What’s next in Gutenberg? (October)

This is a monthly update containing the high-level items that GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/ contributors are focusing on for October. Please join us in our efforts and let us know in the comments if anything is blocking you from doing so. 

How to follow along with Gutenberg: 

Here’s an overview of different ways to keep up with Gutenberg and the Full Site Editing project. There is also an index page of Gutenberg development related posts and a new Site Editing Milestone overview issue that breaks down the upcoming work into more concrete next steps. 

5.6 BetaBeta A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to trial under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as part of the process. 1 Preparation 

With October 20th marking the cut off for WordPress 5.6 Beta 1, there’s going to be a shift in approach this month to focus on what can or cannot be ready for 5.6 since, after the Beta 1, there’s not a way to merge additional features. As part of this preparation, a decision was made by the people working on the Navigation and the editor tech lead for 5.6 to exclude the Navigation Screen from 5.6. Outside of this decision, this focus mainly impacts projects like the Widgets Screen and various editor focused APIs as they will each need to reach a certain threshold in order to be included. Expect there to be lots of effort here to fine tune and make decisions in preparation for an exciting 5.6 release! 

Delaying 9.2 Release:

As mentioned in the latest core editor meeting, since Beta 1 for WordPress 5.6 is due on October 20, it’s likely that the next Gutenberg release will be delayed by one week in order to match the dates and include as many features as possible. This means that Oct 19th will likely be the RCrelease candidate One of the final stages in the version release cycle, this version signals the potential to be a final release to the public. Also see alpha (beta). for 9.2 and the stable release will be done on Oct 21 since the packages can be incorporated into CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. before Beta 1.

Follow along:

Outside of following individual features and their progress, you can follow where things stand on this WordPress 5.6 Must Haves project board.

Global Styles & Editor focused APIs

Global Styles refers to the system that defines and manages global aesthetics allowing overall site styles, theme styles, and blocks to work well together. While great progress was made in September, the editor focused APIs are still in experimental status and a decision will need to be made about what can be included in 5.6. It’s anticipated that the theme.jsonJSON JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, is a minimal, readable format for structuring data. It is used primarily to transmit data between a server and web application, as an alternative to XML. APIs might not be ready for 5.6 but the block.json one might be instead. Outside of decisions around 5.6, some of this work in the month ahead will include the following:

  • Adding support for themes to control the editor in a global context, and in a per blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. context.
  • Expand the global styles sidebarSidebar A sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme. with new options and improve its UIUI User interface.
  • Expand the typography controls and allow users to pick a custom font family and font-weight, and allow themes to configure which font families are available.
  • Add functionality that allows users to use the global styles sidebar to control the editor’s behavior like which color palette is active.

Follow along:

You can follow the progress for this overall system in this overview issue. For more recent and immediate next steps, you can follow this issue describing the current state of work. 

WidgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. Screen

With the new Widget screen moved out of experimental status last month in Gutenberg 8.9, lots of work has gone towards addressing the feedback that’s come in as people have begun exploring this new screen. Right now, inclusion in 5.6 depends on the state of the Widget Screen before Beta 1 on October 20th. In an effort to successfully have this feature included in 5.6, efforts that were previously put towards the Navigation Screen are now being redirected here. As a result, expect that this area of work will be a big focus and decision point for the month ahead.

Along with handling any additional feedback that comes in, the following are specific items that will be worked on:

  • Deciding a path forward for how best to handle customizerCustomizer Tool built into WordPress core that hooks into most modern themes. You can use it to preview and modify many of your site’s appearance settings. & the widget screen interaction.
  • Creating updated designs for an improved user experience.
  • Exploring how third party widgets can be integrated.
  • Ensuring only superadmins can store HTML using the new APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways. endpoint.
  • Addressing a11yAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility) feedback around improving the navigation tool.

Join the Widgets Screen weekly meeting:

In light of the decision mentioned above, the previous meeting on the Navigation Screen project will now focus on Widgets. As a reminder, the meeting happens in #core every Wednesday at 7AM UTC. These meetings will be focused on triaging issues in GitHubGitHub GitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. https://github.com/ with the [Feature] Widget Screen label and discussing any big structural issues. 

Help with testing:

As part of the vision for the Widgets Screen to ease adoption for everyone, modernize the experience outside of just site editing, and upgrade what’s possible by enabling third party extensibility, feedback is still needed to help this become a reality. If you haven’t had a chance to yet, please follow this call for testing and share any bugs or enhancements on GitHub. Thank you to everyone who has given feedback already and helped move this work forward! 

Follow along:

You can follow the progress of this work on this project board and by joining the weekly chat in #core every Wednesday at 7AM UTC.

Full Site Editing

As with the prior months, work on this major focus for phase 2 is ongoing and is expected to continue iterating over the coming months. Currently, 5 out of the 6 milestones for site editing are marked as In Progress with overview tracking issues created for each milestone to better plan next steps. With that said, work this month will continue to focus on finishing up Milestone 1 – Site Editing Infrastructure and UI and Milestone 2 – Site Editor Navigation. As in prior months, it’s expected that this work will continue into the months ahead:

We’re watching the Theme Experiments repo as well to see how themers are attempting to build block-based themes. Please continue to share there and know we appreciate it!

Follow along:

You can follow the progress of this project on this project board. To help break down this work more, a new overview issue with key milestones for site editing was also created. For each major milestone, there are related issues for each milestone that are recommended to follow if you want a more granular look at each next step (example from Site Editor Navigation).

As a reminder, if you’re interested in being a part of testing Full Site Editing, check out the experimental outreach program to learn more

Areas to be aware of:

Block & PluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party Developers:

There’s a new experimental light box wrapper API that allows for a new way to define blocks in order for the markup in the editor to match the front end. While documentation is planned, it hasn’t been written yet. In the meantime though, you can check out the current PRs as this is now ready to be used by plugins: creating edit/save symmetry and stabilizing the API

Theme Developers:

@joen did a wonderful show & tell session including in progress work on a Full Site Editing theme.

Additionally, any theme authors experimenting with Full Site Editing should check out the post from @aristath on a New JSON structure for FSE theme.json files.

Ways to Get Involved:

While the above items are our focuses, don’t forget that you can always help with triage, needs testing issues, good first issues and reviewing PRs. In particular for this month, focusing efforts around testing the Widgets Screen would be very helpful and high impact. 

If there’s anything we can do to make contributing easier, let us know in the comments or in #core-editor chats. While we can’t promise to fix everything, we’d appreciate being aware of any blockers.

Meetings to join:

While you can view all meetings here, here are specific meetings to join depending on your interest. Remember that you need a WordPress.org slack account to participate: 

  • Core Editor weekly @ 14:00 UTC in #core-editor focused on all things Gutenberg. 
  • Widget Sync weekly @ 07:00 UTC in #core focused on triaging and discussing Widget Screen work. 
  • Block Based Themes meeting twice monthly at Wednesday @ 16:00 UTC in #themereview focused on preparing for Full Site Editing. 

#core-editor #gutenberg-next