A week with us: Saying goodbye to Justin

Today is a significant day for us, because after two years of working together, we are saying goodbye to our friend and colleague Justin, who is starting a new chapter of his life. Justin, it’s a sad day for us, but we’re also happy that you get to explore new opportunities. We wanted to say a big thank you. We’ve learned a lot from you, and your smile was always brightening our calls. It was a pleasure working with you and we’re going to miss you. We hope to meet you in person at future WordPress events and have an opportunity to work together again at some point in the future. We wish you all the best, and good luck with your future endeavours! ❤️

Our weekly updates


I joined the team since a few days. It’s a pleasure being back working on WordPress core and Gutenberg. Some time has passed since my last contributions and many things have changed, especially on the Gutenberg side. There’s a lot to catch up with and I spent some time exploring new features and user interfaces landed in Gutenberg.

So far, I created a few new Gutenberg issues. More to come. I also had the opportunity to improve accessibility of the Site Editor toolbar, by making it an ARIA toolbar pattern.



  • Fixed alt text for featured-image blocks when the image is not linked to the post – #40999. This was an accessibility improvement that we merged and is already available.
  • Merged a patch to allow defining aria-label in group blocks (#41744). It’s a seemingly small change, but with a significant impact on the accessibility of block themes!
  • Continued working on RTL fixes for inlined block styles (#41762). This will probably need a thorough code review just to ensure we didn’t miss anything.
  • Continued working on adding a WCAG AA/AAA switch for the color-contrast checker (#41363). This will allow designers and content creators to adhere to WCAG AAA guidelines. In some industries and countries, it is required to comply with these stricter regulations, so adding this option to the editor will help us build more accessible websites.
  • I did a lot of work and experimentation with the Style Engine of Gutenberg. This is a relatively new concept, and there’s room for improvement. It also presents a unique opportunity to improve the sustainability of block themes – and therefore the web as a whole in the future. I submitted a proof-of-concept to add an “inline styles handler” which would reduce the size of styles printed on a page (#41896). In addition to the above, I started working along with other contributors on ways to improve the code structure and pave the way for a solid Style Engine in the future. The first step toward a code-restructure was adding a new class for CSS declarations (#42043)


I continued working on a way to improve block loading PHP performance (#2252). Changes like that may seem insignificant… after all, we’re only going to save a few milliseconds when the page loads. But then again… That’s a few milliseconds saved on each page load, on 40% of the web. Even the smallest changes in performance can have a tremendous impact on sustainability!

PHP 8.x

We continued the mob-coding sessions with the team, fixing PHP 8.x issues and deprecations in WordPress Core. In addition to that, I pushed and merged a PHP 8.1 fix in the gallery block in Gutenberg (#41193), and also checked for any PHP 8.2 deprecations in Gutenberg’s codebase.

Other WordPress projects

When I was a representative of the themes team a couple of years ago, I was advocating the use of locally-hosted webfonts. This has become more urgent now due to the recent developments in GDPR, so I updated the webfont-loader package, fixing an issue with relative URLs in webfont files (issue #13).


For time being, I am back working on WordPress core and Gutenberg 5 days per week.

For core, I have looked at open issues and reviewed patches for Twenty Twenty-One. Yes, this is an absolute guilt trip because I have not watched the reported theme issues closely or tested the theme for several months. The theme has several block styles that are out of date, for example for the navigation block, and making them work while also keeping backwards compatibility is not going to be so easy. Outside of work, I also started to make an update for TT1 Blocks -the block theme version of Twenty Twenty-One.

I have picked up some smaller Gutenberg issues to work on, –and some Gutenberg bugs that I have tried to solve only to get stuck on 😁. For the past month, I tried to work out a way that we can add block support for updating a block’s HTML tag, (currently the tagName attribute) but I have not made any progress, and I consider it blocked for now.

Besides that, I have continued with the issue triage and pull request reviews.


Today is my last day at Yoast. After about two years of contributing to WordPress as part of a wonderful team, I decided to explore new opportunities. It’s been a great adventure that has been very rewarding and full of learning for me. Of course, I will continue to contribute to WordPress and Gutenberg after Yoast, and to work on the projects that I have started or that I usually work on.


WordPress 6.1

For the past two weeks I continued triaging and reviewing tickets for the next major release, WordPress 6.1, as part of my duties as a Core Committer.

I made fifty-six commits to WordPress core, mostly various bug fixes and enhancements. I also led a meeting for new core contributors and triaged new tickets incoming into Trac (the bug tracking system that WordPress uses).

Some notable changes include:

  • Passing correct default value to setcookie() in wp_user_settings() to avoid a PHP 8.1 deprecation notice. See ticket #54914 for more details.
  • Adding a conditional to WP_Upgrader::install_package() to facilitate testing of the Rollbacks feature project. See ticket #56057 for more details.
  • Creating a proposal for using a consistent order of annotations in the test suite. See ticket #56070 for more details.
  • Correcting the return type for wp_save_image_file(). See ticket #55646 for more details.
  • Upgrading PHPMailer in WordPress core to version 6.6.3. See ticket #56016 for more details.
  • Always including the error message in assertNotWPError() and assertNotIXRError(). See ticket #55652 for more details.
  • Modernizing quite a few unit tests for image functions per the current best practices. Thanks to Juliette for working on this! See ticket #55652 for more details.