Day by Learning about Environmentally Friendly Web Development on WordPress.tv

Today is Earth Day, a worldwide annual event first celebrated in 1970 that focuses on addressing environmental concerns. Earth Day Network coordinates 192 countries with more than a billion people participating in today’s event. The organization uses WordPress to build the world’s largest environmental movement through education, public policy, and consumer campaigns.

Over the past few years, environmentally-friendly web development has become an increasingly popular topic at WordCamps. Several presentations are available on WordPress.tv that highlight how web developers have the ability to make a positive impact on reducing the internet’s carbon footprint.

Jenn Schlick, a project manager at the MIT Energy Initiative, was one of the first WordCamp speakers to bring greater awareness to this topic with her presentation on Low-Carbon Web Design at WordCamp Finland in 2016. She explained a few ways that developers can minimize a website’s carbon footprint by choosing online services that are powered by renewable energy and optimizing for performance.

In 2017, Tom Greenwood gave a presentation titled Zero Carbon WordPress that challenged the community to help tackle climate change. With WordPress powering such a large percentage of the web, the community has the opportunity to lead the way in developing sites that use less energy, powered by hosts that run on renewable energy sources.

More recently, Jack Lenox spoke at WordCamp Bordeaux 2019 on “How better performing websites can help save the planet.” His presentation had a stronger emphasis on performance with practical steps for simplifying the interface, reducing code, using the right image file types, caching, accessibility, and more.

Lenox has also created a tiny WordPress theme called Susty that he said is “an experiment in minimalism.” It loads WordPress with just 6KB of data transfer.

At WordCamp Nordic 2019, Jaakko Alajoki gave a presentation titled Environmentally friendly WordPress development, with experiments that used a Raspberry Pi web server and power meter to demonstrate power consumption. The session should be available on WordPress.tv soon.


Today is Earth Day, a worldwide annual event first celebrated in 1970 that focuses on addressing environmental concerns. Earth Day Network coordinates 192 countries with more than a billion people participating in today’s event. The organization uses WordPress to build the world’s largest environmental movement through education, public policy, and consumer campaigns. Over the past few years, environmentally-friendly web development has become an increasingly popular topic at WordCamps. Several presentations are available on WordPress.tv that highlight how web developers have the ability to make a positive impact on reducing the internet’s carbon footprint. Jenn Schlick, a project manager at the MIT Energy Initiative, was one of the first WordCamp speakers to bring greater awareness to this topic with her presentation on Low-Carbon Web Design at WordCamp Finland in 2016. She explained a few ways that developers can minimize a website’s carbon footprint by choosing online services that are powered by renewable energy and optimizing for performance. In 2017, Tom Greenwood gave a presentation titled Zero Carbon WordPress that challenged the community to help tackle climate change. With WordPress powering such a large percentage of the web, the community has the opportunity to lead the way in developing sites that use…

Source: WordPress

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WPTavern: AMP Plugin for WordPress 1.1 Adds Experimental PWA Plugin Integration, Pre-release of AMP Stories Editor Available in 1.2-alpha

WPTavern: AMP Plugin for WordPress 1.1 Adds Experimental PWA Plugin Integration, Pre-release of AMP Stories Editor Available in 1.2-alpha

Version 1.1 of the AMP Plugin for WordPress was released this week after four months in development and 125 merged pull requests from contributors. It includes CSS tree shaking improvements that restore AMP compatibility for WordPress’ default Twenty Nineteen theme, reducing the size of its stylesheet by 53%.

In an effort to get more users opting for the Native mode option, the plugin’s development team has rebranded the template modes:

In this release the Paired mode has been rebranded as Transitional mode. One reason for this is that the classic mode was also a paired mode (where there are separate parallel URLs for the AMP version). But more importantly, the goal for this mode is to help facilitate a transition a site to being AMP-first, where there is no separate AMP-specific URLs. So the goal of the Transitional mode is to be a path to Native mode.

The team has also decided to rebrand Classic mode to “Reader” mode, instead of deprecating it. It provides a basic AMP template for getting started that doesn’t necessarily match the site’s theme. Users can can add an “Exit Reader Mode” to the header of their sites with a setting in the Customizer.

Version 1.1 introduces compatibility with the PWA feature plugin, bringing support for the service worker to AMP pages. It extends the service worker to cache AMP CDN assets, images, and Google Fonts. Since the PWA feature plugin is still under active development, the service worker integration is still considered experimental.

Support for creating AMP Stories in WordPress is the next major feature coming to the plugin. A pre-release of the AMP Stories editor is available in 1.2 alpha 1, which also requires the latest version of the Gutenberg plugin. It uses the Gutenberg editor to allow users to build AMP stories with rich media capabilities.

Amp stories

A preview of the AMP Stories editor was unveiled at AMP Conf 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. Check out the video below to see Alberto Medina give a quick demonstration of how it will work in the upcoming version 1.2 of the AMP for WordPress plugin.


Version 1.1 of the AMP Plugin for WordPress was released this week after four months in development and 125 merged pull requests from contributors. It includes CSS tree shaking improvements that restore AMP compatibility for WordPress’ default Twenty Nineteen theme, reducing the size of its stylesheet by 53%. In an effort to get more users opting for the Native mode option, the plugin’s development team has rebranded the template modes: In this release the Paired mode has been rebranded as Transitional mode. One reason for this is that the classic mode was also a paired mode (where there are separate parallel URLs for the AMP version). But more importantly, the goal for this mode is to help facilitate a transition a site to being AMP-first, where there is no separate AMP-specific URLs. So the goal of the Transitional mode is to be a path to Native mode. The team has also decided to rebrand Classic mode to “Reader” mode, instead of deprecating it. It provides a basic AMP template for getting started that doesn’t necessarily match the site’s theme. Users can can add an “Exit Reader Mode” to the header of their sites with a setting in the Customizer. Version…

Source: WordPress

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WPTavern: WordPress 5.2 Will Add 13 New Icons to the Dashicon Library

WPTavern: WordPress 5.2 Will Add 13 New Icons to the Dashicon Library

Dashicons, the WordPress admin icon font, will be getting its first update in three years when WordPress 5.2 ships. The library will be updated to use WOFF2 (Web Open Font Format 2), replacing the previous WOFF 1.0 format for improved compression. WOFF 1.0 will still be included in core to maintain backwards compatibility.

In addition to the new font file format, Dashicons is adding 13 new icons to the library and CSS declarations for 18 icons that were previously unavailable. The additions span a range of categories, including Buddicons, Core Teams, sites, menus, social, and miscellaneous.

Nate Allen, a Senior Web Engineer at 10up, is a new contributor to the Dashicons library, even though he is not a designer.

“WordPress has had a ‘businessman’ dashicon for as long as I can remember, but didn’t have a female or gender neutral version – until now!” Allen said.

“Previously I worked for Firefly Partners, an agency that builds WordPress sites for nonprofits. I was working on a project for a woman’s rights organization that needed a ‘staff’ post type. It was a little awkward explaining to them that there was a ‘businessman’ icon we could use for free, or they could pay extra to have a custom ‘businesswoman’ icon designed. Not a great look for WordPress.”

Allen submitted a GitHub issue, to see if someone would be willing to create a “businesswoman” and “businessperson” icon, but nobody had the time. Dashicons is maintained by a volunteer team and it can take a long time to get new icons designed.

“About 5-6 months later I learned how to use Illustrator to create vector icons and submitted the icons myself,” Allen said. He submitted the PR and the new icons he created will be included in the next release of WordPress.

These business people icons are useful for projects that include creating things like custom post types for bios, testimonials, team members, and job postings. WordPress 5.2’s updates to Dashicons make the library more inclusive and useful for more diverse projects.


Dashicons, the WordPress admin icon font, will be getting its first update in three years when WordPress 5.2 ships. The library will be updated to use WOFF2 (Web Open Font Format 2), replacing the previous WOFF 1.0 format for improved compression. WOFF 1.0 will still be included in core to maintain backwards compatibility. In addition to the new font file format, Dashicons is adding 13 new icons to the library and CSS declarations for 18 icons that were previously unavailable. The additions span a range of categories, including Buddicons, Core Teams, sites, menus, social, and miscellaneous. Nate Allen, a Senior Web Engineer at 10up, is a new contributor to the Dashicons library, even though he is not a designer. “WordPress has had a ‘businessman’ dashicon for as long as I can remember, but didn’t have a female or gender neutral version – until now!” Allen said. “Previously I worked for Firefly Partners, an agency that builds WordPress sites for nonprofits. I was working on a project for a woman’s rights organization that needed a ‘staff’ post type. It was a little awkward explaining to them that there was a ‘businessman’ icon we could use for free, or they could pay…

Source: WordPress

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