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SMF WP Digest #8

Welcome to the eight 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

  • Comments are getting some big improvements in WP 4.4. A new WP_Comment class and WP_Comment_Query query parameters make WP native comments much better. Check out the details.
  • I’ve mentioned this before, but the REST API infrastructure is coming to WP core in 4.4. What does that mean? It means you’ll be able to use the API to build custom endpoints starting in December with the release of 4.4. Default endpoints will be coming in later releases. Want to get started using the API? Check out the docs, they are very good.
  • WP 4.4 will see WordPress become an oEmbed provider, allowing any oEmbed consumer to embed posts from WP sites. WordPress’ oEmbed code will appear within an iframe, which is customizable via templates in your WP theme. WPTavern dove into this new feature as well.
  • 4.4 is a big release for multisite as well. WP_Network, *_network_option functions, new actions and filters, and other enhancements will greatly improve the usability and scalability of multisite.
  • Admin screens will see a cleanup of headings hierarchy in 4.4. Check out the overview and see how to adjust your themes and plugins to comply.
  • Responsive Images are coming to 4.4 and it’s all supposed to be automatic. Basically if you attach a full size image to a post on desktop, a mobile device will automatically display the large or medium size instead. We’ll need to keep an eye on this. I personally have built my own responsive display functions based on the specific requirements of a project and will want to make sure there is no conflict in these types of situations.

SMF & WP: A Match Made in Heaven

Extending WordPress

  • VersionPress looks really cool. A versioning system that keeps historic revisions of everything – database, files, uploads, etc. Also handles staging, workflows, etc. Pretty cool stuff. So cool, the team behind it has raised $400k in seed funding from five investors.
  • Language packs have recently come to plugins. WPTavern has a great overview of how to prep your plugins and take advantage of this crucial feature.
  • ManageWP rolled out a new version, “Orion”. This service looks like a real time saver for WP sites hosted outside of dedicated WP hosting solutions.
  • SEO is important. Even if the term brings to mind visions of sleazy “SEO Expert” marketers sending out mass emails promising to give you first page results and other bullshit. Torque wrote up a deep dive into SEO Image optimization and how that plays with WordPress. It’s good stuff and worth absorbing. Some of it involves some devvy stuff, but mostly it would involve client training for prepping their content.
  • Feature Request & Idea Collector is a plugin that allows users suggest site features and vote on proposed features. Could be a good tool for getting feedback on new features on high traffic sites with vocal audiences.
  • Are you a glutton for punishment? Try running the the VIP Scanner on your WP site and see how it holds up under WP VIP scrutiny.

WP Drama

The dirty side of dev.

  • “Twenty Sixteen developers are lazy” is one of the premises of Kaya Ismail’s article, “How WordPress Needs to Improve Itself (In 6 Ways)“. It’s an interesting assertion, but comes with zero examples of why the theme is so “bad”…in fact, most of the article lacks any examples or data besides basic “this should be better” statements…which feels like lazy writing to me. WPTavern took aim at this article with their reply “How Not to Communicate Grievances with WordPress.” If you want to really go down the rabbit hole of bickering, please peruse the comments on both articles.

Misc

I don’t know where to file this crap.

  • Oh hey, looks like WordPress has crossed the 25% web marketshare milestone, according to W3Techs surveys. Another interesting stat: ColdFusion is still hanging on for dear life to 5th place in the “Most popular server-side programming languages” survey with a whopping 0.7%.
  • 93Digital published “WordPress: A Visual History“, which gives you a look back at every major version of WordPress since 1.0. Fun!
  • Non-developers can contribute and influence WP core development too. Interested? Check out this article with some good tips for getting involved.
  • I never knew about this function until recently, but I’m immensely entertained by the lack of conviction in the naming of _maybe_update_plugins().

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