A week with us: Yoast Diversity fund, performance improvements, and more!

On May 5th, we re-launched the Yoast Diversity fund. Started in 2018 as a way to increase the diversity of speaker line-ups at tech conferences, it pivoted this year to reflect the changes in the new COVID reality. Are you a self-sponsored contributor to the project? or do you contribute to its outreach around the world (by teaching classes, or speaking at online conferences about it)? You have time to apply for a grant until May 31st.

Our weekly team updates


WordPress Core

Over the course of the past 9 months, we pushed a lot of commits in the Gutenberg project with the goal of improving WordPress environmental sustainability and overall performance. All these changes lived in the Gutenberg plugin until now and were only available to a scarce few. With WordPress 5.8 coming soon, we wanted these to be available to everyone. This week I focused on back-porting all these changes to WordPress Core. I submitted and merged a patch for tickets #50328 and #52620.

This is a huge improvement for the WordPress ecosystem, and we’re hoping theme authors and site owners will soon start taking advantage of these optimizations. With these new changes, a site can now only load styles for blocks rendered on a page. The previous behavior was to always print these styles regardless of whether a block exists on a page or not – resulting in extra data transferred on each page-load. With this new patch merged, small stylesheets can now also be inlined. This will further reduce requests from the browser and improve the performance of all WordPress sites.


I dedicated most of this week to WordPress Core and back-porting things we need for v5.8, so I was not as active in contributing to Gutenberg.

  • Discovered an issue with the comment-form block’s styles when a button block was not present in the page content. I pushed a fix for that issue in #31528.
  • I updated some functions to accommodate the latest changes in WordPress Core. #31702 ensures that Gutenberg will continue to work both in WP 5.8 and previous versions without any hiccups for the stylesheets loading.
  • While experimenting with layouts in block themes, I identified an issue when using complex CSS values for the content width. A fix for this was pushed in #31740.
  • I reviewed a pull request which aims to change the wrapper element for featured images and use figure (#31595). Having structurally correct HTML is important, so I was glad to see this one merged.
  • I reviewed and contributed in many more pull-requests, primarily focused on improving the project’s code quality.


Gutenberg & FSE

This week I have worked on updating the tutorial for how to create a block theme, and while doing this I created a very basic example theme and also found a few bugs. I have reviewed quite a few pull requests related to the new post blocks that will be included in WordPress 5.8. Some are temporary solutions, like this pull request to update the CSS for the comments block: #30382, or bugfixes like removing a duplicate block support from the site logo block: #31544.
I also briefly looked into how to split the post author block into multiple blocks so that theme authors can create more flexible designs, but I have put this on hold until there is more feedback on the issue.


Version 10.6 of Gutenberg is released this week, and the TT1 blocks theme needs to be updated so that a new version can be published in the theme directory. The contributors are still working on converting styles from Twenty Twenty-One to global styles and theme.json.

This Friday, May 14, there will be a hallway hangout about “universal themes” — the concept of themes that can work either with the customizer or template editing.


I often say that our team is a great representation for diversity:

We are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, age, caste, social class, preferred operating system, programming language, or text editor, among other identifying characteristics.

The WordPress Events Code of Conduct

I subscribe to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s call to action: we should all be feminists. And we shouldn’t stop there. Diversty of any kind is valuable because it brings, well, diverse experiences and points of view. I invite you to check our “Gender, stereotypes and prejudice; a sociological exploration” story to learn more about the topic.

After you are done with that — watch the videos as well! — I ask you to think about “How could you add diversity to the WordPress project?” and apply for the fund. And if you have questions about it, please ping me or Taco on Twitter, or in the WP.org Slack. (He is @tacoverdo and I am @francina). You can also catch the recording of the podcast we recorded yesterday for the Torque Social Hour.

So this is what I have been doing this week: promoting the initiative everywhere I can and reaching out to people that I know are doing good things in the WordPress space to invite them to apply for the fund. Bonus points! You’ll get to write on this blog and get to work with my team, who are simply amazing, besides being diverse 😉


My work routine is pretty much set for the next few months. On one hand I’m working on the implementation of e2e tests in WordPress Core, and on the other hand I’m continuing to review the Gutenberg documentation pull requests. All this is interspersed with my regular activities at Yoast, mainly the maintenance of our developer platform, and the e2e testing implementation of our plugins.

WordPress Core e2e

In the last few days, I started implementing e2e tests in WordPress Core. First, I created the tests for the Core categories here. I am currently working on improving these tests, as well as writing new ones for Core users.


For most of the last week, I was on a holiday. While I enjoyed my time off, since WordPress is not only my job, but also one of my hobbies, I still worked on some tickets 🙂

I made seventeen commits to WordPress Core and triaged new tickets incoming into Trac (the bug tracking system that WordPress uses).


Last week I was occupied with supporting one of our internal teams on a new project, so my WordPress contributions were limited to responding to some issues.