Brace yourself because we’re only a week away from the third major WordPress release of 2022. Excitement runs high in the community for WordPress 6.1 as final preparations are being made by the release team. This release expects many exciting new features, improvements, and enhancements. We can expect WordPress 6.1 to be shipped on November 1, 2022.
From updates about WordPress 6.1, hosted Woocommerce solution coming to WordPress.com, to a new paid plan from Jetpack social. Read on to learn more about what’s happening in the world of WordPress:
1. Gutenberg updates
2. WordPress 6.1 RC2 release
3. New style variation previews in the theme directory
4. Hosted Woocomerce solution coming to WordPress.com in 2023
5. WordPress.org removes active install growth data on the plugin directory
6. Jetpack Social announces a new paid plan
Following the two-week release cycle, the Gutenberg team released versions 14.2 and 14.3 of the plugin. Since Gutenberg 14 and 14.1 are the last Gutenberg releases committed to core for WordPress 6.1, we can expect features and improvements from 14.2 and 14.3 to make their way into WordPress 6.2 or later iterations of 6.1
Gutenberg 14.2 was deployed on September 28. This release comes with writing flow improvements, letter spacing of the headings, a more polished Calendar block, smarter autocompletion, and more.
Gutenberg 14.3 was released on October 12. It continues to build on recent writing flow improvements, improves on the drag and drop functionality when working with image block, adds an enhanced tools panel to the Styles interface, and more.
Check out the Gutenberg release posts for more detail about the changes coming to the plugin.
WordPress 6.1 RC2 release
On October 18, 2022, WordPress.org announced the second release candidate for WordPress 6.1. This is a key milestone in the 6.1 release cycle. In general, before every major WordPress release, the community can expect a few release candidates (RC) to be announced. This is when contributors and enthusiasts in the community set aside time to test and make sure the RCs perform according to WordPress standards.
If you’re interested in learning more about WordPress 6.1, the release squad published a product walkthrough video. Members of the release squad came together on Zoom for an informal walkthrough video where they introduced the new features in this release.
New style variations preview in the theme directory
WordPress.org theme previews just got a major improvement with the addition of Style Variation previews. The previews now appear on block themes that include style variations.
This is a great feature and is welcomed by the community. Style variations is one of the major features that come with the standardization of block theme. They provide users with a diverse set of options to choose from for their site design, allowing them to find one that aligns with their goals. The new style variations preview not only helps WordPress users in choosing themes but also helps to highlight the flexibility of modern WordPress themes.
Hosted Woocomerce solution coming to WordPress.com in 2023
WooCommerce CEO Paul Maiorana announced at WooSesh 2022 that WooCommerce is developing its own hosted solution in collaboration with hosting partners. WordPress.com will be the first to pilot the product in February 2023.
WooSesh is a live, virtual conference for WooCommerce store builders. Maiorana mentioned that the goal of the solution is to improve onboarding and retention with the following :
– WooCommerce will come pre-installed, activated, and hosted
– There will be a pre-packaged set of essential plugins
– Simplified onboarding that works with partners’ systems to improve conversion
– Competitive monthly price to reduce churn
– Co-marketing and revenue share with hosts
WooCommerce’s hosted solution will compete with other hosts that have recently launched their own products.
WordPress.org removes active install growth data on the plugin directory
Since the beginning of October, WordPress.org meta contributors had removed the active install growth charts for plugins. When users get to the plugin directory, they can no longer see this data. The reason for this removal is due to “insufficient data obfuscation”. However, there was no clear communication about this decision to plugin makers so the decision is getting backlash from the community.
The active install growth charts is a key metric that many developers rely on. Not only do developers need it for tracking, but it’s also a way to help users decide on which plugins to install by looking at how one performs over time.
Many plugin developers, contributors, and authors are urging WordPress.org’s decision-makers to bring the data back until a suitable alternative is available. They also urged WordPress’ leadership to open a discussion with the plugin developer community about what would help them and what would be needed of them in the creation of an alternative.
Jetpack Social plugin announces a new paid plan
Jetpack announced a new paid plan for its Jetpack Social plugin. According to this new plan, users will get 1,000 shares and re-shares per month, starting at $1/month for the first month and becoming $10/month after that.
Jetpack Social allows users to automate the sharing of posts from their website to social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Previously, users could share an unlimited number of posts automatically via their connected social media accounts. With the announcement of the paid plan, Jetpack has put a cap of 30 shares per month for users on the free plan.
It’s easy to imagine how quickly 30 shares can run out. For instance, if a post is shared on LinkedIn and Facebook, that counts as two shares already. This change will have an impact on creators and publishers who frequently share across social media platforms.
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