📆 This is the October 2022 edition of “This Month in WordPress with CodeinWP.”
Hey, WordPress fans! We are back with you covering the latest WordPress news from the previous month.
Most notably, WordCamp US 2022 went off at the beginning of September, so we have some live streams and recaps to help you relive the event.
Beyond that, WooCommerce released a new version and shared plans for its custom orders table feature, Google slammed publishers with a bunch of search algorithm updates, we share a few cool new WordPress projects, and lots more.
Let’s get all of this month’s news:
October 2022 WordPress News with CodeinWP
WordCamp US 2022
The biggest event from the past month was WordCamp US 2022, which happened on the weekend of September 9th in sunny San Diego, CA.
This is the earliest in the year that the event has happened in a while, which keeps with trends from the past few years.
WordCamp US 2018 happened in December, but subsequent events have shifted to November, then October, and now September.
If you want to catch up, the WordCamp Central YouTube channel has full live streams of both days and both event tracks:
- Saturday – Sun Track (includes Matt Mullenweg’s Q&A at the end)
- Saturday – Palm Track
- Friday – Sun Track
- Friday – Palm Track
Each video has timestamps to jump around to the different talks.
As usual, a lot of attendees also posted their own WordCamp US 2022 recaps. Here are some of the more detailed ones I found:
If you weren’t able to attend, you can live vicariously through other people’s screenshots and tweets.
Matt Mullenweg pushes for canonical WordPress plugins
At the aforementioned WordCamp US 2022 event, Matt Mullenweg made another push for a concept known as canonical plugins. More specifically, Mullenweg wants WordPress Make teams to use canonical plugins to offer features to users.
So – what is a canonical plugin?
The basic idea is that it’s a more “official” type of plugin that comes from core contributors, rather than third-party developers.
These plugins would have a closer relationship to the core software than third-party plugins and would also have more inherent trust because they come directly from the community/core developers.
Developers could use these canonical plugins to add essential features that might not otherwise make it into Core.
It also gives those features a chance to grow and mature before possibly making the shift into Core.
An example of this would be the Gutenberg plugin before it was merged into the core in WordPress 5.0 (it also still exists as a place to test cutting-edge features for the block editor).
WP Tavern has a good post on the subject, that includes some of the pros and cons of this approach.
WooCommerce 6.9 is out (and 6.9.1 shortly thereafter)
On September 14, the WooCommerce team released version 6.9 to the world, followed shortly thereafter with version 6.9.1 after discovering a bug that caused issues on some sites due to their PHP versions.
One of the biggest new features is that you’ll now get access to the Cart and Checkout blocks in the core WooCommerce software (whereas previously these blocks were relegated to the experimental WooCommerce Blocks plugin).
These core blocks are important to helping WooCommerce’s block-based approach keep up with visual builders like Elementor, given that Elementor has already had flexible cart and checkout widgets for several months now.
Beyond the new blocks, WooCommerce 6.9 comes with improved product filtering.
The filter will now update the URL without reloading the page. This makes it easy for shoppers to share and access direct links to filters.
Users can also set multiple selections for attribute filters when using dropdowns and the AND query type.
There are plenty of other changes, too, as WooCommerce 6.9 includes 90+ smaller fixes and tweaks.
Here are some relevant links if you want to learn more:
One thing that 6.9 did not include, though, is the custom database table for orders that we mentioned a few news roundups back.
This feature, which has been renamed to High-Performance Order Storage (HPOS), is currently targeted for release in WooCommerce 7.1, which is itself currently slated for release around November.
When it first launches, HPOS will be opt-in for stores. However, the eventual aim is that core is able to turn it on by default (I presume only for new stores). If things go well, this could happen in around a year’s time (August 2023).
Beyond the update to the core software, the WooCommerce team also released WooCommerce Blocks 8.6.0 later in September, which includes a new cross-sells block that should be making its way to the core WooCommerce software at some point.
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Back-to-back-to-back Google updates, in a fun twist for publishers
If you rely on Google to drive traffic to your WordPress site(s), you might be in for a bit of a ride as Google has just recently released three back-to-back-to-back Google search updates.
On August 25, Google released its “helpful content update,” which completed its rollout on September 9th. As the name suggests, the update aimed to target sites with “unhelpful” content, by giving them a sitewide penalty.
Just a few days after completing the rollout of the helpful content update, Google released another core update starting on September 12th and finishing on September 26th. For this second update, however, Google did not publicize any specific focus.
Finally, Google finished with another iteration of its product reviews update, starting on September 20th and also finishing on September 26th. See the full release log here.
It’s not unheard of for Google to release three updates in short succession like this. However, it does mean that your sites might experience some volatility.
Despite all of these changes, the Semrush Sensor, a chart from SEO tool Semrush that tracks SERP volatility, has remained fairly calm since August 25th, though there were some spikes around the second core update.
Still, there’s always that bit of trepidation whenever Google announces something…
Have your sites experienced any positive or negative shifts? Let us know in the comments!
That sums up our October 2022 WordPress news roundup. Anything we missed?
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Layout and presentation by Karol K.