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The Month in WordPress: April 2019

Posted May 2, 2019 by Hugh Lashbrooke. Filed under Month in WordPress.

This past month has been filled with anticipation as the community builds up towards a big new release, plans some important events, and builds new tools to grow the future of the project.


WordPress 5.2 Almost Due for Release

WordPress 5.2 is due for release on May 7 with many new features included for developers and end-users alike. The Field Guide for the release provides a lot of information about what is in it and what you can expect, including a few key elements:

Site Health Check

One of the most highly anticipated features for v5.2 is the Site Health Check. This feature adds two new pages in the admin interface to help end users maintain a healthy site through common configuration issues and other elements that go along with having a robust online presence. It also provides a standardized location for developers to add debugging information.

Fatal Error Recovery Mode

The Fatal Error Recovery Mode feature was originally planned for the 5.1 release but was delayed to patch up some last-minute issues that arose. This feature will help site-owners recover more quickly from fatal errors that break the display or functionality of their site that would ordinarily require code or database edits to fix.

Privacy and Accessibility Updates

Along with the headlining features mentioned above, there are some important enhancements to the privacy and accessibility features included in Core. These include some important developer-focused changes to how privacy policy pages are displayed and user data is exported, as well as moving to more semantic markup for admin tabs and other improvements such as switching post format icons to drop-down menus on post list tables, improved admin toolbar markup, and contextual improvements to archive widget drop-down menu.

New Dashicons

The Dashicons library was last updated was over 3 years ago. Now, in the upcoming release, a set of 13 new icons will be added to the library along with improvements to the build process and file format of the icons.

Block Editor Upgrades

The Block Editor has seen numerous improvements lately that will all be included in the v5.2 release. Along with the interface upgrades, the underlying Javascript module has been reorganized, improvements have been made to how the block editor is detected on the post edit screen, and the Javascript build process has been enhanced.

WordPress 5.2 is now in the Release Candidate phase and you can test it by installing the Beta Tester plugin on any WordPress site.

Want to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

WordPress Translation Day 4 is Almost Here

On 11 May 2019, the fourth WordPress Translation Day will take place. This is a 24-hour global event dedicated to the translation of all things WordPress, from Core to themes, plugins to marketing.

Over the course of 24 hours, WordPress communities will meet to translate WordPress into their local languages and watch talks and sessions broadcast on wptranslationday.org. During the previous WordPress Translation Day, 71 local events took place in 29 countries, and even more communities are expected to take part this time.

Want to get involved in WordPress Translation Day 4? Find out how to organize a local event, follow the updates on the Polyglots team blog, and join the #polyglots channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Block Library Project Gets Started

Since the initial proposal for a Block Library that would be made available from inside the block editor, work has been done to put together some designs for how this would look. Since then the project has received a more direct focus with a planned out scope and timeline.

The project is being managed on GitHub and people interested in contributing are encouraged to get involved there. You can also keep up to date by following the Design team blog and joining the #design channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.


Further Reading:

Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

WordPress 5.2 Release Candidate

Posted April 26, 2019 by Josepha. Filed under Development, Releases.

The first release candidate for WordPress 5.2 is now available!

This is an important milestone as we progress toward the WordPress 5.2 release date. “Release Candidate” means that the new version is ready for release, but with millions of users and thousands of plugins and themes, it’s possible something was missed. WordPress 5.2 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, May 7, but we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.2 yet, now is the time!

There are two ways to test the WordPress 5.2 release candidate: try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want to select the “bleeding edge nightlies” option), or you can download the release candidate here (zip).

What’s in WordPress 5.2?

Continuing with the theme from the last release, WordPress 5.2 gives you even more robust tools for identifying and fixing configuration issues and fatal errors. Whether you are a developer helping clients or you manage your site solo, these tools can help get you the right information when you need it.

The Site Health Check and PHP Error Protection tools have brand new features, giving you peace of mind if you discover any issues with plugins or themes on your site. There are also updates to the icons available in your dashboard, fresh accessibility considerations for anyone using assistive technologies and more.

Plugin and Theme Developers

Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.2 and update the Tested up to version in the readme to 5.2. If you find compatibility problems, please be sure to post to the support forums so we can figure those out before the final release.

The WordPress 5.2 Field Guide has also been published, which goes into the details of the major changes.

How to Help

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! This release also marks the hard string freeze point of the 5.2 release schedule.

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.


Howdy, RC 1!
With tools this interesting,
I can hardly wait.

WordPress 5.2 Beta 3

Posted April 12, 2019 by Jonathan Desrosiers. Filed under Development, Releases.

WordPress 5.2 Beta 3 is now available!

This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.

There are two ways to test the latest WordPress 5.2 beta: try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want to select the “bleeding edge nightlies” option), or you can download the beta here (zip).

WordPress 5.2 is slated for release on April 30, and we need your help to get there! Thanks to the testing and feedback from everyone who tried beta 2, nearly 40 tickets have been closed since then. Here are the major changes and bug fixes:

  • The new Site Health feature has continued to be refined.
  • Plugins no longer update if a site is running an unsupported version of PHP (see #46613).
  • It’s now more apparent when a site is running in Recovery Mode (see #46608).
  • The distraction free button no longer breaks keyboard navigation in the Classic Editor (see #46640).
  • Assistive technologies do a better job of announcing admin bar sub menus (see #37513).
  • Subject lines in WordPress emails are now more consistent (see #37940).
  • Personal data exports now only show as completed when a user downloads their data (see #44644).
  • Plus more improvements to accessibility (see #35497 and #42853).

Minimum PHP Version Update

Important reminder: as of WordPress 5.2 beta 2, the minimum PHP version that WordPress will require is 5.6.20. If you’re running an older version of PHP, we highly recommend updating it now, before WordPress 5.2 is officially released.

Developer Notes

WordPress 5.2 has lots of refinements to polish the developer experience. To keep up, subscribe to the Make WordPress Core blog and pay special attention to the developers notes for updates on those and other changes that could affect your products.

How to Help

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! The beta 3 release also marks the soft string freeze point of the 5.2 release schedule.

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.


Would you look at that
each day brings release closer
test to be ready
.

WordPress 5.2 Beta 2

Posted April 9, 2019 by Gary Pendergast. Filed under Development, Releases.

WordPress 5.2 Beta 2 is now available!

This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.

There are two ways to test the WordPress 5.2 beta: try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want to select the “bleeding edge nightlies” option), or you can download the beta here (zip).

WordPress 5.2 is slated for release on April 30, and we need your help to get there! Thanks to the testing and feedback from everyone who tried beta 1, nearly 100 tickets have been closed since then. Here are the major changes and bug fixes:

  • We’ve added support for Emoji 12! 🪂
  • A brand-new wp_body_open() template tag (and corresponding wp_body_open action) will let themes (and plugins!) add content right after the <body> is opened (#12563).
  • Superfluous paragraph tags will no longer incorrectly appear in dynamic block content (#45495).
  • The Site Health screens have received several bug fixes, tweaks, and performance improvements.
  • Crash Protection no longer interrupts plugin editing (#46045).
  • Custom error handlers now load correctly (#46069).

Minimum PHP Version Update

As of WordPress 5.2 beta 2, the minimum PHP version that WordPress will require is 5.6.20. If you’re running an older version of PHP, we highly recommend updating it now, before WordPress 5.2 is officially released.

Developer Notes

WordPress 5.2 has lots of refinements to polish the developer experience. To keep up, subscribe to the Make WordPress Core blog and pay special attention to the developers notes for updates on those and other changes that could affect your products.

How to Help

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages!

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.


The wonderful thing
about betas, is betas
are wonderful things.
🐯

Minimum PHP Version update

Posted April 1, 2019 by Aaron Jorbin. Filed under Development.

WordPress 5.2 is targeted for release at the end of this month, and with it comes an update to the minimum required version of PHP. WordPress will now require a minimum of PHP 5.6.20.

Beginning in WordPress 5.1, users running PHP versions below 5.6 have had a notification in their dashboard that includes information to help them update PHP. Since then, the WordPress stats have shown an increase in users on more recent versions of PHP.


Screenshot of the "PHP Update Required" widget from the WordPress dashboard. Contains information about detecting an insecure version of PHP, how it affects your site, and a link for information on upgrading.
The dashboard widget users see if running an outdated version of PHP

Why You Should Update PHP

If your site is running on an unsupported version of PHP, the WordPress updater will not offer WordPress 5.2 to your site. If you attempt to update WordPress manually, that update will fail. To continue using the latest features of WordPress you must update to a newer version of PHP.

When updating to a new version of PHP, WordPress encourages updating to its recommended version, PHP 7.3. The PHP internals team has done a great job making its most recent version the fastest version of PHP yet. This means that updating will improve the speed of your site, both for you and your visitors.

This performance increase also means fewer servers are needed to host websites. Updating PHP isn’t just good for your site, it also means less energy is needed for the 1-in-3 sites that use WordPress, so it’s good for the planet.

How to Update PHP

If you need help updating to a new version of PHP, detailed documentation is available. This includes sample communication to send to your host for them to assist you. Many hosting companies have published information on how to update PHP that is specific for them.

5.6 now, but soon 7+

This is the first increase in PHP required version for WordPress since 2010, but may not be the only increase in 2019. The WordPress core team will monitor the adoption of the most recent versions of PHP with an eye towards making PHP 7+ the minimum version towards the end of the year.

Update PHP today, so you can update WordPress tomorrow!

The Month in WordPress: March 2019

Posted by Hugh Lashbrooke. Filed under Month in WordPress.

WordPress reached a significant milestone this month. With some exciting developments in Core, an interesting new proposal, and the return of a valuable global event, March was certainly an interesting time.


WordPress Now Powers One-Third of the Web

WordPress’ market share has been steadily increasing, and as of halfway through this month, it powers over one-third of the top 10 million sites on the web (according to W3Techs, which tracks usage statistics for all major web platforms).

This growth of WordPress is only made possible by the large team of volunteers working to build the project and community. If you would like to get involved in building the future of WordPress, then check out the Make network for a contributor team that fits your skill set.

WordPress 5.2 is on the Way

WordPress 5.1.1 was released this month, with 14 fixes and enhancements, and the Core team is now focusing on the next major release, version 5.2. This release will include some great new features, along with the latest updates to the block editor.

One of the most anticipated new features is the improved fatal error detection – this was removed from v5.1 shortly before release so that it could be improved and made more secure for this release. Along with that, PHP 5.6 is going to become the minimum required PHP version for WordPress, a significant step towards a more modern web and updated coding standards.

WordPress 5.2 is now in beta and you can test it by installing the Beta Tester plugin on any WordPress site.

Want to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Proposal for a Central Block Directory

With blocks becoming the new way to manage content in WordPress, more and more types of blocks are being developed to cater for different use cases and content types. In an effort to make it easier for content creators to find these block types, there is a proposal for a new type of plugin and a directory to handle it.

The proposal outlines a new type of WordPress plugin that provides blocks and nothing else, named Single Block Plugins. The primary benefit would be to provide content creators with individual pieces of functionality and new types of blocks without the need to search for and install new plugins.

The Single Block Plugins would be hosted in a separate Block Directory section of the Plugin Directory and they would initially be JavaScript-based. Each plugin will register a single block, and they will be searchable and installable from within the editor itself. This puts blocks at the publishers’ fingertips — you no longer have to leave the editor to find them.

Want to get involved in shaping this new type of plugin? Join in the conversation on the proposal post, follow the Meta team blog, and join the #meta channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Global WordPress Translation Day is Back

On 11 May 2019, the fourth Global WordPress Translation Day will take place. This is a 24-hour global event dedicated to the translation of all things WordPress, from core to themes, plugins to marketing.

Over the course of 24 hours, WordPress communities will meet to translate WordPress into their local languages and watch talks and sessions broadcast on wptranslationday.org. During the last Global WordPress Translation Day, 71 local events took place in 29 countries, and even more communities are expected to take part this time.

Want to get involved in the Global WordPress Translation Day? Find out how to organize a local event, apply to be a speaker, follow the updates on the Polyglots team blog, and join the #polyglots channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Gutenberg Development Continues

With the block editor in WordPress Core, the team has been able to focus on adding some frequently requested features. Version 5.3 of Gutenberg,  released this month, includes a new block manager modal, the ability to nest different elements in the cover block, and some UI tweaks to improve the hover state of blocks.

Want to get involved in developing Gutenberg? Check out the GitHub repository and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.


Further Reading:

Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

WordPress 5.2 Beta 1

Posted March 27, 2019 by Josepha. Filed under Development, Releases.

WordPress 5.2 Beta 1 is now available!

This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.

You can test the WordPress 5.2 Beta two ways:

WordPress 5.2 is slated for release on April 30, and we need your help to get there. Here are some of the big items to test so we can find as many bugs as possible in the coming weeks.

Block Editor

The block editor has received significant performance improvements since WordPress 5.1, shaving 35% off the load time for massive posts, and cutting the keypress time (how responsive it feels when you’re typing) in half!

Accessibility continues to improve, too. The block editor now supports your browser’s reduced motion settings. The post URL slug has better labelling and help text. The focus styling for keyboard navigating through landmarks is clearer and more consistent. There are a variety of new speak messages, and existing messages have been tweaked for more useful screen-reader behaviour.

We’ve added several new blocks:

  • An RSS block
  • An Amazon Kindle embed block
  • A Search block
  • A Calendar block
  • A Tag Cloud block

To help you keep track of these blocks, and only show the ones you need, there’s a new block management tool to switch blocks on and off.

Block Management Modal

We’re constantly working on existing blocks, too. There are hundreds of bug fixes and improvements in the block editor, you can read more about them in the Gutenberg plugin releases: 4.9, 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3.

The WordPress Mobile Apps

The block editor isn’t just for websites, either. The WordPress mobile apps now include an experimental version of a built-in block editor. This is still under development, but you can try it out now!

Site Health Check

Site Health Check is an ongoing project aimed at improving the stability and performance of the entire WordPress ecosystem.

The first phase of this project (originally scoped for WordPress 5.1) is now included in WordPress 5.2. For the first time, WordPress will catch and pause the problem code, so you can log in to your Dashboard and see what the problem is (#44458). Before, you’d have to FTP in to your files or get in touch with your host.

In addition, we’re adding a new Health Check tool to your Dashboard. Visit the Tools menu and click on Health Check to get information that can help improve the speed and security of your site.

PHP Version Bump

With this release, WordPress will increase its minimum supported PHP version to 5.6. To help you check if you’re prepared for this change, WordPress 5.2 will show you a warning and help you upgrade your version of PHP, if necessary.

For Developers

  • Plugins can now specify the minimum version of PHP that they support, so you can safely modernise your development practices without risking breaking your users’ sites. (#40934)
  • We’ve added the sodium_compat library, which provides backwards compatibility for the Sodium-based cryptography library added in PHP 7.2. (#45806)
  • There’s a new release of Dashicons, the WordPress Dashboard icon font. There are 25 new icons for you to use! (#41074)
  • You can now pass a label to get_search_form(), improving accessibility. (#42057)

There have been 130 tickets closed in WordPress 5.2 so far, with numerous small bug fixes and improvements to help smooth your WordPress experience.

Keep your eyes on the Make WordPress Core blog for developer notes (which are assigned the dev-notes tag) in the coming weeks detailing other changes in 5.2 that you should be aware of.

How to Help

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages!

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.


With each new release,
bearing multiple betas;
We fix, then we fly.

One-third of the web!

Posted March 15, 2019 by Joost de Valk. Filed under General.

WordPress now powers over 1/3rd of the top 10 million sites on the web according to W3Techs. Our market share has been growing steadily over the last few years, going from 29.9% just one year ago to 33.4% now. We are, of course, quite proud of these numbers!

The path here has been very exciting. In 2005, we were celebrating 50,000 downloads. Six years later, in January 2011, WordPress was powering 13.1% of websites. And now, early in 2019, we are powering 33.4% of sites. Our latest release has already been downloaded close to 14 million times, and it was only released on the 21st of February.

Graph showing the growth of WordPress market share relative to other CMS's like Joomla, Drupal and others. Starting at just over 10% in January 2011 to 33.4% now.
WordPress market share on the rise over the last 8 years. Image source: W3Techs.

Over the years WordPress has become the CMS of choice for more and more people and companies. As various businesses use WordPress, the variety of WordPress sites grows. Large enterprise businesses all the way down to small local businesses: all of them use WordPress to power their site. We love seeing that and we strive to continuously make WordPress better for all of you.

We’d like to thank everyone who works on WordPress, which is built and maintained by a huge community of volunteers that has grown alongside the CMS. This incredible community makes it possible for WordPress to keep growing while still also remaining free. And of course, we’d like to thank all of you using WordPress for using it and trusting in it. To all of you: let’s celebrate!

WordPress 5.1.1 Security and Maintenance Release

Posted March 12, 2019 by Luke Carbis. Filed under Releases, Security.

WordPress 5.1.1 is now available! This security and maintenance release introduces 14 fixes and enhancements, including changes designed to help hosts prepare users for the minimum PHP version bump coming in 5.2.

This release also includes a pair of security fixes that handle how comments are filtered and then stored in the database. With a maliciously crafted comment, a WordPress post was vulnerable to cross-site scripting.

WordPress versions 5.1 and earlier are affected by these bugs, which are fixed in version 5.1.1. Updated versions of WordPress 5.0 and earlier are also available for any users who have not yet updated to 5.1.

Props to Simon Scannell of RIPS Technologies who discovered this flaw independent of some work that was being done by members of the core security team. Thank you to all of the reporters for privately disclosing the vulnerabilities, which gave us time to fix them before WordPress sites could be attacked.

Other highlights of this release include:

  • Hosts can now offer a button for their users to update PHP.
  • The recommended PHP version used by the “Update PHP” notice can now be filtered.
  • Several minor bug fixes.

You can browse the full list of changes on Trac.

WordPress 5.1.1 was a short-cycle maintenance release. Version 5.1.2 is expected to follow a similar two week release cadence.

You can download WordPress 5.1.1 or visit Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now. Sites that support automatic background updates have already started to update automatically.

In addition to the security researcher mentioned above, thank you to everyone who contributed to WordPress 5.1.1:

Aaron Jorbin, Alex Concha, Andrea Fercia, Andy Fragen, Anton Vanyukov, Ben Bidner, bulletdigital, David Binovec, Dion Hulse, Felix Arntz, Garrett Hyder, Gary Pendergast, Ian Dunn, Jake Spurlock, Jb Audras, Jeremy Felt, Johan Falk, Jonathan Desrosiers, Luke Carbis, Mike Schroder, Milan Dinić, Mukesh Panchal, Paul Biron, Peter Wilson, Sergey Biryukov, and Weston Ruter.

The Month in WordPress: February 2019

Posted March 1, 2019 by Hugh Lashbrooke. Filed under Month in WordPress.

A new version of WordPress, significant security enhancements, important discussions, and much more – read on to find out what has been going on in the WordPress community for the month of February.


Release of WordPress 5.1

Near the end of the month, WordPress 5.1 was released, featuring significant stability and performance enhancements as well as the first of the Site Health mechanisms that are in active development. Most prominent is the new warning for sites running long-outdated versions of PHP.

You can check out the Field Guide for this release for a detailed look at all the new features and improvements. The next release is already in development with plans to improve the Site Health features, PHP compatibility, and a number of other things.

Want to get involved in testing or building WordPress Core? You can install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin, follow the Core team blog, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Gutenberg Development Continues

The block editor that is now a part of WordPress core started out as a project named Gutenberg with the lofty goal of creating a whole new site-building experience for all WordPress users. The first phase of Gutenberg resulted in the block editor that was included in WordPress 5.0, but development didn’t stop there – phase 2 of the project is well underway.

This month, one of the initial goals for this phase was reached with all of the core WordPress widgets being converted to blocks – this will go a long way to allowing full sites to be built using blocks, rather than simply post or page content.

Want to get involved in developing Gutenberg? Check out the GitHub repository and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Block Editor Comes to the Mobile Apps

As Gutenberg development continues, the Mobile team has been working hard to integrate the new block editor into the WordPress mobile apps. Near the end of February, the team shipped a complete integration in the beta versions of the apps – this a significant milestone and a big step towards unifying the mobile and desktop editing experiences.

Both the iOS and Android apps are open for beta testers, so if you would like to experience the block editor on mobile today, then join the beta program.

Want to get involved in developing the WordPress mobile apps? Follow the Mobile team blog, and join the #mobile channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

WordPress Triage Team Announced

One of the goals for 2019 that Matt Mullenweg (@matt) announced in his State of the Word address last year was to form a team who would work to manage the ever-increasing number of tickets in Trac, the bug tracker that WordPress Core employs.

This team, known as the Triage Team, has been announced. Their work will involve coordinating with component maintainers, release leads, project leadership, contributors, and other WordPress related projects with issue trackers outside of Trac to ensure that everyone is empowered to focus on contributing.

The team was formed based on nominations of volunteers to take part and will be led by Jonathan Desrosiers (@desrosj). The other members of the team are Chris Christoff (@chriscct7), Tammie Lister (@karmatosed), Sergey Biryukov (@sergey), and Sheri Bigelow (@designsimply) – all of whom have a strong track record of contributing to WordPress, have exhibited good triaging practices, and are overall good community members.


Further Reading:

Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

See Also:

Want to follow the code? There’s a development P2 blog and you can track active development in the Trac timeline that often has 20–30 updates per day.

Want to find an event near you? Check out the WordCamp schedule and find your local Meetup group!

For more WordPress news, check out the WordPress Planet.

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