📆 This is the November 2020 edition of “This Month in WordPress with CodeinWP.”
Hi, everyone! We hope this post finds you in good spirits and health. I compiled it to bring you the highlights of our community from the past month. May you find in it a few moments of distraction from what’s happening around us right now.
In the November 2020 WordPress news edition, we’re talking about the second WordPress 5.6 beta, Cloudflare’s new Automatic Platform Optimization for WordPress sites, and the first concrete steps in the transition to block-based themes and full-site editing.
For more details and other impactful stories – partnerships, releases, features – stay with us for the next five minutes.
Have a peaceful November!
November 2020 WordPress News with CodeinWP
While we’re waiting for the official release, here’s a preview of what WordPress 5.6 will look like. The second beta is ready for testing, so bring your feedback to the table once you get the chance to experiment with it.
What’s coming next in December? Improvements in the block editor, a new default theme – Twenty Twenty-One – support for PHP 8, auto-updates for major releases, Application Passwords for REST API authentication, and enhanced accessibility.
A feature that’s currently at a stage of a debate is a dark mode in Twenty Twenty-One theme. The dark mode support, for both site owners and viewers, is supposed to be added via a plugin.
What we won’t see in WordPress 5.6 are the block-based widgets that had been planned to land with this release. They were postponed until next year because the system is not ready yet, while the team is putting efforts into fixing some existing errors.
At the same time, a new security and maintenance release for WordPress 5.5 is available, so make sure to update your site soon. This release came as an urgent solution to serious problems after an error in the WordPress’ auto-update system pushed an alpha release (WordPress 5.5.3-alpha-49449) to go live on production sites.
This issue was solved in under an hour, so all the affected sites came back to normal. But the users still went through a panic attack which made them question the auto-update system.
A popular story this month involved Cloudflare‘s changes and new services. The content delivery network now provides web analytics focusing on privacy and a new Automatic Platform Optimization service for WordPress.
The latter aims to bring next-level performance improvements to WordPress sites that are struggling with slow loading times as a result of shared hosting, slow databases, and plugins that are not the best in terms of speed.
In other words, Automatic Platform Optimization will cache your dynamic content and serve your website from Cloudflare’s network of global edge servers, which will eliminate the initial requests and processing times.
It basically shortens the main path an element must take from request to display on the screen, so visitors will get almost instant loading times of under 400ms.
What’s even more exciting about this new feature is that you don’t have to do anything extra for it to work, except for one single click. It’s available to premium customers but free users can also add it to their sites for $5/month/site.
We wrote a year ago about full-site editing being the next big thing in WordPress. Well, here’s the first WordPress theme specially created for this purpose.
By its simple name Q, it is a project of Ari Stathopoulos, one of the Themes Team representatives. What does such a team mean? It’s a step ahead for the developers who want to play more with the full-site editing and get familiar with the concept hands-on.
While most of the existing themes do not work well with blocks (let alone support the FSE functionality), a framework where all these block-friendly elements blend together is a nice teaser prior to FSE implementation in WordPress 5.6.
Q theme is also a prototype and a model for developers to learn how to build block-based WordPress themes.
The author has no plans in turning Q into something big. The scope is just to offer a starter, experimental theme for developers to use in their own code when building themes.
As you can notice, the trend in WordPress development is the migration towards blocks, piece by piece.
The roadmap includes optimizing all the previous Twenty themes (the default WordPress themes) for full-site editing. If your favorite is an older one, you won’t have to give up on it because it will be repurposed for the current requirements.
The optimization entails adding unique block patterns (a feature that was introduced in the recent WordPress 5.5) to all ten previous Twenty themes.
But this change asks for a lot of work so only the latest four versions of the default theme will get the revamp in the upcoming WordPress 5.6 version, while the others will have to wait for future releases.
Authors of third-party themes can also make this transition to blocks using Theme.json Creator, a new tool made by Jon Quach from Automattic. The tool will help developers switch to block-based themes by writing the JSON code for them following the latest features and implementations in Gutenberg.
Great Articles From Around The Web
That sums up our November 2020 WordPress news roundup. Anything we missed?
Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%: