Here’s a recap of the latest developments in the WordPress ecosystem, from WordPress core updates and Gutenberg news to more plugin news.
News from WordPress Core
WordPress 5.3 Development Cycle Ended
- Current version is WordPress 5.3.2
- No more minor releases planned for WordPress 5.3
- Of course, any major security issues will be patched with a short-cycle release
- Follow the WordPress Core Blog
WordPress 5.4 is Coming
- 5.4 is tentatively scheduled for a March 31 release date.
- 2020-2021 release calendar can be found here.
- Not much currently available on 5.4 features.
- Certainly, we will see improvements to the block editor, including the Nav menu block.
- WordPress 5.5 scheduled for August 2020.
- WordPress 5.6 scheduled for December 2020.
- Released January 22
- Site Editor Beta Enable under Gutenberg > Experiments
- You must have the Gutenberg plugin installed
- Layout Element Blocks
- Support the templating feature for site editing
- Navigation block supports text and background colors
- Many speed improvements, bug fixes, and accessibility tweaks
What’s Coming in Gutenberg?
- Block Content Areas
- Edit Site UI with front page template and ability to switch templates
- More full-site editing blocks
- Updated block UI design is being explored
Other Gutenberg News
- Share and download block and template designs
No Promotions in Block Directory
- Prototype discussed in December
- Current rules state that blocks in the directory ”must not include advertisements, prompts, or promotional messages.”
- How this (de?)motivates developers is yet to be seen
WordPress Security News
WordPress Vulnerability Roundup
- Twice monthly on the iThemes blog
Other Security News
NSA Finds Dangerous Flaw in Windows 10
- Vulnerability related to the crypt32.dll file
- This file helps Windows handle certificates and encryption
- Patched in recent Windows security release
- Good news – rather than weaponizing the flaw as it had in the past, the NSA disclosed it to Microsoft
News From iThemes
iThemes Training Membership returns!
- Get access to all the premium training we offer for a low monthly or annual price
- Join here now:
Freelance Leap Year
- Started last week: Productivity
- Next Month: Confidence
Digital Marketing Summit
- with AJ Morris
- Email Marketing, Lead Generation, Social Ads, Writing Content, Using Video, Publishing Content
- An all-day event on Friday, February 28 (8a-5p CT)
iThemes Hosting Multiple Site Plans
- Hosting designed specifically for WordPress
- Each plan comes with iThemes Sync Pro, iThemes Security Pro and BackupBuddy & SSL Certificate
- You can take advantage of the Hosting Buyback Program
WordPress Plugin News
Pods Loses Primary Sponsor
- January 2, Scott Clark, lead developer of the Pods Framework announced that Automattic would no longer be sponsoring their project.
- Automattic was providing about 90% of their funding.
- They are focusing future funding on Gutenberg projects.
- Various revenue models are being explored
- Pods still has Optinmonster and GravityForms as major sponsors
- Paid add-ons are one consideration for future funding.
- Users are also being asked to support Pods through donations in the Friends of Pods program
- Pods has 80,000+ active installs
- If only 1% of these donated $5 a month, more than enough funding would be in place to continue
- If you use Pods, join me in sponsoring them with a monthly, annual or one-time gift
Some Code Canyon Plugins Changing Update Policy
- CodeCanyon promises “access to updates” not automatic updates
- Although automatic updates have been expected for years, some plugin authors are changing this
- One in particular requires an active support license for automatic updates
- Otherwise, you must download and update manually.
- CodeCanyon has not responded to my inquiry about this at the time of broadcast
- Speaking for myself here, not iThemes
- I’m all for plugin authors being supported by support contracts – I advocate for it…But changing the rules after the fact seems a little shady
- I believe CodeCanyon should stop this practice, grandfather existing license holders, or make it clear on each item what the update policy is
WooCommerce Usage Stats
WooCommerce 3.9 Update Requires Manual Setting Change
- MaxMind, which provides the geolocation services used in WooCommerce checkout process, now requires an API key
- Signing up is free, but very (very) clunky
- It can take a few minutes for the key to become active (so you have to wait to enter it successfully)
- This is rather a mess when you’re managing many WooCommerce sites. Each must be touched by hand in a process that takes a little while.
Matt Mullenweg and the power of comments
- An anonymous comment on a log led to a mathematical breakthrough
- “I’ve always said that comments are the best part of blogging.”
- “If you want great comments, you as the author, have to participate in them.”
For Typography Nerds…
- Adventures in Typography with Robin Rendle
- The Font of the Month Club from David Jonathan Ross
A Couple of Others…
Sharpen Your Axe
- Some great productivity tools in this post
Up Your Writing Game (excellent posts and newsletter from Chip Scanlan)
Cory Miller Joins Post Status as Co-Owner
Microsoft Releases New Chromium Based Edge Browser
Upcoming WordCamps in US & Canada
- Feb 7-8 – Phoenix, Arizona
- Feb 28-Mar 1 Miami, Florida
- March 7 Greenville, South Carolina
- March 14 Lancaster, Pennsylvania
- March 20-21 Albuquerque, New Mexico
- March 27-29 Washington DC, Jacksonville, Florida & San Antonio, Texas
- April 18-19 Atlanta, Georgia
Can’t attend? Don’t forget wordpress.tv!