📆 This is the November 2023 edition of “This Month in WordPress with CodeinWP.”
Hey, WordPress fans.
We are back with the latest batch of WordPress news and stories from the past month.
Over the past 30 days or so, there was plenty to talk about, with debate over the Ollie theme’s onboarding process, a new website showcase at WordPress.org, WordPress 6.4 release candidates, live previews for plugins at WordPress.org, and lots more.
Let’s get to all of the stories from the last month:
November 2023 WordPress News with CodeinWP
WordPress.org relaunches website showcase (now powered by blocks)
For a long time now, WordPress.org has had a showcase to feature different sites that are built using the WordPress software.
However, over time, the showcase started to show its age and look a little outdated.
WordPress.org just launched a brand new showcase page with a modern design powered by blocks.
Personally, I find it to be a huge upgrade over the previous system.
Visitors can browse a list of sites, search by keyword, or filter by tags, categories, and “flavors*”.
*The WordPress “flavors” are “WordPress,” “WordPress Enterprise,” and “WordPress multisite.” I don’t find the term “flavors” to be very intuitive, but it’s clear enough when you expand the drop-down menu.
The individual site listing page includes a description, desktop and mobile screenshots, as well as some basic metadata.
Currently, there are around 100 sites in the showcase, but you’re allowed to submit other sites (as long as you’re logged in to your WordPress.org account).
However, there are some submission criteria, and WordPress.org notes that “Only a relatively small number of submissions are eventually added to the WordPress Showcase.”
If you want to see some other sites that use WordPress, we have a collection of 100+ famous brands using WordPress.
Ollie theme launches on WordPress.org without custom onboarding
Over the past few weeks, one of the biggest debates in the WordPress community has been the Ollie block-based theme and its custom theme onboarding system.
Here’s the short version:
- Ollie is a brand new FSE/block-based theme from Mike McAlister, formerly of Array Themes (before Array Themes was acquired by WP Engine).
- To help users more easily set up their sites, Ollie included a built-in custom onboarding system that got pretty universally positive reviews.
- Because the onboarding system was contained in the theme itself instead of in a companion plugin, it went against the rules at the WordPress.org theme directory. This is why themes like Neve have to put their starter site import tools in separate companion plugins.
- Because Ollie’s system was so much better than the native WordPress system, some people were pushing to make an exception for the Ollie theme (or for changing the rules entirely for block themes).
- The theme review team eventually decided against making an exception or changing the rules.
- After trying to work with the theme review team to find a way to include the onboarding system in the theme itself, Mike eventually released the Ollie theme on WordPress.org without the onboarding system (though it is available via a separate plugin).
Again, that’s the short version…
Some people pointed out that full-site editing themes need all the help they can get because they are not very popular (or very intuitive for casual users). There was even talk of finding a way to add Ollie’s solution to the WordPress core so that other themes could use it.
However, I also understand that making exceptions to rules opens up all kinds of future issues for the theme review team, so I sympathize with them not wanting to go that route. If you give one theme an exception, every other developer will think their theme also deserves an exception.
Eventually, Mike gave up and placed the onboarding system in a separate plugin from the Ollie theme on WordPress.org.
While the onboarding system is available in a plugin, that plugin is not listed in the WordPress.org plugin directory yet because of the lengthy plugin review queue (which we talked about in last month’s news post).
All is not lost, though! You can still access the onboarding system by downloading the Ollie Dash plugin from the Ollie website or from its GitHub listing.
Is that a good experience for new users who want to try a block theme? Absolutely not! But it’s the way things are…for now, at least.
And once the Ollie onboarding plugin passes the plugin review process at WordPress.org, things should be easier because users will be able to install it directly from their WordPress dashboards.
You may also be interested in:
- 20 of the Best WordPress Black Friday Deals in 2023
- WordPress 6.2 Released, Gutenberg Phase 3 Features, WordPress Site Building Challenge 🗞️ April 2023 WordPress News w/ CodeinWP
- Networking and Community Building Opportunities at WordCamp Europe 2023
That sums up our November 2023 WordPress news roundup. Anything we missed?
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