WordPress released version 6.3 at the beginning of August. You can read more about what is new in this article: WordPress 6.3: A more intuitive way of working on your site. The team is dividing their time between working on the upcoming WordPress 6.4 release, new features for the Gutenberg plugin, accessibility improvements, and the next default theme.
Yoast Contributor day 2023 – October edition
On October 4 2023 Yoast will host a contributor day and we hope that you will join us. Yoast Contributor day is open to everyone who wants to contribute to WordPress. Learn more and signup.
Our monthly updates
On August 8, after four months of development, WordPress 6.3 “Lionel” was released. Thanks to the work of more than 650 contributors from over 50 countries, it includes hundreds of enhancements and bug fixes, including better accessibility and many performance improvements. Congrats everyone! 🎉
For the past month I continued helping with WordPress 6.3 release tasks and started looking into some early tickets for WordPress 6.4, as part of my duties as a Core Committer. I also led a meeting for new core contributors, and triaged new tickets incoming into Trac (the bug tracking system that WordPress uses).
On the day of the release, some of the Core and Meta tasks I helped with included:
- Updating the Credits API
- Updating the Roadmap, History, and some other documentation pages on WordPress.org
- Running tests, enabling updates, etc.
If you’d like to learn more about the release process, these steps are documented in the WordPress Core handbook: Releasing Major Versions.
I made fifty-five commits to WordPress core, mostly various bug fixes and enhancements.
In our weekly mob coding sessions with Ari, Carolina, and Andrea, we continued working on resolving the remaining coding standards issues in WordPress core, starting with always using strict comparison in PHP files and updating database queries to use
wpdb::prepare() . See PR 3873 and PR 4922 for more details.
Some other notable changes include:
- Continuing with various coding standards fixes in core. See ticket #58831 for more details.
- Enabling running the tests on PHP 8.3. See ticket #59231 for more details.
- Preparing for WPCS 3.0.0 update. See ticket #59161 for more details.
- Correcting the Site Health check for disk space available to safely perform updates. See ticket #59116 for more details.
- Updating PHPUnit Polyfills to version 1.1.0. See ticket #59150 for more details.
- Updating the PHPMailer library to version 6.8.1. See ticket #59238 for more details.
I had my holidays on August, so my tasks have moved slowly in this period. On September, besides researching and reporting new Gutenberg accessibility issues, I had the opportunity to finalize my proposal to establish Accessibility Office Hours in the WordPress Slack.
The Accessibility Office Hours
As agreed with the WordPress accessibility team and Yoast, I will dedicate part of my time to run a new weekly meeting in the WordPress Slack. The accessibility Office Hours will be hold every Wednesday at 14:00 UTC, starting on September 20th.
Why a new meeting
It’s difficult to find opportunities to discuss general accessibility principles and best practices in depth. Accessibility team meetings mainly focus on issues that emerge during the release cycle and bug scrubs focus on specific Trac tickets or GitHub issues. The accessibility office hours is a space meant to be a learning opportunity for everyone. It’s a space where everyone can help everyone improve their accessibility knowledge.
Though this is a meeting focused on accessibility, everyone is welcome, so please read the kick-off post on Make WordPress, drop in and say hello! Feel free to contribute discussion points and participate actively.
In the accessibility team there’s not much prior experience about the best way to hold this kind of meeting. This is an opportunity to get participants involved in a meta project to set the best way to structure these sessions. All are welcome to join and propose ways we can organize topics to prioritize them in the most efficient way. All participants contribution will also be key to discuss whether and how to collect the outcome of the meetings discussions in a series of documented, shared, best practices.
At the end of August I attended the WordPress Community Summit and WordCamp US outside Washington, DC. After that I have mostly worked on the next default theme; more about that below.
The Community Summit
The community summit is a two-day in-person discussion event for contributors to the WordPress project. People are invited based on applications, and topic submission is open to everyone. Discussions or “sessions” are held in small groups so that everyone can participate. The summit has a non-attribution guideline and aims to be a safe space encouraging open and inclusive discussions. It is important to know that no decisions are made at the summit. That means the sessions are not recorded, but notes are taken and published on WordPress.org so everyone can read what was discussed and leave comments.
I will not go into details about the discussions instead, you can read all the notes from the summit on WordPress.org. Please participate by leaving comments.
My key takeaways from the summit are that our community is full of brilliant, passionate, and kind people. The summit is an important event for the project where we can brainstorm about the future, reflect, share experiences, listen, and learn from each other. As always, I would have liked to see more action points. More proposals for how we can improve how we work together and improve WordPress. I am looking forward to seeing what will come out of the discussions.
WordCamp US 2023 Included one contributor day and two conference days. During the contributor day, I was at the Themes table and we started working on the next default theme, Twenty Twenty-Four. We were three table leads, and had lots of extra help; I want to especially thank Daisy Olsen, who helped new contributors.
During the conference days, I attended talks and one workshop. I met with friends and colleagues and spoke with people in the community that I admire and appreciate but had not met in person before. I had interesting conversations with agency employees, freelancers, and users about Yoast products, full site editing, and the future of WordPress. Of course, there were also work-related discussions about the day-to-day work on Gutenberg. On the last day, I was in the Yoast booth for the first time. It was a soft introduction because it was not so busy in the so-called “sponsors area”. I very much enjoyed the pride event and the social event.
Comparing WordCamp US and WordCamp Europe
I have attended several WordCamp Europe events, but this was my first time at WordCamp US. It was also my first time traveling to the US since 2002. I had heard that WordCamp US is different from WordCamp Europe, and I agree.
At WordCamp Europe in Athens, I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who wanted to talk to me, and while I appreciated all the discussions, I am not used to people wanting to take selfies with me, and it was hectic and stressful. With that experience in mind, I had braced myself for a similar experience at WordCamp US, and I was nervous about how to avoid burnout. But I found WordCamp US to be much more relaxed. I was well-fed every day and got enough sleep and time for myself, which is important. At this event, we were only a small group from Yoast and Bluehost, and I really appreciated the company and all the help from my colleagues, not least when I ran into problems with my hotel room.
The design for the next default theme Twenty Twenty-Four was approved just before the contributor day at WordCamp US, and we started working on creating and updating block patterns and templates at the event.
Twenty Twenty-Four is a new block theme that will be included in the WordPress 6.4 release. You can help out by testing the theme, reporting issues and by submitting pull requests. There are also weekly meetings held on Wednesdays at 17:00 CEST.
Development will first happen on GitHub (link below). The theme will be moved to the Trac ticket system closer to release, so that it can be tested as part of the WordPress beta and release candidates.
Introducing Twenty Twenty-Four
View the design in Figma
Gutenberg & Core
I have focused on theme-related enhancements and bug fixes for 6.4, and on Twenty Twenty-Four. For Gutenberg, I have continued to work on enhancements for the media & text block and the text orientation feature. I have also tried to engage more contributors to help with reviewing the problems with the excerpt block and the excerpt length setting, but still need to follow up on that.
This has meant that I have not had time to help with reviewing the updates to the Theme Developer Handbook, but hopefully, that will change once the 6.4 beta is released.
We introduced the Style Engine WordPress last year. Since then, it has dramatically improved the developer experience. However, it still needs to be used more widely in WordPress, so I’ve been trying to implement it in other places as well (like, for example, global styles). This is a big project, but it will allow us to generate more optimized CSS.
I continued working on the form & input blocks (#44214).
- I Completely refactored the email method for form submissions.
- I added a notification system for form submissions. Users can now add their messages for form-submission success and failures. The system is hookable so that plugins can change the notices and behavior for more advanced scenarios.
- I added a Privacy/GDPR form. This form hooks in the WordPress privacy actions and allows users to request an export of their data or the deletion of their account.
- It is now possible to add `hidden` inputs in forms.
This project is moving very slowly, but there is progress. At this stage, we need to resolve some edge cases and polish the SQL translation layer between MySQL and SQLite.
The PHP autoloader is practically ready for WordPress Core. However, due to the constant changes and other improvements in Core, we must keep maintaining the pull request, updating it to stay in sync with the rest of the codebase. This way, merging will be more effortless when the time is right (#3470).
- I am daily doing code reviews in Gutenberg to help move the project forward faster.
- Updated Gutenberg to use WPCS 3.0 (#53866)
- It is now possible for button blocks to use a <button> element (#54206). This change will allow us to use the button element in forms and make it easier for authors to create more semantically correct markup when a button element is required.
- Performance improvement: Reduce the use of the `_wp_array_get` function (#51116). In the following days, I will backport these changes to WordPress Core to include them in the next 6.4 release.
- Continued work on a blocks-registration issue in WordPress-Core (#56865)