Episode 197: The Move to Gutenberg and The Roadmap to WordPress 6.0

Show Summary

In this podcast I had the pleasure of sitting down with Matias Ventura (the Lead for Gutenberg at Automattic) and Birgit Pauli-Hack (From Automattic/Gutenberg Times), We discussed my move to Gutenberg/Blocks from a WordPress Page Builder. We also talked about the roadmap to WordPress 6.0 .

Show Highlights:

  1. Talked about the challenges of moving to Gutenberg and blocks.
  2. What worked well in the move to blocks.
  3. What did not work well in the move to blocks.
  4. Why you should never do this on a live site.
  5. The roadmap to WordPress 6.0 .

Show Notes

I’m here with two special guests, Matias Ventura from the Gutenberg team, and Birgit Pauli-Haack  from Automatic.

How are both of you today?

Well hi Rob, thank you for having us.

It’s a pleasure.

Hello good here.

Hello Matias  , and today what I thought we talked about and this for context for listeners it came out of some discussions at Bergen and I were having as I was converting my agency site to Gutenberg from a page builder and many of my listeners.

Though I’ve been undergoing that for months, it’s.

Finished in November, December.

Time frame and we talked about some lessons learned. We talked about some things we could add to Gutenberg and then I felt we get Matthias to give us a little bit of a preview on the road. Map to 60.

So what I would say moving forward is.

I don’t think there’s any reason not to use Gutenberg at this point in time.

I think we are at the point of time where Gutenberg is ready for the prime time.

Do either you have any thoughts on that one?

Well, I’m I’m glad that it’s, uh, that it’s working for you and I’m I’m very curious to hear about your experience like doing that conversion, UM, because the again I think when something is ready, it’s going to the pen.

Like for different people where they are what they want to do and so on.

So there’s still like I still see that we have a long road ahead, but it’s wonderful to hear from.

Again, these very practical concrete cases because a lot surface is there that that is useful for the project.

It’s useful just to talk about it I guess.

Yeah and well, I think it depends on what you’re looking for as well.

Yeah, yeah, you’re totally right, Matias, but I think the full side adding stuff though.

All the features that all for the full site editing experience.

They are just in the first version so coming with the expectation that that is right for primetime sets you actually up for disappointment a bit.

If you wanna really go all in or uh.

Yeah, a mature product does, but it if it’s a simple website, simple design, it probably can help get already in production, but other things might not be yet working the way you need it to.

No, I I would agree with that.

I think FC full site editing still has some work to be done.

We know it kind of released in five, nine in a big way, and there’s multiple people working on FC projects.

I know.

Brian Gardner, Nick Diego with Foster FC, I know.

Cadence is working towards full FC and even Cadence said in the release notes for 5-9. Maybe you shouldn’t quite turn on FC right away, so I I would agree, but I think in turn.

Of blocks and things around the block ecosystem, I think they’re pretty ready.

At this point.

Of autism.

But there are some things that.

Yeah, and and and.

And to to to balance that as well, because like 5.9 is a stable release and all the tools that we have there are considered stable.

It’s just that again, we have a lot of ideas and a lot of things that we still want to get through, and part of the advantage of.

Again, you don’t need to. You can install 5.9 and still not switch to a theme that’s making full use of these things, but you can take advantage of others and you can sort of gradually ramp up to it if you want, but you can also just jump straight into it if that’s what suits your needs, your style, your site.

So it’s a there.

I think there there’s just.

Like the spectrum of possibilities just continues to increase, and what I’m most interested about is that you you mentioned you mentioned frost.

You mentioned some other like like all of these things that started to appear because the, like WordPress has really been built by this gigantic community of just trying.

Things coming up with ideas and that’s going to be to me.

The most exciting part now, especially in the road towards like 6 point.

Oh, and then I I’ve I’ve been saying somewhere that I feel like 6.0 is more like the catalyst of.

Like OK, This is the phase two of good memories.

Sort of coming around in this release and the phase two is again just to remind people is a.

Sort of the A phase focus on everything around customization which essentially bothered to bring in blocks into more places of the of the site and and I’m really looking forward to what people try, what they come up with and then correcting adjusting based on that.

No, I I would agree with you, but it’s it’s 60 is gonna be to me a bit of a game changer and I think what’s helped is so before we get.

Into gumboro goes.

Back up to five nine, a little bit 59 was his stable release, backing it up away from the Christmas.

Time frame I think was a great idea personally.

As somebody who has retail clients, uhm, I don’t like releases in December.

I have to tell you that I I just don’t.

It’s a bad, it’s a bad.

Uhm, the learning team was ready with new material this time for the first time ever and I’m kind of in tune a little bit more with the learning team these days, ’cause I Co manage a large LinkedIn group with Courtney Robertson who’s on the learning team.

Big on morning too.

So that kind of helps.

So they’re more into.

I did 127.

Uh, website upgrades. After the release, part from 583 to five nine and I didn’t have one major issue.

A couple small ones, but nothing even to talk about.

To be honest with you so you know that’s that’s a big accomplishment to the.

Automatic team and how you guys got this release done, so that’s just wonderful.

To be honest with you.

Well, that’s excellent, yeah.

Yeah, that that’s great to hear, yeah?

Yeah, and for those who are listening, we got a.

Little bit of construction going on in I think in Matias.

This House so with.

This or next door, so it just kinda deal.

It’s it’s software.

Yeah, I’m I’m trying to to to mute when when I’m not talking so that it doesn’t go through.

Hopefully it goes away soon.

Yeah, it’s not too bad.

Yeah, going back to the release timing, I think you’re right Robert.

It was a much calmer cycle to do it end of January rather than mid of December, and I think the the lesson was learned as well.

When you think about.

When the next the 6.0 release is scheduled for or it’s kind of targeted for like end of May.

Uhm, and then the.

The six point 1 release is targeted for October.

In that only three releases with a 5.9 in 2022 makes for a much calmer kind of roll out.

For for everyone I think, and especially for the release team, that had a huge, uh, yeah, 5.9 was huge.

Yeah there were more PR’s in there than ever before. It was bigger than 5.0. And yeah, it kind of wears.

Some people out, yeah, so having more breaks in between.

And longer cycles definitely helps the all the contributors and all the extenders that have to adopt to the new version.

Yeah, and I I’m I’m really thankful for the whole release team. All the contributors and so on is is not easy to delay our release as well, but in in this case like 5.9 was really packed with a lot of changes and and really the again in terms of size is like 6. I don’t feel like 6.0 it’s going to be that.

Way because.

5.9 was introducing a lot of these things for the very first time.

And ensuring that all the pieces worked well together, that it’s stable enough and so on.

It’s it’s quite tricky.

And so for 6.0 we have a lot more room now to just Polish and improve those things.

Yeah, so I’m.

I’m glad we got through it.

And what I would say to anybody by.

The way is, if you’ve never experienced for release party when 60 comes out, join the slack and watched the party because it moves pretty quickly.

There’s a lot of testing.

I did some that day with a couple of sequences I had been test.

Seeing the 59 betas and the release candidates all the way through and the party just moves like and it moves quickly and that that’s an understatement.

I would say so. If you never joined one, even if you just want to watch join the party when 60 comes out.

It’s an experience.

Yeah, yeah, I still remember my first one. It was 4.8 I think. Yeah, where was really eye opening to me?

How much actually goes into a release and how many people are so interested in that to be in that Channel for that period of time?

Yeah, but thanks for joining us all.

Yeah, it was fun.

So let’s move on to Gutenberg and I was going to.

Talk a little.

Bit about a couple of things I learned and some of us had pulled out of a a Twitter conversation Birgit that you and I had back in January and.

I just read a couple of them off and we could kind of address him.

One of the biggest things I learned in this whole experience is.

Please, people don’t do what I did and do this on a life site.

It is daunting.

Set up a.

Dev site set up a test site.

The reason I did it on a live site is to give context. I have over 200 blog posts. I’ve published 3 or 4 podcasts.

Week give or take.

So I didn’t want to get into having to keep a dev site in a production site in sequence and I didn’t want to deal with that, so I said I’ll I’ll do it bit by bit on a live site.

In retrospect, I should have.

Have not done it that way.

So don’t don’t.

Do what I did.

That’s your first thing.

The other thing I think.

That’s really important with Gutenberg is.

I believe and, and I I might get corrected before this podcast is out that you need to choose to write add ONS in the right themes, and those aren’t necessarily the built in ones.

I decided to go with a stack of.

A good word based fox with cadence fame, cadence, walks and editor.

Plus by extend.

If I because I think personally and we’ll get to it later.

Editor plus brings in a lot of extra functionality for text block editing that I truly think isn’t in core right now.

I take a couple.

Things that will really help anybody.

Learning Gutenberg learn how to use reusable blocks and learn how to use block patterns.

And I’ll kind of stop at the first half of the list and look to Bergen and Matthias for some comments on those.

Yeah, I think the IT said that’s a really interesting topic because, uh.

Yeah, when we talk about good number like some people might might take that it’s OK, just the functionality that’s bundled in WordPress core.

But there are so many plugins that extend and add to the experience that is really again, that’s that’s always been the power of WordPress, and it’s been one of the main goals.

Of Budima was to provide.

Uh, basis where plugins can add blocks or tools to blogs etc in ways that are more consistent and just sort of work with whatever theme you have and so on.

And so again editor plus or Candace.

There’s so many libraries out there.

And to be fair, like some of the.

Features they bring their just gaps in core that they are just not there in core.

So like a plug in sort of adds that eventually.

Some of those may come into core, but I think if we look like really long term, there’s always going to be room.

For these kind of libraries, in a way they it’s.

Like a different take on what the tools might be like?

Maybe you have a library that’s more geared towards designers.

I want control over like very specific areas of the site and things that may not ever make it into core, and so that’s part to me.

That’s part of the beauty of having a robust system for.

Plugins to be able to extend this is that you can.

I don’t know.

Grab a few blocks from different.

Actions some different tools, some different patterns, and you can have a very curated specific experience for the things that might work for you.

At the same time, I think the like directories like the pattern directory in.org are going to be very important to ensure that we’re not.

Like really duplicating efforts across the community.

Because, well, I think there’s a lot of room for different takes on things like it doesn’t make sense to have.

I don’t know 50 image blocks like that’s the that’s not the point like.

The point is to have a really good one that is extensible and so on and.

So that that’s kind of the, but it’s.

It’s a very interesting topic.

I’m really curious what what aspects of like editor plus you’ve you found really useful, or what sort of things you find.

Lacking and so on.

Yeah, and there are so many different ways to actually get extensions like you could through the extender inserter.

Yeah, you can have a search that goes to the block directory.

And picks single purpose blocks, and I think that’s the the most immediate interaction between the block editor and the plugin repository.

When plugging authors put in single purpose blocks that then can be.

Installed in the background, but right away added to the canvas to the post of the block.

I I hear a few people that have been on that journey for a while that they installed quite a few of these, then the other.

Kind of plugins all these block collections.

And yeah, as you mentioned cadence blocks, there’s also coal blocks and atomic blocks or genesis blocks as it’s called now.

Now they all have a collection of 30 to 40 blocks, but sometimes you only need one.

Yeah, how can you deal with the other ones?

That’s kind of the.

Idea and the there is a block manager now in the preference panel.

I don’t know if you ever looked at it where you can switch off blocks so they are not shown in the inserter so they are not have to scroll past them all the time.

If there are blocks that you don’t need yeah and then the block patterns.

That’s also on wordpress.org in the directory. I really love that because it shows how versatile.

Combining blocks are four different layouts of being a priceless being, a header being a hero, image, being a a calls to action.

You get quite a few.

Examples there and the creativity can with go really beyond a lot of things and I’m if I’m seeing that correctly.

There is also.

So, and I’m probably gonna derail it a little bit, but there’s a an an idea now being worked on that themes can actually reference block patterns from the directory so they don’t have to package them or with their theme they can.

Just point them to the directory and it is available for a, uh, a site owner right away, so that’s kind of the whole extension.

That that and and that’s so cool and one of the things I really like.

And I I sorta touch some was reusable box and well, because what you do is set your bug block up and then it’s styling is reusable across your site the same way it works.

So one one of the places I use that.

Quite a bit is on my podcast blog pages on my subscribe to my podcast, so I actually use a reusable block.

That’s got all the icons in it and all the podcast feeds, and I just I don’t have to recreate it on every page or just use it as reusable.

I think reusable box springs power and you can almost think of them as cannulate sorta speak, and I think that’s the way to make designer and developer device more productive Matias.

Is to give us tools to be able to save us time and that’s a.

Fine saver in my opinion.

Yeah, and reusable blocks is a really cool feature in my perspective because it’s very flexible like you can like, and it’s it’s been really interesting to see how people use them.

I’ve I’ve seen some sites that have like thousands of reusable logs, which is kind of wild, but the which and again the.

The UI doesn’t really accommodate that well if you have thousands of reusable logs, so we need to do some work there.

To improve these people that are really making use of them to like I don’t know, they really have like a very granular control over that thing.

And I know Matt uses them for he doesn’t like his birthday post every year and I think at the bottom he has like a link to.

Every previous birthday post, and that’s now like a reusable blog, so he doesn’t need to copy that every year and and again, like I subscribe to the podcast, that’s a great use of something like this because you can sort of get this focus area.

Vicious and you know that every time that you’re going to like if you improve the design or if you make some modifications, just going to cascade to everything so it can be a really powerful tool.

I think there’s some.

I think we have a lot of more work to do to improve some of the interactions.

I think it’s been interesting to hear some some experiences from people because reusable blog used to.

Be a bit more like you needed to.

Click on edit and get into like there were some barriers to editing them in the editor, and at some point that became.

Much easier to do and so on, but now some people actually want to have like that friction point so that they don’t make edits by mistake on on reusable blocks.

And even though we have like if you go to whenever you make changes to.

These like because reusable blocks are not save in the post itself.

They are saved separately.

So even if you make changes to them in a post, you always have these when you’re saving, you have this step where you can where you can see if like oh, I made updates to these reusable blocks.

So and you can decide when to commit to them.

But there’s a lot of like.

I think interactions that can be can be better.

No, I agree, and I’ll get to the second half of my my list of of things I was talking about about Gutenberg.

Kinda #6 point was used some of the great resources out there like Gutenberg times learn to learn. You’re welcome. Learn.wordpress.org GoDaddy resources.

And any of the big resources in the Community, I always say you gotta experiment and try things.

So grab the dev site.

Throw 59 on Throw team on play with it.

And the eighth point I’m going to touch.

On is speed.

Speed is much better with box and I’ll come back to that new designers.

I think they just need to learn Gutenberg instead of jumping in with the page builder.

If you’re brand new, I would somebody new to the WordPress ecosystem.

I would actually say warm Gutenberg and.

Don’t do what I did and did this on the light side and I’ve kind of touched on that.

I want to touch back on this feed issue a little bit with Matthias and Burger.

What before I went to Gutenberg and I wish I’d kept the screenshot before him, but I didn’t.

I was running on GT metrics about an 80% speed.

And I shared with Burgett a screenshot, and I can gladly send it to Matthias if he wanted. The after speed, I was at 99% after I cut over to Gutenberg and got away from the page builder. That to me is one of the biggest reasons to go to Gutenberg, his speed.

Nice yeah.

Yes, please send it to me if you have it.

That’s wonderful to hear.

Yeah, so I think that alone was one of the reasons I tried this project was I wanted to see what speed actually did for me and I’ll tell you, I knocked my speed out of the park like it couldn’t have been happier.

I ran that when I did the cut off.

Uh, two from the page builder.

Seemingly cadence and I just said, oh.

My God like.

Why didn’t I do this months ago so that that alone is something people need to think about?

Yeah, oh, that’s that’s awesome.

Yeah, that’s a a great my speed.

Couldn’t be the one reason to do it, but it’s also how do you feel kind of making your blogs?

Uh, blog posts now, how has that workflow has had workflow improved in here?

Yeah, it’s actually really improved Birgit.

It’s a great question.

’cause I don’t too typical.

A blog posts. I haven’t written a long form broad blog post in 2 1/2 years I made a decision two years ago that I was going to go in. All in with podcasting. So my typical blog post is a header and then it’s.

HTML code with a podcast link Practique castles.

For the podcast.

Then it’s some quick show notes which are pull out a cat.

Highlights which are ported kastos and dumped him in a text block and then after that is an HTML block which actually is the entire show notes.

So what I do is I take my podcast, I put it into an AI that translates it in it.

And then I take that text out of a Word document and I used a utility online code, work HTML, and I actually dump it in there.

It creates the nicely word formatted HTML and I jump.

I dumped the show notes into an HTML block and then at the bottom I have the reusable blocks and I’m done so.

My workflow honestly for putting out podcasts is so easy now.

It’s actually much easier and I’ve got it down to.

Saving like lots of time, I don’t think honestly, so I think it’s my workflow for me is really good actually.

Yeah, it’s good to hear.

Yeah, awesome awesome.

So now in in that chat we also had the the the question that I would like to also discuss with you and Miss Matias.

Today was what is it?

What features of the block editor that you found?

Missing, what do you think core should work on?

Uhm, to make it even better.

Yeah, that’s a really good question.

I think a lot could be done around.

Text box styling personally.

And that’s one reason why I had to go to editor.

Plus is to do styling for headers.

I think in core there’s like in the in the standard header block.

There’s not enough.

That’s why I’m using like Cadence Box and their advanced header styling.

Uhm, I think in.

Is styling options in text styling for text.

There’s not enough options in there personally.

And uhm, I also think in the separators blocks that go in between that you can insert.

I think there could be some more styling options in these separators.

And then my biggest.

Kind of.

Fuss with the block editor is I wish it was easier to move blocks around. I’m a pretty visual guy and I find sometimes when they’re trying to move blocks from A to BI get frustrated in moving those box.

And I’d love to hear Matthias take on some of that.

Yeah, I’ll.

I’ll start from the end, like the moving block thing is, I think it’s going.

To be a.

Like there’s always improvements that can be done there, and even in 5.9 I think there were a lot of like particularly focus around the listview.

The panel that you can open on the left and you can drag and drop some blocks there, which is nice and facility, especially if you want to move something from like the bottom to the top.

And you don’t want to like be going through a lot of content in the canvas itself.

Uhm, but there’s a lot of, uh, again, drag and drop is always a bit tricky.

Like when do you trigger it?

Specially in the canvas and so on.

Uh, but yeah, there there’s.

I think there’s always more that can be done to continue to improve.

That and it’s, uh, and the nice thing is, when those improvements come in like they might take some time, but when they.

Happen, it’s just benefits because all the block libraries benefit from it, and so on.

It’s one of those things that like if they are done well in core, it’s just cascades down to all the all the libraries come with the other questions.

I’m curious because separators to me are really interesting.

I remember one of the first version of code blocks.

Was they had these called dividers that had like these shapes and so on, and that seems to be a kind of block that would always be up or that has more room to like.

Sort of to not be in core like I could imagine.

I don’t know a collection of separators based on illustrations or based on calligraphy details or based on whatever you can imagine.

Those things are like, seems like the kind of thing that should exist in the blog directory.

So if you want to get.

Like a specific flavor of something you can do that because there’s a limit to how many styling options can be added and still have like a usable, coherent interface.

That said, I think there’s some.

There’s some tools that are already making it in, like changing the height, the color like maybe the the radius of some of the the lines and setting like specific width because I think right now that the separator is one of the oldest blocks, so it hasn’t really received a ton of attention with some of the newer tools.

But being able to just resize.

Them and said like a a specific width.

Come, it has to be.

I think the interesting thing is has to be connected somehow with global styles, because generally you don’t want like all your separators to have different widths.

You want that to be again a global style that you control for the whole site so that that’s one of the interesting also like areas.

Of exploration is how can you go from these local styles that you create and then make them apply them to essentially all your either all your paragraphs, all your headings or a subset of them.

Think there’s a lot of opportunities there, but I’m curious about the text ones like which ones.

Are you like really using from from editor plus or which ones were you finding lacking?

Because there’s a.

There’s quite a few now around typography and color and and there’s probably some more that that makes sense, but I’m I’m just curious about, yeah.

I’ve been using more in the paragraph block, I just I just find.

It’s harder to do the typography and color in that.

Can they do it in editor?

Plus, I just think though, for me the workflows kind of not there yet, and that’s why I branched out editor.

Plus it was just easier to to kind of go through its workflow than the the core of work.

At the time I did this, you know now some of that changed with the release of five dying and the.

Bulk of that.

This was all done before 59, so that’s but that was something that I found when I was when I was working through it.

Yeah I I would say give it, give it a try because one of the challenges with the paragraph block is that it needs to work for like there’s a subset of users that really only care about writing and they don’t want to see any like styling option on paragraphs because it’s kind of overwhelming.

So they just want to be able to like again.

Right and maybe pick like a side a size from presets and so on.

So there’s a lot of work that went into.

Controlling what tools paragraphs show by default and the new tools panel.

They have a lot of.

Well, there are a lot of settings, some of them are a bit hidden initially like you need to like open the ellipsis menu for the specific tools and enable like letter spacing or stuff like that like.

Different styles, font sizes.

There’s a lot of like granularity there, but it’s not necessary.

Visible immediately, it depends also on how the there is something that you can control through theme.

Jason, this is more if you are.

Setting up a site for others and you don’t want to expose certain options you can control that from there.

But I think it’s a it’s quite.

It’s quite powerful now and I’m I’m curious about bringing some more.

Uhm, like writing tools.

We’ve had this request to add, like, uh.

Tax justification for a long time and and one of the challenges is that.

You generally like outside of all the concerns and issues with text justification on the web and how hyphenation works and so on.

One of the challenges is that you don’t want to do that on a per paragraph basis.

You want to do that globally, so there’s a lot of like these writing tools that now have a place in global styles.

And can be explored there more.

So it’s I think.

There’s quite a few things to look forward to, but but I’m curious if you give it a try again, like what things you find or what.

What sort of frictions and and again if if you don’t find certain tools or if you find some other slacking that would be great to know.

No, I I’d be glad to give it a try.

You sort of touched on theme.

Jason and I think I’m gonna go there.

I wasn’t planning to.

There’s been all kinds of discussion for global styles, especially around colors.

Especially around topography, that I think what we’re going to start to see is a whole pile of WordPress plugins crop up to manage the theme dot Jason file so people don’t have to actually go into the file and make those changes.

They can do it through a plugin will which will update thing.

Jason, do you have any thoughts on that or if there’s any plan to include some of that functionality in core?

Yeah, absolutely. The in 5.91 of the big features was also because theme Jason was introduced in 5.8 and 5.9 introduced global styles, which is some parts of what you mentioned is that an interface for being able to modify some aspects of theme? Jason, not everything that’s there, but some of the parts.

There’s one aspect of global styles that’s in a very initial state, like if you open the sidebar and you go to the blocks section beneath.

The idea is that that would allow you to control blocks in a global way, and that’s modifying the theme JSON control.

I don’t think everything that you can modify in theme Jason is going to be in global styles, but I think of like a fair amount of things do make sense there as the UI progress and develops, but until that happens, it’s definitely it’s definitely viable and wonderful to see the community like creating tools.

For interacting with it in different ways and and also I’m I’m very interested in how plugins are going to do that, like I’m keeping an eye on stuff like woo commerce or sensei for learning.

Like how do you or even like other stuff that is meant to work on the front end even.

Even stuff like gods like one of the issues with ads for a long time was it was hard to like integrate with a specific color scheme of a theme and so on.

Now I think Jason provides you like these primitives and any plug in anywhere can read these primitives and use them to like say, oh the user wants these colors using.

This way, or they can like base it on these other blocks and.

So on and.

So that that’s also what I’m interested in, seeing how, how that goes, because you can have tools that interact with in Jason, but then also plugins that read from me.

And then also even applying these to the to the directories, because you could imagine like browsing the pattern directory in there or.

But using your theme Jason so you can see the patterns with your side colors with your like so your typography options and so on.

So it’s sort of like you.

You get your own custom pattern directory by just applying those theme Jason directors.

Yeah, and I think of what I saw on so on the road.

Map is some some tools that you can actually export some of that as especially your templates and your template parts.

I’m I, I’m not sure that you.

Are able to export the the user settings yet, but there is some there.

I saw that in the road map that that is actually coming in terms of gradual adoption and all that.

Yeah, absolutely like the it’s.

It’s another thing that ’cause it’s it’s not just exporting your theme Jason, but also switching themes and preserving your theme.

Jason or combining it with different parts.

Or maybe like you keep a portion of your theme, Jason.

Incorporate something from another theme and so on, like one cool feature that is not in 5.9. It’s in the boot Amber plugin. Now it’s a style variations thing where you can.

Essentially, swap on the fly different theme jasons on the global styles UI.

Right now that works with like a theme can bundle difference in jasons to modify like again basic settings.

So essentially whatever they want.

But it’s like this is not.

There’s no reason why this needs to be restricted to the theme.

Like I could see, uh again, the theme directory could you could be browsing the theme directory and say I want to take the styles from the theme but not the layouts.

I only want to get the theme Jason and and that should be possible now because it’s everything is inherently compatible.

So yeah, it’s pretty cool.

Yeah, I think it’s gotten to the point where.

Uhm, I’m I don’t want to code anymore, Matthias, I’ve I’ve got a coding background in business.

I don’t want a code.

I admit that and people just laugh at me and say, but you’re good at and I say no.

I, I just don’t I’m I’m kind of in that whole no code variety.

If you know what I mean and and you’re laughing and it’s true, and I think it’s gotten to the point where with Team Jason you don’t need to be.

Encoder to update that file.

Anymore, it’s it’s pretty intuitive, and then the plugins and the ecosystem being built around it.

It’s just going to make it even easier.

I I wanted to move to one other topic and I think Bert gets talked about it in Gutenberg times.

I’ve certainly talked about it in several places.

Is the ability to lock.

Walks down and I think there’s all kinds of discussion in the community, especially for people who build sites for others.

And saying we love the ability to kind of lock box down.

Is any of that coming into court?

Go ahead.

Go ahead.

Yeah, after I heard that there was a uh, quite a few people that wanted to are afraid that users are gonna destroy designs.

That’s one.

Uhm, faction of that.

The other one is that companies have a a design system already and they have standards on on publishing, so they also wanted to lock down the block editor and there are multiple ways to do this.

That are already part of WordPress and one is, uh, uh block template locking where you can say, OK, I have a template of block that’s in in code.

Uhm, that so the series an image block, a header block and a paragraph block.

You can change the content, but you cannot remove it.

You can think you can switch out the image, but you can’t remove it, so it’s A and you can’t change the.

The design of it, so these kind of locking is now available.

It’s also for for column blocks and group blocks.

And and there was a DEF node.

A developer, no doubt there how you can do this then there is also with the theme Jason and and I put a block, a blog post app on the Gutenberg Times where how to actually do?

Switch off background colors, switch off custom colors.

Touch of custom dual tones or gradients or the default palette?

Because if you if you don’t switch it off the the block editor comes with a A core.

Color palette and is yeah you can switch that off.

You can yeah and then also border controls you can switch off.

There’s a six or seven different attributes that you can all set to false, so there is no dropcap.

Then there is no control for letter spacing or font weight or line heights or any other.

Yeah, custom font size or even the spacing.

Yeah, the one that trips up a few theme designers also was that the block gap that was a feature added to it.

That that changes a little bit the design so you can switch it off in the theme.

Jason and then there is actually on the core block.

And McCarthy.

Published a a post called curated experiences with locking APIs and theme Jason where you also can read it all in one place.

So there are some great.

Tools in place that you already can use to lock things down and to switch off options.

Materials are there any additional?

Some feature settings that you can see that will come to 6.0 for that.

Yeah I think to me. Well it it’s interesting that because this is a part that was heavily under emphasized, perhaps for not just for 5.9.

Some of these tools were in 5.8 and so on, but it’s just the volume of changes.

Other than geared towards again like the initial things we were discussing, like more tools for typography, more tools for all of these things.

So it’s natural that the emphasis and the communication is all about like, oh, you can modify and change and customize because that’s the heart of the, uh, what we’re trying to build, but it was also many of these other features that are really powerful, and I think we didn’t have them before in WordPress.

They also deserve attention.

And it’s like it’s precisely what you described, like you can like the locking of blogs.

It works down to every single blog you can choose which blocks get logged for the user and which don’t, and so on.

And there’s a lot of granularity there, and the same with theme.

I think the the next steps there’s are going to be ’cause right now you need to dive into the.

Sort of, the HTML code of the block to add the attribute is going to be essentially to have.

To expose that in the UI the same that happened with theme Jason, the initial rollout was or you just modify this Jason file.

Now there is a UI on top of it.

The same is going to happen to these locking mechanisms so that you can, and sometimes it can be a simple of self serve.

Maybe you have your.

Uhm, I don’t know you’re subscribed to podcasting and you don’t want to touch it.

You want to just leave it locked.

You can choose.

As a user.

I want to log these so I don’t.

Modified by mistake, but it that could also be done by a site administrator and so on.

It can be paired with permissions and and so on, so there’s a lot of and it’s good too.

I think what we’re finding is that we need a lot more communication and examples, and and again post like what ended what you’re doing in.

In winter times and so on, like just to.

Amplify and showcase all of these experiences and see also from the community.

Like people having cool use cases for these tools.

’cause it’s a similar.

It’s similar to reusable blocks where?

Again, the the tools and functionality is there, but how it how it gets used like the creative uses of these tools is really what I think what makes them shine and that comes.

From regular people, sites, maintainers, designers and so on.

Playing with it it.

It doesn’t have to be.

I think it’s important to like there are many things that you can see the Gutenberg tools from an end user perspective and someone that just wants to be able to customize and express themselves.

You can see it from a theme designer perspective, which is also really cool, like the ability to sort of essentially create a theme from scratch, just using the editor.

I think that’s going to open up the doors for many designers to be able to contribute and share their work to the.

Entire world.

And then there’s also the side maintainers or the the people that are running larger sites or agencies or brands that need this control.

And all of these are valid use cases, and we’re building for all of them like we’re not sometimes a specific use case.

Might get a bit more attention.

Because, but essentially word press is just building for all of.

These use cases.

Yeah, that that makes sense.

Uhm, I just wanted to move on a little bit to the road map. Now 5 downs come out. I’ve heard there’s rumblings will be a 591 release to clean up some things. Is that still on the road map, Matthias, or is that kind of not gonna happen?

Yeah, there, there’s a few.

Yeah, there’s a.

There’s a few bugs and and Polish that that would be good to release in a point.

One uhm, there might be more. Again, if if like more things are uncovered before like 6.0, is it like a few months away? But that doesn’t mean like if there’s other stuff we might have other minor releases.

This is.

Again yeah JB JB address is the release lead for 5.9.

Any any?

.1 and he just put up a post on the make core block that the release candidate for five point 9.1 is scheduled for February 17th and and then the final release is aimed for February 22nd.


So and it has.

Quite a few different.

Things that are going to be changing that that all in that release.

So, uh.

Yeah, there are 21 track tickets that are already been fixed and then there are quite a few like up to 50 plus pull requests that are in the projects.

They might not make it to the release, but they are already working on pulling lead in for the release candidate tomorrow, yeah?

And I want to.

Talk about the track tickets for a second.

Folks, if you’ve got a ticket, please don’t just get out.

On the Twitter and or onto.

Slack and and grumble about it.

Go open a proper ticket through the the tracking system.

If you don’t know how I’m sure Birgit would be glad to help you.

I’m gonna put you on the spot and I and I know Courtney Robertson over at GoDaddy developer advocate, Courtney said.

Absolutely yes.

If you don’t know how.

To reach out to her.

I know Brian Gardner in a talk and Nick Diego said last week.

If you don’t know how they do it, reach out to them.

They’re gonna hate me at the end of this podcast, but that’s OK because they’ve all been very public about it.

We understand your frustrations, but.

Do it the right way so we don’t lose track of these tickets.

We do.

I’ve seen posts where people are jumping on Twitter and grumbling, and then they think that’s gonna get a ticket open and are resolved.

Don’t do it that way. Open the ticket helped Matthias and his team helped the 591 release team. Let let’s get in this together right and do it right.

Yeah, thank you for that shout out.

Yeah, you’re welcome. It’s it’s a. It’s a frustration of mine. I don’t know bully, Matthias, let’s talk about the road map district. So what big changes from 59 are going to go in?

I definitely want.

To if there’s.

Anything that you don’t know if it’s already already known or something like that just reach out to me either on the WP slack or on the Twitter DMS.

I I’d be happy to follow through on that.

Thank you Birgit.

We we really appreciate you doing that.

Let’s reach out and talk about the road map to 6.

Oh for a minute, Matias, what do you see going in this sick? So in a big way that’s not in 59 besuchen enhanced efficacy functionality.

Uhm there.

There’s quite a few things that are that are actually on the plan and the way it’s divided.

It’s a well, there’s a bunch of improvements to the like the new side editor and interactions that happen there, like opening up templates.

Right now you can create templates for like archive single pages.

But there’s no reason why you couldn’t open a new template for a specific category like you have your podcast category, and you want to make changes to just the template for that category.

You should be able to do that because WordPress supports that, so there’s a lot of like chest opening up more of these doors.

A lot of them are have been kept close just because.

Come to do things gradually, but there’s no reason why they cannot be open, and I think that’s really where a lot of the these things would start to.

To thrive more because again, you can go and say oh for my podcast I want to have a specific header for all the posts that are published under this category and you should be able to do all of those combinations.

Uhm, then there’s also some work to be done on patterns, and particularly better connections.

With the pattern directory being able to explore more patterns, having patterns that are specific for headers or specific for footers or different areas of the site essentially being able to build with patterns more so there is some work going on.

And there the style variations that we already talked about is also part of continuing to improve the global styles and so on.

System and.

And we have a lot of work to be done on the sign tools, particularly around like responsive typography, responsive containers, things that just work better on.

On mobile and.

One plus also like there’s some like a long list of more minor but very impactful things, like being able to use feature images on a cover blog.

That’s one that’s been requested a lot and and a long list of the, again, different tools that not all the blogs have the same.

Sort of typography and I mentioned so too, so consolidating some of those tools a bit and then allowing more direct manipulation as well if you want to change heights or sizes of more blocks, like just making sure that all the tools are available.

A bit everywhere and and the 01 I I also missed to mention is the like the fonts API.

That’s that’s also going to be pretty big in that it’s going to allow a sort of.

Like a A.

Central mechanism for themes for anyone to register font assets and for you to be able to manage them.

And eventually and keep them.

If you switch themes and integrate them with global styles and so on.

So there’s quite a few coming up and I’m sure I left a bunch of other things.

Well, I’m definitely excited about the featured image and cover blocks and media and text for the query block or the post post templates, but I found one thing that.

Uh, is something that has been come up quite often was to have inline tokens.

What I mean by that is.

Having variables that are within the flow text on a paragraph like the current date or the current author or something like that that you can define and then reuse like merge tanks pretty much.

Uh, in in rich text blocks that would I see it on the list.

I don’t know how high that is on the priority, but I would really.

Eliminate quite a few short codes that are still out there because it doesn’t allow it for now.

Yeah, it’s a.

It’s been.

It’s been something on the.

On the repository, like track for quite a while like before 5.0 even. Uhm, it says that now that you have more places where you want and more places where you want to add dynamic content.

For example, maybe in your footer you want to say I don’t know at the current year, for example, like this mode and not all of these things.

Need to be blocks like standalone blocks so you don’t need like a current year block and so on because you might want to like add in a paragraph or in a heading or it depends.

So some of those are what?

They are essentially like endine blocks in a way, inline tokens that can be inserted.

So there’s some exploratory work just to figure out how to do them most effectively and and there needs to be some design work on how to expose them, and I think that can take.

Yeah, like you said, it can absorb a lot of like because.

Inline shortcodes were essentially doing that.

Just lacking like a a UI to manage them.

There was that project Shortcake for a while that was aiming to do that and this is like a subset of those problems.

It’s more focused on like rich text capabilities that you can just insert this dynamic text essentially is not for.

It’s not meant to be for everything, and initially it’s meant to be like, uh, yeah, like a convenience for adding some of these things and it’s not.

It’s sort of like in the six point aroma, but it’s not clear if it’s going to be ready by then, yeah?

This part of.

Yeah yeah, yeah.

The this part of the issue, Matthias, with this become.

Go ahead.

It’s not and I hate to use this term, a sexy project, so to speak, like we’ve had this issue.

I know with the media library for years where and I know it’s kind of out of realm of what we’re talking about.

But you know, nobody ever addressed the issues.

The constant issues in the media library because it’s not that.

Fun project to work on.

Does this one fall into that same realm or is it just a case of not?

Getting to it.

No, I I.

Would say that there are some challenges on this project that we write and that if like the UI needs to be really well thought out, because otherwise it can create like another layer of confusion for people like oh I’m dealing with a block or I’m dealing with this inline thing and it can get.

Like it’s it’s one of those things that it might be easy to add, but then very, very difficult to remove if it doesn’t so it needs to.

I feel like it needs some.

Testing some focus.

Uh, prototyping some, uh, a lot of user testing to figure out what what the right balance is, so it’s it’s more around that, I think, rather than now being like a useful feature, yeah?

Yes, OK.

Thank you.

Yeah, the other part on the preliminary road map that I find very intriguing was when we talked about it on the Gutenberg change of podcast.

Was the the section that you headlined with gradual adoption on the post having a way to.

Use part of the FC template.

Architecture also in normal themes that you don’t have to make a block block theme to actually use some of the features where you can open up a theme to have the user just change the header or a sidebar and.

Have these template parts be exposed as well for.

Yeah, not only block themes, but also classic themes.

Yeah, yeah, I think this is a in a way.

It’s sort of like a complementary to the reusable blocks that we discuss, but just apply to your templates essentially so you can have these different areas on a classic theme and a classic team doesn’t need to update the entire theme to be blocks, they can just.

Drop a PHP tag and say oh here like I want to use a like a block area for something and then the user would get the nice UI with a focus edit or just for that area where they can add whatever blocks.

Need to so it’s essentially it’s kind of like reusable blocks, but for specific dedicated areas.

And that can allow again seems to start absorbing them.

Maybe you have.

I don’t know a page where you’re doing campaigns and you want to dedicate like a special area and just say OK, manage this with blocks but not the whole page like there’s a lot of like granularity there that I think can be useful and and it is not.

Like gradual adoption can also sometimes mislead people to thinking like oh, this is like a stepping stone towards everything being blocks, but that’s not the case that you might have cases where you don’t need everything to be blocks like it’s not.

It’s not something that needs to be forced, it’s just one more tool that is there for seems to to use that is really connected with a nice UI and a nice experience.

And it supports all the third party blogs.

It’s it supports if you have editor.

Plus you get access to all these tools from editor plus in this specific area, so it just compounds the benefits of the whole ecosystem.

I think another one related to the.

The the the sort of the gradual adoption is opening up like more of the theme Jason stuff for all themes, and I think that’s worth exploring.

And if it doesn’t happen in core immediately, I could also see like plugins doing like again integrations with the CUSTOMISER, for example for thing Jason.

All of that is very viable to do.

Yeah, there are some great things coming to it and I I.

I feel that it’s a.

It needs to be made clear that the block theme is not something that is going to be the only thing that’s happened in the future on WordPress.

So I think classic themes or PHP themes.

Have uh along?

Life too to be with WordPress because but the the block theme development actually opens up those themes to have certain things that they weren’t able to do before.

Like having sections where you have an interface that’s blocked based and that’s standardized too.

Give users.

Gradual freedom on certain things, but still have all the features that are in a PHP theme and that you that are in a in a in a startup theme and all that.

It opens up the the current theme so much more to so much more.

Features that it’s actually an richemond of the current theme.

Area or environment, rather than narrowing it down all to block themes.

Yeah, and I personally like that flexibility burger that you you can.

You’re not narrowed down like the traditional classic theme, so I think for a lot of people that’s a move in the right direction.

Really is.

Uhm, I wanted to thank both sides for jumping on with your anything you either you wanted to add will sharp with Birgit again.

Well, I have two things that I brought with me today and one is that there is a new call for testing out speaking about the media library for the FCC, the full site editing outreach program and the testing call is now also available in Italian and Japanese.

So if you go to the make core block test, it’s right there FCC all things.

Media and it is on some instructions and some ideas on how to also explore how the reference photo directory could be part of the media library and how that would work.

And the second part is.

That, uh, we started earlier this month a a series of events called the Gutenberg developer Hours on the social learning space in uh, on meet up and that next one is happening on February 22nd at 11 E.

Turn on 1600 UTC, where developers bring their questions, their ideas, their bugs, and have an expert panel and have them answer that. Discuss it or kind of yeah, get these things out of the way.

Uhm, the expert panel for February 22nd would be Johnny Halabi, George Mama dish, Wally.

And Daisy Olson so. And we cover everything from theme development, plugin development, agency development. So head out to the meetup.com and then look for the word press social learning spaces there.

Thank you very good and and get involved in that.

It’s a it’s a great opportunity and great people learn from Matthias.

Did you have anything you wanted that?

Yeah, only to encourage people to to keep sharing feedback.

Uh, like both the good, the bad and the ugly.

It’s all super useful.

Uhm, we have all these different channels that you’ve already mentioned and and again, we’re always on the lookout for these kind of feedback to just help improve.

Word press.

So yeah, just mainly that and and then.

Thank you very much for this opportunity and for inviting us to talk about this.

I was such a pleasure and I kind of would like to add get involved in the Community and you know, my my kind of theme for this year is.

Let’s worry about this great community that we have and keep helping each other and and I don’t care if it’s getting involved in helping somebody on Twitter.

Giving back and we all know in the WordPress community about fight for the future giving back that way, getting involved in the group we have on LinkedIn, getting involved somewhere and and contribute.

Don’t just be a.

I don’t like this.

Well if you don’t like something why don’t you like it?

And let’s let’s help the feedback.

Because the odds are, if you’re thinking it, somebody else is thinking it.

So like let’s bring this committee and make it tighter than ever before Bergen.

If somebody wants to get ahold of.

You what’s the best way?

Well, Twitter my handle is @BPH.

These are my initials.

My DMS are direct.

Messages are open, or I always hang out on the WP slack

Thank you Robert for all the work that you do with the podcast.

I know you had multiple times talked about the block editor and your experience and you have great interviews.

With practitioners, plug-in developers and so this is also a great contribution to the community.

Thank you so much for.

That and thank you for inviting us.

Matthias is somebody really wants to reach out to you is is.

There a channel.

Slack, or how’s the best way?

Yeah, so my website is https://matiasventura.com/. I have a contact form there uh, my Twitter handle is @matias_ventura

And thank you to both of you for joining me.

It’s been a wonderful conversation, a good look back, a good look forward and I hope we can have them again sometime.

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