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Jetpack Breaking Off Into Separate Plugins, In-Person Card Payments in WooCommerce 🗞️ November 2021 WordPress News w/ CodeinWP

📆  This is the November 2021 edition of “This Month in WordPress with CodeinWP.” 

It’s time for another round of news stories and interesting goings-on from the WordPress ecosystem. And there’s a lot to talk about!

First off, there are some interesting developments from team Jetpack. In short, some of their services are going full standalone. Then we’ll talk about what’s happening with the upcoming WordPress 5.9 – there’s always something.

Finally, we’ll show you how WooCommerce now allows in-person credit card payments. Plus, a look at a recent hit piece on WordPress published by The Next Web – not that there’s anything particularly interesting about that one.

November 2021 WordPress News with CodeinWP

Jetpack is breaking off some features into separate plugins

Jetpack has long been known as the “all in one” WordPress plugin. You installed the one single Jetpack plugin from WordPress.org and then you got all the features.

Sure, those features were modular, so you could disable the ones that you didn’t want. But this all-in-one approach still led to a lot of “bloat accusations” and made it difficult for people who only wanted a very specific feature.

What’s more, it also made it difficult for Jetpack users to discover all of them in the first place. This is, in part, why Jetpack tried injecting its features into the WordPress plugin search interface in 2019, though that quickly got rolled back after complaints.

Now, though, Jetpack seems to be moving in the opposite direction and breaking out some of its features into separate plugins.

This month, Jetpack split off its commercial backup feature into a new standalone plugin called, unsurprisingly, Jetpack Backup. Now, users can access just the backup service without needing to install the full Jetpack plugin.

This isn’t the first feature to be separate from the core Jetpack plugin, though.

In April 2021, Automattic launched Jetpack Boost, a standalone WordPress performance plugin, rather than building those features into the core Jetpack plugin as they have for other features. And in 2020, Automattic had already relaunched Jetpack Search as a separate service.

So – is this the end of the all-in-one Jetpack as we know it? Well, probably not. You still can access the backup functionality via the core plugin – that’s not going away (for now).

But in terms of Automattic’s monetization strategy for Jetpack, it seems like they’re trying to make it easier for users to pick and choose exactly which options users want, without having to install the whole Jetpack plugin.

Jetpack Backup

WordPress 5.9 is bringing even more Full-Site Editing

Here’s a phrase you’re going to see in every major WordPress release going forward:

“Full-Site Editing.”

Full-Site Editing is the idea of using the Gutenberg editor to build your entire WordPress site, rather than just as a content editor for your posts and pages.

WordPress 5.8 launched a new template editing mode and theme blocks, such as the Query Loop block. WordPress 5.9 will build on those improvements with even more Full-Site Editing features.

One of the biggest focuses is navigation menus. However, this focus was pared down a bit because of a lack of testing time. Originally, WordPress 5.9 was going to improve the Navigation block and introduce a new Navigation Editor. However, now it will only focus on the block and leave the editor to future releases:

  • Navigation block – you can place this anywhere in the block editor.
  • Navigation Editor – this will eventually replace the admin screen at Appearance → Menus.

Other likely changes include:

  • Improvements to block patterns, including expanding patterns to support templates.
  • Enhancements to block themes, which will let you design your entire theme using the editor.

There’s one thing the core team isn’t really focusing on for Gutenberg, though – the actual writing experience. Justin Ferriman and Joe Casabona had some interesting thoughts, but it’s pretty clear at this point that writing and blogging is not the focus for Gutenberg.

Is that a good thing? Well, it probably depends on whether you’re a blogger or a site builder, but WordPress has definitely left its blogging roots behind.

The first beta for WordPress 5.9 is scheduled for November 16, with a tentative release date of December 14.

WordPress 5.9 and Gutenberg

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WooCommerce now allows in-person card payments

WooCommerce stores can now accept in-person card payments via the WooCommerce mobile app, the WooCommerce Payments service, and the BBPOS Chipper (which is what will actually physically “swipe” the cards).

Currently, the feature only works for orders that were already placed online. That is, it’s essentially a tool to accept payment during local pickups. However, it’s conceivable that this could be used more broadly in the future.

This is yet another entry in WooCommerce’s shift to offering a more “SaaS-like” experience to compete with the all-in-one simplicity of platforms like Shopify.

You could already access your store via the official WooCommerce mobile apps, process payments with WooCommerce Payments service, calculate taxes with the WooCommerce Tax service, and calculate/print shipping labels with the WooCommerce Shipping service. Oh, and not to forget, you can also host your store on the WordPress.com eCommerce plan if you don’t want to mess around with the technical details.

This SaaS’ification trend is sure to continue as WooCommerce builds features and acquires tools to compete with Shopify.

Note – this feature is currently only available for stores in the USA.

Storyblok took aim at WordPress, with The Next Web as the hitman

The Next Web got some buzz in the WordPress space after publishing what was essentially a hit piece on WordPress.

Well, that’s fine – people are allowed to dislike WordPress.

But what got people in a tizzy is that the post was sponsored by Storyblok (a WordPress competitor) and exclusively interviewed people who worked at or were closely associated with Storyblok.

The Next Web did note that the post was “brought to [us] by Storyblok,” but not until the very end of the post. Would people have read the post more critically if the sponsored notice had been at the beginning of the article? That answer is probably a “yes.”

Maybe this would’ve gone over better if they had just sent everyone some headphones?

That sums up our November 2021 WordPress news roundup. Anything we missed?

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

 

Layout and presentation by Karol K.

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