Welcome back to the 34th edition of The Lab Report!
Wait, a newsletter two weeks in a row? What is this, 2022?
Yeah, we’re back.
Lots to discuss this week, so let’s dive right in.
🐬 WordPress 6.2 released this week
I’m sure you’ve seen WordPress 6.2 in your newsfeed a few times this week, so I won’t spend too much time on it.
If you want to see what’s new in this release, Kinsta put out a good quick video on it.
Of course most of the changes revolve around the Site Editor and block inspector.
If you’re using a traditional page builder, you won’t see much of a difference other than when writing blog posts.
While the upcoming version 6.3 is apparently going to bring more polish to the back-end, this release concludes Phase 2 of WordPress’ long term vision.
Phase 1 was about releasing Gutenberg, Phase 2 focused on Full Site Editing, and now Phase 3 will focus on collaboration.
They’ve already released their vision for collaboration here.
I’ll be honest, I was NOT expecting to potentially see a real-time Figma-like collab environment inside of WordPress.
I’m sure it’ll take three years to implement, but this is part of the reason why I’ve changed my tune about Gutenberg.
I used to be part of the “Gutenturd” camp.
I thought it was primitive/clunky and would never consider it over a page builder.
Now I see its merits.
Don’t get me wrong, I think traditional page builders will always have a place in the market.
Especially at the current moment, they offer a more cohesive editing experience.
But maybe for the first time ever, it’s starting to make sense to build along-side native WordPress.
You get access to all the block toolkits and plugins that are becoming available inside of one ecosystem (Cwicly is my fav), and you get access to any enhancements the WordPress team makes – like collaboration.
It’s still a long way from perfect, but it’s intriguing.
🧱 How do block themes even work?
Since we were just talking about the WP Site Editor, I’ll continue here.
Mike McAllister just released the beta version of his block theme Ollie.
I’m used to using block plugins in Gutenberg now, but I didn’t really understand how block themes would work.
I’ve always considered the native Gutenberg blocks too simple to build an actual website.
After playing around with the live demo of this theme, I have a much better understanding of how it works now.
It’s still not the most advanced editing experience ever, but that’s probably the point.
The theme takes care of stuff like spacing and typography styling behind the scenes, and you can put sections together either using pre-made patterns or Gutenberg’s Group, Columns, Row, and Stack elements.
I’m still sticking to my block toolkits, but even if you have no intention of ever using the theme, I think it’s worth playing around with if your curious about how block themes will work in the future.
🤥 Are plugins lying about their pricing discounts?
I came across an interesting article this week that looked at the pricing of a few popular WordPress plugins.
We’ve all seen the sites that seem to always show “50% off”, so Rob took a screenshot of a few sites every single day for six months (automated of course).
The sites included: Advanced Custom Fields, Elementor, Gravity Forms, Jetpack, LearnDash, Ninja Forms, Rank Math, Weglot, WS Form, WP Forms, WP All Import, WP Rocket, and Yoast SEO.
It turns out three of them use the markdown tactic on their pricing pages.
Claiming a discount, but never actually charging the full price within those six months.
You can check out the full article here.
💬 Closing Comments
That’s all for this week. Thanks for sticking around ’till the end!
If you ever want to discuss any of the topics in this newsletter, I usually post a dedicated thread each week inside of the NewPulse Labs Facebook group.
You can also find previous issues of The Lab Report over at https://newpulselabs.com/newsletter.