📆 This is the September 2020 edition of “This Month in WordPress with CodeinWP.”
Hello everyone! Let’s welcome autumn with a look into the most interesting happenings in our WordPress community from the past month.
This post brings in Robert, our summer intern, who helped find cool stories and contributed the content for a couple of them.
In this month’s roundup, you will get to know what’s new in WordPress 5.5, how the Astra theme was removed from the repo, who’s working on the next WordPress major release, and why the core team won’t drop support for PHP 5.6 yet.
Actually, these are only a few of the headlines. We have many more fresh things to share with you, so enjoy your read for the next few minutes and get your monthly dose of WordPress knowledge.
September 2020 WordPress News with CodeinWP
The latest WordPress major release – “Eckstine” – is out and brings exciting features to its users. This is a sneak peek into all the enhancements you’ll find in your dashboard if you update to the newest version:
- A bunch of cool improvements and additions to the block editor, which was being constantly developed in the last couple of years. The block patterns, the inline image editing, and the block directory are some of the coolest changes.
- Lazy loading as a default option for the WordPress site owners. You just need to enable it and your site content will load sequentially.
- Auto-updates for themes and plugins. From now on, you won’t have to update each of your installed tools manually or set reminders to do so. WordPress will update them for you on autopilot.
- ZIP file updates for themes and plugins. If you still want to update your tools manually, there’s an easier way to do it now. You can just upload the ZIP file of the plugin/theme and you’re all set.
- Default XML site map. This is good news for SEO. No more need for third-party plugins to generate your site’s XML map. WordPress will generate it alone.
- Accessibility improvements like copying links in media screens with a button or moving meta boxes with the keyboard.
- Mobile and tablet preview for posts and pages.
The most discussed news of the month was the Astra theme getting removed from the official repository for a while. Why? Because the theme authors – aka the Brainstorm Force team – were using affiliate links in the back-end.
The suspension came shortly after Astra’s celebration of becoming the first WordPress theme ever to reach 1 million active users worldwide. Then, the bomb dropped.
During this time, the Themes Team came up with different punishment ideas (like suspending the theme from the directory for five weeks) but, in the end, they decided to put it back… just not in the Popular Themes tab. So basically if you’re searching for it, you’ll find it. But it’s not featured anywhere.
Brainstorm Force’s take on this issue was that they didn’t violate the rules and that they were filtering the referral IDs of third-party plugins via filters that those plugins’ developers offered. The team asked for a compromise from the Themes Team since this was their first violation, the result of which was reinstating the theme to the repo. They didn’t forget to address their users and apologize to them either.
As a conclusion, Astra users are still getting updates, while the Themes Team is working on a clearer guidelines violations process for future similar issues.
You may also be interested in:
- WordPress 5.6 RC, WordPress.com vs Conservative Treehouse, Envato Earnings 🗞️ December 2020 WordPress News w/ CodeinWP
- WordPress 5.0 Releases December 6th, 2018; Here’s What You Need to Know 🗞️ December 2018 WordPress News w/ CodeinWP
- June 2015 WordPress News – This Month in WordPress w/ CodeinWP
Great Articles From Around The Web
That sums up our September 2020 WordPress news roundup. 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%: