Delicious Brain Bytes: WordPress 6.6, ACF 6.3, and Jamie Marsland Fills Our Need for Speed

By Mike Davey, Senior Editor

In this issue of Delicious Brain Bytes, we take a peak at what’s coming in WordPress 6.6, dive into the enhancements and new features in ACF 6.3, look at Jamie Marsland’s live WordPress Speed Build Challenge, and much more.

Enhanced APIs Coming in WordPress 6.6

The next major release of WordPress, version 6.6, is scheduled to ship on July 16, 2024. It’s not expected to be as packed with developer treats as WordPress 6.5, but there’s still plenty to get excited about: refinements to existing APIs, community blueprints, and expanded global style variations.

The Interactivity API and Block Bindings API have garnered a lot of attention since they were introduced in WordPress 6.5, and both are expected to receive enhancements in 6.6. Updates to the Interactivity API won’t be focused on adding new features, but on better test coverage, code quality, error reporting, debugging tools, and bug fixes.

Changes to the Block Bindings API will allow for the editing of connected sources directly from the block, with a goal of potentially making the editor APIs public for 6.6. There’s also some work being done to explore a UI to create bindings, but this likely won’t be complete for WordPress 6.6.

The Block Hooks API, introduced in WordPress 6.4, will continue to evolve with a focus on determining a proper UI for hooked blocks and improving the developer experience. The HTML API will undergo further development, aiming to complete and rely on a custom and spec-compliant encoder/decoder, and design how to communicate when an HTML document has retroactively changed.

ACF 6.3 Includes Block Enhancements, New Icon Picker Field

ACF 6.3 was released on May 22. This release includes several enhancements to ACF Blocks, including validation support for fields in ACF Blocks and the ability to store ACF Block field data in the post meta table.

This release also brings an enhanced experience to selecting the menu icon for custom post types and ACF Options Pages, along with a new Icon Picker field type, improvements to the experience of selecting relational fields in conditional logic rules, and a whole lot of new goodness, improvements, and fixes. See the release post for more details, and keep up with the latest ACF news by registering for ACF Chat Fridays.

Custom Post Type admin menu icon setting with new icon picker.

Introducing the New WP Engine

WP Engine was founded in 2010 with the mission of building the best possible hosting platform for WordPress sites. Since then, the company has expanded to include more than 20 brands, including sophisticated yet intuitive builders tools, community-focused events, and a partner program that’s the world’s single largest network of WordPress agencies.

Combining a relentlessly innovative WordPress platform with ingenious WordPress products has led to advances for both, helping WP Engine become a multi-product WordPress technology company trusted by millions of users. However, it’s also resulted in a proliferation of brand identities and logos that doesn’t reflect that unified experience very well.

The desire to simplify and streamline the user experience across all platforms and products led to a comprehensive redesign of logos, typography, and imagery. Everything under the WP Engine umbrella now shares an integrated look, while retaining its distinctive characteristics.

Accessibility was also a major consideration in the design process. WordPress is for everyone, and the new brand design reflects this philosophy. New logos with enhanced spacing have been created that increase visibility and clarity, especially at smaller sizes. Colors are more unified to provide a better user experience across products and platforms in both light and dark modes. The fonts in the new typography were chosen not just for style, but to enhance readability.

The new look reflects WP Engine’s ethos across its products: bringing you confidence online.

WP Engine is elevating its brand identity with a new framework to create a seamless, unified experience for all!

WordPress Meets Its Doom

Can WordPress run Doom? Yes, of course it can. If bacteria can run Doom, then surely WordPress can. The real question isn’t if it can be done, but how.

Rhys Wynne has answered that question. He’s successfully created a WordPress site that can run the classic game, and shared the process in a recent post.

Wynne’s project involved using JS-DOS, a JavaScript DOS emulator, to run the shareware version of Doom within a WordPress plugin. He then utilized WordPress Playground, a browser-based WordPress instance, to test and showcase the plugin. The process required overcoming technical hurdles, such as CORS errors and permalink setup, but ultimately resulted in a functional Doom experience within WordPress.

Doom running on a WordPress Playground instance.

The Need for Speed

Everyone loves a little friendly competition. The WordPress Speed Build Challenge, run by Jamie Marsland of Pootlepress, delivers on both the “friendly” and “competitive” parts. The challenge pits two individuals against each other as they race to recreate a website with a 30 minute time frame.

The first episode was a match-up between Mike McAlister and Brian Coords, with the goal of recreating Gumroad. Kim Coleman and Fabian Kaegy went head-to-head in an attempt to recreate the home page. Most recently, Nick Diego and Brian Gardner battled it out to see who could create the closest copy of

The next challenge, set for May 30th, will see Ben Ritner face off against Justin Tadlock.

YouTube cover image

A Mesmerizing Map of the Web

We’re suckers for visualizations of the web, and Henry Nguyen’s Map of the Web is an absolute stunner.

By leveraging WebGL, Typescript, and ChatGPT, he has managed to render 600,000 edges and 50,000 nodes at an impressive 120 frames per second in the browser. The result is a mesmerizing visualization that reveals clusters of sites focused on various topics.

The New WPGraphQL-IDE

Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting out with WPGraphQL, you’re likely familiar with its user interface. Now, there’s an exciting update: a new plugin that transforms not just the UI’s look but also enriches it with additional features.

In this article, Francis Agulto guide us through the latest WPGraphQL-IDE plugin, showcasing the enhanced visuals and new functionalities that elevate your experience with WPGraphQL.

Writing Functional Tests for WP-CLI Packages

Functional tests are crucial for WP-CLI packages as they simulate real-world scenarios, test integration with WordPress, and how they behave in a command line environment.

You may be familiar with unit testing using tools like PHPUnit. Unit tests are designed to test individual units of code, such as functions or methods, in isolation. The goal of unit testing is to verify that each unit of code works correctly on its own, without any dependencies on other parts of the system. Unit tests are a great way to test specific functions or methods in your projects, and focus more on the code side of things.

Functional tests, on the other hand, are designed to test the system as a whole, with all of its dependencies and interactions with other systems. Instead of writing code to verify that your existing code works properly, you describe how you expect a specific feature to behave in human-readable terms. This is especially helpful for WP-CLI, because it allows you to confirm that your code is working properly, and that any output displayed to the user matches with what is expected.

In this article, Matt Shaw demonstrates how to write functional tests for WP-CLI packages using Behat and Gherkin.

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About the Author

Mike Davey Senior Editor

Mike is an editor and writer based in Hamilton, Ontario, with an extensive background in business-to-business communications and marketing. His hobbies include reading, writing, and wrangling his four children.