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Monthly WordPress Roundup: May 2024

Welcome to the WordPress Roundup, a monthly digest of the latest news and updates from the WordPress community. 

Each month, we’ll bring you a curated selection of the most important developments affecting WordPress users, whether you’re a seasoned developer, a dedicated site owner, or just getting started with your first WordPress site. 

Our goal is to keep you up-to-date with the most recent WordPress core updates and upcoming releases that promise to make your site-building experience even more seamless and powerful. 

We’ll also highlight plugins and themes that can help you elevate your site, important community events and notable contributions from WordPress developers, and tips to help you stay ahead of the curve in this ever-evolving ecosystem.

In this month’s edition, we take a closer look at Jamie Marsland’s Website Speed Build Challenge, WordPress 6.6, contributing to the WordPress project, and more. Let’s dive in!

Website Speed Build Challenge

The Website Speed Build Challenge is an engaging and competitive event by Jamie Marsland of Pootlepress. In this live-streamed challenge, two participants compete to recreate a website design within a 30-minute timeframe. Marsland chooses the design contestants will replicate, and they have five minutes to plan before the building begins.

During the challenge, contestants can build their websites using various tools and techniques, including Gutenberg, Bricks, Divi, or custom code.

The Website Speed Build Challenge adds a fun and educational element to the WordPress community, showcasing different techniques and approaches to website building under time constraints.

Jamie extends an open invitation to anyone interested in participating in the Website Speed Build Challenge. If you’d like to test your skills and join this exciting event, fill out the form on his website for consideration.

WordPress 6.6

WordPress 6.6, scheduled for release on July 16, 2024, is a landmark update focusing on enhancing design tools and user experience. Building on the technical strides of WordPress 6.5, this version introduces significant improvements in design flexibility, content management, and workflow.

These enhancements give users more powerful and intuitive tools, allowing for greater creativity and efficiency in website development and management. With the release of 6.6, WordPress continues to evolve, offering a platform that meets the needs of novice users and experienced developers.

Among the headlining features of WordPress 6.6 are:

  1. Advanced Design Tools: WordPress 6.6 supports grid layout, section-specific block styling, and negative margins. These features allow users to create complex, visually appealing designs with ease. The theme.json update to version 3 further enhances customization by allowing theme authors to define default font sizes and spacing, providing more control over design elements.
  1. Unified Publish Flow: The new WordPress editor unification combines technical and design efforts for a seamless experience across editors. This update features a unified template part, pattern management, and more accessible management sections. These changes streamline the content publishing process, making it more intuitive and efficient.
  1. Mix and Match Typography and Colors: WordPress 6.6 allows users to mix and match typography styles and color palettes from all theme style variations. This feature enhances design possibilities, enabling users to create unique and personalized websites. For example, the Twenty Twenty-Four theme’s eight style variations can generate 48 combinations, offering creative freedom without additional code or theme modifications.

WordPress 6.6 Beta 1, released on June 4, 2024, may have features that change or get removed before the final release. Early testing is crucial to identify and report bugs, usability issues, and compatibility problems. It is an excellent opportunity to begin your WordPress contributor journey, even if you don’t have prior experience. By participating, you can help improve the platform while learning valuable skills.

Join the WordPress 6.6 Beta 1 testing using Local, the go-to tool for creating a WordPress sandbox and developing sites locally. Get started in seconds with options like WP-CLI, the WordPress Beta Tester plugin, or the recommended Local Blueprint.

WordPress contribution

Contributing to WordPress is a rewarding way to support one of the world’s most popular content management systems. While coding is a significant aspect of this, there are numerous other ways to contribute.

You can help by creating clear and comprehensive documentation for users of all levels. Well-written guides make it easier for everyone to understand and use WordPress, ensuring users can find the information they need efficiently.

Another vital contribution is testing new features and updates. Testers help identify bugs and suggest improvements, maintaining the high standards that users expect from WordPress. Your feedback directly contributes to the platform’s stability and reliability.

Design contributions are also valued. Creating beautiful themes and enhancing the user interface shape the visual and user experience of WordPress. Creative input ensures that WordPress remains user-friendly and visually appealing.

Translating WordPress into different languages is essential for global accessibility. These efforts make WordPress user-friendly across various cultures and regions. By breaking language barriers, you help people worldwide enjoy the benefits of WordPress, promoting inclusivity and diversity.

Improving accessibility features ensures that WordPress is usable by people with disabilities. Optimizing themes, plugins, and core features to meet accessibility standards helps everyone have a better experience with WordPress. Get involved through WordPress Accessibility Day, which focuses on promoting and learning best practices for WordPress website accessibility.

Another excellent example of contributing to WordPress is WP Engine’s recent Contributor Day, during which our team dedicated 81 hours, with 20 contributors making 302 contributions. This event highlighted our commitment to the WordPress community and showcased the diverse ways we can all contribute to this software. Whether through code, creativity, or community engagement, every contribution makes a difference.

WP Engine‘s new brand identity

Speaking of WP Engine, we recently undertook a comprehensive rebrand to reflect our mission and values better. Our new brand identity emphasizes our commitment to innovation, accessibility, and customer-centricity.

Through extensive research, including interviews with stakeholders and surveys, we identified four key pillars: elevated expertise, people-focused culture, relentless innovation, and unmatched performance.

Our refreshed logo and simplified color palette enhance usability and cohesion across our products. This rebrand is more than a visual update; it underscores our dedication to empowering our customers with the freedom to create.

Explore the stories behind our rebrand for more details on our transformation, including the design process and strategic decisions. Learn about the research, stakeholder interviews, and creative strategies that shaped our new brand identity, ensuring a cohesive and innovative experience for our customers.

That’s it for this month. Stay tuned as we get closer to the official release of WordPress 6.6 and more exciting developments to come!

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