The release of WordPress 5.8 is fast approaching. After the last beta last week, we had the first release candidate this June 30th. Most of the team is working on this release, whether for themes, Gutenberg, or WordPress Core.
Our weekly team updates
This week I worked on WordPress 5.8 fixes, as well as a project we have nicknamed “Update the Updater“.
I worked on backporting fixes from the Gutenberg plugin and, more specifically, everything related to the way we load block styles. It’s been many months since I started working on these features in Gutenberg. These efforts are finally coming to fruition in WordPress 5.8. WordPress Core will soon have the ability to load styles only for blocks that get rendered on a page. That may sound like a small thing, but it is a big deal for performance and sustainability considering WordPress’s reach.
These changes introduce concepts that are a bit foreign to the WordPress plugin and theme developers. It will require a lot of documentation, so I will be publishing an article on make.w.org/core later today, documenting the new features & APIs.
Update the Updater
This project has been something we’ve wanted to work on for the past 6 months. This week I started working on a proof of concept plugin. The goal of the project is 3-fold:
- Make plugin & theme unzipping safer on updates, with the ability to roll-back in case of failure.
- Introduce an API to allow database upgrades & downgrades: Plugins often need to tweak their database entries as they evolve. When they do, there is no standard process to allow them to perform such an update. This feature aims to introduce a way for developers to update their database tables using a consistent API.
- Introduce a plugin dependencies mechanism: It’s not uncommon for plugins (or even themes) to depend on another plugin. WordPress doesn’t currently have an implementation to handle dependencies, so plugins need to re-invent the wheel every time.
I’m excited to finally work on these features. We have an opportunity to improve the experience both for developers and users!
I have only worked one day this week. I spent it mainly on testing the next version of Yoast SEO with the 5.8 release candidate,
and reading the 5.8 dev notes.
Francesca is currently on vacation, so no major updates for her.
Since the last team update, I’ve been working on the e2e tests in WordPress Core and the documentation of the WordPress.org APIs.
WordPress e2e tests
I’ve had a few reviews from Isabel Brison regarding Core categories tests. It’s mostly about code improvements and optimizations. So I’m working on integrating them. At the same time, I’m doing some research on how to automate uploading media in the media library. This is in order to also write tests for media in WordPress.
WordPress.org APIs documentation
Last week, Kenneth, a colleague at Yoast, brought to my attention some improvements that could be made to the WordPress.org APIs documentation. So I discussed it with Francesca, Ari, and Sergey, who have more experience with WordPress.org than I do. We agreed that I would explore ways to improve it, update it, and eventually migrate it to the DevHub.
For the last week, my main focus was to put some finishing touches on the WordPress 5.8 release candidate as part of my duties as a Core Committer.
I made thirteen commits to WordPress core, mostly minor cleanup for unit tests, documentation, and coding standards. I also led a meeting for new core contributors and triaged new tickets incoming into Trac (the bug tracking system that WordPress uses).
On Monday, I was excited to be featured as a guest editor in the WP Owls newsletter. I collected and shared some links on how contributing to WordPress can improve your development, design, translation, or communication skills and help you become a better person in general. Check it out: WP Owls #40.