Updating the Apple News plugin to be Gutenberg native

WordPress VIP featured partner Alley originally created their Publish to Apple News plugin to help users seamlessly submit and edit their Apple News content straight from the WordPress editor. Version one of the plugin automatically converts HTML content to JSON and sends it to Apple to publish via their API.

After the WordPress 5.0 update, which brought the new Gutenberg editing experience to core WordPress software, Alley began developing version two of the plugin, which provides full native support for Gutenberg. Chief plugin contributor and Alley’s director of software development Kevin Fodness recently shared learnings from this project at BigWP NYC.

All things considered

The biggest challenge of making the plugin fully Gutenberg compatible? “We had to embrace the future of WordPress while not losing users who weren’t fully embracing Gutenberg.” (Yet.)

In a simpler world, Gutenberg adoption would be binary. Either a site is taking advantage of the new software, or it’s not. However, in practice, business cases are nearly always more complex. In this case, many enterprise users have selectively enabled Gutenberg on some but not all of their content types within the same site. This creates a tricky scenario for plugin developers who need to ensure their product’s functionality across a dozen different platform scenarios.

Rethinking the metabox

Inspired by Yoast and Jetpack, Alley opted for the popular sidebar approach to integrating Gutenberg functionality directly into the plugin interface. Now, editors can configure Apple News settings in four sleek collapse/expand panels which replace the cumbersome metabox.

The end goal for this project was simple: provide a better experience for editors using the Apple News plugin. Achieving this goal was anything but simple, and in his talk, Kevin walks through Alley’s approach to updating the plugin–including all the things they broke along the way.

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP NYC November 2019 playlist.

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