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SMF WP Digest #16

Welcome to the sixteenth installment of the SMF WP Digest. This is the blog version of our internal bi-weekly email which we use to inform, enlighten, and titillate our minds on some of the latest happenings in WordPress-land.

Release News

  • WP 4.5 Beta 3 is out. I’ve already installed it on all of my content-critical production sites because what’s the point in being alive if you don’t live on the edge?
  • WordPress is jumping on the Reactions bandwagon. It’ll be a while before it makes prime time, but soon you’ll be able to drop a poop emoji with reckless abandon across a much higher percentage of the internet.
  • WP 4.5 has some changes to script and css handling. One of the most useful being wp_add_inline_script() which will allow for more elegant enqueuing of scripts that are typically placed in-line, like typekit, google analytics, etc.
  • WP 4.5 will introduce WP_Site, a better way to reference a site within a multisite install. There’s some other changes to Multisite coming down too, but that’s the biggy.
  • WP 4.5 is increasing the image compression for intermediate sizes from 90 to 82. This is going to drive a noticeable reduction in file size and the team behind this change is reporting very little change in visual quality. The quality level can also be overridden in themes or plugins using the wp_editor_set_quality filter. More on image performance improvements here.

Extending WordPress

  • WooCommerce has made their official Stripe payment gateway free. Good news if you are sick of using third party plugins that may or may not be stealing your customers’ identities.
  • The TGMPA team is working to propose the library as a feature plugin for eventual inclusion in WP core. It’ll need a lot of work and adjusting, so it won’t happen for a while, but in the meantime, if you need a solid way to handle dependencies between plugins and themes, check out their code generator on their download page.
  • The Roots development team released a plugin that uses bcrypt to hash passwords rather than the WP default MD5, which is less secure.
  • Automattic has released a plugin for Facebook’s Instant Articles, and while it may be tempting to install this on your site so Facebook users can load up posts from your artisanal bean curd blog, Facebook really intends this to be used primarily for news publishers.
  • Along those same lines, Automattic has also released a plugin to add support for Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project to WordPress sites. Unlike Facebook’s Instant Articles, these do not need pre-approval and the platform is available now. Torque has a nice rundown of how to get the most out of this integration.
  • A new plugin leveraging the Zoom video conferencing API has been released. At Sanborn we are all climbed aboard the Zoom train (toot toot!) so this could be interesting.

WP Drama

The dirty side of dev.

  • Condé Nast purchased realtime post collaboration service and plugin Poetica recently, and in a real show of solidarity with the WordPress community, have killed the open source plugin.
  • In a fascinating bit of plugin hackery, a popular plugin was hijacked by a new developer, who pushed out changes that purposefully left sites using the plugin open to hacking. It’s an interesting case, because it appears the developer somehow gained control of the plugin to be able to push the malicious code out through the WordPress plugin directory.

Misc

I don’t know where to file this crap.

  • WordCamp Europe 2016 (Vienna, June 24-26) is on track to be the largest WordCamp to date, having recently expanded its capacity to 2200 attendees.
  • Automattic has acquired Pressable – a managed WP host that, along with WPEngine and Pagely, was one of the first in the business. This is more interesting since Automattic is also an investor in WPE, and the companies are direct competitors.
  • There’s a new podcast dedicated to WooCommerce store owners. I am sure the contoisd ioshd fos ousbou iu sei gfiuer … SORRY! Fell asleep while writing that…where was I…?

That’s all for now. Check back in two weeks for another rundown.