The Month in WordPress: October 2021

October 2021 brought a lot of new things to WordPress, from release updates to new versions of Gutenberg. More notably, in the latest episode of WP Briefing, Executive Director Josepha Haden reminded us about the importance of freedom in open source platforms like WordPress.

Free speech has with it a lot of responsibility, just like being a part of a community. Governments or communities, or in our case, this software is built by the people who show up.

For WordPress, at 42% of the web, every small choice we make can cause huge changes in the way that people experience the web today and tomorrow.

Josepha Haden, Executive Director of the WordPress project

Last month was yet another chapter in this journey. So keep reading to learn what’s new. 

WordPress 5.9: All proposed updates will likely be included

We announced the go/no-go for WordPress 5.9 features in mid-October. The release will probably include all the proposed features—though not all of them are ready yet, they should be by the proposed release date (December 14, 2021).WordPress 5.9 will include a new default theme called Twenty Twenty-Two! The theme’s foundation will be strong, and the unpredictable yet reliable behavior of birds inspired the intentionally subtle design. 

5.9 bug scrub sessions began in September and will continue each week until the release on December 14, 2021. View the full bug scrub scheduleMany of you requested a few “must have” enhancements for the 5.9 release—follow the 5.9 Must-Haves project board to track their status.The Test Team shared an overview of the team’s approach to testing WordPress 5.9.

Interested in contributing to WordPress core? Join the #core channel, follow the Core Team blog, and check out the team handbook. Also, don’t miss the Core Team’s weekly developer chat on Wednesdays at 8 PM UTC.

Gutenberg releases: 11.6, 11.7, and 11.8 are here

We released three new versions of the Gutenberg block editor between the end of September and October:

Version 11.6 brings site logo cropping and rotation, block-level locking, improvements to Query Pagination block, support for child themes and thunks, template focus mode, and enhancements to the writing flow.Gutenberg version 11.7 includes bug fixes and polishes to the navigation block and editor, global styles and full site editing (including a handy back button that lets you quickly return to the site editor), and columns block support, among other improvements.Finally, Gutenberg 11.8 is the second to last version to make it into the WordPress 5.9 release, and it comes with plenty of developments to the editing experience: featured Block Patterns, new animations for a few elements (like Dropzone and Insertion Point), spacing tools for heading blocks, and a lot more.

Want to get involved in developing Gutenberg? Follow the Core Team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Make WordPress Slack. For details on the latest updates, follow the “What’s next in Gutenberg” post.

WordCamp US returned virtually this year with more than 3,600 attendees

WordCamp US 2021 was on October 1, and it was online for the first time. The event drew more than 3,600 attendees, 27 sponsors, and 18 remarkable speakers on topics ranging from accessibility and sustainability to e-commerce, to name a few. 

Matt Mullenweg’s “State of the Word” is expected to be held as a separate event later this year, rather than being part of WordCamp US.

If you missed the live event, you can still watch the Yukon Track and the Columbia Track of WordCamp US 2021.

Team Updates: Polyglots monthly newsletter, a new Performance team, and more

The first edition of the Polyglots monthly newsletter went out on October 15, 2021.The following teams opened up their call for team representatives last month, and more are coming soon: Core, Community, Themes, Accessibility, Support, Training, and Hosting.A draft of the 2022 Global Community Sponsorship program proposal was released on October 8, 2021. The October 2021 edition of People of WordPress, featuring WordPress e-commerce specialist Ronald Gijsel, went live.Following excellent responses to the initial proposal, members of the Core Team announced the next steps in launching a performance team that aims to increase the performance (speed) of WordPress.The Polyglots Team kicked-off bi-weekly Glotpress meetings aimed at improving the functionality of the plugin that powers sprint is planned on November 10-12 to explore a dedicated volunteer program for the Training Team, similar to the Deputy program in the Community profiles now display activity from the WordPress GitHub organization.The Test Team shared results of the tenth Full Site Editing (FSE) Outreach Program: Pattern Party. Answers from the third round of questions from the FSE Outreach Program are now out!The Docs Team is consulting with independent legal experts to explore whether there are issues with having Gutenberg (which is dual-licensed GPL + MPL) coexist with other contents in WordPress (our documentation has a CC0 license and the code is GPL). The Themes Team shared a recap of work happening on automation and improvement processes for the WordPress Themes directory. The Team also shared a p2 post highlighting the performance impact of jQuery on WordPress themes.The Marketing Team participated in a contributor ladder workshop to help plan their future activities.The feature recap of the WordPress Translation Day 2021 is out from the Polyglots and Marketing teams, with the results of the Polyglots appreciation nominations 2021.

Sign up for the Polyglots monthly newsletter, if you haven’t already.

Feedback/Testing requests: Deadline for redesigned Gutenberg landing page is November 5, 2021

The Design Team is working on redesigning the landing page, and has already shared a prototypeThe team has also shared a few other concepts where they have requested feedback from contributors:Site Editing iA Concepts: Part1 and Part 2Block theme switching conceptsVersion 18.5 of WordPress for iOS and Android are now available for testing!The Accessibility Team is requesting feedback on a new Gutenberg Pull request that announces formatting changes or screen readers.

Share your feedback on the new Gutenberg landing page design in Trac or by commenting on the blog post by November 5, 2021.

Keep an eye out for WordCamp Spain, Sâo Paulo, and Taiwan 2021

We had several WordPress events in October, and several more to look forward to the rest of the year:

We’re seeking a new host city for WordCamp US 2022.WordCamp Europe 2022 has extended its call for organizers.WordCamp Italia 2021 was held online on October 22-23, 2021. The event had 23 speakers, 17 sponsors, and more than 1,000 registrants. Check out its YouTube channel to watch the event replay.Another highlight of the month was WordCamp Nicaragua 2021 which was held on October 8-9, 2021.The #WPDiversity working group of the Community Team organized an Allyship workshop for event organizers on October 28. Sign up now for the diversity events planned by the team for November! A two-day contributor event focused on Learn WordPress, took place on October 29 and 31, 2021. There was also another contributor day on October 8, 2021, which involved working groups across the board, from accessibility to user testing.The Test Team organized the following Hallway Hangouts this week—check out their recaps:Pattern Party Testing Walkthrough 5.9 Go/No go, Site Editor Internal Audit, and more

Don’t miss the following upcoming online WordCamps: WordCamp Spain 2021, WordCamp Sâo Paulo 2021, and WordCamp Taiwan 2021!

Have a story that we could include in the next ‘Month in WordPress’ post? Let us know by filling out this form.

The following folks contributed to October 2021’s Month in WordPress: @anjanavasan, @harishanker, @rmartinezduque, @callye, @webcommsat, and chaion07.

Leave a Comment