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WordPress Turns 20, Annual Survey Results, Shortcode Issues in WP 🗞️ June 2023 WordPress News w/ CodeinWP

📆  This is the June 2023 edition of “This Month in WordPress with CodeinWP.” 

Howdy, WordPress fans. We are back with another dose of WordPress news and events from the past month.

In May, WordPress officially turned 20 years old! 🍾 To commemorate the anniversary, there were lots of in-person and online celebrations. Beyond that, we also got a look at the 2022 annual survey results, which helps give us a look at where WordPress might be headed in the future.

That’s not all, though. In other news, there was an issue with a core WordPress security release, the release of a new local development tool from Automattic, another big WordPress acquisition, and more.

Let’s get to all of the WordPress news from the past month…

June 2023 WordPress News with CodeinWP

WordPress turns 20 years old

In the biggest news from the past month, WordPress officially turned 20 years old on May 27.

Yes, it’s now been over two decades since Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg forked b2/cafelog to create WordPress. Here’s the original May 27, 2003 release post.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary, local WordPress chapters held meetups all across the world, which were listed on the WP20 page. People also used the #WP20 hashtag to share their WordPress stories on Twitter.

Does WordPress have another 20 years in it?

I don’t think anyone has the answer to that question. But given that WordPress is still powering over 43.1% of all websites on the web (or at least in W3Techs’ very large sample), I doubt that it’s going away any time soon.

WordPress turns 20 years old

WordPress 2022 Annual Survey results

Every year, the WordPress team gathers feedback from the community via an annual survey.

The survey collects responses from a range of users spanning all knowledge levels, geographic locations, and so on.

In early May, we finally got a look at the 2022 survey results.

The 2022 survey was shorter than previous years, only asking 29 questions whereas previous years asked almost 100 questions.

It also had far fewer respondents, with a 56% drop in survey submissions versus 2021. In 2022, there were 3,357 responses, while 2021 saw 7,710 (and 2020 had 17,295).

Here are some of the highlights:

  • 22% of respondents have been using WordPress for less than a year, which shows that WordPress is still able to reach new users.
  • There’s increased usage of blocks and the Site Editor, which makes sense given how much focus it’s received.
  • The most popular reason to use WordPress is that it’s open-source, with 62% of respondents citing that as a reason.
  • 62% of respondents also agreed that “WordPress is as good as or better than other CMS platforms.”
  • The Net Promoter Score (NPS) numbers for WordPress were 41 and 38 (the survey included the question at both the beginning and the end, which is why there are two different numbers). In 2021, it was 45 and it was 42 in 2020.

If you want to dig deeper into the results, you can check out the full 2022 WordPress survey slide deck [PDF].

WordPress 2022 Annual Survey

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WordPress 6.2.1 breaks shortcode support in block templates (fixed in 6.2.2)

On May 16, we got the first minor WordPress release after WordPress 6.2 – WordPress 6.2.1.

It was a security and maintenance release that fixed five important security issues, so it was applied automatically to all sites with automatic updates enabled for minor releases.

Usually, minor security and maintenance releases won’t break functionality, which is why many people feel comfortable applying updates automatically.

Unfortunately, that was not the case with WordPress 6.2.1. It caused a major issue with breaking shortcode support in block templates. While this only affected newer block-enabled themes using the Site Editor, it still caused chaos on a lot of users’ sites.

This breaking functionality did not happen randomly, as one of the fixes in WordPress 6.2.1 was focused on fixing a potential vulnerability with shortcodes in user-generated content and Mika Epstein said that this change was by design.

To immediately fix the issue, a lot of users were forced to downgrade back to WordPress 6.2 Then, on May 20, WordPress 6.2.2 was released to fix the shortcode security vulnerability without breaking shortcode support in the templates of block-enabled themes.

While the issue is fixed, this fiasco will still have damaged the idea of automatic updates in a lot of people’s eyes. If even minor security fixes can include breaking functionality, users will rightly be wary of enabling automatic updates on their sites.

If you want to dig deeper, the comments section on this WP Tavern post has a lot of user feedback and responses.

WordPress 6.2.1

Automattic releases a local development environment powered by WordPress Playground

When it comes to local WordPress development, you have a lot of great options, including general local development tools as well as WordPress-specific tools like Local and DevKinsta.

In May, Automattic added another option to the mix with its release of wp-now.

To create local sites, wp-now uses WordPress Playground, which uses WebAssembly to execute PHP in a user’s browser rather than relying on a PHP server.

According to the release post, “wp-now is essentially a NodeJS app with a built-in PHP server powered by WordPress Playground.” It relies on the SQLite Database Integration plugin for its database, but you also have the option to connect it to an existing database.

You can install wp-now directly from npm using a single command.

To learn more, you can check out the wp-now page on GitHub’s npm Registry.

Pascal Birchler publishes a Periodic Table of WordPress Plugins

This one is just a fun tidbit.

To celebrate WordPress’ 20th birthday, Pascal Birchler published a Periodic Table of WordPress plugins, which showcases 108 of the most popular free WordPress plugins available at WordPress.org.

We are happy to announce that one of our sister site Themeisle’s plugins made the list – the LightStart plugin is on there at number 75.

LightStart can help with coming soon pages, landing pages, and maintenance mode pages. You can try it out for free if you want to see why 700000+ other sites have already installed it.

Caseproof (MemberPress) acquires WishList Member

In early May, Caseproof, the parent company of MemberPress, acquired WishList Products, the development company behind WishList Member (another WordPress membership plugin) and CourseCure (a WordPress LMS plugin).

If you pay attention to the WordPress acquisition space, you may remember that WishList Member had supposedly already been acquired by Memberium back in May 2022. However, that deal fell through after the announcement, which is how Caseproof was able to make the acquisition instead. Here are archived links to the WishList Member announcement and Memberium announcement.

This is not the first time that Caseproof has acquired another competing membership plugin. In February 2023, Caseproof already acquired MemberMouse, which is another WordPress membership plugin that sort of blurred the line between a SaaS and a native WordPress solution.

This means that Caseproof now owns three of the most popular WordPress membership plugins:

  1. MemberPress
  2. MemberMouse
  3. WishList Member

However, as with the MemberMouse acquisition, Caseproof is still planning to run WishList Member separately from the other products.

According to Blair Williams in his acquisition announcement post, “the plan is to expand, enhance, and magnify the already-amazing WishList Member™ product.”

While running the plugins separately will continue to give users options, one worry about these types of acquisitions is that it could result in higher prices. Thankfully, WordPress users still are spoiled for choice when it comes to quality membership plugins, so I don’t think there’s any immediate danger there.

In smaller acquisition news, Themeum also acquired the Kirki Customizer Framework, which helps developers implement Customizer functionality into their themes.

That sums up our June 2023 WordPress news roundup. Anything we missed?

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. Learn more below:

 

Layout and presentation by Karol K.

Colin Newcomer

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