WordPress Digest #42

This bi-weekly serves to inform and enlighten our minds on latest happenings in the sprawling countryside we call WordPress Land. The Vice President of WordPressLand has stated he is not allowed to be alone with other dogs because he might pet them and his Chiweenie would never forgive him.

Release News

  • I can’t remember the last time I built a site that used standard WordPress sidebar widgets, but if you are into that sort of thing, WP will soon have media widgets for adding images, videos, and audio files to sidebars. This is another one of those “wait…why didn’t this exist before?” things that pop up from time to time. The feature is currently available as a beta plugin.
  • WordPress launched a new, redesigned version of the Plugin Directory. It’s receiving mixed reviews, and many WordPress contributors feel their feedback was ignored, including WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, who said, “I hope we can do another major iteration on the directory, because I’m not really a fan of the new one.”
  • I often focus in the bigger, more noteworthy changes coming to WordPress, but I also think it’s important to remember that there is constantly work being done to improve performance and features, since this, more than anything, is what makes WordPress more reliable and popular than pretty much any other open source CMS. There are weekly progress reports written up on the various irons in the fire that are always worth a read-through.

Extending WordPress

  • WooCommerce is reversioning their next release as 3.0.0 instead of 2.7 and it is slated to be released today. There’s some bugs in the way WooCommerce handles timestamps which is being corrected in this release.
  • Yoast SEO 4.5 released with some improvements and a big push for server upgrades to PHP 7 because all the cool kids are doing it and you don’t want to be one of the uncool kids, do you?
  • There is a brand new plugin called WooCommerce Live Checkout Field Capture that…in case the title wasn’t descriptive enough…captures all activity in the checkout form before it is submitted, so you can creepily stalk people who cancel their orders and ask them why they didn’t finish purchasing that handmade alpaca fleece lined toilet seat.

Grab Bag

  • Ever wonder how old a plugin is? The data is weirdly left off the official WP plugin directory, but there’s a new site that’ll give you that info, plus the number of times a plugin has been downloaded.
  • Following a recent UK terror attack, UK government officials identified several online services that they believe have been used to help spread extremist ideas, including WordPress.com along with heavier hitters like Facebook and Twitter. These officials are calling on the companies to take action against extremist content. Cue the next round in the ongoing encryption vs national security and free speech vs censorship dance.
  • Joe Guilmette, team lead on the WP All Import plugin recently launched Poopy.life, a site that makes it easy to spin up WordPress test installs, share them, export them, and a lot more. But honestly it doesn’t matter what the site does because Guilmette managed to acquire the best domain name ever and I will forever hate him for it.

“Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. I am the first man to piss his pants on the moon.” – Buzz Aldrin