Hugh Lashbrooke

Community builder by day, tabletop game designer by night.

The Month in WordPress: April 2017


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

Another month has come to end and we have another chance to look back at what happened in the WordPress community over the last 30 days, so sit back and enjoy the reading. I was on leave and largely offline for the first half of April, so there’s a fair chance that I missed something important from the time that I wasn’t trawling the internet for WordPress news – I tried not to of course, but if I did then please add it in the comments!

Yoast SEO nags for PHP 7 upgrades

Yoast SEO is somewhat notorious for its extensive use of notices in the WordPress dashboard, but this time they seem to have had a positive effect. In the recent version 4.5 release, the plugin included a large undismissable notice for any users running PHP 5.2 and pushed them to upgrade to PHP 7. The net effect of this notice has actually been very positive in that it has pushed a large portion of users to upgrade their PHP versions. While I balk at the idea of an undismissable notice the dashboard (particularly one as big as this), if it helps to improve the speed and, more importantly, the security of the web as whole then I think it could be a good thing. I’m not entirely sold on doing it this way, but it seems to have worked so far, so I guess that’s a good thing?

The first niche WordCamp is announced

After a long review and discussion period, WordCamp Central approved the first WordCamp targeted at a specific niche – WordCamp for Publishers will be happening in Denver in August this year. The idea for the event came from the organisers themselves, but now that it has been announced, there has been a significant amount of interest for WordCamps that focus on other niches – developers, designers and marketers are a few that spring to mind – and it is something that is definitely worth exploring as I think that this kind of event would be a great addition to the WordCamp programme.

WordCamp US opens call for speakers

The title here says it all really, so it’s not a huge story as such, but I felt like it’s worth highlighting here as I know there will be many people interested in applying: WordCamp US 2017 has opened its call for speakers and applications will be open until 23 June. And that’s about the whole news item…

WordPress drops support for old versions of Internet Explorer

From version 4.8, WordPress will officially discontinue support for older versions of Internet Explorer – including IE 8, 9 & 10. Microsoft stopped supporting these browsers in January 2016, and the WordPress core team has been waiting for usage of them to drop low enough for this decision to be a viable option (usage is now under 3% or 1% depending how you count it). This isn’t to say that WordPress will immediately stop working in older browsers, but it does mean that new features will no longer be tested in them, so functionality cannot be guaranteed when using them. The first benefit of this decision will be the upgrades to the text editor that will now be possible without having to cater to out-dated technology and I’m sure we’ll be seeing many more updates in the future that will also be a result of this move.

Plugin Directory reverts to tabbed interface

After the Plugin Directory redesign went live at the end of March there was naturally a huge amount of  feedback from the community regarding the refreshed UI. One of the main issues that people had with it all was that in the single plugin view, the content was all displayed on one page where tabs had previously been used. This UI change was implemented to prevent the need for page refreshes during tab switching, but with the public demand for tabs being so high, the Meta team worked on bringing them back. This time, however, the tabs simply change the displayed content on the page instead of loading new pages each time – this satisfies the people who like the appeal of a tabbed interface, as well as the need for fast tab-switching. All in all, it’s a great improvement.

Swag store redesign

At the end of the month the redesign of the WordPress Swag Store went live. The new store is still powered by WooCommerce, but looks infinitely better than its previous iteration. There is some new stock (with more on the way) and it’s just generally a whole lot better than before. To celebrate the redesign, you can get everything at a 20% discount until 12 May is you use the WPSWAG coupon code – definitely a good deal for anyone.

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!

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