This Month in WordPress: February News Roundup

This Month in WordPress: February News Roundup

There’s hardly been time to stay idle in February. WordPress 6.2 is now just around the corner, and WooCommerce’s latest update thrilled us with new exciting features. On top of that, WordCamp Asia 2023 and the upcoming WordPress Community Summit are bound to keep the community engaged.

WordPress 6.2 Update

Beta Releases

The first WordPress 6.2 Beta was launched on February 7, 2023. Now, we are already on the fourth beta version, with refined features and bug fixes.

We have an article covering the new features of WordPress 6.2. To recap, here are some of the highlights:

  • Browse mode. Quickly preview the templates and template parts with the new browse mode UI. This saves you time as you don’t have to open each template or the sidebar to switch templates.
  • Style book. See how the overall look of your website changes with the style book. It shows all the elements’ styles, from text and media files to block designs and widgets.
  • Distraction-free mode. The distraction-free mode disables the block toolbar and all the other panels on the editor, letting you focus on writing the content.
  • Improved navigation block UI. Add navigation items and drag and drop them to rearrange your menu from the block settings panel. This way, you won’t have to fiddle with the navigation block directly on the editor canvas.
  • Openverse integration. Easily insert public-licensed images to your content from the Openverse menu on the editor. You won’t have to manually download and reupload images for your content.

WordPress 6.2 will be significant as it will mark the end of Gutenberg phase two. The site editor is now more stable than ever and ready to take website customization to the next level.

Live Product Demo

Keeping with the WordPress 6.2 release timeline, the team will hold a live product demo on March 2, 2023. They will review the new features in a live Zoom call, and the attendees will be able to ask the team any questions about the new release.

The call will let end users discover how the new features will make their work easier. In contrast, developers will learn of new opportunities to create more advanced WordPress customizations, plugins, and themes.

The product demo call will be recorded for future on-demand viewing.

WooCommerce Update

WooCommerce launched version 7.4 on February 14, 2023, containing 274 commits in the WooCommerce Core and 220 commits in WooCommerce Blocks. Some interesting new features include:

  • Local pickup. The latest version of WooCommerce adds the new Local Pickup block, allowing your buyers to pick up the purchased item from a pick-up location. This new feature has a dedicated admin screen to manage the pickup locations, making it easier for sellers to offer deliveries to buyers.
The WooCommerce Local Pickup block on the checkout page
  • Link to add reviews on the All Products block. The All Products block now has a link for visitor reviews. The link will appear on products that don’t have any reviews yet, helping you to get more social proof from your buyers and build trust with your audience.
The WooCommerce All Products block, showing the "add review" link
  • Editable cart and checkout button. The Proceed to Checkout and Place Order buttons on the cart and checkout blocks are now editable, allowing you to be creative with your calls to action.
The place order button on the checkout page in the editing mode

In addition to the new WooCommerce 7.4, the developers are already working on WooCommerce 7.5; its beta has already been released. The next WooCommerce update is scheduled for March 14, 2023, and we can’t wait to see what the team has in store.

WordCamp and Community News

WordCamp Asia 2023

WordCamp Asia 2023 closing ceremony
Photo by Atsushi Ando

WordCamp Asia 2023 took place between February 17-19, 2023, and it was the first flagship WordCamp in Asia. Over 1,200 people attended the event – most from neighboring countries like India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Indonesia.

Like all WordCamps, WordCamp Asia kicked off with Contributor Day. The attendees got together and worked on various WordPress projects. This was a great opportunity for contributors to meet and talk.

During the other conference days, more than 50 speakers discussed topics ranging from mental health and productivity to WordPress contributions. They shared many inspiring stories from within the community.

During the closing, Taipei was announced as the next host for WordCamp Asia 2024. If you live in a nearby country and want to attend a flagship WordCamp, we recommend blocking off some time in your calendar in the next year.

Interested in learning more? We have a dedicated blog post that rounds up WordCamp Asia 2023.

WordCamp Europe 2023

Want to get involved with WordCamp Europe 2023? The organizers are calling for photographers and media partners to join the next flagship event.

If you have experience capturing moments at events, apply as a photographer to immortalize the WordCamp Europe 2023. Or, apply as a media partner to spread the WordCamp news to the community.

Note that applications are accepted until March 31, 2023.

The event will take place between June 8-10, 2023, in Athens, Greece. General tickets are up for grabs if you just want to attend the event as a regular attendee.

WordPress Community Summit

WordPress Community Summit gathers WordPress open-source project contributors to improve collaboration and workflow within the community.

The event will take place on August 22-23, 2023, just before WordCamp US, and cover various submitted topics, like:

  • Improving multilingualism in the WordPress community.
  • Improving cross-team communication and collaboration.
  • Adopting an accessible-first approach in WordPress.
  • Streamlining work for Gutenberg components that are already in the WordPress core.

If you’ve been involved in any WordPress project and are keen to attend with other contributors, the application to attend the WordPress Community Summit is now open. Be sure to apply, as this is an invitation-only event.

We like to test and review WordPress plugins, themes, and other tools and recommend them to our readers. This month, we have five WordPress extensions we want to talk about:

Bibimbap WordPress theme

Bibimbap WordPress theme demo content

The new block-based theme from Automattic focuses on restaurant websites. This delicious theme has five custom block patterns for menu pages, featured dishes, and restaurant information. This isn’t a lot, but the available options are enough to kickstart a restaurant website without designing page elements from scratch.

The custom home template utilizes a cover block to display a hero image with contact information and a call-to-action button. This lets you have an engaging homepage design from the get-go. All you have to do is customize the image, text, and color scheme, and your site is ready for launch.

Web3Press WordPress NFT plugin

Web3Press lets you earn money by publishing your blog posts to the blockchain as NFTs. It adds a simple interface in the editor to mint your content as a Writing NFT, and it will embed a mini NFT widget to let readers purchase your article.

Essential Blocks for Gutenberg plugin

The Essential Blocks plugin control panel

Add over 40 new WordPress blocks using the Essential Blocks for Gutenberg plugin to level up your website design and site functionality.

The Instagram feed, social icons, and social share blocks help you integrate your site and social media accounts. Meanwhile, post carousel, toggle content, and parallax slider blocks add interactivity elements without installing a bundle of plugins or coding from scratch.

Fluent Forms plugin

This plugin has pre-designed templates that let you quickly create a contact form. Its comprehensive features, such as conditional logic, multi-step form format, and drag-and-drop form builder, make Fluent Forms one of the most flexible contact form plugins.

Whether you want a simple subscription or a conversational form with conditional logic, this plugin has you covered.

TasteWP Chrome extension

TasteWP Chrome extension

TasteWP just launched a Chrome extension that detects if the website you’re visiting is built on WordPress. It will also tell you what theme and plugins the site is using.

You can use it to take inspiration from websites with fascinating design and user interactivity. TasteWP will tell you whether the website uses WordPress. Simply look at the extension icon – if it turns full color, the site runs on WordPress.

The extension will also display some notable plugins used by the website. This will be useful to know how the website makes some design elements work, like an image slider or lightbox.

Identified themes and plugins will feature links to their homepages. This way, you can quickly create a TasteWP sandbox to try any of the detected plugins.

What Can We Anticipate for March?

February was a busy month on all fronts. WordPress shows no signs of slowing down, with WordPress 6.2 development still being the main focus of the community for March.

The upcoming walkthrough chat with the team will let us watch a demonstration from the experts themselves. And with three Release Candidate versions coming, we will get better acquainted with the next major update, too.

We expect plenty more updates for WooCommerce and Gutenberg that will enhance the WordPress experience even more.

The author

Leonardus Nugraha

Leo is a Content Specialist and WordPress contributor. Armed with his experience as a WordPress Release Co-Lead and Documentation Team Representative, he loves sharing his knowledge to help people build successful websites. Follow him on LinkedIn.