In November we saw the release of WordPress 6.4 and also the minor security and maintenance release, 6.4.1. You can read about the release in this blog post: WordPress 6.4: A more intuitive building experience. The team is already working on 6.5 and planning for 2024. We are also hoping to get more bug fixes into a potential 6.4.2 release.
In December, this blog will take a break for the holidays, and will be back in 2024.
November was Ari’s last month with the team. We wish him all the best and good luck on his next adventure. Thank you for your time with us, Ari!
Our monthly updates
With the WordPress 6.4 release happening on November 7th, I spent the first part of the last month helping refining new features with a special focus on accessibility. The Image block ‘lightbox’ required some pretty extensive polishing and improvements to be ready for the release. It was an interesting case, as this is one of the first components of the WordPress editor that renders a mini user interface on the front end. Users can interact with the lightbox interface to enlarge an image and we made sure the user experience is as accessible as possible. This is only the first version of the lightbox, further improvements are already planned in a dedicated GitHub issue on the Gutenberg GitHub repository. See #55513. Another interesting last-minute refinement was about the theme patterns files caching mechanism. It was first introduced in trunk by leveraging transients with no expiration date, which are also auto-loaded. Concerns were raised with this first implementation, as transients aren’t easily clearable which can lead to errors if these files are renamed, edited, or moved via FTP for example or by any other means that is not a standard theme’s update flow. For now, to address these concerns, the implementation was wisely revised by limiting caching to only the environments that use an object cache, by using
wp_cache_set() instead of transients. See the core Trac ticket #59633 and the related changeset.
As usual, I spent much part of my time testing accessibility issues and reporting them on the Gutenberg GitHub repository. I also had the opportunity to finalize some accessibility fixes and propose a few new pull requests.
On the community side, the Accessibility Office Hours meetings proceed regularly, although the participation level is still varying and could be improved. My recent involvement with the Roma WordPress meetup is more and more giving me opportunities to get in touch with the local community. It’s a great opportunity for me to get some better understanding of what the most important user needs are.
After 6.4 was released, I spent some time updating the education material, plugins, and example block themes that I maintain. I also helped with the temporary increase in support questions that are common after a major release.
I have continued to focus on bug fixes and ticket triage for bundled themes. Most of these problems are related to the theme CSS conflicting with the CSS for the WordPress blocks.
I have continued to work on my open pull requests, addressing feedback from reviewers and solving merge conflicts. This includes: adding border support to the site logo block, typography support to the file block, featured image in the media & text block, and support for custom CSS for elements in theme.json. These Gutenberg pull requests have had some progress but are not merged yet. I have started working on some other issues that have been on my to-do list. A label for the categories block, an alt text option for the site logo block, and changing the position of the patterns tab in the block inserter.
For the past month I continued triaging and reviewing tickets for the next major release, WordPress 6.5, as part of my duties as a Core Committer.
Some notable changes include: