This is the January 2020 edition of “This Month in WordPress with CodeinWP.”
Hi everybody, welcome to 2020! This is our first roundup of the year, which means that we’re back to work and the holidays are over. Most of our team took the last two weeks off, while some of us alternated work with free days. Anyway, this period was fun and short, if you ask me.
What you’re about to read in this post is the most important news of the month, many of the stories being wrap-ups, conclusions or proposals for what’s coming next. In our roundup, we have the WordPress projects set for 2020, a new maintenance release, the evolution of the WordPress block editor (Gutenberg), a structure for block-based themes, and the launch of Bluehost’s new WordPress marketplace
But that’s definitely not it. We have even more news to share with you, so scroll down to enter the new decade informed.
Last but not least, the CodeinWP team wishes you a happy and successful new year!
January 2020 WordPress News with CodeinWP
Let’s break the ice with Josepha Haden’s wrap-up of the progress the core developers made on the projects set for 2019 and a recap of the plans that the team proposed for another year ahead. To sum it up, out of nine primary goals set for 2019, the WordPress-ers only managed to complete two. The remaining projects will be taken care of in the next twelve months.
In 2020, you can expect three new major versions of WordPress, that are planned to bring us a navigation menu block, custom block-aware content areas for themes, widget areas to support blocks, automatic updates (for plugins, themes, and core changes), and a block directory search and install feature.
Since the last WordPress major release that happened last month, two new minor ones went out up to this point. First, it was WordPress 5.3.1 which, apart from security issues, brought with itself alternate color scheme changes on secondary buttons and added smooth scroll animations in the Twenty Twenty default theme.
Then, WordPress 5.3.2 was released, which solved a few vital issues encountered in the previous version. This marks the final update of the WordPress 5.3 cycle, with the next major release following in March.
So it’s been a year since Gutenberg saw the daylight for the very first time. Some of the users that initially thought the block editor was redundant and simply refused to accept it in their lives changed their opinion to some degree. Others still hate it. And, of course, there are these people who don’t care if it’s blocks or TinyMCE.
Chris Hughes analyzed the evolution of Gutenberg throughout the year and put everything together in an editorial on WP Tavern. It has personal insights, comparisons, facts and numbers, and helpful resources. If you look at the comments, opinions are still mixed and the controversy goes on.
WordPress theme developers, this might become your main concern for this new year. Riad Benguella prepared a document that shows you how themes built with blocks in mind should work. This is for sure not the final form of these guidelines, but it’s probably the start of a new era in WordPress theme development.
In the document, you will find the current state of the block-based themes in full-site editing mode (that we talked about in one of our previous roundups), the way a theme should be structured following Gutenberg’s new challenges. Check out this post to see the proposed theme structure, which doesn’t seem to differ much from the current one.
Right at the end of December, Bluehost announced the release of a theme and plugin marketplace in collaboration with MOJO Marketplace. This feature entails providing Bluehost users with access to a collection of WordPress products via the Bluehost dashboard.
The Bluehost Marketplace will showcase third-party themes and plugins, and everyone can join to sell products via this new platform. Right now, the marketplace is open only to theme authors but plugin developers will be able to contribute soon, too. Of course, not any theme can make the cut to Bluehost Marketplace, it has to meet a few guidelines first.
Also in December, Bluehost announced its expansion to India, offering the full-service package including products, support, local currency, and a new website.
Great Articles From Around The Web
Yoast became the villain of a controversial Black Friday advertising campaign for displaying their banner on millions of WordPress dashboards around the world. Evidently, people lashed out in anger and Yoast right away released an updated plugin version without the banner. But people do not forget.
From now on, theme authors can add advanced color control in the customizer, as the Theme Review Team just announced the launch of the alpha color picker. The package includes rgba colors with opacity.
If you’re looking for new blocks, ShareABlock could be one of your stops. Jeffrey Carandang created this site where WordPress users can download various block designs and templates. If you want to share your own custom block, you can just sign up and upload it so other people can use it on their sites.
Google has rolled out a new update regarding the way the local companies are displayed in SERPs. Through this update, Google tries to understand better what each query means and associate it to the most relevant local businesses, even if the business in question has not included that specific query in its description or name.
Gutenberg received the last updates of the year this December. The team solved lots of bugs and issues but also added new features in version 7.1 of the plugin. These features include a pop-up welcome modal, drag-and-drop featured images, table captions, enhanced multi-block selection, and alignment for the navigation block.
So it seems that the slides Matt Mullenweg used for his ‘State of the Word’ presentation at WCUS were made with Gutenberg. Here’s more on the design process (plus, you’ve just found another good use for the block editor).
If you’re interested in learning SEO, you can register for SEO Bootcamp, a free event that will take place on January 21-23. Rebecca Gill will host it online for you three days in a row, with intensive SEO training and live Q&A.
WordCamp Asia (February 21-23) has started announcing its speakers at the end of November and it’s currently at the seventh wave of entries. We’re happy and proud to mention that our colleague Hardeep Asrani will be one of them.
Black Friday is long gone, I know. But companies have drawn interesting conclusions after the event and are sharing with us useful facts and insights. Here are Jilt’s takeaways about email marketing that might help you one day.
Now let’s focus on what’s coming next for us in terms of web design. WPMUDEV made a nice list of the most likely to materialize predictions for 2020. The guys at Elementor compiled one, too.
Getting back to SEO, here’s what Search Engine Journal thinks will be part of the next chapter in this field. Here are 10 SEO trends that we are likely to bump into in 2020.
And here’s an interesting ‘confession’ of a developer who took the challenge to build a WordPress site without touching his coding skills. WordPress for normal users as seen through the eyes of a developer… that’s something exciting to read.
That wraps up our January 2020 WordPress news agenda. Anything we missed?