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SMF WP Digest #6

Welcome to the sixth 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

  • The second and third drafts of the Shortcode API Roadmap have been released. They outline the proposed changes to the Shortcode API in WP 4.4 – 4.7. Nothing to act on currently, but worth keeping on our radar for any custom shortcodes we use or plan to make. I included links to both drafts as it can be interesting to follow the evolution of these projects.
  • WP 4.4 will be removing a couple long-standing buttons from the post editor: “View Post” and “Get Shortlink.” The “View Post” button is being replaced with a clickable permalink for a cleaner interface. The “Get Shortlink” button isn’t used much and is also being removed. It can be reenabled through code if you wish to use it.
  • oEmbed Feature plugin is humming along: JavaScript improvements, sharing dialog improvements, added “is_embed” conditional tag, etc. Probably something we won’t really be using until it folds into WP core, but that may not be that far off – the team behind this feature have submitted their merge proposal. Check it out for a great overview of the project.
  • Speaking of merge proposals, the Responsive Images team has proposed a partial merge of the RICG Responsive Images Plugin. When this fully merges into core, there’s a lot about this we’ll want to leverage in our responsive sites.
  • To support the efforts to improve WP’s handling of https configurations, they have been gathering use cases with interesting configurations. Some of these remind me of stuff we’ve had to setup in the past, but the way I currently look at it is this: if you have an ssl certificate, might as well enable it for the whole site. Most of the problems come from trying to force it in certain areas and not others, but there really isn’t much benefit to that…especially now that google adds some preference to secure sites.
  • WP is adding a new theme template to the hierarchy: single-{post_type}-{post_name}.php. It can be used to fire up a custom template for a specific post. I know we’ve had projects in the past where a client requested one unique special snowflake post out of series of standard posts, and now these kinds of requests will be more easily achieved.
  • Small tweak in WP 4.4 to add_rewrite_rule() will allow arrays to be passed in the second parameter. Better code formatting!
  • Half of the REST API (mainly infrastructure) has been committed to core, and will be part of WP 4.4. The rest is slated for WP 4.5 and will give developers full access to the API.
  • User searching and management is improving in WP 4.3 in a variety of ways.

Extending WordPress

  • Torque wrote up a nice piece on some of the best WooCommerce extensions. From tracking, to wishlists, to memberships. Lots of good stuff in here.
  • WPTavern did a round up of free plugins that extend WP’s commenting. Crowd-sourced moderation, disqus competitors that add features while keeping comments native, quicktags for the comment form, etc.
  • An interesting new plugin, View Admin As, allows you to test your site admin with different user levels without logging out and logging back in. Handy for making sure certain interfaces are locked down. I’ll be giving this one a shot soon, I’m sure.
  • The Jetpack plugin updated recently to patch some security issues, as well as adding custom capabilities for module management in multisite installs. We haven’t done really anything with this plugin in the past, but it’s always good to keep on our radar. There’s been a lot of controversy around this plugin with devs claiming it slows down their sites, while others claim that’s simple hogwash. Well, plugin developer Arūnas Liuiza is putting together a “Measure Jetpack” project to help answer this question once and for all.
  • WordPress has made some changes to the guidelines around the naming of plugins, specifically in the using of company names, trademarks, or products.

WP Drama

The dirty side of dev.

  • The WordPress community doesn’t just debate the code and design behind WP features–the conversation also encompasses documentation and support articles. There’s some interesting back and forth going on in the comments of this article about Make/Core post guidelines.

In Memoriam

  • A well respected developer and member of the WordPress community, Alex King, passed away recently after a long battle with cancer. Post Status has a nice article about him and WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg posted a touching write up.

Misc

I don’t know where to file this crap.

  • GoDaddy compiled a Hot 100 list of the most popular plugins and themes used on their servers. I assume this means people still host with GoDaddy (lol).
  • The Post Status Draft podcast’s Oct 3 episode discusses a lot of topics, including an overview on how to get involved in WP core, what to expect if you do, and how to work your way through core dev.
  • WPEngine’s popularity is growing in Nordic countries, which I can only assume means they’ll need to bring in some additional tech support to cater to this distinct market.
  • WordCrash is a site with the goal of helping traveling WordPress folks find free accommodations. It is not moderated and there isn’t any sort of screening on the hosts, so it’s perfect for those that miss the glory days of craigslist casual encounters.

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