Changes to the Shortcode API

Earlier today, we released WordPress 4.2.3, which includes a relatively large security fix that affects the ShortcodeShortcode A shortcode is a placeholder used within a WordPress post, page, or widget to insert a form or function generated by a plugin in a specific location on your site. APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways.. Due to the nature of the fix – as is often the case with security fixes – we were unable to alert pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party authors ahead of time, however we did makemake A collection of P2 blogs at make.wordpress.org, which are the home to a number of contributor groups, including core development (make/core, formerly "wpdevel"), the UI working group (make/ui), translators (make/polyglots), the theme reviewers (make/themes), resources for plugin authors (make/plugins), and the accessibility working group (make/accessibility). efforts to scan the plugin directory for plugins that may have been affected.

With this change, every effort has been made to preserve all of the coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. features of the Shortcode API. That said, there are some new limitations that affect some rare uses of shortcodes.

Reminder: Never, under any circumstances, should you hack core files. This includes downgrading specific files. Doing so could have unintended consequences on your WordPress installation, including major security implications.

Basic Shortcode Usage

A brief explanation on the original purpose of shortcodes will help to explain the change. In a basic post, like this example, shortcodes are used to insert dynamic code:

Here are my images. [gallery]

Here you can see that the shortcode stands on its own as a dynamic element within the blogblog (versus network, site) post content. This is the central premise of the Shortcode API: make it easy to insert blocks of dynamic code.

Shortcodes with Filtered Styles

In today’s releaseRelease A release is the distribution of the final version of an application. A software release may be either public or private and generally constitutes the initial or new generation of a new or upgraded application. A release is preceded by the distribution of alpha and then beta versions of the software. of WordPress 4.2.3, however, we’ve added some new limitations that affect some existing plugins. Take, for example, the following shortcode, which is no longer recognized:

<div style="background-image: url('[shortcode]');">

The shortcode in the example above appears in a context that is no longer supported. Further, this use of a shortcode stretches the imagination for how the Shortcode API was intended to be used. Fortunately, there are some workarounds still available, so that sitesite (versus network, blog) administrators are not overly restricted in their use of HTMLHTML HyperText Markup Language. The semantic scripting language primarily used for outputting content in web browsers..

Workaround

The following example still functions as expected and is considered more acceptable:

<div [shortcode]>

Going forward, plugins implementing shortcodes for inline styles should output the entire style attribute rather than a bare value. Keep in mind that this workaround – just as the original example above – is only available to administrators and editors (i.e. only roles with unfiltered_html). Less-privileged users are still prevented from using shortcodes to output whole attributes in this manner. If a plugin is intended to work with author and contributor roles, we recommend that the plugin output an entire <div>.

Shortcodes with Bad Quotes

The following example is also no longer allowed:

<a href="/[shortcode query="?ref="]">

In the above situation, the shortcode is now properly recognized as HTML and it is rejected by the API. Apart from the example being confusing, WordPress cannot parse that shortcode.

Workaround

Instead, either of the following examples would be appropriate:

Example 1: <a href="/[shortcode query='?ref=']">
Example 2: <a href='/[shortcode query="?ref="]'>

Administrators as well as lesser-privileged authors can continue to use shortcodes in this way, as long is it conforms to the usual HTML filtering rules. However, as explained in the first example, administrators are now somewhat limited in this situation in one case: if the content in this href attribute is generated by a shortcode that does not conform to the HTML filters, then the shortcode is rejected for all users.

We do not make this change lightly and understand that it may affect some usecases. The above examples and explanations should help plugin authors make the modifications needed to support the Shortcode API.

#4-2, #4-2-3, #dev-notes, #plugins, #shortcodes