The Month in WordPress: March 2020
The month of March was both a tough and exciting time for the WordPress open-source project. With COVID-19 declared a pandemic, in-person events have had to adapt quickly – a challenge for any community. March culminated with the release of WordPress 5.4, an exhilarating milestone only made possible by dedicated contributors. For all the latest, read on.
WordPress 5.4 “Adderley”
WordPress 5.4 “Adderley” was released on March 31 and includes a robust list of new blocks, enhancements, and new features for both users and developers. The primary focus areas of this release included the block editor, privacy, accessibility, and developer improvements, with the full list of enhancements covered in the 5.4 field guide.
Releases of Gutenberg 7.7 and 7.8
It’s been another busy month for Gutenberg, this time with the release of Gutenberg 7.7 and 7.8. Gutenberg 7.7 introduced block patterns – predefined block layouts that are ready to use and tweak. This is an important step towards Full Site Editing, which is currently targeted for inclusion in WordPress 5.6. As a first iteration, you can pick and insert patterns from the Block Patterns UI, which has been added as a sidebar plugin.
Gutenberg 7.7 also includes a refresh of the Block UI, which better responds to the ways users interact with the editor. For more information on the User UI and Block Patterns, read this summary of the most recent Block-Based Themes meeting. Gutenberg 7.8, introduced on March 25, further enhanced this Block UI redesign. Both releases also included a suite of improvements, bug fixes, new APIs, documentation, and more!
WordCamp cancellations and shift to online events
In early March, the Community team issued new recommendations for event organizers in light of growing concerns around COVID-19. Following this guidance, and with COVID-19 declared a pandemic, WordPress community organizers reluctantly but responsibly postponed or canceled their upcoming WordCamps and meetups.
As community events are an important part of the WordPress open-source project, the Community team made suggestions for taking charity hackathons online, proposed interim adjustments to existing community event guidelines, and provided training for online conference organizing with Crowdcast. The team is currently working on building a Virtual Events Handbook that will continue to support WordPress community organizers at this time.
Want to get involved with the WordPress Community team, host your own virtual WordPress event, or help improve the documentation for all of this? Follow the Community team blog, learn more about virtual events, and join the #community-events channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.
Link your GitHub profile to WordPress.org
Last month, an experimental feature was added to Trac, WordPress Core’s bug-tracking system, to improve collaboration between Trac and GitHub. This month, to help make tracking contributions to the WordPress project across multiple locations easier, there is a new option to connect your GitHub account to your WordPress.org profile. This connection allows for more accurate acknowledgement and recognition of contributors. You can connect your GitHub account to your WordPress.org account by editing your WordPress.org profile.
For more information and instructions on how to connect your accounts, read the announcement post.
Modernizing WordPress coding standards
Defined coding standards is an important step in creating the consistent codebase needed to prepare for requiring PHP 7.x for WordPress Core. As such, coding standards have been proposed for implementation in WordPress Coding Standards 3.0.0. This includes new proposed standards for namespace declarations, import use statements, fully qualified names in inline code, traits and interfaces, type declarations, declare statements/strict typing, the ::class constant, operators, and more.
Want to get involved or view the full list of currently proposed new coding standards? Visit and add your feedback to the post on updating the Coding standards for modern PHP and follow the Core team blog.
- On March 16, Version 0.3 of the auto-updates feature was released, including fixes to a number of issues and the introduction of email notifications.
- WordCamp US announced that the 2020 event will happen, one way or another. But the team need your help to make sure that it’s another fantastic event. Consider applying to be a speaker!
- Speaking of WordCamp US, the Call for Cities for WCUS 2021/2022 is now open. If your community is interested in being a future WCUS host, apply today!
- With COVID-19 preventing in-person community events, the Diverse Speaker Training (#wpdiversity) Group encourages you to host a virtual Diverse Speaker Workshop to prepare speakers for when we are able to meet in person again. To get started, visit this page.
- An update for progress on 2020 goals has been posted, sharing some more defined targets and schedule.
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