October 31, 2023: A spooky set of updates to wrap up the month!

The final release for the month of October is jam-packed and includes the option to duplicate stories in the Homepage Posts block, the ability to control which subscriptions lists display and are selected in different sign-up scenerios, and an option to easily change post templates site-wide. Read on to learn more about this release’s features:

Breaking change: Remove AMP support from the Newspack Blocks plugin

All code related to AMP has been removed from the Newspack Blocks plugin. As Newspack sites are no longer running AMP, this shouldn’t cause a noticeable change — everything that has been removed is no longer being used.

Turn off deduplication in the Homepage Posts block

The Homepage Post block uses deduplication logic to make sure a story isn’t repeated more than one time on a page across multiple instances of the block. However, there are some cases where having a story appear more than once would actually be helpful. This release includes an option to turn off the deduplication on a per-block basis.

Without deduplication, the block will not account for previously queried posts and will also not have its queried posts as part of the exclusion for the following blocks. In other words, the block can display repeat stories that have previously appeared on the page, and the stories they display can also appear again further down the page.

In this screenshot, the first block has “Use deduplication logic” turned off in the right column, so the story it displays repeats in the block below it:

Display optional button after purchases made with the Checkout Button block

The Checkout Button block now supports displaying an optional button after a purchase is complete. This button can be set to direct readers to different web pages:

When configured with a URL and label, the button is displayed on the final “Thank you” message of the checkout:

Readers who click on the button will be redirected to the URL set in the block settings.

Bulk-edit post template and featured image settings in the Design Wizard

The post template and featured image options in the Design wizard have been enhanced. These options can be found by navigating to WP Admin > Newspack > Site Design, and clicking on the ‘Settings’ tab. Similar to how they work in the theme, the options behave a little differently from each other:

Changing post template settings

The two options for the template are “Default template for new posts” and “Template for all posts”. “Default template for new posts” operates like the option under Customizer > Template Settings > Post Settings, and lets you change the template on all new posts going forward. “Template for all posts” will change the template used on all posts that have been published on the site.

Changing post featured image settings

The two options for the featured images are “Default featured image position for new posts” and “Featured image position for all posts.” The “Default featured image position for new posts” changes the featured image placement for all published and future posts using the ‘Default’ featured image placement. “Featured image position for all posts” changes the featured image placement for all published posts that are not using the ‘Default’ featured image placement.

Choose which newsletters are pre-selected in the Newsletter Subscribe block & RAS

The Newsletter block and Reader Activation System (RAS) workflow now allow you to pick which newsletters subscription lists are pre-checked.

For the Newspack Subscription block, subscription lists can be added to the block by toggling them on in the right sidebar. Once there, each newsletter list can be checked or unchecked using the checkbox that’s displayed in the block itself:

For the RAS sign up modal, you can now both customize which newsletters will appear in any of the reader activation popups, as well as pick which lists are pre-checked. This settings can be found under WP Admin > Newspack > Engagement, under the Advanced Settings toggle at the bottom:

Twitter’s X icon is now available in the Social Links Menu

The Newspack Theme’s social links menu now includes support for Twitter’s new logo, X. This support follows the pattern established in WordPress’s social links block and Jetpack’s share buttons: rather than replacing the classic Twitter bird icon with the X, the X is added in addition to the bird icon.

To use the X icon in your Social Links Menu, use the “x.com” domain in the Custom Link URL value in the Social Links Menu (like https://x.com/newspackdotcom). To continue to use the bird icon, use twitter.com (like https://twitter.com/newspackdotcom). Both will redirect to your Twitter feed, and allows you to control which Twitter branding you’d like your site to use.

Allow only ‘Once’ in the Donate Block’s tiered design

Previously, the Donate Block’s tiered design stopped displaying once you pared it down to just the ‘Once’ tab. As of this release, the block will continue to display with these settings.

Remove GA3 from the Republication Tracker Tool

GA3 tracking options have been removed from the Republication Tracker Tool, and replaced with options to add tracking codes for GA4. These can be updated under WP Admin > Settings > Reading, at the bottom of the page.