6.1 Product Walk-Through Recap

This post is a recap of the September 13, 2022, product walk-through hosted by members of the WordPress 6.1 release squad. Below, you will find a summary, a link to the recording, and its corresponding transcript.


Moderated by @greenshady, the walk-through began with a planned feature review by @matveb that included the TT3 default theme, a refined template experience, fluid typography, improved consistency, and locking tools, amongst other features. Following the demos, the participating release squad members @davidbaumwald, @jeffpaul, @ndiego, @richtabor, @mikachan, and @desrosj spoke about the scope of their respective team’s release work. Closing out the event, the panelists fielded questions from the 80+ live attendees.

It is likely that we will host walk-throughs for future WordPress releases to improve with each iteration. If you have input on how this event might change for the better, please share your thoughts as a comment below.

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6.1 Issues of Note



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Reference Documents

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Justin Tadlock  00:05

So today, we’re gonna share a pretty casual walkthrough and discussion of WordPress 6.1, and how the release is coming along. So, just a few housekeeping items to start us off, this call is being recorded, and we’ll have a Make/WordPress CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. blogblog (versus network, site) post in a few days. The call should also be on a WordPress TV and, I believe, our WordPress Youtube channel, too. So just give us a few days to get those links up and shared. We also have live captioning, I believe, and text transcription enabled. So for the folks, and attendees following, you can use the Q and A – question and answer – option on your Zoom menu bar.

You can also post over on the #walkthrough channel on WordPress SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/.. If you have questions, we’ll have a Q and A session toward the end of this call to cover everybody’s questions. So, hey! I’m Justin Tadlock. I’m a developer advocate. I focus on our WordPress community’s developers and standards. And we have several people from the WordPress 6.1 release team. And I just want to do a quick thank you for everybody joining us.

For our Core Tech co-leads, Dave Baumwald and Jeff Paul, Editor triagetriage The act of evaluating and sorting bug reports, in order to decide priority, severity, and other factors., Nick Diego. On the Design team, Rich Tabor. Themes, Sarah Norris. Release coordinator and our notetaker today, Jonathan Desrosiers. If I got your name right. I hope I did. And our Lead Project Architect is Matías Ventura.

So in a moment, I’ll give the mic over to Matías, and he’ll discuss the main goals and features of 6.1. Then we’ll have our panelists introduce themselves and share a comment or two about their role and the release, and interesting things they’re working on. And then, after that session, we’ll do the Q and A. But, so, Matías, are you ready to kick things off?

Matías Ventura 00:03:12

Sure, thank you. Hello, everyone. Let’s get started, I’ll jump straight into it. Last time, we ran a bit out of time, so I hope I don’t derail too much into conversations. So the first thing is to do a quick recap of what was the plan for 6.1.

We had planned work on the main template editor, on patterns, global styles, blocks, assigned tools, and there was this sort of appendix about the gradual adoption of these tools. And that ended up being the theme for, at least, the 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/ side of the work for 6.1. There’s been a lot of refinement, consolidation, and expansion of the features. And, so if we jump into it, we’re again packing about 11 releases that, right now, amount to around 360 updates and 370 block themes on the 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. We’ll probably have a bit more once the latest releases come out, and during the 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. period.

So I’ll jump straight into the one that’s most exciting, probably, which is a new default theme: Twenty Twenty Three. And Twenty Twenty Three is going to look kind of like just this white thing by default, but the beauty of it is going to be in the style variations that it packages. That was pretty fun – like the first time that we did this sort of call to the community to submit styles for a default theme. So it’s really pushing what the features that we introduced – 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. was 5.9? Or maybe 5.8 even. I don’t remember, but it’s been a couple of releases. This theme really pushes that to its utmost. So let’s just – right now, we have these. I guess it was 10, but I’m seeing nine. I don’t know.

Matías Ventura  05:04

Anyways, so this style variation just drastically changed everything in the theme. It’s pretty fun. You might see that we have a bugbug A bug is an error or unexpected result. Performance improvements, code optimization, and are considered enhancements, not defects. After feature freeze, only bugs are dealt with, with regressions (adverse changes from the previous version) being the highest priority. here, in trunktrunk A directory in Subversion containing the latest development code in preparation for the next major release cycle. If you are running "trunk", then you are on the latest revision., which is the Query LoopLoop The Loop is PHP code used by WordPress to display posts. Using The Loop, WordPress processes each post to be displayed on the current page, and formats it according to how it matches specified criteria within The Loop tags. Any HTML or PHP code in the Loop will be processed on each post. https://codex.wordpress.org/The_Loop. is supposed to be full-width, but I’m running trunk, where we added the latest feature, which is this thing where you can just align, and we don’t have – something is wrong there that is not making it full-width, so I guess it’s supposed to be something like… Is that correct, Sarah?  I think it should be something like this.

Sarah Norris  05:44

Yes, that looks right. 

Matías Ventura  05:46

Okay, So anyway, we’ll just play with it there. Going to jump. This is not probably not making it into 6.1, but you can toggle this in the plugin, in experimental mode, but it’s really nice to see – it’s fun to do with the style variations because you see more of the whole thing at once. So the idea here is just to, again, showcase a lot of variety in all the styles, patterns, and so on. This one is quite nice. It works with smaller size titles, but it’s quite like this one, which is the default theme. It’s lowercase typography, all the same size. That’s quite interesting. It’s nice that there’s such animation between the transitions, and between the styles. And, of course, the cool thing about style variations not being just CSSCSS Cascading Style Sheets. is that the user will always be able to pick the one they want, but actually get to modify exactly all the details, if they want to. That’s pretty neat. It’s actually switched to this pattern? Yeah. So this layout is – So, there’s still some work on the templates and whatnot. Let’s see the frontend here. Yeah, I don’t know if we want, for example, if the default template will crop the featured images, so it’s all aligned because otherwise, we have these sorts of staircasing.

Matías Ventura  07:38

There are some details that are on the theme that I guess will be polished, but it’s pretty cool to just see the amount of change that you can get just with the style variations. Any reaction, so far, to this? I will start jumping into the next Thesis, cause we have a lot to cover. So, the next stuff that is important to highlight. We have the template I needed to introduce before. This time, there are a ton of new templates being added. This was possible to do if you just opened the theme folder and modify the code. But now it’s exposed to users in a much – you can create custom templates directly. You can create a template for a specific post type. You can pick the post you want to create a template for. This is really – I’m excited about this because it opens up a lot of the power of WordPress to any user now. If you want to, I don’t know, you have a special categoryCategory The 'category' taxonomy lets you group posts / content together that share a common bond. Categories are pre-defined and broad ranging. of travel, and you want to create a template for that category, you can do it. And there’s another improvement here. Let’s see if we can create one. Yeah, so before, when you were creating a template, it will start completely blank. Now it loads the most relevant template for this. In this case, it was the Archive. So it’s using – you are modifying the tagtag A directory in Subversion. WordPress uses tags to store a single snapshot of a version (3.6, 3.6.1, etc.), the common convention of tags in version control systems. (Not to be confused with post tags.) template, but it’s using the Archive type as its basis. So you don’t need to start from scratch. Obviously, here, in the future, will probably have different starting points. Like the same way that we have Patterns when you create a new page and so on. Remove this. I think you, Justin, just did a cool post sort of reviewing all the new templates. There’s quite a bit to dig through there, so if people want to check that out. Because we have very specific templates, custom post types, taxonomyTaxonomy A taxonomy is a way to group things together. In WordPress, some common taxonomies are category, link, tag, or post format. https://codex.wordpress.org/Taxonomies#Default_Taxonomies.-based templates, and so on. The other really cool thing is – In this release, we’re going to have a lot of developer-focused tools as well. So to sort of leverage this stuff, jumping quickly into that. For example, in 6.0, we introduced these starting Patterns. So if you register a block pattern, you’re restricted to this block type. So it only shows on post content when you’re creating a new post, you would get to choose – or a new page – you would get to choose a starter Pattern. Now that’s open up to any post-type. So you can – if you have a custom post typeCustom Post Type WordPress can hold and display many different types of content. A single item of such a content is generally called a post, although post is also a specific post type. Custom Post Types gives your site the ability to have templated posts, to simplify the concept., you can restrict the pattern to a specific custom post type and also the post content. So that would allow you – to imagine you have a book or something, and when you create a new book, you will see these are the patterns for books, and only for that custom post type. I think that will be a pretty cool flow for people to hook into. So the other one. We have improved the locking tools a lot, and I’ll quickly show some of that. But this is like the next step of locking, and what it does is here I have a full block that’s a full pattern, but it feels like I cannot really do anything to mess up the design. Like if you see the block tools, I don’t have movers. I cannot remove it. I cannot really do anything with this. I can only just replace the content from my Media library, and so on. But I cannot do, again, anything to the – I cannot really get rid of stuff.

Matías Ventura  11:45

I can modify the text, of course, but I cannot do – even here it’s only, again. I have access to alignment, bold, and so on, but nothing else. And the cool thing is that, if you open the inserter, it feels like its own set of things. So you can jump between the elements of this pattern quickly, and the only access you have again is to these things that get exposed. So this is, you can imagine, this is a really nice way to create custom blocks in a sense. This is now opened up for the pattern directory, so you can create a pattern where again, everything is locked down, and you get this sort of experience, so you don’t need to dive into code at any point to create this kind of pattern. I have a few others. Yeah, so this pattern is from the Directory. And again, you get access to, again, some of these tools, but nothing else. I think this one is pretty – to me, it’s pretty exciting what we can do with this. I think, in the future, we want to expose a few other style properties here. Say you want to allow – I don’t know some colors for the – restrict the amount of colors, but still allow them for some of this. That should also be possible. Let’s see if I – right now, it’s not exposing this set of tools. But it will be here for like Adminadmin (and super admin) users, and so on. I’ll skip this one. It briefly shows there, but it essentially allows you.

Matías Ventura  13:44

Yeah. So before, if you were locking many blocks at once, it was a bit painful, because you had to go one by one. Now you have access to this that you can apply the locking properties to all the blocks inside, so you can quickly create stuff. Oh, yes, this is – we are bundling now a few headerHeader The header of your site is typically the first thing people will experience. The masthead or header art located across the top of your page is part of the look and feel of your website. It can influence a visitor’s opinion about your content and you/ your organization’s brand. It may also look different on different screen sizes. and footer patterns. These patterns are specific to – let’s go back to the site. So these patterns are specific to template parts. So here I have my header, and if I go to Replace Header, I can see these are all bundled patterns. So I can quickly swap out, say, I actually prefer this header. These are right now bundled in Core, the idea is that these will be just surfacing there in the Pattern Directory, but they affect only the semantic template parts. Right. so in case the header and the footer also has. Yeah. So you have, like, some specific footers. These are using relevant blocks like the site logo, site title, navigation, and so on. So it’s really nice.

Matías Ventura  15:07

We already went through this. Cool, so the other area where there’s been a lot of work in design tools. I really like the – actually, let’s see if we switch to the one that had the gigantic font. This one. Yes. Well, the other thing is, again, I replace the header thing, and it still works with a style variation. So you can start to imagine all the combinations that you can do. While were, I wanted to cheat here. Yes, so if we go to mobile or table like that, we have some of the fluid typography working there. And fluid typography is enabled – the theme has to opt-in to it. But the cool thing is that the team doesn’t need to define it can define its own boundaries like max and meeting, but it works for user values as well, which is really nice. Spacing presets – This is an improvement to existing tools, so let’s check the margin. Yeah. So here, like now, the spacing tools go in increments, like a theme can define the sort of the presets that it’s using. So you can achieve, like you cannot like, do random arbitrary values. You can stay within the boundaries, and if it’s opened up, You can always go into custom bodies. But, I think can control this, which is cool. Spacing presets – I’ll keep going fast because, please, anyone, if I went too fast on something, and someone who has a question or something to point out, let me know. We have added border tools to a couple of blocks. So images, well, like here you see like you can achieve these effects. So images can have borders, and if we do it, it’s interesting. There’s something weird back there on selection because I’m adding it to the future image, so it should be added into all of them, but it’s only showing on selection for some reason. It’s fun. And columns as well got access to border properties. There’s also some work on elements. Elements like a 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. that defines things that are relevant across blocks. Some obvious ones are captions, where you can have them on images, videos, galleries, and so on. Buttons as well. So right now, captions are not exposed to users yet, but you can control them through theme.json. So you can ensure that image captions anything else that you they all look like you want to, and it will be unlocked in the same way that we have links, tags, headings, people will see one for captions here, and a lot of effort went into consistency in this release, and that meant, we used to have many blocks that were exposing some, but not all the tools in typography callers and so on, and so there’s been a lot of work in and I really mean like a lot of work, because there’s a lot of pull requests merged, just consolidating these design tools in blocks so that you get the consistent and more familiar experience. Hover states were also added for both links. And what else did we add, then? I think it’s not here — very likely on the buttons. Do we have it on patterns? I don’t know what we have… Maybe I’m not finding it. Hmm. Interesting. Yeah, there’s support for hover states and focus states and buttons and things. But I cannot access it now. So that’s more or less the sign tools. There’s one more that’s important, and this is more relevant for classic themes. There’s a new Add Theme support that people cannot think opt in to that is our theme support for appearance tools, and that would allow you if you’re not using a theme.json file on a classic theme, to still expose a lot of these assigned tools to blocks if you want to. That’s part of the gradual adoption milestone, and another one that the people were really asking for was consolidating the classes output on blocks. So again, container classes, layout classes that should now show up on the front end. That was also a big part of the effort in 6.1. Where was I? Okay, blocks? What time? Okay, we’re fine.

Nicholas Diego  21:19

Matías, before you stray too far, I can point you to where the hover states are. I think it’s a really cool feature, so if you go back to the site editor, Yeah. And then you go to the global styles and then under colors. There you go. And then, if you click on buttons and links…

Matías Ventura  21:40

Okay, yeah. I was expecting that we were also exposing it on the block instances.

Nicholas Diego  21:49

So we’re not fully integrated through everything. 

Matías Ventura  21:53

Yeah, we need to go on to group blocks. I was also trying to find it. Yeah, it’s like one step at a time. Yes, so here, and you can see here like again, I don’t have a hover. But I’ll put a hover, and then you’ll see that you get the two colors set up as well. And the same for buttons. I guess here in buttons. We could actually probably fix this. In buttons. It’s not showing. But I guess only on theme.json it is not exposed in the UIUI User interface just yet. Oh, yeah, it’s like, hey, that’s one example of the consolidation stuff, right? There’s a lot of volume to consolidating. Thanks for chiming in. So for blocks. Well, let’s talk quickly about one of the big ones, which is that quotes, and list now support nested blocks. Which is pretty cool, especially on the quotes: that was a big limitation that you couldn’t have images or lists inside quotes. So sometimes, even when you were transforming classic content, it would fail, because you might have nested content that wasn’t supported. For lists, it’s the same thing. The other thing that it allows is now you can just again re-order list items. Because each item is again a block, so you get access to all of them. There are still some refinements that need to happen in the writing experience, like with a keyword, like, because sometimes it follows you. On the block wrapper that we need to address, but it’s like these were some of the longstanding pending improvements is 5.0 even to have all the supports on quotes and lists. The other thing that improved a lot and some of that was visible here. Let me see. Yeah. So if we had a like, I’ll add an image. And yeah, if the image placeholders have all been updated, and they have the… so before, if we have these things just with the outline, in some cases, it would be hard to be visualized. So now, if you have it inside the cover. there’s this blur-out effect. So you can go here and select the image. So placeholders, in general, have been addressed and improved quite a bit. The navigation block is–let’s remove this one and add a new one–.

Matías Ventura  25:00

Okay, where am I? I think I messed up the column, it’s navigation here, Yeah. So now the navigation, in most cases, is just going to work is going to pull from the most relevant navigation that you have. Before, when you insert empty navigation, you would have this weird placeholder thing. There’s been a lot of work on them. There’s still some pending work on the navigation block, which is, again, you can Yeah, so you can see… We have some more stuff exposed here. Yeah. So there, you can select the menu from here and so on. But the placeholder was a pretty big issue before, that it was showing in that weird state. So that’s pretty cool. Let’s move on… this featured imageFeatured image A featured image is the main image used on your blog archive page and is pulled when the post or page is shared on social media. The image can be used to display in widget areas on your site or in a summary list of posts. on blocks quickly again. There are some cases — let’s restore the header I had. Yeah, So if I’m using this one… Yeah, so now, you can use the feature image, we have it on the cover and stuff. But you can also use it on. I guess if we just soon after over. Yeah, you can select to use the featured image by default there. So that would be set up already for you Prioritize, transform. This is a super reason it’s not even on one of the releases just yet. Let me see. So it’s got some text. So the prioritized transformation is that headings, lists, quotes, and paragraphs will all be at the top all the time. They started to get a video out of hand because we had a lot more transforms you might end up with, I don’t know, a block that wasn’t easy to transform into a heading, because you just ended up with all these options. So these basic transforms are now always going to be at the top. Yeah. Just to seem to simplify the writing experience. So from the list back to paragraph, and so on. So these basics are always there. This is access to quality of life improvements to the way that the post content, and so on. The templates are presented. If we go to single, yeah. So the content of these blog post titles on the content was before just, saying “post content.” Now it actually has a few paragraphs, so you can more correctly guess what he’s doing. The Query block itself got a lot of improvements. So one that I’m really glad we finally got to is exposing the [inaudible]. So the Query block is actually now registered all these variations like post list, and if you have some custom post time, it should also be available, so you don’t need to, a user doesn’t need to figure out what a query is. They can just insert the post list, and they can also start from one of the patterns.

Matías Ventura  29:10

By the way, if we’re taking notes, we should point out that it is really underwhelming, the patterns we have for query. We should have some nicer block patterns here, and they are all like fairly image-heavy. It’d be nice to have some without feature images. I think, but anyway, like this is all powered by the query, but it’s exposed as a post list, and it only deals with the post type. This is again offered for all custom post types and developers. If you have Woo products or portfolio items, or whatever it is, you will be able to discover this. The same for taxonomy, so I don’t have anything registered here. But yeah, like the Categories list. These are all auto-generated from that general taxonomy list, So you have different taxonomies created, and you will get access to these blocks by their name. by the taxonomy name as variations of the taxonomy block.

Matías Ventura  30:21

More keyboard shortcuts, I’ll skip that. Okay. Yeah, and the last one I wanted to mention here on dev tools is that we are opening that we’re adding filters for theme.json for all of the stuff that theme.json is doing, we’re adding some low-level filters for developers so that you can essentially interact with the theme level stuff with the block level stuff and the user level of stuff because how we ended up computing, this was what the theme should be, what WordPress should be, what the blocks should be, and what the user. There are many layers to these, all of these should have hooksHooks In WordPress theme and development, hooks are functions that can be applied to an action or a Filter in WordPress. Actions are functions performed when a certain event occurs in WordPress. Filters allow you to modify certain functions. Arguments used to hook both filters and actions look the same. now, so that you can, again, a plugin can register its own set up the full theme.json properties through these, which is going to be pretty fun. I think some interesting, I’m curious if people will be extending it to support. I don’t know different, like either a tailwind or Bootstrap or whatever. There are probably some opportunities for people to hook up at this low level and try to figure it out. Again, if they have the same system from somewhere else, and they want to hook it in, then you can do some of that stuff. I think that’s about it from me. So we should have more time for questions. I’ll leave everything open. Like maybe we can answer some questions by showing stuff. We can do that. Yeah, otherwise, I’ll stop sharing.

Justin Tadlock  32:14

Okay. Well, thanks, Matías. That was a great walk-through. So let’s just kind of move it along to each individual panelist. I’ll just go down the list. David, can you tell us about, you know, what your role is, and you know, some things you’ve been working on with this release?

David Baumwald  32:43

Sure. So for core, we’ve mainly been focused on bugs, bug fixes. From there were a lot of caching improvements that were made in 6.0. That has been, there were a couple of bugs found and to just kind of improving on that, as we’ve, as we’ve gotten more feedback, and more testing on different environments and such. So we’ve gotten a good handle on fixing some of the remaining caching bugs on the core side there. A lot of the features are still a little bit in limbo. Some are probably going to be punted. But we do have a few that are going in. One in particular, for developers, we have a big, big ticketticket Created for both bug reports and feature development on the bug tracker. that actually forgot that I had committed with for escaping identifiers and MySQLMySQL MySQL is a relational database management system. A database is a structured collection of data where content, configuration and other options are stored. https://www.mysql.com/. queries, which was a big, developers probably know, you had to write all sorts of ignores or disables around any sort of web DB queries, because you’re hard coding your table names in there throwing them into a variable that weren’t being escaped by prepare. So now we have support in there for that we don’t get, we haven’t converted the rest of core tech, you use it yet, we’d like to see it in the wild and see if we get any feedback if it can be actually the actual implementation can be improved. So hopefully, we can actually get core converted over in 6.2, maybe, and then set an example for everybody else going forward and to how, you know, safer ways to run DB query with DB prepare. But I think other than that, WebP, as everybody knows, has been scaled back for now. And I think, really focus on making it really a really, really good feature for the public to pick up once it becomes available as a, what seemingly been called a canonical plugin for now. But yeah, other than that, it’s just a bunch of bug fixes. So some of them are really old. Some of them are newer, from some of the bundled themes recently, but yeah, we’re still moving forward.

Justin Tadlock  35:04

Great. And y’all definitely ask questions about anything about our panelist or talking about in the Q&A, and we’ll get to them. Jeff, do you want to kind of take off from there now?

Jeff Paul  35:18

Sure. Yeah. As background, I’m the director of open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. at 10Up. Thanks to them for the time to be able to contribute and participate here. I’ve been part of other release squads in the past, different in my role to David’s and Mike’s as the other core tech lead, and not being a committercommitter A developer with commit access. WordPress has five lead developers and four permanent core developers with commit access. Additionally, the project usually has a few guest or component committers - a developer receiving commit access, generally for a single release cycle (sometimes renewed) and/or for a specific component.. I have to lean a bit more on some of the other skills out there. As David mentioned, the heavy focus had been on some of the backchannels and supporting efforts on WebP, and now that that’s shifting to a canonical plugin and trying to help with that, as it may relate to 6.1. A bit too early to really fully tell there. They’re some other things that I’ve learned that end users will we’ll see some new OEmbed partners with Pocket Casts and Google Data Studio. And then some of the areas that I tend to focus on focus wise internationalization, privacy, accessibilityAccessibility 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), right to left and mobile items, and trying to find new contributors to help craft patches, PRs, you know, testing and writing copy, etc. Just trying to help pull more people into the contribution funnel. So that’s been more of my focus is kind of the back channel coordination aspects.

Justin Tadlock  36:43

Thanks, Jeff. That is great info. I am going to kick it over to Nick. Tell us about, you know, your role in the release. And some awesome things you’re working off.

Nicholas Diego  36:59

So I am the Editor Triage lead for 6.1. This is a relatively new position on the team, we started in 6.0. And now again, in 6.1. The goal here is to kind of triage all the PRs, and especially the bugs, as we move, as we get past our initial release candidates and betas and all that sort of stuff. So we’re starting to consolidate all the things that need to get tightened up before 6.1 goes out the door, taking notes on our walkthrough today on a few things, but the thing that I’m honestly most excited about, and I’m dedicated most of my personal time, Matías mentioned, this is that’s consistency. You know, throughout the block editor in the site editor, you know, we have things like the introduction of font family, you know, the ability to change the font type on different blocks. And any theme developer who’s working with blocks can is probably, this resonates with you, is that you could change font family and maybe headings, but not paragraphs, we use paragraphs everywhere. And now you can the 6.1, and those same functionalities across all sorts of blocks. So there’s been a huge effort, especially like in the last month, to really standardize things. And I could, it seems really small, but it’s gonna have a huge impact on the adoption of all this new stuff, we’ll see editing, more block-heavy themes. And I couldn’t be more excited if you’ve been waiting to jump on board. 6.1 is the time to do so. We have a lot more consistency. And it’s really exciting. 

Justin Tadlock  38:41

Yeah, I’ll say the consistency, like just adding a font family to a paragraph, is, like, one of my favorite by just a small feature. It is small, but it’s a big thing for the same authors. So thanks for the work you’ve been doing there. And the work of everybody.

Matías Ventura  39:01

And it really shines through on the style variations as well. Because otherwise, a lot of that wouldn’t really be possible. So like that, consistency really unlocks the ability to put together these things and actually affect everything and have the user be able to manipulate them as well. All of those things at once require that

Nicholas Diego  39:22

Yeah, it makes it a delightful experience. 

Justin Tadlock  39:27

All right. Let’s move on over to Rich.

Rich Tabor  39:32

Hey, everyone. Rich Tabor, the Design lead for 6.1. I would say. I’m probably most excited about the slight variations included in TT2. As Matias said, they were community submitted, I think we went from 38 submitted designs, either in Figma or in .json, down to nine or 10, which is pretty cool. I think that just having that sort of interest in designing the design community around WordPress is a really inspiring account. It helps us look forward to the tools we should build to help further empower that sort of innovative and innovative front end WordPress. Along the design tooling front, I’m also very keen on the tools that I really level up the capacity to design. So like the margin and padding controls that use the scaled back scale, the design systems. So you can create a design system that scales out within the image, JSON, with just a few entries. And, then use that to have consistent spacing throughout your site with all those values through typography also brings, you know, auto responsiveness to text. So based on your viewport is really something very interesting, especially with some of the themes like even older themes that supported big text right out of the box like TT1, being able to have something like that, like a design that looks cool on desktop also scaled down without you having to really think about it. And then also, the locking patterns of functionality is also very intriguing. It basically creates mini blocks that you can manipulate without having to rebuild blocks. So kind of taking that atomic component-based system and making it much more intuitive and approachable. For the editing experience, driving towards being intuitive and approachable is something we should continue to push forward, with 6.1 definitely shooting for those. And that’s a really good thing.

Matías Ventura  41:26

Sorry, but I didn’t get to show that part. But one thing that is really exciting and connected to that is the ability to use template parts on classic themes. And I think like there are some articles been reading on that documentation, but it’d be really cool to see. I don’t know, I imagine I was thinking about the Kubrick theme, the original Kubrick theme that had this special place where you went like modify the header and gradients and so on. And now you can sort of designate any page on any part of the site in a classic PHPPHP The web scripting language in which WordPress is primarily architected. WordPress requires PHP 5.6.20 or higher theme, and just have a built-in interface in the editor where you’re just manipulating blocks there. And if you combine that with the lock pattern things, you can essentially have like build really quickly without touching code, like a really rich but really locked down experience. Then you can just reference a PHP code somewhere in your PHP templates. So the combination of all of those themes again, it was like the sum of,well not that small. I think each one of these took some effort. But all in all, put together. I think that’s really, I’m really curious what people will do that because open that opening that up to plugins. That really I don’t know, like, if you have a plugin for you’re doing, I don’t know a subscribe. Now the themes that show up in a model, you can say, oh, I want to give some design access to the model, you can put it in a template part, call it there and restrict the design and just let people edit the summary really I just wanted to mention that because I’ve come about to walk through.

Justin Tadlock  43:10

Okay, Sarah, you’re up next.

Sarah Norris  43:16

Hi, I’m Sarah and the development lead for 2023. It’s also my first time being part of the release squad, six, nine. So I’ve been working as the Theme Design lead via building the most opinionated theme possible. And it’s designed to allow as much flexibility as possible for any style variations. I’ve really just enjoyed seeing all the designs come in from the community. It’s been great seeing contributions from both developers and designers this time as well. So for 6.1, I think I’m going to echo a lot of what you said, Richard, I’m really excited to see how creative we can be with variations and how far we can push them, especially with fluid typography. And the spacing presets. I think there have been lots of calls for responsive design and how that’s best achieved. And I think both these features combined really unlocks loads of responsive capabilities. And also, without thinking too hard, as we’ve just been saying, I think it really helps. And finally, the elements API as well. I think that unlocks lots of flexibility just from theme.json itself.

Justin Tadlock  44:25

Yeah, that was cool. How many style variations that we ended up having for TT3?

Sarah Norris  44:32

We will have nine in total. And I would say I’m sorry, well, 10 In total, nine, but Yes, there’ll be 10 included.

Justin Tadlock  44:40

Yeah. There are quite a few submitted. 

Matías Ventura  44:45

W should probably package like the 38 or so in some plugin, because there’s some pretty cool stuff, even if it’s not going in.

Sarah Norris  44:54

Yeah, there has been a quick conversation about what we do next, which is also equally exciting. Whether we just continue creating variations for TT3 in a separate repo, you know, just all together, and then we can bounce off each other test Gutenberg.

Matías Ventura  45:10

I think we needed to get to the 5000 themes or something. 

Sarah Norris  45:17

This is how we do it.

Justin Tadlock  45:21

Yeah. All right. Jonathan, did you want to add some stuff today too?

Jonathan Desrosiers  45:29

Yeah, if you’ve heard me talk before, I might be a little different sounding, I’m recovering from a bug from the weekend. But like, Jeff, I’m kind of in a unique, a unique role for my skill set. So Jeff is more in the core tech position, and not a technical person, I’m the opposite. I’m a core committer, and I’m in a release coordinator position. So I still work on things on the side. And maybe I can help with the more nitty-gritty of, you know, the day-to-day developer work. So I’m going to be helping urge the new default theme in so that everybody can get that tested in their, on their sites. Something I’ve been looking at a lot lately is how we can slim down WordPress a little bit. So, for example, a couple of areas identified are global terms, which is a really old multisitemultisite Used to describe a WordPress installation with a network of multiple blogs, grouped by sites. This installation type has shared users tables, and creates separate database tables for each blog (wp_posts becomes wp_0_posts). See also network, blog, site feature that hasn’t worked for quite a while. And it’s kind of disingenuous to continue including it when it doesn’t work. And we don’t want people to stumble upon that and have a bad experience. So in this release, my plan is to actually deprecate that officially. So that will be one of the things I’m working on in the next couple of weeks. The link API that I mentioned is a little bit more widely used. So that will be more of a longtail deprecation where we’re going to miss an actual official plugin for that already. So we need to actually move some of that functionality into the plugin, get everybody that’s running it, which is the recommended way to use that API now. Because it’s not turned on by default, to update, and then eventually, we can deprecate that in core. And it would only be available in the plugin and kind of get that out of court itself. And then I generally dated, I’m a build tool maintainer. So I work a lot on 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/ action workflows for core and make sure that tests run properly. And all of those things continue to run. So if that interests you, take a look at those things. I’m always happy to talk with anybody about that. But it seems GitHub does a lot of great work there and is constantly improving that experience and trying to make sure that we’re taking advantage of those new features and changes they’re making in core and making our lives better as developers and contributors.

Justin Tadlock  47:47

Yeah. All right. I’ll get around to everybody. Thanks. So we’re gonna move on to Q&A. We still have a few minutes left on this call. So any more questions y’all have, just go ahead and send them in. But first, let me just kind of start going through them. An anonymous attendee says they’re excited about the functionalities and features that everybody’s worked so hard at developing. Not really a question, but just, you know, thanks to everybody. But let’s move on. This will be for Matías. Could you stand on the info about Block Query filters? I think he just wants more general information.

Matías Ventura  48:40

Yeah, for sure. I can also drop in the work through channel a few relevant PRs, but essentially like, there are the filters. There are filters for parents. There are filters for query variables, and there’s a lot of housekeeping, like ensuring that the Query Loop supports a lot of the things that you’re used to in WP Query, and so on. I’ll drop some of the because it’s a bit more technical than showing it. So I’ll put it on the channel. Assuming people are checking their walkthrough channel

Justin Tadlock  49:24

Yeah. Okay, I’m not really sure what this one is. Will the new themes support dominant color? There is a Sarah, you may be able to tackle this. There’s a core link and the Q&A section.

Jonathan Desrosiers  49:45

I can actually handle this one. So this is related to a proposal that was made by the Performance team a few months ago, a few weeks ago. And essentially, what it would do is when an image is uploaded, there would be some scripts that run in it, determining the dominant color in the images. And the idea there is that instead of having a blank space on the page, that dominant color will be displayed until that image is able to load and whether that’s because it’s being loaded lazily below the fold or a slow networknetwork (versus site, blog) or whatever that may be. To my knowledge, a final decision has not been made to actually include this in 6.1. So I don’t think that we should assume that the new default theme should support it just yet. But we, I like to think that the bundle theme contributors do a very good job of ensuring that new features are supported retroactively as best as possible in all the default themes are supported. So I can say confidently that I think that that’s one that if it does land in core, we’ll go back, and we’ll make sure that all the default themes can support that properly. That said, it’s not going to work out of the box, I don’t think, for pre-existing images. So this would still be one that would be a progressive enhancementenhancement Enhancements are simple improvements to WordPress, such as the addition of a hook, a new feature, or an improvement to an existing feature., that unless someone takes steps to support older images with that feature, it would only be for newer images. So yeah, not a bad proposal, just needs a little more discussion. And, of course, a final decision before we can speak more definitively on that.

Justin Tadlock  51:18

Yeah, I was just waiting to see if we had any other questions coming through, it doesn’t look like it. Does anybody else want to add anything? Before we close things out?

Jonathan Desrosiers  51:32

There were a couple of ones that came in that I answered while we were chatting, I think it’d be good to just mention them out loud. Someone had asked about any updates for the Webfonts API. So this was merged in 6.0, with the plans of reworking some parts of it and iterating on it, when it was initially introduced, it was done in a way that it protected itself from being used in certain ways so that we could control how it was used in the ecosystem. So as we made these improvements, we didn’t have to worry about certain aspects of backward compatibility, because we had a certain level of confidence that they weren’t being used in certain ways. There are no adjustments being planned right now in 6.1. Because there’s a team that’s actively re-architecting certain parts of it. There are some parts behind the scenes in WordPress that already existed that this API should be able to reuse and will result in some performance improvements. And, you know, just less code doing the same thing in multiple locations. And so because of that, being a big undertaking, it’s just taken a little bit longer. So look for that in 6.2. But it’s not something that we’re anticipating will be ready in 6.1. And then finally, another question was about WebP. And if you were on the make blog, this weekend, you would have seen a couple of posts from Matt suggesting that some features be explored more in a canonical plugin. So core in the past has followed this approach called the feature pluginFeature Plugin A plugin that was created with the intention of eventually being proposed for inclusion in WordPress Core. See Features as Plugins. approach, where something that we wanted to add to core would be built in a plugin first tested and iterated on there before a decision was made. If it was ready to be in core or if it should be in core. If it wasn’t, it wasn’t a big deal, it could just continue to live as a plugin, and we would officially adopt it as a core or a team-adopted plugin. And so the suggestion was made that WebP, while we scale back for this release, maybe should belong in its own plugin instead of the performance love plugin. So someone asked how people would find that if that was the path that the performance team chose. And I shared a few suggestions that I have. A beta tab is on the plugin install screen when you are running WordPress under certain conditions. And we have the ability to pin certain plugins on that screen. For example, Gutenberg comes up there, I believe. The design experiments plugin and the performance labs plugin also show up there now. So we could also we could pin it there. But I also think there are opportunities to reach out to the groups in the community and ask them to help us install and install the plugin for groups of users to help us get some feedback on that. But I also want to explore better ways to collect this feedback because unless the people that install this plugin come to Slack or open GitHub issues, there are no real ways to collect this feedback regarding what they’re experiencing. And so I’m I’ve been thinking a lot about a more central way to gather feedback for these adopted plugins that we have these officially recognized plugins, to better iterate and improve these featured plugins to make them succeed more and potentially increase their opportunity to be merged into core for everybody.

Justin Tadlock  55:06

So we had a couple more questions come through there. I don’t know if they’re specific enough. For the Query Loop, will we ever add a way to query multiple posts? I don’t know if that means like, like my post ID or is,

Matías Ventura  55:29

That’s what it does is correctable posts. So I would imagine maybe like, by likes specific posts,

Justin Tadlock  55:38

So they’re asking if we will be able to query multiple post types at once.

Matías Ventura  55:49

Okay, I see. Yeah, I think that that’s also part of the filters infrastructure is being able to move to something where you can compose a lot of these things together a bit more. I don’t know where we are at right now on that, but we can follow up.

Justin Tadlock  56:05

All right. Next question is since WP is unlocking the ability for end users to essentially become theme creators, via the Site Editor, is there a thought on the horizon for allowing patterns to be created and saved with a theme export from an end user in the user experience?

Matías Ventura  56:32

Does anyone want to jump on that one? I can cover it that. I think is really where things are going like the even right now it would be great. If we allowed people, there’s this create block theme plugin that allows you and a lot of people in the community have been building similar things where you can sort of create a theme and then release it and publish it. The same should be true for patterns, like the way that you should be able to create a pattern and publish it from your site to the directory, you should be able to create a style variation and submit it from your site. I think all of that really opens up the creator sort of community to really contribute and lower the barrier to contributing a lot more. We’ll probably be doing that through plugins, again, canonical plugins at first initially, because I think that that would allow us to move faster and experimented with faster. But yeah, I think we should be allowing the software to empower people to contribute to the whole community through it. I think that’s really where, where things should be going more.

Justin Tadlock  57:43

Yeah. The other question is, are there any improvements to the UI in the admin panel? It is still vague, I don’t know if there’s just a general WordPress admin, or what.

Matías Ventura  58:03

if it’s the general administration, there’s one post on the I think on the make/core design that shows a few paths of general improvements to the admin interface. If it’s, like, smaller contained, like, in the editor, for example, the post settings and panels have been improved in this release. A lot of the components system has been improved. And many plugins are using these components. So their own admin interfaces should be improving. So there’s a lot of ongoing work in like those smaller details. But for general, like WP admin and improvements, like probably check out that post. We can add it somewhere.

Justin Tadlock  58:48

Yeah, we can add that in the show notes. All right, that looks like we’ve covered all the questions. We got about a minute left on our time. So I just want to personally thank like, you know, our panelist, Matías, for screen sharing all the stuff that’s coming up. We will have a post with the video and transcript and the details of this call on the make/core website in a few days. The 6.1 beta release is September 20, so that’s just one week away now. So get excited about that. Other than that, everybody have a great week, and thanks for joining us.

Jonathan Desrosiers  59:46

Don’t eat too much candy on Halloween because November 1 is our release day.


David Baumwald, Jeff Paul, Jonathan Desrosiers, Justin Tadlock, Matías Ventura, Nicholas Diego, Rich Tabor, Sarah Norris

Thank you to the panelists, the WordPress 6.1 release squad, and contributors, @dansoschin, @priethor, and @jpantani, for making this a successful walk-through.