Excitement runs high for the WordPress community in the US, as enthusiasts and contributors prepare for the kick-off of WordCamp US in September.
Other than the exciting news on WordCamp US, many developments and updates were announced in August. From WebP as the default image format in WordPress 6.1 to the development of the Twenty Twenty-Three default theme. Read on to learn more about:
1. Gutenberg updates
2. WebP as the default image format in WordPress 6.1
3. WordCamp US kicks off in less than a month
4. Twenty Twenty-Three default theme in development
5. Akismet adds new spam detection feature
6. WooCommerce to remove “customizer” option in admin bar
Continuing with the regular two-week release cycle, the Gutenberg team released two updates in August that includes some exciting new features.
Version 13.8 was deployed on August 3, 2022. This update comes with a new feature called “Fluid Typography”. It lets theme makers add responsiveness to text size, allowing text to scale and adapt to the available screen’s real state. Along with this new feature comes accessibility improvements, a revamped Quote block, and Template parts UX enhancements. The release is also packed with bug fixes and code quality improvements.
Version 13.9 was deployed on August 17, 2022. This is a smaller update compared to version 13.8. It continues to iterate and polish various things, such as the UI and certain interactions with the block editor.
WebP as the default image format in WordPress 6.1
WebP is the image format developed by Google. It is to replace JPEG, PNG, and GIF file formats. The main benefit of WebP is that it offers the same image quality for a smaller file size when compared to formats like JPEG.
WebP will soon be generated by default for new JPEG image uploads in WordPress and used for website content. The main work for this feature was committed to core to be introduced in the upcoming WordPress 6.1 release.
WordCamp US kicks off in less than a month
WordCamp US (WCUS) kicks off in less than a month in San Diego, CA. The event will take place September 9-11, 2022 and livestream will also be available. Excitement for WordCamp US runs high, as all 650 of the available tickets sold out within the first day.
Organizers have published the full schedule for all sessions. The three-day event will feature three tracks with a combination of lightning talks lasting 15 minutes, standard talks lasting 45 minutes, and workshops.
This year’s lineup focuses on educating professionals on building with blocks. Attendees and livestream viewers can expect to learn how to customize core blocks for clients and create a custom block in 15 minutes. Speakers will also offer a glimpse into the future of designing themes for the block editor. Of course, this is not the only topic of this year. Other topics include WordPress and the creator economy, multichannel e-commerce, performance, accessibility, and more.
Twenty Twenty-Three default theme in development
Development for the Twenty Twenty-Three default theme has kick-started. Last month, WordPress design contributors proposed creating a new kind of default theme that would bundle a curated set of style variations This idea was well-received by those involved in the discussion, and plans are now underway to use a stripped-back version of Twenty Twenty-Two as the base for the new theme.
One of the most exciting aspects of this project is that WordPress design contributors have invited the community to submit their own style variations for consideration. Next to this, instead of default themes coming from a single designer or from an existing theme, Twenty Twenty-Three will offer a mixture of style variations from different community contributors.
Akismet adds new spam detection feature
Akismet is the comment spam protection plugin that comes by default with WordPress installation. For years, the vast majority of Akismet releases have been centered around bug fixes and improving compatibility with various plugins.
Version 5.0 was recently released and it came with a new spam detection feature that promised to improve the plugin’s efficiency. With this feature, Akismet can detect spam that is posted in a machine-like fashion, even if the spambot is attempting to post a comment with content identical to one that has already been approved. The plugin can identify comments from bots by looking at signals like the speed of comment, variety of typing speed, and mouseclick speed.
WooCommerce to remove “customizer” option in upcoming release
WooCommerce is making a push towards getting the Customizer menu out of the top admin bar for websites running a block theme. Starting from version 6.9 – expected to come out in September – WooCommerce will stop registering Customizer options when a block theme is active. This is an effort to clean up the admin bar and eliminate confusion for users. This is a sensible decision as, before the block theme era, “Customizer” is where users would go if they want to customize their theme’s appearance.
WooCommerce core developers recommend plugin authors update their products and relocate Customizer settings to a block, pattern, or the Global Styles menu.