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Welcome to the last edition of our WordPress news roundup for 2022. As we come to a close on the year, here is a roundup of the WordPress news you may have missed in December.

From State of the Word 2022, new Gutenberg releases to ChatGPT creates a working WordPress plugin. Read on to learn more about:

  1. State of the Word 2022
  2. Gutenberg releases
  3. WordPress.com launches new newsletter product
  4. ChatGPT creates a working WordPress plugin
  5. Block Protocol announces new WordPress plugin

State of the Word 2022

State of the Word is WordPress’s annual keynote, delivered by Matt Mullenweg – the project’s co-founder. This event is to assess and reflect on the progress of the WordPress project, and for the project leads to talk about what will happen in the next year.

This year, the event was held live on December 15, 2022, in New York. The event was also live-streamed for everyone in the community to join. 

If you missed the event, or if you’re interested in knowing more about what’s coming in the next phases of WordPress, check out the recording on WordPress’s official Youtube channel. We will also write a recap of what was discussed during the event on Bluehost blog. Stay tuned for that!

Gutenberg releases

The cold and festive month of December didn’t stop the Gutenberg team from releasing new versions of the plugin. Continuing with the 2 week-release cycles, the team brought us Gutenberg 14.7 and 14.8

Gutenberg 14.7: This update was released on December 7. It introduces a new experimental tabbed sidebar that separates appearance and settings controls, making it easier to work with blocks with many controls. It also adds colors to help identify some block types in the list view, and improvements to the Page List block to make it easier to manage page links in your content.

Gutenberg 14.8: This update was released on December 21, just a few days before Christmas. The highlight of this update is the major overhaul of the Site Editor interface and the new ‘browser mode’. With these changes, it is now easier to navigate through templates and template parts. Besides that, the update brings a new ‘Style Book’ feature, which is an extension of the Styles panel in the Site Editor. It also brings feature parity with the WordPress customizer by adding support for custom CSS rules.

WordPress.com launches new newsletter product

WordPress.com introduces WordPress.com Newsletter – a new streamlined product for scheduling and publishing newsletters using WordPress. It works the same way as if you use an email marketing platform to send newsletters. The big difference is that users will use the block editor to create email templates within the WordPress environment. 

If you’re familiar with using the block editor, then you might find creating newsletters in the block editor even easier than using a newsletter campaign editor. Those editors behave similarly to the block editor, but they tend to be clunky to use. Directly publishing from WordPress.com also eliminates the need to transfer the content to a newsletter service and reformat it.

ChatGPT creates a working plugin

ChatGPT is taking the world by storm since its release in November 2022. ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that can deliver information and hold conversations through a few simple prompts by users. It is developed by OpenAI and is based on GPT-3.5. What’s impressive is that the content and dialogue generated by ChatGPT feel very natural, as if you’re chatting with a real human instead of a bot.

Many people are fascinated by the potential of AI systems like ChatGPT to change or help with the process of creating things. WordPress developer Johnathon Williams even asked ChatGPT to create a WordPress plugin.

In general, creating a working WordPress plugin requires you to have a certain level of technical know-how and expertise. Williams demonstrated that, with some expert guidance, ChatGPT can drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to create a WordPress plugin.

Theoretically speaking, with additional training on plugin creation and best practices, ChatGPT could be utilized by people of all skill levels to extend WordPress in many ways. Of course, that’s hypothetical and the technology hasn’t reached that point yet. If it does come to a point where plugins can be easily generated using AI models like ChatGPT, WordPress will need to come up with solutions to prevent AI-generated plugins that don’t meet best practices from flocking to the theme directories.

Block Protocol announces new WordPress plugin

Block Protocol recently announced a new WordPress plugin coming in early 2023. Block Protocol is a project that launched in early 2022. It aims to build a universal block system that can be used cross-CMS. The project was created by the team at HASH – an open-source data, modeling, and simulation platform.

By now WordPress users are familiar with the Gutenberg blocks – the underlying technology that powers the block editor and full site editing. But there are other web applications that utilize a block-based system similar to Gutenberg. Block Protocol’s upcoming plugin will allow users to add new and interactive blocks to WordPress. However, these blocks must be compatible with Gutenberg, to begin with.

The plugin will give users access to the global registry of interoperable blocks. These include many non-Gutenberg blocks such as the timer block, countdown block, blocks for drawing, and more. These blocks will become available in the inserter on the right sidebar of the post editor.

Many WordPress enthusiasts and developers are excited about the opportunity Block Protocol will bring to the platform. WordPress users will get the best of both worlds with the new upcoming plugin. They’ll have the opportunity to combine Gutenberg blocks with other blocks to create unique and stunning websites.

Stay up to date with all the latest WordPress news with Bluehost. And if you want to take your WordPress website to a new level, sign up for a Bluehost hosting package or our Blue Sky service to get in-depth WordPress assistance today.

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