Hugh Lashbrooke

Community builder by day, tabletop game designer by night.

The Month in WordPress: March 2017


As I posted last month, I’m bringing this internal monthly wrap-up of WordPress community news out from just inside Automattic and sharing it here too. Enjoy!

It’s been a busy month in the WordPress world! There have been a number of new releases and announcements, as well as some other tidbits that have made the past 31 days a very interesting time in the community of which we are all a part. I’ve highlighted what I feel are the most significant stories, but the links in the last section are definitely worth reading too!

WordPress 4.7.3 – Security release

On 6 march, WordPress 4.7.3 was released as a security and maintenance release – it fixed 6 important security issues as well as 39 other maintenance issues for the 4.7 release series. Point releases like this are barely news these days to be honest – the automatic updates system in WordPress sort things like this out in the background with little to no intervention from site owners, but I still feel like it’s worth making a note of though.

Browser Support and the Post Editor

Earlier this month, a discussion was started on the Core P2 about browser support for future WordPress features, with a special focus on the post editor. This is an important discussion to have, as making technical improvements to the post editor may very well require moving to new technology in the near future. With that in mind, it’s worth having a look at the Gutenberg editor prototype that is the first move towards a more dynamic (and vastly improved) editor for WordPress core. The implication of a new editor, however, is that core would either need to drop support for older browsers or build in fallback solutions. It’s an interesting discussion to have and a very important one at that.

Varying Vagrant Vagrants 2.0.0

Varying Vagrant Vagrants (VVV) is an open source Vagrant configuration focused on WordPress development. It has become one of the most popular platforms for local WordPress development, especially when contributing to WordPress core. As the title of this section suggested, on 13 March VVV 2.0.0 was released with a ton of awesome new features to make developers’ lives easier. You can see a more thorough technical overview of the release on GitHub.

New plugin directory

Near the end of the month, the Meta team went live with the new Plugin Directory. This is much more than a simple redesign – the search algorithms have been greatly improved so that results not only look better, but they are far more relevant and helpful. This redesign has been in the works for a long time now and has received a huge amount of community feedback and contributions. I’m a huge fan of the new Plugin Directory and I’m looking forward to seeing even more improvements in the future.

Jetpack themes and plugin guidelines

Earlier this month, Jetpack announced the launch of free themes that could be downloaded from within the plugin. This brought up a controversial discussion about how Jetpack is allowed to install third-party plugins when that seemingly goes against the Plugin Directory guidelines. The actual case is that Jetpack is not violating any guidelines, but rather that the guideline in question can be difficult to interpret. To help with clearing up the issue, Mika Epstein stepped in with a clear explanation of what is and is not allowed when it comes to plugins executing third-party code. This is definitely a confusing area to understand, but I feel that Mika’s post does a really good job of clarifying things.

Third WordPress Global Translation Day in planning

After two successful Global Translation Days, the Polyglots team has put out a call for local community organisers to start planning a third one. This time they are looking to host the day on 30 September in order to coincide with International Translation Day. The Global Translation Days are great events that not only promote a much more internationalised platform, but they really bring the community together across borders and language barriers – something that very few other events in our community are able to do. If you are involved in organising events for your local community then I would encourage you to get involved in this one.

GoDaddy acquires Sucuri

On 22 March, Sucuri accounced that they have officially been acquired by GoDaddy. While no one was really expecting this, it fits into GoDaddy’s recent push to acquire new assets (like with ManageWP last year). While Sucuri isn’t a WordPress-specific company, they have strong ties and a deep involvement with the WordPress community. Despite some of the grumblings about this (purely because many people still harbour a deep mistrust of GoDaddy), this new acquisition is certainly a great thing for Sucuri and their offering – they can only grow larger and more effective from here.

Nearby WordPress Events widget

The Community and Meta teams recently launched a widget that displays nearby WordPress events in your WordPress dashboard. The widget shows local events based on the user’s current location, but also allows for searching anywhere in the world. The event data is pulled from as well as and, as such, shows a very comprehensive overview of WordPress events globally. The intention is to have this widget merged into WordPress core in the near future, but for now it is available in the Plugin Directory for anyone to use. – free, unlimited WordPress installs

The name may be ridiculous (which is by design), but is a service that allows you to quickly spin up free and unlimited WordPress installs in a few seconds. The installs are on the service’s own URL structure, so they would be for testing and possibly quick demos. The service name was chosen so that people wouldn’t use the service for serious customer focussed demos as the service is not meant to be fully relied on for long-term things like that (each install expires after a week unless manually extended) – they do have plans for allowing custom URLs in the future though. This is a great service for quickly testing a plugin or theme on a fresh install without having to create a new one locally and the fact that it runs so smoothly is really impressive.

Further Reading:

Any relevant stories that I missed? Any interesting articles from the past month that you feel are worth reading? Link them up in the comments!

3 responses to “The Month in WordPress: March 2017”

  1. guntherwegner Avatar

    Sorry, didn’t find a contact formular, so I’m trying to reach you here.
    I’m using your EMail Validation Plugin for Woocommerce. Unfortunately it broke with the WooCommerce upgradeto 3.0. Could you please check and possibly fix it? Thank you very much!
    Best regards, Gunther

    1. Hugh Avatar

      Please rather use the plugin’s support forum. If you have a look there you’ll see that I am aware of this issue and will fix it as soon as I am able to do so.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *