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WPTavern: Gutenberg 3.9 Introduces Reusable, Exportable Templates for Multiple Blocks

WPTavern: Gutenberg 3.9 Introduces Reusable, Exportable Templates for Multiple Blocks

Gutenberg 3.9 was released last week with a new feature that allows users to group multiple blocks into reusable templates. The templates can also be exported and imported as a JSON file.

The idea of reusable templates is an expansion of the concept of dynamic reusable blocks that Gutenberg technical lead Matias Ventura proposed in June 2017. Reusability is even more powerful when applied to multiple blocks. The import/export capabilities make it possible for templates to be easily shared across WordPress sites.

If you want to test it, you can select multiple blocks by selecting the content inside a block and dragging outside the boundaries of the block to extend the selection to multiple blocks. The multi-select feature was originally added for the purpose of deleting or moving multiple blocks but it has now become indispensable for creating reusable templates.

This feature lays the ground work for a full-fledged layout builder in the next phase of Gutenberg development. Reusable templates should make it a breeze to build WordPress sites with pre-defined layouts that users and developers can share. They are much more intuitive to implement than page templates.

“Holy wow, imagine this: wp-blueprints.com, where people can group blocks together and share their JSON strings with nice little copy buttons,” Gutenberg designer Joen Asmussen commented on the PR. “Categories for top rated, most downloaded, search, etc? This is going to happen because of this magic.”

Matias Ventura’s demo video shows the reusable templates in action. It also highlights a new tool for visually comparing possible ways to convert an invalid block. The editor now includes a diff UI for blocks, which Ventura said could possibly scale in the future to provide an improved UX for revisions as a whole.

A few other notable additions in the 3.9 release include improvements to the drag and drop handle, collapsible groups for the block toolbar, and the ability to convert a cover image block to an image and back. Dark editor style support is now available for theme developers, making Gutenberg more friendly for use with dark WordPress themes. Check out the 3.9 changelog to see a full list of enhancements and bug fixes.


Gutenberg 3.9 was released last week with a new feature that allows users to group multiple blocks into reusable templates. The templates can also be exported and imported as a JSON file. The idea of reusable templates is an expansion of the concept of dynamic reusable blocks that Gutenberg technical lead Matias Ventura proposed in June 2017. Reusability is even more powerful when applied to multiple blocks. The import/export capabilities make it possible for templates to be easily shared across WordPress sites. If you want to test it, you can select multiple blocks by selecting the content inside a block…

Source: WordPress

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WPTavern: New commonWP Plugin Enables WordPress Sites to Use the Free jsDelivr CDN

WPTavern: New commonWP Plugin Enables WordPress Sites to Use the Free jsDelivr CDN

Milan Dinić, a WordPress developer based in Serbia, has released his commonWP plugin that enables WordPress sites to use the free, public jsDelivr CDN. Last year jsDelivr was revamped to allow any file from GitHub and npm to be served by the CDN. WordPress’ mirror on GitHub made it possible for Dinić to create a plugin that works with the CDN.

commonWP aims to speed up performance by offloading JavaScript and CSS files to jsDelivr, including the following:

  • All files from WordPress core (unless development version of WordPress is in use)
  • All files from plugins hosted by WordPress.org Plugins Repository (unless author of specific plugin doesn’t use SVN tags for releasing)
  • All files from themes hosted by WordPress.org Themes Repository
  • All files from plugins and themes hosted on GitHub that support GitHub Updater
  • All files marked as available on npm in any type of theme, plugin, or MU plugin

Dinić said he designed commonWP with a emphasis on keeping it lightweight, easy-to-use, and secure. He claims the approach he used in the plugin is safer than any other plugin that employs a CDN for WordPress files:

First, commonWP will only rewrite file to point to one on jsDelivr if that remote file is identical to local one. Second, during comparison, it generates subresource identity hash of remote jsDelivr file and includes that hash in page’s source code so browser won’t load remote file if it doesn’t have exactly the same hash.

Dinić recommends the plugin for users who are not already using a CDN, have limited budgets, or live in less developed countries.

“Using a CDN is generally recommended, and with this one they might get even more speed because some files might be already cached by their visitors,” he said. “Imagine if jquery.js, jquery-migrate.min.js (most common files) are always served from one place. You wouldn’t need to get them from each WordPress site you visit. You would get them once and they would be in your browser’s cache, and initial page load would be faster.”

Dinić referenced a Trac ticket where using a CDN is proposed for serving assets like jQuery, but no action has been taken on the proposal yet. One benefit he cites for WordPress’ global user base is that a CDN like jsDelivr allows visitors to get files from their own content, country, or even the same city. jsDelivr has a large multi-CDN network with infrastructure built on top of other networks, including StackPath, Cloudflare, Fastly, and Quantil. It also has custom servers in locations like China where other public CDNs have little or no presence.

commonWP doesn’t have any settings for users to configure. The plugin fills up its cache in the background after it is activated. Developers can fine tune it for their needs and Dinić has published some code examples to GitHub.

In his release post, Dinić referenced a Serbian site getting a 1-second loading improvement and has done other tests but said he’s still looking for a good way to present the data. The plugin’s FAQ outlines which factors influence whether or not commonWP can bring performance improvements:

  • How many of your files are available on jsDelivr and can be rewritten – the more files on jsDelivr, the more speed; the more files used by the page are rewritten to jsDelivr, the more speed.
  • The further your site’s visitors are from the server your site is hosted on, the more speed you can get.
  • The slower your server is, the more speed it can get.
  • If your visitors already visited WordPress site(s) with commonWP activated, there is more chance that some of the files you use on your site are already cached by them so they can get more speed.

Not every site will see drastic improvements for site owners testing performance, but visitors from other parts of the world may be able to load certain files faster. Dinić recommends users test their sites using webpagetest.org and select a higher number of tests to get an average. He also recommends testing with different locations and different connection speeds. Test with the plugin activated and deactivated and when the site has a full cache. In general, the further the location is from the server and the larger number of files sent to jsDelivr, the bigger the performance improvement will be.


Milan Dinić, a WordPress developer based in Serbia, has released his commonWP plugin that enables WordPress sites to use the free, public jsDelivr CDN. Last year jsDelivr was revamped to allow any file from GitHub and npm to be served by the CDN. WordPress’ mirror on GitHub made it possible for Dinić to create a plugin that works with the CDN. commonWP aims to speed up performance by offloading JavaScript and CSS files to jsDelivr, including the following: All files from WordPress core (unless development version of WordPress is in use) All files from plugins hosted by WordPress.org Plugins Repository…

Source: WordPress

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WPTavern: Gutenstats Blog Is Live, Tracking Gutenberg Beta Testing Data

WPTavern: Gutenstats Blog Is Live, Tracking Gutenberg Beta Testing Data

Matt Mullenweg tweeted out a link to Gutenstats.blog this evening, a new site dedicated to tracking Gutenberg beta testing data. The site shows there are currently more than 420,000 active installations of Gutenberg, a slightly more precise number than reported on the WordPress.org plugin page (400K+).

Gutenstats also tracked 213,000 posts written with the new editor and 8,142 posts written yesterday. These numbers were collected from posts made on WordPress.com and Jetpack sites since late August 2018 and a note on the site says the actual number is higher.

In June, Mullenweg unveiled a roadmap for Gutenberg to land in WordPress 5.0. At that time the plugin was active on just 14,000 sites. He proposed 100K+ sites having made 250K+ posts using Gutenberg as a threshold for adequate pre-5.0 testing.

Gutenstats tracking shows testing has far exceeded the original goal for active installations and should reach the posts written goal in just a few days. Mullenweg said they plan to add some block stats to the tracking page in the future.


Matt Mullenweg tweeted out a link to Gutenstats.blog this evening, a new site dedicated to tracking Gutenberg beta testing data. The site shows there are currently more than 420,000 active installations of Gutenberg, a slightly more precise number than reported on the WordPress.org plugin page (400K+). Gutenstats also tracked 213,000 posts written with the new editor and 8,142 posts written yesterday. These numbers were collected from posts made on WordPress.com and Jetpack sites since late August 2018 and a note on the site says the actual number is higher. In June, Mullenweg unveiled a roadmap for Gutenberg to land in…

Source: WordPress

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WPTavern: ACF 5.0 Released with Updated UI and Gutenberg Compatibility

WPTavern: ACF 5.0 Released with Updated UI and Gutenberg Compatibility

ACF version 5.0 landed on WordPress.org this week with Gutenberg compatibility now available for more than one million sites where the plugin is active. The release is a welcome update for developers who were concerned about what would happen in real world usage of Gutenberg on sites with ACF-powered customizations. ACF’s Gutenberg compatibility is arriving well ahead of WordPress 5.0’s TBD schedule for merging the new editor, giving developers time to get their clients’ sites ready.

“You can expect to see lots of Gutenberg related items in our changelogs over the coming months as we edge nearer to WordPress version 5.0,” the ACF announcement stated. “You’ll also want to take note that ACF 5 is the only version that will provide Gutenberg support. Previous versions will not be compatible.”

The version numbers across ACF Pro and the free version on WordPress.org are somewhat confusing. This particular release is significant in that it brings several years of development from the Pro version into the plugin hosted on WordPress.org. Now both products are technically on v5.7.6.

ACF 5.0 introduces a redesigned UI, performance improvements, and the plugin’s new Local JSON feature, which saves field group and field settings as .json files within the user’s theme. This reduces database calls and allows for version control of field settings.

image credit: ACF

Version 5.0 adds six new fields, including a link, group, accordion, oEmbed, date time picker, and clone fields (an ACF pro feature). It also introduce a new Tools page where users can export and import field groups as JSON.

For more information on items related to upgrading ACF and add-on compatibility, check out the official 5.0 release post.


ACF version 5.0 landed on WordPress.org this week with Gutenberg compatibility now available for more than one million sites where the plugin is active. The release is a welcome update for developers who were concerned about what would happen in real world usage of Gutenberg on sites with ACF-powered customizations. ACF’s Gutenberg compatibility is arriving well ahead of WordPress 5.0’s TBD schedule for merging the new editor, giving developers time to get their clients’ sites ready. “You can expect to see lots of Gutenberg related items in our changelogs over the coming months as we edge nearer to WordPress version…

Source: WordPress

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WPTavern: WPForms Acquires Pirate Forms, Plugin to be Retired

WPTavern: WPForms Acquires Pirate Forms, Plugin to be Retired
photo credit: Reiterlied Plundering San Francisco Bay(license)

WPForms has acquired Pirate Forms, a popular WordPress contact form and SMTP plugin originally created by ThemeIsle in 2015. The announcement coincides with International Talk Like a Pirate Day but the pirate branding of the plugin is set to be retired and its users will be given the option to migrate to WPForms.

Pirate Forms was purchased in what WPForms co-founder and CEO Syed Balkhi describes as “an all-cash deal.” Although the plugin currently has more than 300,000 users on WordPress.org, its features and capabilities are inferior to the more modern WPForms and its creators lacked the resources to bring it up to speed.

Pirate Forms had gained popularity in its earlier days by providing a simple forms plugin (without all the builder functions) for sites that required just one contact form.

“Where most of the other plugins aim at ‘mega functionality’ with tons of customizations, add-ons and whatnots, Pirate Forms has made a bet on simplicity,” ThemeIsle representative Karol K said in the plugin’s farewell post.

“In other words, it just works(ed) right after the installation, with no particular setup required (other than adding your form to a contact page). This was a nice refreshment compared to the usual ‘get through tons of onboarding wizard screens before you can use the plugin’ -approach.”

Pirate Forms could no longer deliver what users expect from a forms plugin in 2018 and ThemeIsle opted to find a buyer in order to free up resources to focus on releasing the Hestia 2.0 theme.

“This acquisition further strengthens WPForms’ position in the WordPress ecosystem,” Balkhi said. The expectation is that a large number of users will migrate their forms to WPForms as the result of Pirate Forms discontinuing active development.

A migration path to WPForms is built into the latest version of Pirate Forms and Balkhi describes the process as a seamless transition. Users are also free to select another forms plugin but they will not have the benefit of the migration tool, which also imports the notification email and confirmation settings from users’ existing forms. Those who have purchased Pirate Forms Pro will receive a free one-year license to WPForms Pro.

WPForms has more than 1 million active installs and currently maintains a 4.6 out of 5 star average rating on WordPress.org. The drag-and-drop WordPress form builder is much more advanced than Pirate Forms and the free version allows users to create contact forms, subscription forms, payment forms, offline forms, multi-page forms, and many other types customized feedback mechanisms. It is also compatible with all of ThemeIsle’s themes.


photo credit: Reiterlied Plundering San Francisco Bay – (license) WPForms has acquired Pirate Forms, a popular WordPress contact form and SMTP plugin originally created by ThemeIsle in 2015. The announcement coincides with International Talk Like a Pirate Day but the pirate branding of the plugin is set to be retired and its users will be given the option to migrate to WPForms. Pirate Forms was purchased in what WPForms co-founder and CEO Syed Balkhi describes as “an all-cash deal.” Although the plugin currently has more than 300,000 users on WordPress.org, its features and capabilities are inferior to the more modern…

Source: WordPress

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WPTavern: Big Bite Creative to Launch New Amnesty International Website based on Gutenberg

WPTavern: Big Bite Creative to Launch New Amnesty International Website based on Gutenberg

The team at Big Bite Creative has just developed a new website for Amnesty International using Gutenberg. The agency worked in partnership with WordPress.com VIP to provide the London-based human rights organization with the tools to create multiple sites that could be uniquely customized for their editorial needs.

After successfully using Gutenberg to launch a site for an international bank, Big Bite CTO Jason Agnew said his team gained confidence to use the new editor for the Amnesty site. The client approached Bite Bite around the time of WordCamp Europe when Matt Mullenweg unveiled a roadmap for getting a stable Gutenberg release before the end of the year.

“On top of this the Amnesty project suited Gutenberg,” Agnew said. “Their brief mentioned 14 components which could be used to build out multiple sites. I honestly think it would have been difficult to build something that required this level of flexibility with a field manager like Fieldmanager, CMB2 or ACF. Perhaps it would have been possible with page builders like Visual Composer, but these platforms are still figuring out how they will work with the WordPress 5.0.”

Through the use of a combination of prompts, custom blocks, nested blocks, and predefined styles, Big Bite made it possible for even non-technical editorial staff to create and arrange content to build out websites for various outreach locations.

“It’s been fascinating to give the client full control over the site structure compared to the more traditional development of templates,” Agnew said. “We are still in the early stages of launching sites with the new platform, but the client has built up the EU site on their own without much support, which should be going live early October. Now they are in the process building out websites for Mali and Iran, with the goal to launch around 20 sites initially. We’ve had the editorial team describe the experience as fun – that’s from a team who have used WordPress with ACF in the past, which does offer an intuitive UI but still requires a level of training of what fields relate to what pieces of content on the front-end.”

As many others have reported, one of the most challenging things Big Bite encountered in extending Gutenberg was the project’s incomplete documentation.

“We’ve had our challenges, and particularly the Gutenberg documentation is not up to standard, which leads to a lot of time being wasted,” Agnew said. “But I have to say once our team get over the first block or two it wasn’t an issue. It’s important to say that the Gutenberg team Slack have been a great help when we did run into problems. We did discover IE11 support is still a work in progress, for example, copy & paste didn’t work, meta boxes wouldn’t render causing saving issues with posts.”

Agnew said for most issues there isn’t a lot one can do to resolve them apart from waiting for each update as the plugin improves, but it’s something agencies need to account for when working with clients. The Big Bite team also found that Gutenberg compatibility is still an issue for many of the plugins that they looked at using for the project.

“Apart from using Yoast we’ve mainly custom built the theme due to many plugins still requiring UI changes to work well with Gutenberg,” Agnew said. “Probably the most significant feature we wrote was language syndication system.”

Big Bite plans to open source Amnesty International’s full theme, which includes all of the custom blocks. Prior to that they are going to remove all the branding to avoid lots of new sites popping looking like the Amnesty brand. The agency is aiming for publishing the code the same day as WordPress 5.0 is released or earlier if the release is delayed beyond January.

For a closer look at the Amnesty International project, check out Big Bite’s announcement post. The video below was created in partnership with WordPress.com VIP and offers a tour of some of the custom Gutenberg blocks they created for Amnesty.


The team at Big Bite Creative has just developed a new website for Amnesty International using Gutenberg. The agency worked in partnership with WordPress.com VIP to provide the London-based human rights organization with the tools to create multiple sites that could be uniquely customized for their editorial needs. After successfully using Gutenberg to launch a site for an international bank, Big Bite CTO Jason Agnew said his team gained confidence to use the new editor for the Amnesty site. The client approached Bite Bite around the time of WordCamp Europe when Matt Mullenweg unveiled a roadmap for getting a stable…

Source: WordPress

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