As we all ask ourselves the same question, let’s draw the line here and conclude the year with the latest announcements and news from the WordPress community.
This is the January 2018 edition of “This Month in WordPress with CodeinWP.”
January 2018 WordPress News
As per tradition, Matt Mullenweg gave his report on WordPress’ status and evolution during the past 12 months, along with the goals that will push WordPress forward in 2018. If you heard the speech live in Nashville, good for you. But if you didn’t make it to the US, Post Status put together a summary featuring the highlights of the presentation:
- Tide project (we’ll talk more about it later in this post).
- The status of WordPress Growth Council, which was introduced by Matt at WordCamp 2016 in Philly.
- WordPress core focus areas (the Customizer and REST API) and WordPress.org updates.
- WordCamps and meetups.
As for 2018, there will be three main topics to set sights on, all to do with Gutenberg:
One thing to note down is that there won’t be a new WordPress default theme next year. All eyes on Gutenberg!
It’s going to be a long year, full of Gutenberg, so expect to find it in our roundups often. As announced by the core contributor Matias Ventura on December 11th, Gutenberg 1.9 is out and brings new features as follows:
- Reusable blocks. You can actually create a block, save it, and use it again in other pages – just like templates.
- Ability to lock down the editor, so it can’t be deleted or moved.
- Drag-and-drop upload support to gallery block.
- Possibility to upgrade deprecated blocks. You can migrate attributes without invalidating blocks.
- Multiple extensibility features.
You probably heard a lot about Tide lately. It is a project developed and supported by XWP, in collaboration with Automattic, Google, and WPEngine, which aims to help WordPress developers choose the right plugins and themes based on the quality of the software’s code.
How does it work? It works as a system incorporated in the WordPress.org back-end, which returns the reliability score of a plugin you want to try. Tide service runs automatic tests on various plugins and themes in the repository. Once it finishes, it displays an overall score representing the product’s code quality.
The project consists of an API, Audit Server, and Sync Server that work simultaneously to run the tests and provide the score.
It’s time for a security problem coming from the Captcha plugin (https://wordpress.org/plugins/captcha/). According to Wordfence, the plugin was active on 300,000 WordPress sites and was immediately removed from WordPress.org repository when the backdoor was discovered.
After checking the code thoroughly, the guys at Wordfence discovered small changes in the back-end which translate into what developers call a backdoor. The backdoor is a shortcut that allows someone to get unauthorized access to a website. This is not an attack from the outside; it seems that the plugin authors were the ones who used the tool to get into people’s admin pages, so you should uninstall Captcha plugin right away.
It’s the end of 2017, a year full of new additions and acquisitions in the WordPress space. Our CMS keeps developing, even if we don’t notice it on a daily basis. Now, when we draw the line and review the last 12 months, we realize that nothing ever stands still. Everything is in a continuous motion. This is Envato’s recollection of how WordPress grew during this time – the short timeline.
- WordPress.org platform gets a new design.
- WordPress 4.8 is released.
- Gutenberg is released for the first time for beta testing.
- The React #wpdrama. We talked about it in our September roundup back then.
- WordPress 4.9 gets released.
Great Articles From Around The Web
Page builders are ruling the WordPress theme market at the moment, but there’s a threat that keeps everyone in doubt at the moment. At least those who spent large amounts of time to create and develop the drag-and-drop builders. Was it all in vain? Beaver Builder wrote a preview of how the future will look for page builders once Gutenberg ships in WordPress 5.0.
Plugins are great but they don’t always work flawlessly. Sometimes they break and affect other things on your site, too. But you can prevent such conflicts from taking place. If it’s too late to prevent, though, there’s still room to fix the damage. See how.
Nowadays, to be part of a company doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go to the office every day. There are lots of successful firms whose employees work from all around the world. We, at ThemeIsle, have remote colleagues too. But isn’t it hard to keep in touch with everyone? Read this article to see how to communicate effectively in such cases.
Most WordPress users customize their sites via plugins because the simple thought of getting too deep into the WordPress back-end terrifies them. But if you invest some time and read some tutorials, you’ll soon start to get familiar with how the databases work. Here’s a post you can start with.
Schema Markup helps you optimize your site for SEO. If you’re one of those SEO geeks who wants everything to be in its place when it comes to Google-friendly tricks, this is an important one. But be careful, it gets pretty technical. If you’re not very happy with this aspect, ask your developer friend to help you.
The most common way to hack a site is through plugins. Hackers simply love plugins because they are thousands and provide great opportunities to break in. So everyone who uses plugins is always on target. When was the last time you checked your active plugins?
Did you ever hear about page IDs in WordPress? To be honest, I didn’t until I read this article. What are they and, especially, why would you care about them? Elegant Themes tells you why they’re useful and where to find them on your admin page.
Doing SEO for your site is not a big deal if you have a slight idea of how it works. But what happens when the text is overtaken by voice and audio file formats? Will SEO be enough? An interesting read that talks about the time when SEO won’t be the answer anymore.
Voice recognition, image and video recognition, virtual customer service, personalized content and design, AI-enhanced marketing, machine-created content, online and offline interpenetration… All these sound like sci-fi, but they’re closer to us than we think. How will them affect the internet and WordPress, in particular? Read this post to find out.
The most recent concern of the developers is how much the new WordPress editor will affect their products. First, because Gutenberg kind of replaces the page builders, in which case you won’t need a third-party anymore. Second, because they will have to change their existing plugins’ and themes’ planning direction and create something that can be compatible with the editor. Find out more in this article.
Pop-ups are often helpful. But when they are not built correctly, they can destroy your strategies. You know how annoying some posters, subscription boxes, or ads can get. You, as a marketing person, don’t need to create intruding pop-ups to be able to convert. This is what a good pop-up should contain.
We covered the consequences of the upcoming Gutenberg release on various aspects of the WordPress market, especially on page builders and third-party themes and plugins. But the guys at 10up wrote a piece about how ads will be influenced by the new editor’s appearance. How do you display ads in block-based content? Read further to find out how to manage this aspect as well.
That’s it for January 2018. Anything we missed?
Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%: