February was an exciting month for the WordPress community. The highlight of this month was the first-ever flagship WordCamp in Asia. Next to that, the community is also preparing for WordPress 6.2, the first major release of 2023.
But that’s not all the news in February! Read on to learn more about:
- WordCamp Asia 2023
- Gutenberg releases
- WordPress 6.2 beta 2 release
- WordPress integrates with Openverse
- WordPress.com tests new blocks for generating text and images using AI
WordCamp Asia 2023
WordCamp Asia took place in Bangkok, Thailand from 17-19 February 2023. After almost a 3-year delay due to COVID-19, the long-awaited conference finally happened.
WordCamp Asia kicked off with the usual Contributor Day where contributors and enthusiasts sat together in one place and worked on improving WordPress. The second and third day of the conference was packed with many insightful talks, networking events, and workshops.
WordCamp Asia 2023 marks an important milestone for the WordPress community in Asia. This conference is the first flagship WordCamp taking place in the region. There were many smaller WordCamps held throughout the region, but never an event of this size.
The event brought together contributors, enthusiasts, and many companies in the WordPress space from all over Asia and around the world. Many great conversations took place, new connections were established, and new friends were made. This gathering also marked the beginning of a new era for the WordPress community in Asia. Thanks to the event, many companies would pay more attention to the Asia market, as well as WordPress users in this region.
Bluehost is proud to be one of the sponsors for WordCamp Asia. We were delighted to see many enthusiasts visiting our booth and talking with us during the event. Yoast, which is a part of the NewFold Digital family, also sponsored and participated in the event.
The Gutenberg team released two Gutenberg versions in February.
Gutenberg 15.1 was released on February 8. This release introduced the integration of Openverse through the Media tab, the addition of custom CSS per block via the styles sidebar and theme.json, and the facility to add shadow presets in global styles. The highlight of this release is the integration of Openverse through the Media tab, as it will allow users to quickly retrieve and use royalty-free images right within the editor.
Gutenberg 15.2 was released on February 22. This release introduced many frequently-requested improvements to the template editing experience. It added support for revisions when editing templates and template parts, making it easier for users to make sense of the impact of the changes. Next to that, accessibility improvements and additional control support for blocks are also notable additions.
WordPress 6.2 beta 2 release
WordPress 6.2 beta 2 is now available for testing. The release of beta 2 signifies that WordPress 6.2 is coming close.
WordPress 6.2 beta 2 release contains fixes for roughly 71 issues found in Beta 1. It also introduced all the new features and improvements from Gutenberg 15.1, which were not included in Beta 1. One of the highlights of WordPress 6.2 beta 1 was the removal of the Beta label from the Site Editor.
WordPress integrates with Openverse
Openverse is a website that provides a wide variety of openly licensed media assets for free.
WordPress 6.2 will include an integration with Openverse, which users can find in the Media tab in the block inserter. The Openverse integration allows users to quickly insert free, openly-licensed media into their content, right within the editor. However, the way the integration work is in need of revision.
WordPress core contributor Paul Biron confirmed that images are hotlinked when first inserted using the Openverse integration. But hotlinking is considered a bad practice, as it uses another site’s bandwidth to display the asset. Next to that, hotlinked images can be renamed or removed from the source site, which can negatively impact the sites displaying those images.
After many core contributors expressed concern over how the integration work, the feature is getting some last-minute changes. Instead of hotlinking images, those images will first be uploaded to the media library before they are inserted into the content.
WordPress.com tests new blocks for generating text and images
WordPress.com collaborated with OpenAI – the creator of ChatGPT and DALL-E, to develop two new blocks for generating images and text using AI. These blocks are currently in testing.
To use the image generator, users need to put in a prompt in a simple UI and the block generates four images. As for the paragraph generator, the block will automatically generate new paragraphs based on your existing content. But it doesn’t have the option to allow users to generate text using prompts.
Sarah Gooding from WP Tavern took these two blocks for a spin. In their testing, Sarah found that the image generator didn’t give convincing results. It was also difficult to get acceptable results without using the right prompts, which might not be easy for most people. On the other hand, the image generator did a decent job. But it might lack flexibility since it doesn’t allow users to generate text by crafting prompts.
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