Podcast Episode

WordPress 6.2


Is there a plugin for that?

With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin from the repository.

For more great plugins, download my 50 Most Useful Plugins eBook.

Pattern Manager will automatically push your patterns into PHP files for you, every time you save.

WordPress 6.2

In this episode, we unveil the latest WordPress release, version 6.2, codenamed “Dolphy” in honor of the renowned multi-instrumentalist Eric Allen Dolphy Jr. Released on March 29th, 2023, WordPress 6.2 brings a plethora of enhancements that promise to elevate your website editing experience.

Topics Covered:

  • Introduction to WordPress 6.2 “Dolphy” and its significance in the WordPress ecosystem.
  • The removal of the beta flag from the site editor, signifying its maturity and readiness for prime time.
  • Efficiently managing navigation blocks directly from the dashboard for faster site navigation customization.
  • The revamped block inserter, complete with a media tab and Open Verse search for easy image selection and insertion.
  • Improved organization of block settings and styles with separate tabs, enhancing customization flexibility.
  • Building faster headers and footers with block themes and the new sticky menu option.
  • Distraction-free mode: A unique feature for focused writing and reduced clutter during content creation.
  • Exploring the Style Book, offering a comprehensive overview of how each block in your library looks and enabling quick global customizations.
  • The introduction of copy and paste styles, streamlining the process of replicating block styles across your site.
  • Customizing CSS directly within the WordPress dashboard, eliminating the need for external methods.
  • A call to action for listeners to get involved and contribute to the WordPress community.

Thank You!

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Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

[00:00:00] **Dustin:** On today's episode, we are going to look at the brand new, just recently released WordPress 6.2 release right here on your website engineer podcast, episode number 528.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of your website engineer podcast. My name is Dustin Hartzler and I am excited to be here with you today and getting back into the WordPress things. Things have switched around to work a little bit, and now I've gone from working on Jetpack, and now I'm over on WordPress.com.

And so it's an exciting time and I'm excited to dive back in and see some of the differences and some of the changes. Within the last couple years I've been on WordPress VIP, I've worked at Crowdsignal, I've worked on Jetpack. None of those platforms have anything to do with WordPress and it's all like, it's kind of like tangentially close to WordPress, but I have completely missed out on features and things and everything that's been happening in the last almost two years in the WordPress space.

So today I'm finally started to excited to get back into things and we're gonna discover WordPress as 6.2. That's gonna [00:01:00] be the main bulk of the show, and we'll get to that in just a second. I have some announcements and I could have listed dozens of announcements, but I'm just gonna keep it real short here today.

And then we'll talk about a plugin that we can share and then we will dive into the new features of WordPress 6.2. The first thing that I wanna share is iThemes rebrands to SolidWP. This is a huge brand that has been in the WordPress space for almost 15 years. They're rebranding to SolidWP.

Basically, iThemes is known for security, backups, and site management. Those are their three big plans, or their three big products, and nothing is really represented that by the name of iThemes. iThemes kind of came out around the the 2000 era of Apple and naming things with the letter. I, so they're just trying to rebrand and get a better, a better name for what they're, they're known for.

So they're switching over to SolidWP and now they're gonna have solid security, solid backups, solid central and solid academy. So that's kind of now their, their brand, the branding signifies a [00:02:00] renewed focus in providing solid foundation for every WordPress site. If you wanna learn a little bit more about what's happening, you can read the article over on WP Tavern, and then from there it is linked to their rebranding page Over on WP Solid or solidwp.com.

The next thing on my list today is WooCommerce is going to host a virtual contributor day on April 19th, 2023. This is something that is open to the public. It's a virtual contributor day, and the contributors will be working on W Commerce's Core and the w s blocks repositories, and the organizers will have two different kickoff times to do better coverage over time zones.

And that'll be at 0 UTC and 12 UTC.

The WooCommerce team used to have something called a WooConf, and that was an in-person conference that last happened in 2017. Now, they've done virtual events and things like WooShesh, where people can attend and watch sessions and whatnot, but they really haven't had any like open and contributor days.

The team is looking for a minimum of four hours of [00:03:00] your time to dedicate to a curated list of issues. So if you are interested in helping out, I've got a link to that in the show notes as well. Just head on over to yourwebsiteengineer.com/528.

The next thing on my list is something that is coming in the next phase of WordPress.

Kind of the next is phase where kind of wrapping up phase two, phase three is something that is working on getting real-time collaboration in WordPress. Again, there's a link in the show notes where you can read more about this, but basically this is kind of like the Google Docs where you and somebody else can be in the same document at the same time editing and doing those things. I don't know if you've ever worked on a site with somebody else and then you try to edit a page and it's like, so-and-so's currently looking at a page, would you like to take over? And so they're trying to work through that and get that all straightened out and make real-time collaboration a thing.

It's probably one of the most technically challenging things because it represents and works through all the challenges and changes how we work with WordPress from an async to a sync version, basically. Because [00:04:00] most of the time it's always like one person can work on it at a time and now they're trying to get so multiple people can work at the same time.

So it's something they're working on and it's something that I'll continue to report back on as they more and more things are happening.

A couple of vulnerabilities happened and exploits happened in the last week and week and a half or so. So you wanna make sure that you have updated both WooCommerce Payments and Elementor Pro. WooCommerce Payments, has a critical vulnerability where that would allow a site to be taken over by somebody else. If you don't update to that version. And it looks like there's a lot of different versions have updates for that software. So make sure that you are running the latest version of WooCommerce Payments.

There was an article over on arsTechnica talking about how the Elementor Pro, the premium plugin that's run on more than 12 million websites has the same type of issue. There is a critical vulnerability that gives full control of somebody's site if you don't have that updated. So I highly recommend making sure that both of those plugins, if you're using one or the other, or both, make sure that those are completely updated.

And [00:05:00] you are running the latest version of those. I mean, it's great to be running the latest version of all your plugins and, and WordPress itself, but make sure that those two have been updated for sure.

There's also a link in the show notes for the 20th anniversary WordPress swag.

So you can go ahead and check that out. Since we will be celebrating WordPress's 20th anniversary this year, there's some cool new swag with a logo of 20 and WordPress and whatnot.

If you're interested in seeing what they've got, head on over to the link in the show notes as well.

And then lastly, Local by Flywheel is now updated to version 6.7 and they've added some new features there. The Local is what I personally use to run local WordPress sites, and it looks like I'm gonna have to be doing a lot more of that in the last couple years.

Again, haven't had to use Local very often, but now I'm getting back into that, and doing things. They have a feature in there now that you can do site grouping so if you wanted to, you know, start two or three sites all at the same time with site grouping, you can go ahead and do that. And they are just continually adding features.

Again, Local is very good for any type of local development, but if you pair that up [00:06:00] with Flywheel hosting, it just works really, really well. It's a seamless process to updating on your local development and then pushing it live. But I use Local pretty much every time that I work on any of my sites, and all of my sites are hosted over on Pressable.

So those are the news items this week.

All right, let's take a look at a plugin that I found this week. And again, there's thousands upon thousands of plugins in the WordPress repository, and this one is a beta plugin, but it is called Pattern Manager. And it is one made by WP Engine and it, it allows you to save your pattern configuration. And patterns are a newish feature in WordPress that I haven't quite explored very much yet.

And I'm sure we'll do an episode soon about patterns and how to use them and how to set them up and how to best utilize them and whatnot. But basically if you're already using patterns, this plugin would be great as it will allow you to save your patterns.

Every time you create a pattern, it will automatically push them, all of them, into PHP files for you every time you save. And then with a dedicated studio to design and build patterns, you can 10 x your [00:07:00] ability to work effectively with patterns. That's from the plugin description.

So basically allows you to create patterns quickly and then save them so you can reuse them on a site. I think that that would be super helpful. I'm just kind of thinking through like how the patterns work. When it comes to like creating show notes for this podcast episode, it, it would be a matter of like pulling in the pattern and it would probably outline everything like announcements and plugins and, and here's the main content of the show and like the thank you section and all of that kind of stuff can just be built with a pattern and then you can just pull the pattern in and it just creates all those blocks. Then you just fill in all the, all the things in between. Again, I need to dive into that. I need to dive into full site editing, and I need to dive into all of these new features in WordPress 6.2.

Speaking of WordPress, a 6.2. This was released on March 29th, 2023, and it is codename Adolph, named for the woodwind jazz whiz, the multi-instrumentalist Eric Allen Dolphy Jr. The brief description says the latest version of WordPress reimagines your site editing experience introduces more [00:08:00] ways to style your site and offers a new distraction free way to write.

Discover improvements that give you more control and freedom to express your creative vision. There's something for everyone, whether you're a content creator, a developer, a site builder or designer. So that is kind of the synopsis of WordPress a 6.2. As you dive into the, the announcement post and you start using some of these features it's gonna be really exciting of, of the things that you can do now in WordPress, just completely in WordPress in the new site editor.

So the big thing is they took off the beta flag from the site editor. So if you go under Appearance and then Site Editor that used to say beta next to it, it no longer says beta because it is full fledged. I, I wouldn't say it's done because nothing in WordPress is ever done, but the features are solid enough to be a big release.

And so let's go ahead and look at some of these site editor features. You now have the ability to manage your navigation blocks, right inside of the dashboard. If you're on a page and you're looking, you can actually go and click on the menu area and then you can add menu [00:09:00] items.

You can remove them, you can rename them, you can do all of this area. It's so much faster because it's right there in the side panel. The customizer was always kind of slow, I felt. Then by the time you like, oh, I need to change a menu, and so you'd have to go to the customizer and then you'd have to click on menus, and then you'd have to find the right menu.

I mean, right here, it's just right in the same page that you're, you're editing your whole site and you can do it right there. The block in inserter is a, there's a new refreshed way to give you access to the content you need. You can use the media tab that's now on the left hand side. There's a media tab, and you can search for images right in your media library.

Or you can use like the open verse search so you can search for images that are free and publicly accessible. Say you want to add an image to your site and say you want to add an image of a, a polar bear, you can just type polar bear in there and you'll find an image and you can drag it directly into WordPress.

No more like clicking on a block and then adding an image, and then oh, going to the media library and then searching in the media library. Okay, there's the picture. Now I'll click on it and then I'll insert it. That's a lot of steps, but you can just use the [00:10:00] block inserter add it straight from there, and that is really, really cool.

The blocks now have a better way for organizing their, their settings and their styles. There's two separate tabs there. So the first one is kind of what we're used to is the settings.

And so that would be like if you add a block and it's like, oh, would you like this feature? Turn this on. Or the options for the different blocks. But then there's also a styles tab, so you can click on the styles and you'll be able to change the colors and the, the fonts, and the backgrounds and all that kind of stuff.

And each block will have its own styles. They'll also have own settings. Another cool part about WordPress at 6.2 is you can build faster headers and footers with block themes. So if your theme is based on a block or a block theme itself, then there's new collection of header and footers and you could also build them as well.

And you could also set them as there's a new setting for making your menu sticky. And so if you wanted your menu, it'll always show at the top of your page. You can click one button and it just stays right at the top. Even as you scroll, it's always gonna be on the top. And I know that [00:11:00] that is one of my favorite features because I always look for that in a theme.

I think it's super helpful to always have that menu always visible, and that's something that is built right into WordPress. Now. There's another feature that is a distraction free mode. And I thought, how is this gonna, any different. I mean, a, again, there are a lot of distractions in WordPress, of course, because you've got the side panels and you've got all these things.

But the cool part about the distraction free mode is once you click this or there's a keyboard shortcut that you can use. When you're in distraction free mode and you're moving your mouse or you're, yeah, you're moving your mouse top to bottom, or you know, maybe you're trying to edit a sentence, three lines before whatever, like if you're in the non distraction free mode, then you get to see all of the block.

You know, like every time you move over a block, it's gonna show you the. Contextual menu, like, oh, would you like to highlight this bold or italics, or add a link or something like that. But when you're in distraction free mode, all of those are gone. And so like as you hit enter, it's just gonna create a new block for you.

But they, you don't have the ability to do all of the, the customizations. Well, I think it's. [00:12:00] Is is a neat feature. It's a neat idea to try to get rid of some of those distractions and just let you, write. So I think that is really cool.

There is a new style block. We talked about that a little bit, but there's also something called a style book, and this gives you a complete overview of how every block on your site in the library looks.

So you can go to one place, it's, it's called the Style B book. It's directly in the site editor, but you can go and you can see like, oh, this is what a button looks like and this is what a block quote looks like. And this is what a product, is gonna look like. And you can see it all in one place.

And then you can make changes in customizations, like, oh, I'd rather have this button be this color, or I'd rather do this, or I'd rather do that. And then you can save that and you can save it globally. So then immediately, every button on your site goes from green to orange or every, you know, block quote now is a bigger font and a different font.

Like you can change all of that absolutely instantly. And it's really cool. It's, it's super neat and I definitely won't recommend checking this out. If anything else like install, create a new version of WordPress, install 2023 and then go check out this style book. [00:13:00] It is really cool. They also now have a copy and paste styles option.

If you wanted to change just a couple button colors, you can customize one, get it just perfect, and then you can click on it and then you can copy styles, and then you can paste styles onto another button. And then those buttons will be exactly the same, which is, which is pretty cool.

This comes from like, if you've ever used this in like. I don't know, word or apple pages or something. You know, there's something that's formatted and you copy it and then you paste and you do paste styles only. I use that a lot like in Excel to get the line rows, the same color or whatnot. That is a cool feature that's now in WordPress.

Now you can customize things right inside the WordPress dashboard. Before you used to be able to add special classes to different blocks. So maybe you wanted to have something with a background of, you know, orange. Again, orange is always my favorite color, so that's always an example. But maybe you wanted to have the block quotes always have an orange background. So then you would have to go into the style area and you'd have to say, add this CSS class. We'd call it orange dash background. And then we would have to open up the, the Customizer and go into the [00:14:00] additional CSS area. And then we would put orange dash background, and then we would put the colors.

Now we can just add CSS right there. Right here in the dashboard. And you can, you know, make that background color orange. And you don't even have to give it a class name. It just automatically works. This is a whole nother level of control for your website. If you've got the ability to add a little CSS to do what you need to do.

This right there is gonna save a ton of time versus like either putting it in the customizer or adding it to your theme itself or whatnot. This is really, really cool.

So those are some of the features and I'm sure there's a ton of features. There was a lot of different versions of Gutenberg that was added. I saw that somewhere. I think there was 10 versions of Gutenberg added. So all of those features that were in Gutenberg probably were not part of this post. And part of like just the description of WordPress, a 6.2, so, so much to come.

So much is coming and it is really, really exciting. It looks like. A, let's see, 178 new contributors, people who have never contributed for the first time, and there were 600 [00:15:00] contributors in at least 50 countries. That is a lot of people volunteering their time, effort, and energy to make WordPress what it is.

I look forward to getting back into WordPress and actually. Let's, let's put it out as a, as a goal for 2023 to, to be a contributor or help or fix something in WordPress 6.3 or 6.4. I know that I've done it in the past back in the, maybe the four or the five era, but I wanna get back into that as a, as a personal goal of mine to get back into WordPress, learning about the releases and then helping with those releases.

That is all that I wanted to share with you today. Tons of new information coming. And I'm gonna commit to the next week or so learning how to use block themes and full site editing. I know that I talked a little bit about this in January, that this was gonna be the year, hadn't really got around to it, but now I've got the opportunity to spend some time in the next week or two to just dive in and learn all about full site editing, how it works.

And I can't wait to bring that to upcoming shows. Just to let you know how the new things in WordPress are working. That's all I've got for you this week. Take care and we'll talk again soon. [00:16:00] Bye-bye. For more great WordPress information, head on over to your website engineer.com.