The Month in WordPress: December 2019

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By Angela Jin As 2019 draws to a close and we look ahead to another exciting year let’s take a moment to review what the WordPress community achieved in December.

WordPress 5.3.1 and 5.3.2 Releases

The WordPress 5.3.1 security and maintenance release was announced on December 13. It features 46 fixes and enhancements. This version corrects four security issues in WordPress versions 5.3 and earlier. Shortly afterwards, WordPress 5.3.2 was released, addressing a couple high severity Trac tickets, and includes 5 fixes and enhancements, so you’ll want to upgrade. You can read more about these releases in the announcements for 5.3.1 and 5.3.2.

Update on the Nine Core Projects for 2019

At the end of 2018, @matt announced the nine projects that would be the main focus areas for Core development in the next year. Have we made progress? Yes! @chanthaboune posted a full update on the team’s work. In brief, two of the projects have been completed and shipped in major releases, four are targeted for release in versions 5.4 and 5.5 of WordPress, and the remaining three have seen significant progress but are not yet slated for completion. These will continue to see progress throughout 2020.

Want to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

WordPress Major Release Calendar

The Core team has published a tentative release calendar for 2020 and 2021. This is intended to provide the community with more information about what lies ahead.

The schedule is considered tentative because there are always variables that could affect these plans — not least that the Core team may need more time to finish the work planned for a release.

Initial Documentation for Block-Based WordPress Themes

The Gutenberg team has started working on the initial documentation for what block-based themes might look like, marking a significant change in the way themes are conceptualized. With full-site editing now a realistic goal for WordPress, themes will certainly look different in the future.

Want to help shape the future of block-based themes in WordPress Core? Following the Core team blog is a good start! You can also join in on the discussion on this blog post, or help out with the work to create a demo space for experimentation with the future of themes. As always, contribution to Gutenberg on GitHub is open to everyone! Join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group to see what other people are saying, and contribute your own thoughts.

Gutenberg Updates Abound

It’s been a busy month for Gutenberg! Version 7.0, including a new navigation block, was announced on November 27. This was followed by version 7.1, announced on December 11; it includes 161 merged pull requests that offer a fresh UI to new users, an option to switch between edit and navigation modes, captions for the table block, and many other enhancements.

Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Arrival of the BuddyPress Beta Tester Plugin

On December 2, the BuddyPress Beta Tester plugin was added to the WordPress.org plugins directory. This feature is a great way for the WordPress community to provide early feedback on releases.

You can download the plugin now. If you find that something is not working as expected during your beta tests, let the BuddyPress team know by submitting a ticket on the Development Tracker or posting a new topic in the BuddyPress support forums.​​

An Update on the Block Directory in the WordPress Editor

The Design team received lots of excellent feedback on the early concepts for the Block Directory. This feedback was incorporated into a Version 1 update to the #block-directory project. The Block Directory is to be included in WordPress 5.5, which is slated for August 2020. To learn more about the Block Directory, check out this announcement post and help out by sharing your feedback.

Want to get involved in building the Block Directory? Follow the Design team blog. If you have a block you’d like to include in the directory you can submit it following the information here.

Further Reading:

Guidelines for the Block Directory have been drafted; the team is actively working on them now.The Global Community Sponsorship Program for 2020 has been announced. The Theme Review Team has published a reminder for developers about the proper way to communicate with reviewers.The Community Team is in the process of selecting new team reps.The WordPress meetup program crossed the 800-group mark this month and includes groups from more than 100 countries.The team that helped to create the 2019 State of the Word slide deck shared how the slides were created using Gutenberg, powered by the Slides plugin. Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

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