📆 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.
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 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.
You may also be interested in:
- WordPress 6.3, WordCamp Dhaka Cancelled, Plugin Vulnerabilities 🗞️ August 2023 WordPress News w/ CodeinWP
- WordPress 6.4, Elementor Pro Pricing Changes, “Woo” Rebranding 🗞️ December 2023 WordPress News w/ CodeinWP
- WordPress 6.2 Released, Gutenberg Phase 3 Features, WordPress Site Building Challenge 🗞️ April 2023 WordPress News w/ CodeinWP
That sums up our November 2021 WordPress news roundup. Anything we missed?
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