WPTavern: Gutenberg 1.1.0 Adds Autocomplete for Blocks, Developers Elaborate on How New Editor Will Work with Themes
Gutenberg contributors continue marching forward this week on their relentless drive to improve the usability of the controversial new editor that will ship with WordPress 5.0. Meanwhile, discussions about Gutenberg’s timing, implications, UI, architecture, and other aspects of the project continue across the web, as the community grapples with what this new editor will mean for the future of WordPress.
Version 1.1.0 was released this week with a new autocomplete-shortcut for adding new blocks without leaving the keyboard.
Many testers have been frustrated with the amount of pointing and clicking required to create new blocks. Autocomplete for blocks is a new feature that partially answers this problem, but it relies on the user knowing that typing a slash
/ in a new default paragraph block will trigger autocomplete. It may also be added to other blocks in the future.
“We still need to get the point-click/tap interactions right since most people won’t discover, remember, nor use keyboard shortcuts,” Gutenberg engineer Matías Ventura said in response to user feedback on the plugin.
This release of the plugin adds the ability to remove images from the gallery block inline. It works smoothly and resizes the thumbnail previews to fit the available space after an image is removed.
Version 1.1.0 also includes small updates like the ability to set links to open in a new window, accessibility improvements to the add-new-category form, caption styling for video blocks, adjustments to column width calculation in the gallery block, and many other tweaks and improvements. The Gutenberg docs also received an updated design and improvements to the content.
A Preview of How Gutenberg Will Interact with Themes to Build Websites
Gutenberg engineers elaborated on how they expect the new editor will work with themes in a post on the make.wordpress./core blog. Matías Ventura published two video examples to demonstrate where they see Gutenberg headed on its journey towards becoming a full-fledged website building tool. Ventura said this is the long-term goal after the project completes the post and page editing milestone.
The first video shows how Gutenberg can be used for page building, starting with a blank slate and a theme that defines specific styles for blocks. The second one shows how a theme might include templates with blocks already in place that provide users with a guided page-building experience.
These examples clarify some of the benefits the team is aiming for with Gutenberg and how WordPress theme authors will be able to build more user-friendly experiences on top of the new editor.
“These are quickly put together, but I hope it shows how things can progress even with very straightforward theme integration,” Ventura said. “As soon as we expand the scope and include more blocks (site title, site header, menus, more widgets, etc), and describe a way to store page templates as a «list of blocks», Gutenberg would be fundamentally capable of building an entire website.”
In this episode, John James Jacoby and I are joined by Andrea Middleton, Dot org Wrangler at Automattic. Middleton supports WordPress community organizers by helping them plan community events that inspire people to do more with WordPress, connect the community, and contribute to the WordPress project.
We discussed a variety of topics including, whether or not speakers should be compensated, regional WordCamps, and improvements that have been made to WordCamp.org. By the way, if you can lend a hand with this trac ticket, it would be appreciated.
We also discussed the possibilities of expanding WordCamps to be more subject focused events. Last but not least, we talked about the successful WordCamp Incubator program and whether or not it will continue.
Next Episode: Wednesday, September 13th 3:00 P.M. Eastern
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I grew up in a small country town in Poland, where life was pretty simple. People would know all the neighbors, they would pay each other visits every week to talk about what’s been going on in the community and to have a beer or two. It all seemed great until the moment when I got a bit older and went to Junior High School. My hair, unlike all other boys’, was long and I enjoyed listening to rock / metal music, the genre that was considered weird, unknown, maybe even evil.
Suddenly this friendly community started treating me like an alien, someone they refused to treat as one of their own or spend time with.
Almost every day I would get some beatings from school bullies, they would pull my hair, call me names, in short – my life became miserable. I had to find a way to survive, something to focus on.
That’s when I started spending even more time with my computer, playing Diablo (I even set up a Diablo fan club which became quite popular in Poland) and other multiplayer games that connected me with new people. All these interesting personalities living there, somewhere far away, (and the unforgettable sound of a dial-up modem) made me believe there was something good out there waiting for me.
Next, natural step was the analysis of how a game could be created. I spent months looking at the code and analyzing its components. There weren’t many tutorials back then, so sometimes it took a while to figure things out. But it all led to building my first website, which was full of tables and hundreds of colorful elements, everything was there! I was so proud of myself!
When I went to High School, I already knew a thing or two about coding and I wasn’t afraid to use it! I moved to a big city, got my first job as a graphic designer and started renting my own apartment.
I was very young, full of energy and determination to change my life.
After a while I got another job and another, and suddenly I realized that coding became an essential part of my life. Instead of learning chemistry and biology, I spent my nights learning new ways of improving my skills and finally was offered a pretty sweet job in a huge company, where I led a team of front-end developers. Yes, I was about 19, but I felt so mature. It’s so funny now, when I recall that feeling of accomplishing “everything”, but hey, I knew CMS ‘hacks’ on IE 6, I knew it all!
Of course, I had heard of WordPress, but none of the ‘true’ coders would use it, so why would I want to dig into that?
Well, I’m glad someone helped me change my mind. In 2010 my colleague invited me to join him on WordCamp. In Poland WordPress was still considered a cute little tool for creating internet blogs, so I thought going there would be a waste of time, but it turned out to be a life-changing experience. The opportunity to meet people from different countries, hear them talk about the growing possibilities of WordPress made me realize I was in the right place. The fact that a few people I met there are still my friends today only stresses the importance of that event.
It simply dawned on me that it’s not really about the CMS or other technical elements.
WordPress turned out to be a tool that led me to meeting a fantastic community of interesting and friendly people. And this was one of the reasons I wanted to delve further into WordPress.
Two years later I started cooperating with a company based in the United States. Their main tool to build sites on was WordPress, obviously. By the way, I’ve been with this company for over 5 years now and to be honest, I can’t imagine my life without those guys now, but I don’t want to keep you here too long, so let’s move on. I quit my safe, ‘nine to five’ job to the dismay of my parents and started working remotely. Everything was so new, so exciting, but at the same time physically and mentally exhausting. I was doing my master’s degree in e-business and I rarely slept through the night, mostly because my clients were from different time zones.
To make things more exciting, I applied for a grant from the European Union and registered my own little company in Poland. But hey, I still felt unsated. It took me around a year to decide to move my company to the United States and go there to manage it. Actually, part of this time was spent on convincing my wife to quit the job she didn’t like anyway, but again, no subplots.
To say that moving to the States was easy would be a monstrous lie.
Dealing with visas and all types of immigration documents is very time-consuming and caused us way too many sleepless nights, but eventually we got to California! I registered my company (again!), opened a bank account (you wouldn’t believe how difficult it was, so thank you, dear Russian lady for fighting with the system for over 2 hours!), and looked for a place to stay.
Almost 3 years have passed, I’ve been given a chance to work with amazing people whom I truly admire, and I work for and with a few startups that, I admit, are close to my heart. One of the projects my wife and I are working on is a platform (based on WordPress, of course) that will help freelancers find good, well paid projects. Again, right time, right place, no doubt about it.
“I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.“ (Ray Bradbury)
Very often people ask me if it’s all worth it, if I’m a masochist and enjoy burning the midnight oil, but I don’t see it that way. If I have a goal, whether it’s one to create a new website, or learn how to prepare real pierogi (dumplings) for my wife, I’m ready to spend as much time as needed to accomplish it. Sure, if it’s not something I truly ‘feel’, I might not be able to devote 100 percent of my energy to make it happen, but I like to think it’s a matter of making the right choices.
I’m not saying it’s all rainbows and butterflies right now, I’m not a guy who spends his days surfing or drinking cocktails. To be honest I don’t think I’ll ever be that guy. I’m still working very hard and I rarely take days off, but at least when I go to bed I have a feeling that I’ve done all I could to help others and improve my skills as a front-ender, project manager and most of all, a human being.
Jetpack 5.3 was released with compatibility for PHP 7.1, a task the Jetpack team has been working on since January 2017 after they received multiple reports of failures with PHP 7.1 when opcache was enabled. This interfered with XML-RPC requests and some users reported issues managing their sites from WordPress.com and connecting to third-party apps. Downgrading to PHP 7.0 or disabling opcache in PHP 7.1 provided temporary workarounds for many users but this is no longer required as of Jetpack 5.3.
In January 2017, Jetpack added integration with WordAds, WordPress.com’s advertising program. Over the past few years the program has evolved to get better at distinguishing sites with higher quality traffic and allocating earnings accordingly. This correction, along with industry-wide declining ad rates, has given publishers more modest earnings expectations after the first few years of unpredictable payouts. Jetpack 5.3 offers customers on the Premium and Professional plans more control over how ads are displayed.
This release adds the ability for publishers to display multiple ads and introduces more control options for where they can be placed. Since WordAds pays based on the number of impressions (combined with many other factors) and not the number of clicks, selecting the right combination of placement options is important for success.
Other notable changes and improvements include the following:
- Users can preview their sites without leaving WordPress.com
- WordPress.com Toolbar updated to include link to comments
- Omnisearch feature was removed
- Improved performance in the admin by cutting back on unnecessary requests
- VideoPress shortcode includes option to stop video from looping during autoplay
- Fixed compatibility issues with plugins using TinyMCE
- Re-added a filter for Widget Visibility that was accidentally removed
For a full list of all the changes included in Jetpack 5.3, check out the plugin’s changelog on WordPress.org.
While attending WordCamp Grand Rapids I had the opportunity to interview developers and business owners about their first impressions of the new Gutenberg editor. Many attendees I spoke to had not yet heard of the project but were intrigued and decided to install the plugin on a test site. A few attendees were developers who have already contributed to Gutenberg and are experimenting with extending the editor.
Those who have tested the beta have varied concerns, depending on how they use WordPress in their professions. Some are waiting to begin testing until the plugin provides a more consistent experience. One of the most common concerns for developers is how the editor will handle meta boxes. Freelancers and agency owners are waiting to see how the new editor will affect their businesses.
“How much am I going to have to change what my company does as a business to build websites with this new tool?” Topher DeRosia asked.
Agency owner Sara Dunn said she is excited about what Gutenberg will bring to WordPress and undaunted by the prospect of getting clients acquainted to a new interface. She believes the project has a lot of potential to solve some of the most common client frustrations.
“I’m excited about it, because I have a lot of clients who say they can’t stand WordPress because when they look at the backend and update their pages and posts, it doesn’t look how it looks on the frontend,” Dunn said. “I really think WordPress needs this move to compete in the future, and I’m excited about where it’s going.”
John James Jacoby, one of the developers who has contributed to Gutenberg and experimented with extending it, said he considers it to be a very ambitious project.
“It is probably one of the most important projects that anyone has worked on with WordPress in a number of years, in my opinion,” Jacoby said. “My take on it is that everyone has the responsibility to try to influence the direction that it’s going to take. If we care about the open web and the freedom of how people publish to it, then we should all try to join in and help with its ongoing development and make it as good as it can be if it’s going to end up as part of WordPress in the coming months.”
Check out the interviews below to see how attendees weighed in on Gutenberg.
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