📆 This is the November 2022 edition of “This Month in WordPress with CodeinWP.”
Hey, WordPress fans.
We are back with all the latest WordPress news and updates that happened in the previous month.
For the biggest story, WordPress.org removed a piece of data that a lot of plugin developers rely on, which kicked up a storm on Twitter, Trac, and elsewhere.
Beyond that, WooCommerce is planning to release a new hosted offering in 2023, Cloudflare released a new free anti-spam tool called Turnstile, Full-Site Editing themes got a visibility upgrade at WordPress.org, and plenty more.
Let’s get to all of the WordPress news from the past month…
November 2022 WordPress News with CodeinWP
WordPress.org removes plugin active install growth data – drama ensues
The biggest news (and drama) this month involved the removal of a piece of information from the WordPress.org plugin directory – the “Active install Growth” data that used to appear in the Advanced tab of a plugin’s listing page.
Plugin developers who distribute their plugins via WordPress.org were surprised and unhappy because this data was one of the few pieces of information that they could use to gauge the success (or failure) of their product enhancements and marketing efforts.
What’s more, there was no public discussion of removing the data – everything happened behind closed doors and then the data was just suddenly gone one day.
At first, the stated reason for the removal was some type of undefined “security issue” or “insufficient data obfuscation.” However, later references just said that it wasn’t working as intended (i.e., the data wasn’t accurate) and nobody was using it.
At this point, no one has stated any specific reasons for removing the chart, so it’s hard to know the actual reasoning.
Overall, the removal created a bit of a firestorm on Twitter, as well as in the discussion of this Trac ticket created by Mark Zahra.
It seems like there are two big reasons that people are upset:
- A lot of plugin developers relied on that information. Again, it’s one of the few options that WordPress.org developers have to gauge whether what they’re doing is working.
- The discussion happened entirely behind closed doors. People were mad that there was never any public mention/discussion of removing the data. Everything happened in a private Slack channel until the data just disappeared one day.
So what’s going to happen?
Well, the discussion continues on Trac, Twitter, and Slack.
In the end, it seems like WordPress.org might work on some new data to help developers gain insight into the success of their plugins.
If plugins don’t get this data, we might start seeing more free plugins implementing opt-in prompts upon plugin activation to gain permission to collect usage stats directly from users.
If you want to dig into this topic, here are some links:
WooCommerce aims to offer a hosted solution in 2023
On the backs of new hosted WooCommerce offerings from Bluehost and GoDaddy, WooCommerce announced in October that it plans to launch an official hosted WooCommerce offering some time in 2023.
Unlike those other offerings, this will be a turnkey solution that’s launched in collaboration with hosting partners.
It will include a number of features to streamline creating a successful WooCommerce store:
- Pre-installed WooCommerce software
- Optimized store onboarding.
- Bundled essential plugins (so that store owners don’t need to purchase and install a bunch of separate plugins)
WordPress.com will be the first to trial it, but other hosts will eventually be able to work with WooCommerce to offer the solution to their own hosting customers.
For example, SiteGround could hypothetically partner with WooCommerce to offer a more turnkey hosted WooCommerce solution to its customers.
GoDaddy and Bluehost have largely built their offerings by acquiring a bunch of companies. For example, GoDaddy acquired SkyVerge and Pagely, while Bluehost acquired YITH and others.
Obviously, smaller hosts can’t really compete with this strategy. But with access to such a turnkey system, these hosts would still be able to offer competing hosted WooCommerce products without the big-budget acquisitions.
Overall, you’ll probably be seeing a lot more optimized WooCommerce hosting plans coming in 2023 and beyond.
WPTavern has a good explainer if you want to learn more.
Style variation previews at the WordPress.org theme directory for FSE themes
With the release of the global styles features, WordPress themes that use Full-Site Editing can now include pre-made style variations for users to choose from.
To make it easier to see those style variations, WordPress.org added a new preview tool to the theme listing page at WordPress.org (only for Full-Site Editing themes, of course).
The style variations appear below the theme preview image. The cool thing is that the style variations are clickable and selecting a different variation will change the preview image.
Speaking of Full-Site Editing themes, the free Raft theme from the screenshot is also a brand new release from our sister company, Themeisle.
Raft marks Themeisle’s first foray into Full-Site Editing and comes with 9+ style variations and a bunch of block patterns. You can check out the WordPress.org listing here or the dedicated product page on the Themeisle website.
You may also be interested in:
- WordPress 6.3, WordCamp Dhaka Cancelled, Plugin Vulnerabilities 🗞️ August 2023 WordPress News w/ CodeinWP
- The “Elementor CMS,” ACF Stories, WordPress.com Creator Plan 🗞️ February 2024 WordPress News w/ CodeinWP
- WooCommerce’s Own Hosting Service, iThemes Rebrands, Twitter API Ban 🗞️ May 2023 WordPress News w/ CodeinWP
That sums up our November 2022 WordPress news roundup. Anything we missed?
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Layout and presentation by Karol K.