Episode 285: Talking All Things WordPress

Show Summary

Rob Cairns sits down with Birgit Pauli-Haack and Matias Ventura and talks all things WordPress.

Show Highlights:

  1. Roadmap for WordPress.
  2. WordPress 6.1 and 6.1.1 releases.
  3. PHP with PHP 7.4 going end of life.
  4. Blocks and more Blocks.

Show Notes

Hey everybody, Rob here again. Today I have two amazing guests with me to share their WordPress knowledge. From automatic, Matias Ventura and Birgit Pauli-Haack  how are both of you today?

Hello hello really good nice to be back.

It’s a pleasure to have you back, Matthias and how?

Hi Rob, I’m good.

Are you both hey?

I’m good, thank you very much for inviting us again.

Oh, it it’s always so much fun sitting down with the to you and and talking. WordPress and the nitty gritty so. We’ve we’ve had some fun lately for those who don’t know, Matthias is the Gutenberg leader for for WordPress and well known in our community, and 6.1 came out and it had its challenges right. Yes, just a little bit.

Uh, it it was a pretty big release like we’ve been doing, like big releases for a while now, so it’s but I think it. It’s also. So we’re we’re in the midst of for those that don’t know we’re in the midst of like the phase two of Gutenberg and phase two is spanning like multiple releases of WordPress, so it’s sort of. Each release has like a chunk of what we hope phase two to be until we’re done, hopefully, and. And six point one was one of the big ones like we did think it was around work camp Europe that we did a bit of a. At least some highlights of what was going to be included. But yeah, it’s been a lot of work from a lot of people.

And it was funny because right before 6.1 came out we had a security release about two weeks before, right? If I recall right, and there was a lot of discussion in the Community, there were some people don’t understand why we do feature releases and why we do security releases, and I heard some grumbling about. Why are we doing a release 2 weeks before you kind of want to walk us down that path a little bit and sort of say why you did it and how come.

Sure, so so generally like security, security releases always have high priority, right? So whenever we are in the in the year and it’s also important to isolate them because it makes it easier for hosts to upgrade to run out to upgrades and so on. So it’s it’s. It’s always important to have them. When we can have them isolated regarding the the timelines, I don’t think the so the teams working on it are also not necessarily the. The same people, so it’s it doesn’t necessarily impact that much the. Like the in this case, the the 6.1 is mostly an orchestration thing, but I don’t know Birgitte if you’ve, if you’ve been like closely with the release parties, how that was felt from there.

Yeah, so the UM 6.1 some major release has kind of a very strict scheduling. Yeah, that then goes up from from beta to release candidate and then to the final. These, but many people in the community are. So why two weeks before the final release, there is a 6.0 point 3 release. That’s a very. It’s a perfect valid question, but it’s also kind of that that release has a different process and those security releases are. Actually not published. Until they’re out, so there is nobody knows that that that somebody is working on it because you don’t want to really reveal what the security issue is until it is fixed. So that’s one thing, and also a lot of people when there is a major release coming out the 6.1. They wait until the next point release comes out, which could be anywhere between 2 weeks and four weeks, so you don’t want the security issues in 6.0. Not fixed until 6.1 comes out. Kind of yeah, so you want the people to update and. Matthias, you were quite right to say that that hosting and the automatic updates that work very well with point releases. They are not automatic with major releases, so the security issues need to be distributed wide and immediately when they’re out, so that’s why there’s a separate. Process, that’s also why the security release comes out when the things are fixed and need to be patched, yeah?

I I would agree with that Birgit I mean. I’m I don’t know if both of you know. I maintain about 350 websites from a security perspective, so I’m kind of in that camp and it’s.

Quite a a number yeah yeah.

Yeah, it’s quite a quite a number. Some are mine and some are white. Labeled for you know some other agencies that don’t. Want to go through this process? And I got wind of it. It was funny when the security release got in, I got wind of it from one of my contacts at one of the security firms kind of clued me in and said by the way, you want to have your nose to the grind today. There’s there’s a release coming and that’s how I heard about it. To be fair, I I know enough people and enough hosting. Companies enough places, usually when there’s something going on, I usually hear pretty pretty quickly somewhere somebody would tip me off somehow. But you know, that’s just the way.

Yeah yeah. And and we hear it too, but it’s not going to be published like there is not a release channel for it. There is not a a release candidate in any of that coming out as that’s is if if it’s a real security release, it’s coming. Coming out, yeah, right there, yeah.

Matthias, thank you, thank you for walking us down that process. Now the other thing we had recently come out was six point. 1.1 So there was some minor bug fixes. I guess it was like 20 odd bug fixes to 6.1 in.

Yeah there there there were a bunch of and I’m aware of a few around like the navigation menu stuff that requires some tweaks and so on. Yeah, it’s usually all of these are trying to be caught in like the release candidate process. That’s why like it’s it’s so regimented between the betas and the release candidates, but there’s always like the. Just the volume of people testing the actual release is always I don’t know orders of magnitude difference, so you get a much wider pool of people testing things and there’s always like things to address and fix and so on, but hopefully it’s. It’s all. It’s usually things that are minor things that can be patched quickly. And so on.

Yeah, and then 29 bug fixes in core and 21 bug fixes in the block editor. Yeah, and I yeah the team really rallied around getting this those out because some of the bucks kind of came out in the release candidate phase. But if but they were from previous releases.

Hang on one.

So it was something that came out, but it didn’t make it in the release, but if you now so they’re scrambled to put the the fixes in place and then immediately after they were fixed, or most of them were fixed, they came out with with a a point release. To to augment that so that was a really great work on the release team for getting all the people that kind of worked on it again together and push out the point release and were really awesome.

Yeah I I would say you know from my perspective 6.1 point, one is pretty stable. I think your team, Matthias and the release team has done like an amazing job. I think we’re in a, you know, from the last time we spoke a year ago. We’re in a pretty good place right now, which I think is really important to be honest. And I think it’s. I think we’re headed on the right track, I really I really do. I’m not, you know, we’ve all heard the complaints out there. I’m not in that camp. I think we’re we’re headed on the right tracks. You guys have done a really good job with this one in my opinion.

Well, thank you very much. That’s great to hear. I think. Yeah, I I would agree I think. The so it’s interesting because I think most people are experiencing the work in the again through the major releases and this minor patches. But for example, the good timber release cycle is much shorter, it happens. Every two weeks. So every two weeks there’s a a major good number release happening, and this usually packed like I don’t know. 100 bug fixes with each release and and of course every time you’re developing new features, you’re introducing new bugs, but the idea is that the the software as a whole is becoming more mature, more stable. Over time and in the major, when you look at the gap between Major WordPress releases, we’re usually looking at around 10:00 or so. Major Gutenberg releases are packed between like 6.0 and 6.1. So that’s a ton of changes, but also a ton of bug fixes, which hopefully like incrementally continues to to help build. A much more capable but also more stable software.

What I’ll tell you Matthias is, I do the no no. We we know the Gutenberg plugin should not be run on a production site well. Just because I like to live on the edge dangerously, I not plug in actually on my own agency site on a so I live a little bit on the edge just for fun.

Yeah, yeah.

Well, I I I wouldn’t be so categorically that it cannot be used. Like for example, wordpress.com runs the good. Number plug in for all of its users, like with the with the app it’s. Or that it’s more involved in that you need to. You probably need to be paying more attention and manage it and so on, so it’s like it requires a bit more involvement than just updating the the major word press releases.

Yeah, I I don’t know if you know just worth mentioning both you guys may or may not know that our friend Brian Gardner over at WP engine and a shout out to Brian and what he’s been doing over there with Sam. Who knows they we have a a group that meets every Friday and Brian’s enabled. Called it FSC Fridays. Modern WordPress. And all this. Not as is we we talk about. Believe it or not Gutenberg and what’s going on and the nuances with that and you both know Nick Diego over at WP engine is a big part of the education around this. So we we managed to have those discussions and they’re they’re quite interesting discussions. You’d probably enjoy them.

Sometime oh that’s great yeah shout out to Brian. He’s been doing a lot of really cool work. It’s nice to see all the. They work on patterns and frost and so on. Really cool stuff.

Frost not meant for development. Again, I’m running. Because I like to live that way so so I. Wanted to go ahead Bergen.

Go ahead no. And I just wanted to say there are quite a few new features coming out or now. Worked on that gives you guys a lot to talk about and it would be great if that feedback then also would come back to to the GitHub issues. So to see other opinions there, so that would be really cool to kind of get that close feedback loop back.

No, I agree. I mean, I always say and I’m I’m gonna put you on the spot burger because I like to once in. A while is. If you guys find if any listeners find the issue. Let somebody know and if you don’t know how to open a GitHub ticket, get in touch with people like burgett like Courtney Robertson like Brian Gardner like Nick Diego. Yeah, you guys will hate me at the end of this, but that’s OK and and they and they they will all help you open up that ticket and and please help us help you.

No, I don’t I.

Right so.

Yes, yeah, no. Thank you for the shout out. That’s a really good yeah. If if anybody has find something that doesn’t work right. And you have a hard time troubleshooting it. Yeah, I’m certainly ping me on WP slack or on on a DM on Twitter and I can walk through or help testing things to get a good bug fix or a bug issue on GitHub so the developers. So it’s surfaces for the developers. Yeah, sooner rather than later.

Yeah, which is going to jump into my next segue because I’m going to myself. Probably open a ticket, interestingly. Enough, one of the things I’ve noticed with six, one and 611 is I typically use a Chromium base browser, which many of us use, and for a lot of people that’s Google Chrome. I made a switch about. Oh, about six months ago to brave and believe it or not, brave has issues. Often editing Gutenberg blocks in six, one, and 611. And how’s how’s? That for a bit of a problem.

Well, that’s good to know. Yeah, thank you.

Yeah, I think there are some people in the team that I think are using brave. So yeah, definitely it would be good to to know a bit more about if it’s like version specific or something going on, yeah?

Yeah it start it. Start with six. One Matthias and I. I think I’m going to get around this weekend to opening up a ticket for it and get somebody to look at it because to drink my own kool-aid here. And I want to help you guys too and and it’s still going on with 611. What happens, interestingly enough, is it comes up. And if I and then it gives you the attempt to block recovery and then I try and recover the blocks and it goes nowhere, which is really interesting so. I I will actually endeavor to get a ticket open so you can do it. I made that switch to brave oh about six months ago for a number of reasons and chromium as we know has had some issues itself so you know it adds to it a little bit.

Yeah, yeah please do would love to look like what’s going on there.

No, I appreciate that. So one of the things in the WordPress space we’re really concerned about right now is PHP. And I need to go there because we all know PHP 74 is at the time of this record is less than a week away, end of life, right? It’s the 28th I believe or something like that. 2020 ninth. Where do you think is 6 one and 611 fully PHP 8 that’s compatible at this point?

Well, what I’m reading Rob is from is that it’s not entirely 100%, but it should work on 8 and 8.1. I also know that there are. Quote committers. This and I think Josepha is also in that room to discuss with PHP to move that end of life of 7.4 that it hasn’t happened kind of indicates that it’s probably not going to happen, but we will see. I know that the back end people on core. They are working hard to put a a post together that outlines the compatibility between for for PHP81 and a. For the wiper software it’s a little bit above my knowledge and my yeah technical. Experience, but I think that’s that what I know what I heard from Tanya Morgue is the one of the core committers who is working on that as well as Jacqueline from from the Netherlands and they are working on a post.

Matthias, you have.

Yeah, I I I haven’t. I haven’t kept up with the late, kept up with the latest development in the last time I checked was a couple of months ago. But yeah, I think generally the issue is the long tail of support and ensuring like backwards compatibility is handled properly and that that always takes. It’s sort of like an iceberg, what seems? Relatively easy, like has a lot of like underneath complexity to handle, handle well, but there’s a. It’s definitely an area of active work and development, and we could do a follow up to see like what’s the status of. Of those projects.

And I, I think part of it too is once we get all the compatibility built in the core then we got to go to some of these, plug in developers and say hey guys it’s time to kind of get your software. To date, and I think the big shops aren’t my concern. It’s all the small little plug-in shops out there, right? They’re the. They’re the concern and what I what I would say to anybody is you’re concerned about security. Maybe you should introduce like a software firewall on your site, just in case, right? And and not rely strictly on the PHP update, but. Yeah, that’s.

And and that’s generally like one of the, I would say like both challenges and and motivations of the project as a whole is that core doesn’t move. In a vacuum, like it’s a it’s a whole plug-in ecosystem. It’s a whole hosting ecosystem and everyone sort of like finding a way to move all of the things together without leaving users behind. I think that’s, and that’s what sometimes can seem. Things are taking a lot longer than people would hope. But it’s also to like there’s a really strong commitment of not leaving people behind, not leaving people stranded. And and when it comes together, it’s really. I think it’s it’s quite inspiring to see, like the effort that all the. All sort of like all the groups take to ensure that we can continue to move forward. We can continue to keep up with the with things, but without like leaving people behind that much. It’s a it’s usually it’s a, it’s a I. Think it’s a fast. It’s a really interesting thing to look. At from the just the the. The size and scale of things and the and the diligence that people take into ensuring that. The decisions are balanced and take all the actors into account as much as possible.

You know, and I think personally I would rather it get moved out of extended past to December time frame November time frame. Just because December is like prime retail season and. I have enough clients and I and I know you’re laughing and it’s one of the best things that I think we’ve done is gotten.

Yeah, yeah.

The WordPress core updates out of December like personally, like if if we have to do a security update, do it, but I don’t think we need to do a feature upgrade in retail season, that’s. Just my opinion, right? It’s I think it’s. Better here to get it out of the.

Yeah, there I think there are two issues. One is the end of life of 7.4. That’s totally on the PHP Foundation side and the other one is the minimum requirement to run WordPress and we are still in the situation that. Quite a few 7% of the whole installations are still running on PHP 5 and. Some version and it just sounds like a very low number, but when you go to yeah, we never know how many really. How many installs are actually out there? But we know that five 6.0 was downloaded 100 and I don’t know 25 million times and and so just thinking about a low number that represents installed at 200,000,000 websites. 7% are alone, 14 million sites and you cannot just kind of. Upped the minimum requirement of PHP when you kind of leave those 14 million in in the dark about things. Yeah, they need to shut down so we are. I know that the hosting team is really working strongly with the. Hosting providers to say OK, update, update, update and then the hosting. That’s where the update to other PHP versions actually happening. A normal user or site owner. They don’t know what a PHP update is or what version that is. Yeah, it’s kind of. It needs to be in a collaboration with the hosting companies and you’re getting the minimum requirement for WordPress changed. It’s it’s a really big deal and I don’t think we’re there yet, yeah.

No, I I would agree and the normal user doesn’t know how to read an error log that tells you what plug-in or software or code is causing the problem, either where you know most of us here probably could, I I certainly can. You know, I alluded to the 350 sites I maintain, and I think I’m running. Based on all the testing I’ve done, I’m about 75% of those can go date one and then the other 25% are going to have a pile of issues. So and 25% out of 350 is still way too many sites for my. Life, you know?

That’s 70 sites. Yeah, that’s really. If you have to handle them one. Out of 1. You’re welcome.

Yeah, do you, do you? Yeah, he died.

So I wanted to jump into a feature. One of the features that I think we’re starting to get right is this whole concept of block locking Matthias. I personally would like to see block blocking a little more granular so we could drill it down a little more instead of in the form. It’s and now. Is there any plans to do that and kind? Did you want to talk about the whole block talking? Because it seems to be a concern amongst the devs and the designers in the company.

Sure, and if if you could go over a bit like what do you mean by more granular block blocking?

I’d like I just would like some more control to be more specific at times instead of. As general as it is now, I think I think I just like some more control to be able to. To to take it down a step if I need to.

Like but but do you mean like with the? I don’t know like with the child locks or with the kind of locking that it does, or what parts of the things are locked.

Yeah, both actually both. Actually I just my big thing is I’d like to be able to put in the hands of designers and the devs a lot of control so that when we hand this stuff to users we don’t have our users breaking stuff that they shouldn’t be breaking that that’s what it comes down to.

Yeah, OK, well so well for that like the one of the newest developments there is. It’s called like content only and the idea is that you can define like patterns or groups of blogs or whatever you need to and essentially lock it down to so that the user can only modify the. Content of the blocks, but not the not the position. Not like different attributes like not the layout, not anything like that, just the replace images. Replace the copy of a heading, replace the content and so on. That’s a pretty. I think it’s a pretty cool addition to the block locking system. That is, I’m starting to see like a few people take advantage of that. I think there’s there’s still some ideas to expand it further and make it more capable and so on, but it’s it’s really attractive to because it essentially allows you to build sort of like. Patterns in a way that seems like a custom block because you don’t many custom blocks before where people really wanted to control. Like all the pieces, they would create a custom block and with these tools you don’t need to create custom blocks. You can just. Define patterns, style them how you want. Set all the address and then lock it in this way. And packaged it like that, and and then offer it to like I don’t know. It’s it’s very useful on marketing teams and so on because you have all the structures in place. All the stylings in place, and you’re just modifying content only.

Yeah, that that’s a big help and the other the other thing you know along with barkar can we got to teach designers and devs is. Stop giving all your users admin rights to the entire website. Please, please please, because you’re both laughing at me because we’ve all been there, right? Client calls up. I want my intern to have admin rights and then before you. Know what you have. You get a phone call saying this doesn’t work and I and my response is, well, what did your intern do?

Yeah, I remember that from my agency days, which are not that long ago. But yeah, what I installed was.

No very good.

There’s a plugin or even a chat pick. A feature out there that gives you an activity log. So warning this I don’t know. Yeah, but I’m going to install that because I don’t want to be blamed.

Are you?

For things that happened that I didn’t do.

Yeah, I and. In one case I know and I’ll share with you both. I had a before block walking, got extensive. I have a a client. Who runs a large jewelry store? And he knows who he is. So I can say that I won’t mention who and he. He had an intern have his ID which had admin rights to the site cause the intern couldn’t do something and I’ll tell you, the box looked like box soup when I was done. It’s like, oh.

Yeah, yeah.

So we got to be careful.

Go ahead.

No, it it. It’s an interesting. I think it’s an interesting area because I blocked locking or all the the work around like curating the experience of interacting with block is a fundamental part of the the whole road map. Essentially like I know like in I don’t know in war camps and state of the war. You should just show like the. Sort of like all the flexibility and the capabilities that end users have, but there’s a whole a lot. A whole lot of work that’s going to ensure that again, agencies and clients on that. You can really curate the experience like the the whole enterprise side I think is starting to really make use of. Some of these tools. To really craft blocks that are really. Like that because I think the essence is that everyone is using and sharing the same software and I think that’s really powerful because everyone is just learning the core experience, but it can still be very curated, very control if if that’s the need for a specific site. And so on and content. Talking is just one aspect of it, I think. Another one is. Is going to be the the application of like partial theme JSON objects. So right now theme JSON like people see it as like it affects the whole the whole site essentially right? You can of course like tailor specific block types and so on, but the idea is that same JSON can also operate at the. Level of like template parts or specific templates or specific patterns even and that would allow you to define. I don’t know like a specific color palette for a. Specific pattern and that’s this. Color palette is only available for the heading block when it’s used within this pattern and so. There’s a lot of permutations of that that allows really, like fine grained control to the the site owner, the developer, and so on to establish whatever guard rails are necessary without sacrificing and without having to create custom blocks we have without having to. They can they can. Just operate with the native tools and combining none of all of these. Features and tools I think can yield very interesting, very interesting outcomes, and if there is anything that I think we need to be doing more of, especially as a community like showcasing this sort of like. Use cases of like how OK we have all of these tools. How do I put it together for like this type of enterprise customer? How do I put it? There for this other type of freelancer agency case, how do I all of these are possible but sometimes not, maybe immediately evident to someone developing a site. How to put them together? So I I’m I’m really eager to start seeing more sort of like use cases based. Tutorials or how to so like ways of approaching how to combine all of these tools?

So so true. I and I think it’s getting where we need to be. So the other question I had from a couple people is there have we thought about with the Gutenberg experience in trying to fix the editing workflow little bit. So what I mean is. If you take a document and say you do that document in Google Docs, your in Word and then we try and cut and paste that into a Gutenberg block. It doesn’t always. Format really well and I find you end up having to go in and clean up a lot of the paragraph for the line breaks. Is there any talk about trying to clean up that workflow? Experience a little.

Yeah, so yeah. So first like which like? Please also open issues about whenever you’re like passing from Google Docs and the the outcome is not what you expected. It’s very useful because like Google Docs, is continuously changing, so all our logic to how we process that also needs to be catching up and sometimes. Those get disconnected, but the intention is that. Again, pasting from Google Docs or whatever other service has to feel magical that it just works that you don’t need to do any clean up at all. Sometimes it gets tricky like, especially like line breaks. How do you interpret line breaks and so on? Because most. Desktop editing software. They they have like full paragraph breaks, but they are represented as single line breaks. So like when you hit enter like it shows like a single. It happens a lot on mobile as well like, but it’s actually a paragraph. The thing is that on the web paragraph tend to have margins. So like there, there’s a few like details there that is not. They’re easy to info. There if they used the original intention was an explicit line break, or it’s just an an actual paragraph, it can get tricky, but the more the more examples, the more use cases from people like showing like, oh, this was my source and I expected this. But this other thing happened. It’s really useful because it allows us to fine tune that.

That’s great, thanks Matias. Sin and again, please open up some GitHub tickets to help us out here and help you. What’s on the road map? Do we, either you know where we’re going with the next version? What are we looking at for a new release in the New Year and what’s fun?

Yes, absolutely so. I think 6.1 was an important mile, so I think it got a lot of. A lot of in big pieces that we had to make more progress on, like fluid typography, a lot of improvements to templates and so on. That global styles improve a lot with it as well, and I think we’re now in a sort of the final consolidation lab of phase two. It might take like. One or like 1 1/2 releases to consolidate it and. And really, what we I think so some stuff that is really. It’s all some stuff is already on the plugin, so I think like we would have it by so by end of the year it’s been like a pretty usable state to play with. But we have we have like a new inserter for patterns. Like there’s a lot of work going on on improving the flow with like pattern. Categories the pattern directory, like the whole flexibility there is getting nicer. We have an an experience of. So it’s sort of like a zoom out editing experience where just you’re just operating at the pattern level, so you’re defining big sort of broad sections. You’re not getting into the details, and this all of this is also connected with. Again, the content locking thing, so it’s like operating at the different levels. Of the site and using like sort of the proximity to the site to convey that experience. That’s where a lot of the the. The current work is going on another big piece. I think it’s which we’re not quite there is the navigation block, particularly like the user experience of the navigation block is. There’s a lot of work going on there right now to get it into into a better place. It’s one of the pieces that. More historically, managing menus has been. Always a bit difficult because there’s so much like breadth of possibilities, right from sites that have just a couple pages to sites that have hundreds of pages and nested menus and so on, and so the finding experiences that work for all of these types is it can be challenging and with blocks you also have the flexibility of putting. Like a search inside your menu and so on, so there’s a lot of. User experience hurdles to overcome, but I’m quite confident like the direction that we have now, there’s some design explorations that are crystallizing in in something that I think would be pretty interesting. We need to really user test this. A lot more, but it’s I think it’s it’s coming along. I think outside of that there’s a. There’s work happening on. Like the container blocks and how we deal with. Width and height and how we do it in a way that’s inherently responsive. Again, 6.1 had like the fluid type. That was one aspect of this. The idea is to try to limit the cases where you need to resort to like media queries, especially from a user person. Effective, so the same is like how we apply some of these things into container and layout blocks so that things just flow properly and work well without having to be very explicit about the, like the breakpoints themselves.

I would suggest even like my favorite changes. Some of them are, believe it or not, around the cover block. I think you’ve done a really well, but that and I’ve used that countlessly.

Yeah, yeah.

I was using that in the Gutenberg plugin before it went into the release, and I think you’ve done some great work around that as.

That’s great, yeah, I really love the the cover block myself. It’s and. I think like we’re really at a phase where like. Essentially consolidating all the features and how they like breaking to each other, for example, like using cover blocks in a query block, like having query patterns that leverage cover block and use it for feature images. And like there’s a lot of like chess using all the tools together. And sometimes like that creates some friction. So like really smoothing out those frictions is one of the one of the emphasis of well at least what remains of of phase two. Now I think the other thing is really around the. Like gradual adoption, there’s going to be like the ability to import a widget area from like the classic WordPress experience. Being able to just import that into a template part and and all of that sort of. Makes the way all of these tools adoptable by. Either existing sites or new sites in ways that make sense.

Thanks for sharing that Berger. Have you have you heard in your travels what people are looking for in the next release at all or.

Well, definitely stabilizing of all the good things that come with the site editor. And I I have seen some of the. Designs to introduce a browse mode and with that also kind of a re ramp on the left navigation in the design tools. So there is a little bit more consistency in how the admin menus are working. And also of course put in additional menu items for the template parts for the styles and that there are some great things. In the works. Of course there were also the block locking parts, but the content locking is really taking off. I hear that and people embrace that quite nicely, and I had not thought about it. But Matthias talked about it that you don’t need any custom blocks if you just want to. Locked down some of the experiences and that is actually a great help to communicate that to the extenders or to agency developers and freelancers that they don’t have to kind of get into development. They’re just using the patterns and the locks for that. That’s a great. Addition, and I’m probably gonna write about that with, but there are quite a few refineries I’m looking forward to the new navigation handling of things because. What I see the team is doing is using the space that’s in the sidebar. To actually have a little bit more space to do menus right on the fly so you don’t have to kind of crap it all into that one little block. That’s on top of it and you can’t. Yeah, that was one of those things that were really hard to handle where the different OK when I click here something else. Pops up because the the point the. The mouse point didn’t go quite as accurate to that, so it was very jumbled in there, so using that additional space that’s in the sidebar is definitely improving whatever you want to do with the navigation block or navigation creation. And then have the additional menus and so on available right from the editor. That is really cool.

So true and one of the things you touched on was the admin dashboard and go there. Have yes. I think we need to go to these plug-in developers and I understand it’s a business for them. I get it, but we gotta stop all the stuff they’re dumping in the dashboard because from from my standpoint it becomes really frustrating. So what, what all this people in the know start doing is running plugins to stop all this stuff in the dashboard? Yeah, so so they’re not really buying themselves anything. In terms of advertising, and they’re not really buying themselves anything in terms of getting the word out, and I, I just think it’s the wrong way to do it personally.

Yeah, yeah, but right now we don’t have any any way to kind of shut that down because the. The software itself is open to extenders, so yeah, there there are rules that are in the plug in guidelines, but it doesn’t prevent people to add things to the menu items to the left hand menu or to the notification screen there has been. Efforts to rewrite the notification API that plugins can use, but that is still in the design phase and there are some discussions there, but I think they have been stalled a little bit, but that’s definitely something that needs that is on a. On a lot of people’s minds. But there are no contributors right now. Really working on it.

Well, so I think like this really gets. I think a lot of these topics are really and what we have been. Outlining as what phase three is going to be like, phase three like involves a lot of things, but part of what is going to do is like improve workflows around the entire admin experience workflows for getting into the editor. Like like how plugins extend the admin and. So on and. Part of the. What we’re doing, I think, with phase two now, especially the browse mode. That was mentioned. Is to start to figure out what what works what. What part of this pathfinding models work the best and the finding sort of like what semantics they should carry. Because I think that the issue you get when plugins extend the admin in all sort of arbitrary ways is not really so much of like stopping that. Because that’s part of the nature of the software being so extensible and and is a very important part of the experience. I think it’s more about like establishing. Like more semantic guardrails so that people can and I think in the editor we have done some of these. Like, well, if you’re a plugin, you can and you’re extending like the the post published flow like you use certain APIs. If you’re extending the like the pre published, you use another one. If you’re extending A blog, you use other things. If you are registering your own editor plugin, there’s a place for those and so on and so forth, and some of those concepts can also be applied to the rest of the admin, whether it’s notifications, whether it’s the finding we need to sort of be defining more semantic areas for what is content, what is the sign, what is settings, and so on, so. I think that’s the way that that we help. Sort of guide the whole ecosystem to doing things more consistently more in ways that are. That you don’t get conflicts between plugins or fights between plugins and so on is by I think adding more semantics to to the experience and. So there there’s some of that. Certainly that’s going to start happening more with phase three.

Is there any plans to tackle? The media library in phase three.

Yeah, yeah I was. I was just going to to mention that because even even in the so right now in like we’re introducing, it’s not merged yet, but it will be merged in like the next days or week. Which adds like a media panel to the inserter, so the inserter has. Plus blocks, patterns and reusable blocks is going to have one for media so that you can quickly drag like pictures into the cover block and replace the background. Or like you can sort of navigate your your media library and just drag things into patterns or drag drag images into the canvas and just have the image block inserted and so on. And that’s that’s one way to start identifying what are the things that the media library as a whole needs to start how it needs to start working better. Integrated with these elements, how we should? How we should integrate. Open verse into the experience how we should make it extensible like the. Again, this initially this media panel will have like filters for media types so you can see like images or videos, audio and so on, but this needs to be extensive. Also, how do we establish this in a way that then allow us to iterate on the media library itself? The Media library itself will probably also be something to look at. During phase three, because it touches upon the all these workflow issues. And there’s a lot that we could do, like just not just in integration with the editor, but also like in in helping really helping define like one of the main topics of phase three is, I think, the way that it’s being described is sort of like multiplayer environment, and that’s because, like there’s stuff like real time collaboration that go into it. But it’s also like asynchronous. Collaboration and the media library. Involves a lot of these workflows especially. Like in larger teams where you have like marketers that define content and other people that define like the the images and so on. And like how? How all of those workflows can work? How can you sort of if you are someone that whose responsibility is just to like select and add the media? How can you be like in an editing environment where that’s the only thing that’s highlighted? For you, so you just focus on sort of replacing the images and you cannot disturb the content of the post and you can do that simultaneously while someone else is editing the post so it can be done asynchronously as well. So there’s a lot of interesting parts of workflow that I think touch on. And where the media library should, how how it should evolve, how it should become better.

Yeah, and I’m glad you spent some time on workflow because most of our sites now are very content heavy and the and workflow is becoming more and more and more important. The site owner so so thank you for that, appreciate that. So we’ve kind of touched on a lot of stuff. I think both here. For your time, I would assume the best place to get a hold of either you is probably the make dot WordPress slack channel. I would.

Yeah, that should be. That should be fine I’m I’m mostly there on Twitter as well. Or you can also like go to my website and e-mail and also on GitHub like GitHub is. I’ll where a lot of the work is happening, so it’s it’s easy to engage there as well.

Yeah, and burger for you. Probably the slack channel or Twitter I would think so far. Not not Mastodon yet.

Well, it’s definitely the reprise makes lag and Twitter. The arms are open. I also have a Mastodon account that’s on the pinned. Tweet on my profile and Twitter at GPH.

Yes, yes.

So I’m also but you can always kind of connect also. In private messaging, yeah, I don’t have. That’s all open. My Gutenberg times on Twitter. Also, as a Mastodon account, but it’s also still we’re gonna be on Twitter because that’s the big place now. For now. We don’t know how it is tomorrow. Today I’m on Twitter.

I I have not gone the Mastodon. Yeah so, but I think I’m going to as well so.

But think of it, you need to. You need to announce your space before you can leave.

Thank you both for your time and for sharing all your insights. It is always such a pleasure. Thank you, Matthias, thank you Berger.

That way, thank you for the conversation, yeah?

Thank you for inviting us Rob. It’s always a great pleasure. Thank you.

It sure is, thank you.


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