May has, yet again, been a fairly busy month for WordPress. The biggest news, for us internally as well as for the community as a whole, has most definitely been our acquisition by Automattic and everything that entails.
There’s no need to go over all of that again, of course, although we’re always listening if you have additional comments, suggestions, or feedback you’d like to share. In the meantime, let’s move on to everything else that has been going on this past month.
Due to the generally poor state (and high costs) of hosting control panels that are currently available, Dan Griffiths has started work on an open-source alternative that is set to be based on WordPress. To fund the project, he is asking for $175,000 via Indiegogo. This makes it the most expensive crowd-funding project in the WordPress community to date.
It’s certainly an interesting project that I will be keeping a close eye on. You can read more about it, and also get some interesting views from the community, in this WP Tavern article.
WordPress 4.2.2 released
Security and maintenance releases are becoming pretty standard news these days, but the fast turn-around time on security fixes coupled with the automatic update system is something that is always impressive. WordPress 4.2.2 was released on 7 May and it addressed two security concerns.
The trojan emoji
I’m stealing (forking?) the title here from Brian Krogsgard, but he put together a very interesting post based on a talk from Andrew Nacin at Loopconf about what the emoji update in WordPress 4.2 was all about (hint: it wasn’t actually about emoji).
If you haven’t read the post (or watched the talk) yet then I highly recommend that you do so, as it gives insight into how a significant security fix was handled in complete secrecy. It’s fascinating.
The plan for passwords in WordPress 4.3
As one of the major updates in the next WordPress release, the password creation UI is going to get a bit of an overhaul. So far, there are a few really solid ideas floating around, but Mark Jaquith put together a description of what is going to be worked on and I think it is all very exciting.
Given all the recent security concerns, this is one area of WordPress that could really do with some improvements. I think the ideas put forth in that post will be a significant improvement.
New committers for WordPress 4.3
Every WordPress release features a few people who have commit access to the SVN repository. These individuals can be added or removed at any time depending on need and circumstance.
For WordPress 4.3, three new guest committers have been added – namely Ella van Dorpe, Konstantin Obenland and Weston Ruter. All three of them are long time core contributors and have all worked on plenty of the features that we use every day in WordPress.
Metadata API project reborn
If you have ever worked with custom fields and the metadata API, you’ll know that there are many implementations of this and infinite ways in which to handle the UI and processing of post fields. After a project to flesh out this API was put on hold two years ago, it has now been reborn under Scott Kingsley Clark’s leadership, and looks set be included in core relatively soon.
This will be a significant improvement for plugin developers, and will go a long way to ensuring that all plugins have a consistent UI and when adding custom fields to posts.
WordPress celebrates its 12th birthday
27 May was the 12th anniversary of the launch of the first version of WordPress (v0.7). While this is somewhat of a routine milestone, it is still worthy of celebrating. Joel Spolsky says that good software takes 10 years to develop, and I’m sure we can all agree that WordPress has most certainly proved itself to be (at least) “good software.”
To celebrate the milestone, WP Weekly interviewed Matt Mullenweg about a number of topics (including the Woo acquisition). It’s an interesting episode and fun to listen to.
Theme reviews are evolving
The WordPress Theme Review Team has started becoming much more strict on the “presentation vs functionality” guideline. There’s an interesting post on WP Tavern about the implications of this followed by a long (and somewhat heated) discussion about the effects of the crackdown.
The ultimate goal is to make the WordPress Theme Directory more valuable and consistent in terms of theme quality – a noble goal to be sure, but not one that will come without significant changes. Justin Tadlock has proposed some updates to build a curated theme directory, which has received some valuable and varied feedback.
I think something like this is a great step forward, but because changes to the directory will affect a lot of businesses it is one that needs to be carefully thought out and even more carefully implemented.