The Month in WordPress: February 2021
You don’t have to be rich to have an online presence. You don’t have to find loopholes in proprietary platforms and hope that they never change their terms of service. You own all of the content that you create on a WordPress site and have the liberty to move it to a new host if you need to, or switch your theme if it fits your mood.
That was Josepha Haden Chomphosy on WordPress is Free(dom) episode of the WP Briefing Podcast, speaking about the four freedoms of open-source software. Those four freedoms are core to how WordPress is developed. A lot of the updates we bring you this month will resonate with those freedoms.
WordPress now powers 40% of the web
W3Techs reported that WordPress now powers 40% of the top 10 million websites in the world! Every two minutes, a new website using WordPress says, “Hello world”! For the top 1000 sites, the market share is even higher at 51.8%. Over the past 10 years, the growth rate has increased, which is reflected by the fact that 66.2% of all new websites use WordPress!
WordPress release updates
February was an eventful month for WordPress releases!
- WordPress maintenance releases — version 5.6.1 and version 5.6.2 — came out this in February. Update to the latest version directly from your WordPress dashboard or by downloading it from WordPress.org.
- Members of the Core team are working hard on WordPress 5.7, due in March. Beta 1, Beta 2, and Beta 3 versions of WordPress 5.7 launched in February. The first and second release candidates of WordPress 5.7 are also out! You can test the Beta versions and the release candidate by downloading them from WordPress.org or using the WordPress Beta Tester plugin. To know more about WordPress 5.7, check out its field guide.
Want to contribute to upcoming WordPress releases? Join the WordPress #core channel in the Make WordPress Slack and follow the Core team blog. The Core team hosts weekly chats on Wednesdays at 5 AM and 8 PM. UTC. You can also contribute to WordPress 5.7 by translating it into your local language. Learn more on the translation status post.
Gutenberg celebrates its 100th release with version 10
The 100th release of the Gutenberg plugin — Version 10, launched on February 17th, more than four years after the project was first announced at WordCamp US 2016. Matias Ventura’s post offers a bird’s eye view of the project over the last four years. Version 10 adds the basic pages block and makes the parent block selector visible in the block toolbar. Version 9.9 of Gutenberg — coincidentally, the 99th release of the plugin, which is also the latest Gutenberg release that will be featured in WordPress 5.7, also came out in February. Key highlights of the release include custom icons and background colors in social icons, a redesigned options modal for blocks (which is now called block preferences), and text labels in the block toolbar.
Full Site Editing updates
Full Site Editing (FSE) is an exciting new WordPress feature that allows you to use blocks outside the post or page content. The main focus of the Core team for 2021 is to merge FSE into WordPress core. Here’s the latest on the Full Site Editing project:
- The second call for testing as part of the Full Site Editing outreach program is out! To participate, check out the second testing call on the Make/Test blog and join the #fse-outreach-experiment Slack channel. Deadline: March 5, 2021.
- In case you missed participating in the FSE outreach program, you can now test FSE anytime —check out this handbook page on testing FSE to learn more.
- Contributor teams are asking for help from local WordPress Communities to support the FSE Project. Learn more on how you can contribute.
- Check out these answers for the most common FSE questions on the Make/Test blog.
- @chanthaboune has provided an update on the current status of the FSE and themes.
Decision-making checklist for in-person meetups
The Community Team has published handbook pages and a decision-making checklist for organizers to restart in-person meetups at areas where it is safe to do so (e.g., countries such as New Zealand, Australia, and Taiwan, where there are lower COVID-19 risks). However, WordPress meetups and WordCamps in most parts of the world will remain online due to COVID-19.
- The Polyglots team has kicked-off a proposal to create a working group of contributors to develop training resources for translation contributors.
- The Meta team is actively working on a tool to help the Themes team automate the theme testing process. The team has already shipped a proof-of-concept of the Theme Review Action tool to test the process and is looking for feedback. The Meta team is also working on reducing the Plugin team’s workload by improving the code scanner tool used for scanning plugins.
- The Themes team met with the WordPress project leadership team (Matt Mullenweg and Josepha Haden) about improving the Theme directory. They decided to reframe the theme review process by adding “review guard rails” with automated tooling.
- The Plugin Review Team reiterated that forked premium plugins are not allowed in the Plugin directory.
- After three weekends of celebrating WordPress, WordCamp India 2021 concluded on February 15. WordCamp Prague 2021 took place on February 27. WordCamp India videos are already available, and videos of both camps will soon be uploaded to WordPress.tv.
- Several online WordCamps were scheduled this month. WordCamp Centroamérica, WordCamp Greece, and WordCamp North East Ohio are scheduled for April 2021. WordCamp Japan takes place in June and has opened-up their call for speakers in English and Japanese. Meanwhile, the inaugural WordCamp Cochabamba (Bolivia) runs in July!.
- The Community Team wants feedback on how to improve online WordCamps. The team has also announced a revamped 2021 Global Community sponsorship program to support online events.
- The Design Team is reviewing the user experience for learn.wordpress.org. Please share any design-feedback that you have as comments on the post.
- The Accessibility Team is working on publishing the updated accessibility standards document (with regard to WCAG 2.1 changes) alongside the WordPress version 5.7 release. The team has also started brainstorming goals for WordPress 5.8 and beyond.
- The Support Team is rethinking the use of the master list used for troubleshooting recurring issues. The team is also removing plugin/theme names used as topic tags in forums.
- The Training Team has kicked off their March 2021 sprint planning to work on their goals.
- The WP Notify project working group (which is working toward a better notification system for WordPress) has completed the first version of the requirements document, and officially kicked off active development of the feature plugin. Contact the team in the #feature-notifications Slack channel if you would like to contribute. You can start by reviewing the list of the current issues.
- Pooja Derashri of India was featured in February’s People of WordPress series. A cross-team initiative led by the Marketing Team with support from HeroPress, the series aims to highlight lesser-known stories of WordPress contributors. The Contributor Story series is collecting new features. If you are an active contributor to a WordPress.org team or a local WordCamp, contact the Marketing Team in the #marketing Slack channel for more information.
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