The winter season is almost upon us (Mariah Carey already echoes in the distance...), and with it, a new release of Publii, version 0.41, which adds some useful quality of life features and a multitude of fixes and improvements, including a Create website from Backup option, automatic JPG/PNG to WebP conversion, and some changes to the Block Editor to make it even more intuitive.
If you're ready to grab the update, it's available via the Publii Download Page; just download and run the file to install the update automatically. And as always, if you'd like to know more about what's added in this release, read on!
Automatic Conversion of JPG/PNG Images to WebP Format
WebP is an image-format created by Google that produces smaller image files without making sacrifices to quality; a good fit for a website that needs to squeeze every ounce of speed from its files to minimize load-times, and a long-awaited feature in Publii for our users. With the Publii 0.41 release, this feature has been introduced via an option in the Website Speed section of the site settings; Convert to WebP Format.
When this option is enabled, a JPG/JPEG or PNG file is still identified in the src attribute of the <img> element, but the srcset attribute serves only WebP files.
Additionally, for precise control of your WebP images, there are two extra settings for enabling lossless compression for responsive WebP images, and setting the responsive images alpha quality.
With this addition, you'll be able to ensure that your site runs faster, providing a better experience for your site visitors without compromising the quality of the images that your site displays across multiple screen sizes and devices.
Please note that this option only works when Enable Responsive Images option is enabled.
Block Editor Improvements
The Block Editor has proven to be one of the most versatile editing tools for creating effective content efficiently. To make it even better, we've implemented some changes of our own along with some suggestions from the Publii community to help make it even more user-friendly.
The most noticeable changes have been made in the UI; in this release, the horizontal menus have been changed to a more readable drop-down menu with a filter option to make it easier to find what you need, faster. In addition, the three-dots menu button for Advanced Block Settings has been moved to be closer to the Add New Block button; no more will you have to wave your cursor around the screen as you add and modify blocks; all you need is kept close together!
There's also been some minor changes and fixes to improve usability; previously, when a block type was changed to another type, the block content was reset to basic text, removing any links that had been added. Now, the links are preserved between changes. The behavior of blocks when performing advanced block editing has also been fixed; no more content jumping or other distractions when making changes to your content.
Create a New Website via Backup
When initially creating the backup feature in Publii, it focused mainly on providing a way for users to keep their content safe, allowing a simple restore if some content got lost or deleted accidentally. However, in practice, there are many occasions where users prefer to create a new website directly from the backup; when creating a site for a client, or switching over to a new computer with a fresh Publii install.
In this release, an option has been added to the Add New Website screen, Install from backup. With this feature, users can drag and drop a backup package into the Publii app, and the new website will be created using the stored data; no need to manually create a new site, and then restore from the backup. With this change, getting a client's site up and running should be a slightly simpler and less irritating experience!
Regenerate Slug From Post Title
A more minor change here, but helpful nonetheless. In earlier Publii releases, the post slug (that is, the short name that's used in SEO and other search-engine-related tasks) was automatically created via the post title; which is fine and dandy. However, problems arose if the post title was later changed; the slug would not update to reflect the change.
Though the post-slug does not always need to be changed when the title changes, especially when the amended title is similar to the original, it can still be mildly irritating to have to constantly make additional changes every time a title is amended (and if you're a writer, you'll know that changing the title happens more often than it should!). To help save a little time, a small button has been added to the right of the Post Slug field; clicking on this will immediately update the post slug to use the new title as a base.
This isn't an earth-shattering change, but we hope that removing this little frustration from your day will help you to stay focused on your content.
Language File Checker
Our final addition in this release will be helpful to users that are translating the Publii app to their native language. The Publii Language File Checker is a simple tool that allows translators to compare their Publii language files with the base English files to see which translation keys are missing, or which have been removed from the newest releases.
A full introduction to the language checker and its features can be found in this article https://getpublii.github.io/language-file-checker/
There is one final change that needs to be mentioned, though it is not a new feature.
From Publii version 0.42 (that is, the next version of Publii to release after this new release), the AMP feature will be removed entirely from Publii.
The reasons for this change are twofold:
- AMP pages are no longer taken into account when setting search page ranking in search engines, removing the benefit to SEO that AMP provided.
- AMP is designed to offer a fast and lightweight site that loads faster than the main, full website. However, since Publii sites are already heavily optimized these benefits do not have much of an effect.
As with every Publii release, there's a bunch of minor improvements and bugfixes that'll help improve the day-to-day function of the app. Let's look at what's been improved in this release:
- Changed 'Publish and Close' behaviour in post editor; when a draft is published, the publish date is not automatically overridden to avoid overwriting the dates entered by the user.
- Improved featured images support in RSS feed.
- The meta description now supports the same variables as the meta title e.g. %sitename.
- Improved hidden tag behavior; such tags are no longer listed in the post/menu editor and their URLs are set to an empty string.
- Added 'noarchive' to the available meta robots values.
- Added support for the data-responsive="false" attribute for img tags; if used, srcset and size attributes are not added even if responsive images are enabled.
- Added missing Open Graph image dimensions to meta tags.
- Added a disabled state for buttons when saving app settings.
- Added support for block elements inside links in the WYSIWYG editor.
- Improved UI for adding tags/authors/menu items to better support translations.
- Renamed GitHub Pages to GitHub.
- Added two further AWS regions; ap-southeast-3 - Asia Pacific (Jakarta) and me-central-1 - Middle East (UAE).
- Upgraded dependencies.
Now let's see what bugs have been squashed in this release; for further details on the bugfixes, users can check Publii's closed bug reports on GitHub:
- Fixed issues with S3 deployment.
- Fixed issues with WordPress Importer.
- Fixed issue with non-working SVG drag'n'drop.
- Fixed issue with links disappearing when converting blocks from list to paragraph in the block editor.
- Fixed issue with removing unused author avatars.
- Fixed issue with unused site settings images not being removed.
- Fixed rendering issue that occurs in some cases when an authors directory exists.
- Fixed issues with the inline-editor not disappearing when scrolling in the WYSIWYG editor.
- Fixed issue with link popup in the block editor.
- Fixed issue where the responsive images quality setting was still displayed when responsive images were disabled.
Publii hotfix 0.41.1
- The WebP support issue has been resolved (ref: https://github.com/GetPublii/Publii/issues/1159)
- The problem with hidden tags being incorrectly filtered has been solved. (ref: https://forum.getpublii.com/topic/link-based-on-tag/)
And that's your lot for this release! As always, we'd like to thank our community, contributors and supporters for the guidance, suggestions and assistance that they have provided us on the road to version 0.41, and if you have any suggestions or requests, or need to report a bug, you may do so via the Publii Support Forum or the Publii GitHub repository. Until next time, take care!