This week, it was time for the planned feature freeze for Gutenberg, which means developers can’t add any more new features to the release. Also, today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)! Want to know what our team did with the feature freeze and GAAD? And, what other things we’ve been working on? Then keep on reading!
Our weekly team updates
Today (May 20, 2021) is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), and several digital accessibility events took place this week. I attended a webinar called “Authoring tools with built-in accessibility” and listened to a panel discussion about “Accessibility by default”. During the webinar, Funka presented two projects about developing accessible widgets or features for authoring tools. One of the authoring tools that participated in the project was Joomla!
If you want to contribute to GAAD, the organizers suggest that you help out by writing a blog post about digital accessibility awareness, or by captioning a video. You can learn about accessible captions in this popular talk by Ahmed Khalifa from Word Camp Europe 2020, or find out how to caption a video for WordPress.tv. And of course, we have you covered if you want to learn how captioning your own videos can improve SEO.
Gutenberg and full site editing
Yesterday was the planned feature freeze for Gutenberg version 10.7, the version that will be in WordPress 5.8. A feature freeze means that the developers can not add any more new features to a release. The release candidate was postponed partly because of delays caused by a service outage at GitHub.
There were a couple of features that I had been hoping for that were not completed in time. For example, using the featured image as a background in a cover block. Besides the template editing mode, I am looking forward to the new responsive navigation block. There can still be last-minute changes, and there will be an update on WordPress.org with more details.
During the week, I mainly tested pull requests related to theme.json, the navigation block, and the template editing mode.
I had days off part of last week, so I don’t have many updates to do. The days I was there, I continued to improve the e2e tests for Core categories and users. I also continued the discussion with the WordPress Test Team about the requirements to start merging these tests into Core.
For the last week, my main focus was to continue reviewing bug fixes and enhancements for WordPress 5.8, the next major release, as part of my duties as a Core Committer.
One of the notable changes was adding support for the “Update URI” plugin header. This is a long-awaited enhancement that allows third-party plugins to avoid accidentally being overwritten with an update of a plugin of a similar name from the WordPress.org Plugin Directory.
The past week I was hard at work on an internal project, so, unfortunately, I could not dedicate many hours towards WordPress contribution.
Francesca has been on vacation and has nothing work related to report this week.
As time gets closer to the WordPress 5.8 release, we’re focusing on more items vital to the success of this upcoming version instead of generic improvements. This week I prioritized tickets and issues scheduled for this release:
- I worked on unifying the code related to CSS-units in the WordPress editor. This reduced code duplication for dimension (
UnitControl) controls in the editor, and also made it possible for theme-authors to define the custom units they want to use across the board, using the
- I submitted a patch in WordPress Core to allow using
var()in CSS values. This patch fixed 2 bugs in WordPress (#46498 and #46197). Since Gutenberg as a plugin needs to be compatible with older versions of WordPress, we need to treat things a bit differently there. A related patch was added in #31740.
- I submitted some code-quality patches to Gutenberg. These are trivial changes that don’t affect anything, but they improve the tooling we use and make the code cleaner.
- I worked on the site-logo block, particularly the way it saves its data (#31994). This one is important because we want to include the site-logo block in WordPress 5.8, so it was a priority.
- I participated in the themes hallway chat for universal themes. It was an interesting conversation and hopefully we’ll see more conversations like this in the future of the WordPress community. One of the ideas that came out of the hallway chat, was to start building tools for theme-authors to allow using building “universal” themes. To that end, I built a new package that can be placed inside a theme, and allow using a
theme.jsonfile even in older versions of WordPress. The package is still under development but you can see it and follow its progress on its GitHub repository.
- I reviewed code on a lot of pull-requests submitted by Gutenberg contributors, helping move the project forward.