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SMF WP Digest #15

Welcome to the fifteenth 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

  • WordPress is upgrading their bundled versions of Backbone.js (v1.1.2 -> v1.2.3) and Underscore.js (v1.6.0 -> v1.8.3) to the latest versions, which could lead to some code breaking for plugins or themes that rely on the bundled libraries. Check the Backbone and Underscore changelogs for all the info.
  • WP 4.5 is going to see some image handling improvements including better performance of the wp_uploads_dir() function, PDF thumbnails, and higher compression on images which will result in smaller file sizes without a perceptible loss in image quality (up to 50% reduction in image sizes).
  • WordPress 4.5 Beta 1 is available. Roll the dice and run it on a production site. See what happens.

Extending WordPress

  • The Fields API still isn’t part of the WP core, but if you want to use it, you can grab the plugin on GitHub. Although the benefit of a Fields API over using something like Advanced Custom Fields is that you wouldn’t be dependent on a plugin, sooo…
  • Have a theme with dependencies on plugins? Want to make that clear to a user when they install the theme? TGMPA released a code generator to make that much simpler.
  • Need to support multiple languages in your site? Torque compiled a round-up of translation plugins.
  • WordPress.com announced support for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), Google’s new project to improve mobile experiences. Automattic also released a plugin that allows self-hosted WP sites to take advantage of this as well.
  • The WordPress Plugin Directory is getting a makeover with focus on better UX and improved search. Hopefully this will make it easier for users to install plugins that break their sites.

WP Drama

The dirty side of dev.

  • Hey remember that open letter written by open source project maintainers to GitHub which essentially was all like “WTF, Mate?” Well GitHub responded with a very political, “sorry, we understand your pain, we’ll do better,” and addressed some low hanging fruit by rolling out Issue templates and Pull Request templates.
  • Lots of debate on what the image compression size should be as well as circling back to the age-old WP decisions vs. options argument.

Misc

I don’t know where to file this crap.

  • WordPress ranks highest in the SMB Trust Index, while competitors like SquareSpace and Shopify are considerably lower on the list. No sign of Drupal or Joomla.

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